Visiting Thailand the majority of tourists head firstly to Bangkok – one of the country’s most popular places. Right after it is Chiang Mai, the city located in the northern part of the country, in the province of the same name. The capital of the region is also called The Rose of the North, which perfectly depicts it’s beauty. It’s full of Buddhist temples surrounded by gardens sprinkled with flowers, but the streets here are equally rich in beautiful flora.
A city bathed in flowers
The full name of the city is Nopburi Srinakornping Chiangmai, which means “New City” (even though it really has something over 700 years). It’s hard not to fall in love with Chiang Mai. Not only for its beauty, but also for its amazing landscapes. The most beautiful views stretch out from the one of the most magnificent temples in the city – Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The complex of fantastic buildings is situated on the mountain Doi Suthep, west from Chiang Mai. The beauty of the temple allures with the abundance of gildings and colors. Its chedi (towers), surrounded by fine umbrellas only adds the attraction.
Both here, as well as in the rest of the Thai temples you have to obey by the rules. It refers to a proper outfit (covering the shoulders), and to the behavior. You have to take off your shoes before you enter the Watu, and inside you should not touch the figures of Buddha. There’s also a rule saying that you should keep your head below Buddha statues.
A real fest for the senses, or what to eat in Chiang Mai
After arriving in Chiang Mai you can head toward to the Old City surrounded by the moat. What’s interesting, in the moat you can easily go fishing. The local infrastructure is rally impressive - wherever we go we come across a restaurant, an intimate diner, or a row of shops stretching along the streets. You can even go shopping in the night, to the famous Night Bazaar with an ocean of sparkling jewelry, and hundreds of purses.
It would be a sin not to try the local delicacies. Thai cuisine is extremely diverse, colorful and spicy – you eat both with your eyes and mouth. One of the many dishes worth trying is Kao Soy, a pasta with coconut milk, with chicken curry. It looks a little bit like broth, but definitely doesn’t taste like it. Pad Thai, a fried pasta is equally delicious. You can try those dishes, as well as dozens of other in the majority of local restaurants – an excellent choice would be Daret’s Guesthouse (4/5 Chaiyaphum Road), which is highly recommended by tourists.
After feeding the body comes the time for other senses. Chiang Mai is a place, where you can spend hours on wandering through the streets, coming across many temples at every corner. Omnipresent flowers and the aroma of incense floating through the air makes that we feel like in a totally different space-time. If we’re lucky, we’ll visit the city during Vesākha Day (celebrating Buddha birthday), and we’ll see how usually quiet temples are flooded by crowds of worshippers. In this period Ciang Mai becomes a place full of magic and beauty.
A place, where time doesn’t counts.
Chiang Mai province allures not only with its beauty, but also with many other attractions. Nature lovers will be amazed by the abundance of local waterfalls. The most beautiful are located in the National Park situated at the foot of Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain of Thailand. It’s surely worth to see a 50 meters high waterfall Namtok Wachirathan, which falls down of the cliff right into the wide pool. If we’re not afraid of being wet, we can admire it from a little wooden bridge. It’s especially romantic place for a picnic.
Equally beautiful is Mae Ya, lying in the southern part of the Park. It falls down the rocky steps from the height of about 250 meters, and to reach it, you have to walk for 5 km. By the road from Chiang Mai to Sameong we will find a beautiful waterfall Mae Yim, however in the distance of about 26 km from the capital of province, among giant trees, hides Mae Sa. In reality it comprises of few smaller waterfalls, which makes it both beautiful, as well as romantic. It’s a charming place, really popular among local people and tourists.
Polish missionary in Thailand, father Cyprian Czop, compared Chiang Mai to Zakopane. Was it because the climate of the city, or its location among the mountain ranges – we’re not sure. But we’re sure of one thing: Chiang Mai will enchant everyone. There’s no exaggeration in a commentary found in one forum: “When I had to leave, I almost cried”.