Exploring northern Thailand – Chiang Mai

While we were sad to leave Cambodia and felt that there was still so much to see, we were looking forward to returning to Thailand to see more of the country.

Just a few departing shots the morning that we left Siem Reap – which was Christmas Eve day.  So, lots of Christmas decorations, which we found funny since it’s a Buddhist country!  The ‘tree’ to the left was really cool, though, made from baskets.  And the macarons were vanilla and pineapple flavored – there was a macaraon shop that sold all sorts of tropical flavors.  We stayed fairly conservative, skipping out on jackfruit and other such exotic options.  

Most people and guidebooks recommend touring northern Thailand and then finishing up with beach time in the south, and we followed that advice.  Our first stop was the city of Chiang Mai, which was probably our favorite place in Thailand.  After Siem Reap, it felt more like a ‘normal’ city.  Yes, it was plenty touristy, but that was not the ONLY industry or the one driving force of the city.  Also, while there was a certain hustle-and-bustle typical of any city, it felt MUCH more low-key than Bangkok which we enjoyed as well.  Despite being smaller, it offered plenty to do.  We mainly walked and walked and walked – and ate!  The food was amazing!  Northern Thailand, at least in December, is a bit cooler than the south and than Cambodia, so that came as a welcome relief too.  Finally, the culture is distinct (I know that it goes without saying, but really, it is!).  Northern Thailand was an important part of the Silk Road trade route, and even today, arts and crafts and markets abound.  Also, the Lanna architecture differs – they use more wood, especially in the temples, and different designs. Continue reading “Exploring northern Thailand – Chiang Mai”