We've already posted a great deal about our trip to Chiang Mai in June, but I just wanted to add a few more bits of info here. I think anyone could get a good feel for the city in 3 or 4 days, but in my mind, the longer you stay in Chiang Mai the better. We stayed for 10 days, and never came close to getting bored. We could have easily stayed much longer.
We stayed at the CM Blue House on Moon Muang Soi 6. It gets lots of great reviews, and they are all deserved. We also spent one night at the Chiang Mai Thai, having a much more mixed experience there (see the review in the guesthouse listings section). The pool at Chiang Mai Thai, however, is to die for fantastic.
I've already posted my essential Chiang Mai list, but I'll include it again here:
- 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
I'd like to add a bit of detail to that too. For info on the overnight trip to Chiang Dao, see the Chiang Dao Getaway feature here on Travelfish. It exactly sums up the fantastic experience we had.
The blind massage we had was at the Thai Massage Conservation Club Chiang Mai (Branch 2). They are located at 99 Ratchamanka Rd, around the corner from Wat Chedi Luang. Phone is 053 904 452. The cool thing about massage by the blind is that it is the traditional way blind people earned their living in southeast Asia. The massage we had there was great, and inexpensive even by Chiang Mai standards. It is worth a look.
Another good massage place we enjoyed is Spa Sauna Massage, located at the Top North Guest House. The women who worked there were super nice, and the spa itself was flashpacker upmarket at an affordable rate. It is a good option for people looking for something a bit more upmarket without spending too much cash.
There are a few other things I'd add as essential. One is a cooking class. Pam did the cooking class offered at Gap's House, but there are many other good ones as well. It was 900 baht for the entire day, and included lunch and taking home all the great food she made during the class for dinner. She says it is particularly fun to do with a friend.
Another essential thing I'd add is Zorba's Restaurant on Moon Muang Road. The nice people who run this place are from Greece, and serve some of the best Greek food you'll get on this side of the Ganges.
There are countless other really great places to eat in town too, but part of the fun is discovering these places on your own.
As I've said, 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.
Marian. If you are still reading these, please be sure to add your own trip report for Chiang Mai, assuming you stop by on the trip. Cheers.
Spending 11 days in Chiang Mai this time, previous visit was for 10 days. Love CM (Chiang Rai too) would love to stay for much longer period but so, so many new places to explore. Definitely will post trip reports but they will have to wait until we return end of Jan 'cos don't have laptop and don't intend spending time in internet cafes. 11 weeks incommunicado ... bliss!!
#2 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270
Can I get more info on that overnite sleeper train to Chaing Mai? From where is it??? I am going in Nov.-Still trying to make an itinerary. My plan so far is Bangkok-Chaing Mai-Chaing Rai-boat to Luang Prabang then ? fly to Vientiene? Anyway get to Siem Reap. I am also thinking of then going to Vietnam, but with all the great stuff about Chaing Mai and Luang Prabang thinking of slowing down staying longer the other places and move Vietnam to a different trip.
#3 yogamomma has been a member since 30/8/2006. Posts: 6
we're going to be there ina few weeks and decided to take the train up- there's good info to be had here, and the Thai railways site isthis .
Basically there are two overnighters to CM, from what uiunderstand- one leaves at about 7.35pm, egtting in at abut 9am. I am not sure if this is has both aircon and non-aircon sleepers opr only the former.
The second one leaves at 10pm and gets in about 12.25noon the next day. this defintely has both classes.
see my questions answered here and here
#4 shakester has been a member since 5/9/2006. Posts: 37
OK....sorry for this clutter, i guess writing any html here kills the code. someone pl let me know hoe one can post links.
yoga moma, here goes - for the last time!:)
train stuff: Seat61 link
thai railways site
threads I have asked about this
LP Thorntree link
#5 shakester has been a member since 5/9/2006. Posts: 37
Shakester -- you can't post links -- they'll just disappear. Until I get around to sorting out links, just add them in as you did and I'll make them live as I have in the post above.
Note the Seat61 and Thai Railways links are already in the FAQ ;-)
re: the FAQ- yeah I know, but was just responding to yogamama!
#7 shakester has been a member since 5/9/2006. Posts: 37
Exacto, a few questions pretty please!!!
I am staying at CM Blue House - how do you compare this with Chiang Mai Thai House in terms of EVERYTHING?
We were thinking of either changing to CMTH (am worried bout their reviews in terms of tours as I found their tours expensive on the website - am I right in thinking that?!) or splitting our time between the two (are staying 6 nights) - mainly due to pool.
We will be there in Dec - will we really need a pool??
Also can you tell me if an overnight trip is viable to Chiang Dao?? Or do you need more time?
