Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai City Discovery

Seeing the city randomly was definitely a great way to relax and of course to discover the culture connotation of this historical city. Surrounded by green mountains, located in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai city is a real charm! Plus one chill day between the Elephant tour and Gibbon on Wheels was totally necessary. :-P

Let us show you around!

Biking is probably the best way to get around if you don’t want to miss the little small things in the city. It’s nice to have the flexibility to stop by any places without worrying about transportation, isn’t it? We didn’t really have any specific places to go before heading out. I think it’s because we are not a big fan of temples. But if you are, there are around 30 spectacular temples inside the old city for you to see.

I kept the map from the airport in the front wheel basket of the bike we rent from our hotel, then we headed towards to the old city which is protected by the old walls and the moat. Somehow we created our own city biking route (see below red dash line) which was to go clockwise along side with the old city moat starting from Tha Phae Gate to Suan Dok Gate and make a shortcut through one of the main roads RATCHAWITHI RD in the old city to get to the well-know local market – Warorot Market.

Chiang Mai City Discovery Biking Route

Except for Night Bazaar, the must go night market in Chiang Mai (obvisouly gotta go at night), we stopped at multiple places on the way including public park, local restuartants and market. Here we go-

Stop No.1 Tha Phae Gate

According to the introduction in front of the gate, Tha Phae (means rafting land) Gate was originally built in 1296 for people to arrive in Chiang Mai on raft in acient time. That’s also the only gate back then. As the estern gateway of Chiang Mai old city, the present gate was rebuilt from 1985 to 1986 on the basis of historical and archaeological evidence.

Tha Phae Gate

The flower hanging on the gate

The moat

 In front of Wat Saimoon Myanmar

We came across a very small restuarant which seemed to be a good place for a quick meal. No fancy decorations, only delicious food. But the portion was a bit small.

The small local restaurant that only locals go. Surprisingly, they have wifi!!!

Small portion but yummy food

Super legit take-away Thai tea. Only 10 baht!

Luckily, there was this vegeterian restuarant located across the street. We went strainght in and ordered two vegies with rice for each. It’s nice to have vegetables only every once in a while.

Tein Sieng Vegetarian Retaurant

40 baht for 2 veggies with rice

After comforting our stomach with all kinds of food, we got back on our route. Biking along side the moat allowed us to see different sides of old city walls and gates.

Suan Prung Gate

The other side of the moat

Stop No.2 Chiang Mai City Public Park

Almost right after we passed by Suan Prung Gate, this public park appeared in front of us. Well, we might as well just take a walk inside. It turned out that the park was a great place to spend some quiet time at.

views in the park

10 baht for renting a mat so that you can chill beside the lake

Chiang Mai City Public Park Sign

Stop No.3 Warorot Market 

In terms of shopping in Chiang Mai, it’s not difficult to find that Warorot Market is highly recommended for its cheaper price and better quality. Since it opens early in the morning for locals, we decided to schedule the visit right after passing by Suan Dok Gate. It was still early in the afternoon. Good timing!

Temple shots on RATCHAWITHI Road inside the old city

Went through the New Asia (Chinatown)

Warorot Market

Juice bar

Nearly 2 hours of our own experience in this awesome local market made us realize one very important thing – you do not need to bargain with the vendors in this market. Why? Because they offer really GOOD price with really GOOD quality. Although bargain is expected, most of the time the vendors set their asking price as bottom line. Therefore, they are okay with you walking away from them if they can’t accept your price.

With the wide range of stuff from numerous dried food, cooking ingredients (bought a bunch), dried fruit, fresh fruit, flowers and clothing, etc, Warorot Market has everything that you expect or unexpect as a market. Most importantly, locals shop there! However, if you are looking for souvenirs, Night Bazaar is a better place to go. We will get on that in a minute.

The cloth shop 

By the way, if you want to bike or motobike there, suggest you arrive there early because parking seems hard. Yeah, even for bikes. Our parking fee was 5 baht for one bike. No time limitation. Warorot Market is actually located within a walkable distance from Night Bazaar. So going on foot would be a good idea.

We finished our Chiang Mai city biking route with some Thai curry, chilli and Thai tea (Oh man! We were obsessed with Thai tea. So good!) in the bike basket. Actiing like a local already, right? :-)

Wait. Shopping for the day is not over yet. Here we were at the most famous night market in Chiang Mai…

Stop No.4 Night Bazaar

We walked over to the Night Bazaar after shower at the hotel. Street vendors were still setting up the stalls to get ready for business. It seemed that we arrived a little early. Well, eating time! There are a small number of restaurants inside the market including Thai food, western food and also middle eastern food.

In the Thai restaurant

Food was delicious as expected. As we walked out of the restaurant, the night market was already booming. All the products were loaded on the stalls with lights on and fans running. The sound of the music, vendors hawking and bargain conversations were full of the place. Stalls were literally set next to each other without any open space. It’s just hard not to buy something from this market, even you don’t plan to.

Night Bazaar

Handicraft sourvenirs

That’s easily another 2 hours spent in the market excluding dinner time, probably longer. :-P

Compare to Warorot Market, Night Bazaar is super touristy but no tourist should miss out on it. As a result, please have fun bargain with the vendors. You can easily get the price down for at least 30%, even 50% is possible, depending on what you buy. Speaking of which, it’s THE place to buy gifts/souvenirs and clothes. Tons of various handicrafted products will make you want to buy a bigger suitcase or backpack first.

As Night Bazaar was only 5 minutes walk from our hotel, out of 4 nights in the city (1 night in homestay), we spent 3 nights walking plus shopping back and forth in it. We also ate there three times. Just couldn’t get enough of it! :-P

That is pretty much about the city discovery for the day. As a matter of fact, there are more discoveries we want to tell you about. Check out our Chiang Mai travel tips here first and let us know what else you would like to learn before your trip by leaving a comment at the bottom of the post. By doing this, you are helping us to put our feet down to go back to Chiang Mai and find out more for you! :-P

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