This is the fourth installment in my series about Thailand. You can find the previous ones by clicking on the below links:
After the chaos and the frenzy of Bangkok, it was great to spend a few days in the capital of northern Thailand, the much more relaxed and easygoing Chiang Mai.
We stayed in a beautiful hotel within the walls of the old city that allowed us to quickly reach all the major attractions on foot. The famous Wat Phra Singh temple was just around the corner and its gilded chedis provided endless photographic opportunities, especially at the blue hour.
Other notable religious complexes include Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Mun, and Wat Inthakin, within the old city, and Wat Suan Dok, a short distance from its western gate.
As we could have easily taken in some more religious imagery, we hired a driver to take us up on the Doi Suthep mountain that overlooks the city and whose summit hosts the namesake Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple. The view from there is breathtaking and we were also lucky to be there at the time when the monks were reciting their mantras. A spiritually intense experience!
The more mundane side of Chiang Mai comes alive at night and especially on Saturdays and Sundays, when some city streets are closed to traffic, stalls open on them, and thousands of people stroll, haggle, buy, eat, drink, and generally have great fun.
No visit to Chiang Mai would be complete without taking part in one of the many Thai cooking classes that are offered all over the city. We went with Asia Scenic cooking school and it was great fun shopping at the nearby market and making various dishes, including my own Tom Yam Kung.
Speaking of food, our favorite eatery was Huen Phen. The ambience is nice and food is delicious.
Chiang Mai was by far my favorite city in Thailand. I could imagine spending weeks there and never getting bored. Photographically, just like most of Thailand, Chiang Mai is a feast for the eyes and for the camera: colorful, shining with gold, and buzzing with so much street life that street photographers would find themselves right at home there.