Thailand VII: Chiang Mai – City with the Taste of Coffee - VIDEO
Chiang Mai is about 700 kilometers from Bangkok. The city makes a natural center of northern Thailand. Its international airport connects it to other local airports such as in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Barma or Malaysia. You can travel with one of many daily flights to Bangkok and directly take a flight to Europe or Dubai. A one-way flight tickets only occassionaly costs you more than 1000 crowns. Even if you had bought it on the day you would fly.
Another pleasant option how to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a night train. The train is bit cheaper than a flight. Thanks for it you also save one night worth of money for accommodation. Carriages are clean, beds comfortable, and the journey very safe. Just beware that you have to book your train ticket in the morning before your departure at least. You can do it only at the train station (travel agencies would ask you thrice the money). The cheapest means of transport is by bus. Even in this case you can count mostly on much better standard than in Europe.
Should you be interested in Thai shrines , then you can spend many days in Chiang Mai exploring them without getting sick of it. Moreover, there are many architectonic styles to see. Every shrine has its specific atmosphere. Be sure to see Wat Doi Suthep that was built on a hill behind the city. It will show you unforgettable vista of local landscape and the mountains that surround Chiang Mai.
City’s oldest temples Wat Chiang Man, Wat Chedi Luang are also worth a visit. They show typical architecture of the 15th century kingdom of Lanna, or Wat Umong – cave and forest shrine near local university.
Interesting options are the so called „monk chats” that take part in the city center. Many local monks know English perfectly. They would gladly talk with you about Buddhism, local history or they can tell you about how one can become a monk and what such a life brings. Don’t be afraid to ask about anything that is interesting for you. Monks are really friendly, and helpful.
You can take a walk to many places in Chiang Mai yet the best way to explore the city is by bike. I had rented mine for 40 baths a day. The only thing I had to do was to give my ISIC card (no longer valid, by the way) as a deposit. Don’t forget that the left is the side you drive in Thailand!
Místní historii a kulturu vám krom mnichů přiblíží i několik zajímavých muzeí jako například Chiang Mai National Museum, City Arts and Cultural Center nebo Tribal Museum, kde vám představí několik horských domorodých kmenů a jejich tradice.
Jestli jsem již několikrát vychvaloval thajské jídlo, tak právě Chiang Mai je místo, které mě nadchlo ze všech nejvíce. Stovky pouličních stánků, rozsáhlé trhy, nekonečný výběr chutí i barev, všudypřítomná nasládlá vůně grilovaného masa, omáček a koření, čerstvé ovoce a fresh džusy, ale i luxusní high-end restaurace s nejlepšími kuchaři celé Asie. Mimochodem, trochu to tu připomíná pohádku o dvanácti měsíčkách, v lednu koupíte na každém rohu vynikající čerstvé jahody...
Chiang Mai got famous for some interesting festivals. Perhaps the most famous and most beautiful is Loi Krathong that takes place on the full moon in the 12th Thai month, usually November. On this day, thousands of lanterns shine in the city. Locals set afloat small boats made from banana leaves decorated with flowers and candles. In such a way they worship gods in a belief the rest of the year will be under the omen of good luck. In mid April, many people travel to Chiang Mai to celebrate Songkran, Thai New Year to which dozens of religious celebrations are related and also parades and cultural events.
To many visitors Chiang Mai is an ideal boot camp from where they set off to the mountains. You can choose from hundreds of offers starting with one-day trips and even adventures lasting three weeks. Some indigenous tribes live in Thailand’s north mountains. However, it is really difficult to find such that are not just a tourist attraction. However, local travel agencies will take you to such tribes that would give you an idea how life in the mountains would look like.
Around Chiang Mai you can find the best Thai coffee farms . The mountains have ideal climate for the Arabica kind. I highly recommend to visit a coffee farm to have idea about the work behind your morning cup of coffee.
Thanks to local coffee plantations you can enjoy the best coffee in Thailand in Chiang Mai. Perhaps even in all of southeast Asia. Of course, it is cultivated on local plantations and it is freshly roasted. For instance, Nine One Coffee or Akha Ama are world famous cafes..
Chiang Mai is for countless reasons the most popular destination among digital nomads (i.e. people who can work remotely) from all around the world. Thanks to the fact that you can count on high hygienic standard there, perfect English, and pleasant, cosmopolite atmosphere. I think that Europeans, Australians, and even Americans take the best to Chiang Mai from our culture. But stress and worthless worries they leave on the other side of the ocean. Even though more than million people live there you will feel like at home.
Text/photo/video: Matouš Vinš
Music: Christian Bjoerklund
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