Jan 24 2012

Bangkok versus Chiang Mai

Published by at 11:30 pm under Sightseeing & activities


The two cities that are arguably the most popular for travellers in Thailand, Bangkok and Chiang Mai, clearly have a lot to offer. How do they compare, in a nutshell? (Yes, we know we’re succumbing to some cliches here, but it’s part of the fun…)

Chiang Mai's Chinatown: Street food for all.

The food
Chiang Mai:
Signature khao soi; Isaan papaya salad, spiced just how you like it. Bangkok: Juicy mangoes. Grilled prawns. Korean kimchi. Pad Thai. Sushi boats. Anything, anywhere, any hour of the night.

Bangkok, you so fancy.

The culture
Chiang Mai
: Farang-friendly to a fault; wheatgrass shots and blowzy dharma bums. Bangkok: A harsher collide between the developing world and global modernity. Burger Kings by time-worn wats.

The livestock of Chiang Mai

The pull
Chiang Mai:
Come for a few days to visit, get a teaching job, leave three years later. Bangkok: Permanent expats in business suits; sweaty tourists passing through.

The night life
Chiang Mai:
  Happy hour by the Ping River, laidback evenings and all-night parties. Bangkok: Where Asia comes to party, British pubs and chilled-out lounges, exclusive clubs and cover fees.

Careful with your life when crossing streets in Bangkok.

The locale
Chiang Mai:
Forty minutes from limestone caves and outdoor adventures. A weekend trip to the Burmese border. Bangkok: Two hours to Kanchanburi and Khao Yai, three hours to Koh Samet and Hua Hin, a plane ride to anywhere.

The shopping
Chiang Mai:
Hilltribe pompoms and pillow cases, weekend bazaars and cultural festivals. Bangkok: Chatuchak craziness. Malls and malls and more malls. International brands, with Western styles.

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One Response to “Bangkok versus Chiang Mai” ...

  1. Nate Roberton 25 Jan 2012 at 11:25 am

    ..and the winner is??? I’m a city person myself, so it’s BKK all the way. That having been said, Chang Mai is gives BKK a good run for its money, and given how different the two places are, I wouldn’t like to call a winner (and therefore, a loser!) in this contest. Both are destinations that should be right near the top of travellers bucket-lists!

    “Bangkok You So Fancy” = lol

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