Escape To: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Find out where to go, what to do and where to eat

by SHFamily | Wed, November 01, 2017

Nestled along Thailand’s Ping River sits “The Jewel of the North,” Chiang Mai. Like all gems, the thriving city has many sides to it, and Scott Cordeiro helps to uncover the beauty in a number of them.  

Historical Sights

chiang mei sight

Established more than 700 years ago, the city boasts over 300 Buddhist temples, or Wats, built by numerous kings looking to immortalize their reign. Among these is the famous Wat Phrathat which rests atop the mountain Doi Suthep. Lavish and offering breathtaking views of the city, this stop is not to be missed. Hail one of the city’s red truck taxis known as songthaews for about 400 Thai baht (THB), the whole trip to and from costing you around ¥77. Found within the city itself, Wat Phra Singh is more centrally located but equally beautiful. It houses the Phra Buddha Sihing statue which is carried through the city during the famous Songkran water festival held in mid-April.

Explore

elephant

Chiang Mai also offers a bounty of opportunity for adventure. Get up close and personal with some of the largest animals on land at Elephant Nature Park. Here, you can help take care of the rescued mammals, while learning more about forest restoration and the sanctuary’s efforts. Through any number of tour organizers, you can also take day trips to, and tours of, Hmong Hill Tribe villages, go zip-lining, white-water rafting and much more. Chiang Mai has petitioned to be recognized as a UNESCO Creative City, and the Saturday Night Market Walking Street and Sunday Night Market perfectly highlight just why they should be. elephantnaturepark.org

Eat

pad thai

Northern cuisine is probably a far cry from what you’ve come to think of as traditionally “Thai” food, but it’s every bit as delicious. Among the most popular dishes is khao soi, a coconut milk and curry based noodle soup that is packed with flavor. Right on the northern drag of old town, you can feast alongside locals at Khao Soi Khun Yai for less than THB 50 (¥10) per dish. For dining with a view, head over to the aptly named restaurant The Riverside, with romantic terraces facing the Ping River and live music to accompany. Featuring an extensive menu of Western fare and Thai classics, this establishment has everything from Panang Curry at THB 120 (¥24) to Spaghetti Bolognaise for THB 160 (¥32). If you’re looking for creature comforts and wanting a classic Thai meal, there’s something here that’s sure to please the entire family. theriversidechiangmai.com

Drink

cocktails

Grab a beer at the North Gate Jazz Co-Op on Sri Phum Street, where any night of the week you can swing by and catch a set of standards. The laid-back venue has become known for staying true to the genre’s roots, but do come early if you want a seat, as the no-frills joint fills up quickly. Drinks top out around THB 80 (¥16), but if you’re looking for a proper sit-down, Mixology Burger and Bar is also a must. Thai with a twist is an apt description for their food and drink, this trendy spot on Arak Road serving spirits like their homemade tom yam vodka or drinks muddled with local fruit. With a massive cocktail list it might be hard to choose, but if you’re looking for some heat (literally), try the Iron Chef at THB 300 (¥60) which comes complete with a bit of a fire show. 

Sleep

hotel rooms

Rest, relax and soak up the natural beauty that surrounds the Veranda Chiang Mai: The High Resort. This boutique retreat is set just outside the commotion of the city amidst mountains peppered with tea and rice terraces. Among other amenities at the Veranda, you’ll find an infinity pool, outdoor jacuzzi, and an on-site spa that will have you questioning if you ever really need to leave this little mountainside oasis. The three on-site culinary options don’t dissuade you from this opinion, with a wooden beamed outdoor bar, the glass ceilings of the Rabiang Cha Restaurant and a spacious al fresco dining room. Of the 87 lodgings there are eight different styles, all of which offer unobscured views of the trees and fields. The suites are elegant and spacious with a blend of traditional Northern Thai and contemporary stylings, a perfect complement to the lush surroundings that Chiang Mai has become known for. verandaresortandspa.com/verandachiangmai