For 6 days would this 'rough' itinerary be ok?
Wed - arrive early morning on overnight train. Explore Old City
Thur - sightseeing City/Temples
Fri - Elephant Nature Park
Sat - Cooking Class at Gaps
Sun - Markets
Mon ?? Chiang Dao ??
Tue - need to be on flight at 14.15.
Due to flight is CD possible?
Any thoughts would be great!
CM Blue is very basic, with plain but extra clean rooms. Price is cheap in the under 300B range. They have a nice garden area for sitting, and the location on Moon Muang Road Soi 6 isn't bad. I didn't add a review for CM Blue on Travelfish because there were so many spot on accurate positive reviews already.
Chiang Mai Thai House is definitely more upscale. The fan rooms are good value, but I think the air-con rooms are a bit pricey. CMTH is located right near the Tapae gate and is a bit more conveniently located for both the Sunday market and the Night Bazaar. You can see the review I wrote ON CMTH on Travelfish for more details.
I really can't say if a pool will be necessary for you in December or not. I guess it depends on what weather you are used to at home and how much you like to swim. I like to have a pool for at least one afternoon every so often for the fun of it.
Staying at both places isn't a bad idea. We often stay in a few different places in a town just to try different things. I might do 4 nights at CM Blue and 2 at CMTH, or something like that.
The Chiang Dao overnight is definitely worthwhile, and you can do it properly in just 24 hours. There is a feature on Travelfish about our trip to Chiang Dao that will give you some ideas visiting there if you are interested.
If you really want to do the Chiang Dao trip, I'd recommend doing it in the middle of your Chiang Mai stay instead of waiting until the end. For example, if you went to Chiang Dao on Saturday instead of Monday, that would get you back into town in plenty of time to shop until you drop on Sunday, and still leave Monday open for the cooking class you want to do. That way you aren't in Chiang Dao on Tuesday morning frantic about getting to the airport on time. You could even store your luggage at CM Blue for a small fee too, to make the travel to/from Chiang Dao easier.
Be sure to make reservations for accomodation in Chiang Dao. The place fills up, particularly on weekends.
Finally, the essential Chiang Mai list is just my recommendations. There are lots of other great things to do in Chiang Mai, and half the fun is discovering the city yourself. Have a great time. Cheers.
"taking the overnight sleeper train either to/from Chiang Mai" with cheap flights not worth it
"- visiting the three temples of Wat U-mong, Wat Singh, and Doi Suthep" ok if you havent seen many temples before.
"- enjoying a walk along the moat" hmmm
"- getting lost in the traditional Thai market on Moon Muang Rd Soi 6" not much good for big farangs
"- tasting the curry at Aroon Rai restaurant (profiled in Travelfish)"
dunno about this one. recommended rest are usually overpriced
"- getting a massage (try the massage for the blind!)"
you can do this anywhere in thailand
"- a trip through the Night Bazaar, or even better, the Sunday Market" the night mkt is terrible.
"- if you have time, an out-of-town overnight trip to Chiang Dao"
chiang dao is pretty lame. the cave is ok but not worth any overnight stay. there's elephant camps and s snake show along the way so worth a daytrip but nothing more.
the best things to do are head for tham lot cave, mhs, visit the thai town of phayao, head to nan for trekking. the less time spent in cm the better.
#10 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
cost of a vegetarian curry at aroon rai? 70 baht.
cost of a massage from the blind? 200 baht.
value of a posting that dumps on other's contributions? worthless.
obviously travelrock isn't a big fan of chiang mai. fair enough. everyone gets to have their opinion. but i'd be more impressed if rock could be more specific about what things they think are worthwhile rather than just dumping on the suggestions i made over two years ago. for example, if you think the temples i mention aren't worthwhile, suggest others. and definitely make sure you've actually visited a restaurant personally before shooting it down. it's pretty easy to just pour out negatives, particularly from the anonymity of a message board. the greater and more worthwhile challenge is to contribute positive and useful information yourself. cheers.
" but i'd be more impressed if rock could be more specific about what things they think are worthwhile rather than just dumping on the suggestions i made over two years ago. for example, "
obviously u cannot read :
"the best things to do are head for tham lot cave, mhs, visit the thai town of phayao, head to nan for trekking. the less time spent in cm the better."
sorry for picking holes in your post but it contained little of interest.
The northern highlights are outside CM.
#12 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
OK Boys that's enough now. It was 2 years ago for crying out loud. Travelrock why not do as some say- Take the best and leave the rest. People have a right to be wrong and happy. It's ok for different opinions to exist. Don't be a hater! OK?
#13 yogamomma has been a member since 30/8/2006. Posts: 6