Jan 24 2012
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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