which is better? what is there to do in Change Mai exactly?
#1 charlottehessey has been a member since 18/8/2006. Posts: 11
Chiang Mai is a great city, the main tourist attraction in the city itself is the Night Bazaar, which runs most nights and has lots of the usual black market stuff you can buy in Bangkok, but also a lot of craft items made by the Hill Tribe folk. I found the city to be a refreshing variation on Bangkok.
Chiang Mai is almost like a base for activities in the surrounding area, many of the Jungle treks, elephant rides and bamboo rafting type activities can be booked here.
There are also lots of great temples and other animal parks nearby.
Another big attraction in Chiang Mai are the Thai Cooking classes or Thai massage courses which can be taken here.
Some people also use Chiang Mai as a starting point for a journey into Laos or up to Pai, which is a beautiful and peaceful little town up in the hills a few hours drive, straight up the mountains :)
I can't say if it is better than Chiang Rai as I've never been there. I guess it really just depends on what you want to do.
#2 Ellen has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 12
Chiang Rai is a good base for exploring the Golden Triangle, taking motorcycle trips through the mountains, a few river trips, or a good stop on the way to Chiang Khong and onward to Luang Prabang via river.
Chiang Mai, on the other hand, is an attraction in itself because of the variety of things to do there, with perhaps some of the best shopping, massage and spa services, food, and attractions like temples in all of Thailand. It also has a much wider range of traveller's services and transport options. If I had to pick only one of the two to visit, it would easily be Chiang Mai.
As for what is there to do, below is something I posted in a similar thread a few weeks back on the "essential Chiang Mai." I hope it is helpful. Cheers.
- taking the overnight sleeper train either to/from Chiang Mai
- visiting the three temples of Wat U-mong, Wat Singh, and Doi Suthep
- enjoying a walk along the moat
- getting lost in the traditional Thai market on Moon Muang Rd Soi 6
- tasting the curry at Aroon Rai restaurant (profiled in Travelfish)
- getting a massage (try the massage for the blind!)
- a trip through the Night Bazaar, or even better, the Sunday Market
- if you have time, an out-of-town overnight trip to Chiang Dao
Chiang Mai is one of my favorite places in the world. It's the perfect mix of authentic Thailand and traveller-friendly restaurants and services. We spent 10 days there on our recent trip, and it wasn't enough. I hope you enjoy your time there too. Regards.