Last update: January 2023, please let us know if you'll find anything has changed.
* means we haven't been there ourselves but heard good stories or would like to try next time!
We got in Chiang Mai by train from Ayutthaya. This was a 10-hour journey but actually pretty comfortable and went by fast! We bought these train tickets a few days ahead via the website of the Thai Railway as it was quickly selling out and we got the very last tickets. The website works well, once you've registered your account you can easily search for tickets and even select your own seats. Payment can be done by credit card. You don't have to print the tickets, just showing them on your phone is fine.
Chiang Mai consist of the old town, a square area surrounded by a moat and remnants of the old wall with its four gates, the direct area around the old town where many restaurants, cafes and the night markets are located and the outer area of the city where you'll most likely only visit the western part for the famous temple upon the hill or the zoo.
Inside the old town and the area around it, we did everything by foot whereas it is all within an hour of walking.
You can catch a songthaew (shared taxi/bus) to further places but make sure to get the right price. The best thing to do is saying "can you take me there for 30 baht" as that is the price listed on the outside of the vehicles.
As for getting to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (the mountain temple) we followed the instruction we found online. We tried getting a Bolt driver as the price seemed decent, but after trying multiple ones who all responded "are you going up to Doi Suthep? Then the price is higher" this was not the right way to go. So we asked a songthaew driver who also asked a very high price and finally, we asked to be taken to the zoo which is situated on the bottom of the mountainroad to Doi Suthep. This cost us only 30 baht per person and from there we were told to wait for another songthaew with enough people to take us further up. After only waiting for about 10 minutes a songthaew with more tourists arrived and we quickly drove the winding road up for another 50 baht per person.
To get to Pai, we rented a motorbike at Dang Service Motor Rent, great experience! The bike was fairly new, the staff very friendly and we could leave our backpacks there for 4 days FOC! Do note: Ricardo has his motorcycle license, this is actually required (and wise for experience on these roads) to drive these vehicles in Thailand.
Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chiang Man
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Pha Lat
Chiang Mai Zoo*
Food & Drink
See You Soon Cafe - coffee & vintage shop
Gravity Cafe & Bistro - coffee & craft beer
Chai Restaurant - live music
Cha Bar - Matcha & Bakery
Boy Blues Bar - live music
Air's Kitchen & Cafe - healthy breakfast
Khun Kae's Juice & Smoothie Bar - healthy breakfast
SP chicken - Michelin guide lunch
Khao Soi Arak - local lunch
Pun Pao - steamed buns
The Chef by Chef Tai - local dinner
Pulcinella da Stefano - Italian dinner
Goodsouls Kitchen - western dinner
Tha Phae Walking Street (Sunday Night Market) - the big one
Wua Lai Walking Street (Saturday Night Market) - our favorite!
Chang Phuak Gate Night Market (every night) - small but fun and local
The Common Hostel