If there’s one place in Southeast Asia I would love to move to relax, write and enjoy life, it would be Chiang Mai.
It has all the right ingredients for that kind of life: mild climate, streets to walk, cycle and ride a bike around, great coffee, stunning culture (which also creates very tasty contrast – you will see in the pictures below), fresh groceries, good accommodation and way too many trails to hike.
Plus everything else Thailand is famous for (if you’re into those kind of things): affordable alcohol, massage parlour on every corner, boxing, you get the idea.
Oh, have I mentioned the coffee? We found a few really nice hipster coffee shops, our personal favourite was Akha Ama café (check out their story here). Brought a pack of their Italian roast and it was perfect for Bulletproof coffee. I swear by Bulletproof coffee diet – Anton and I have been playing with it for more than two months now and we do see results. Some very impressive results. Anyway, if you want to know more, you can check it here (or talk to me if you want to hear my thoughts on the subject).
Back to Chiang Mai. We’ve spent 4 days there, haven’t had anything booked, so just walked around the city centre – it’s very easy to navigate – and found a few really nice hotels.
Depending on the budget, I would recommend looking at Thapae Loft Hotel (which we almost chose) or S.K. House 2 which we ended up staying at (it looks dodgy on Agoda, but it was nice and clean when we were there in Jan 2015).
There are a lot of cool hotels in Chiang Mai, inside the old city square and outside of it. If you’re here for only a few days, get something inside, that’s for sure.
Getting around was a bliss – walk everywhere, rent a bicycle or a bike – your choice. We have done all three and also rented a car to go to Chiang Rai for a day with no problem at all. I’ll share more on that a soon when Chang Rai gets published.
Our favourite thing to do was getting lost in the small streets, poking our phones competing whose app has a better location oracle, then giving up and just giving in to exploration. I found out that allowing yourself to be guided is always the best way. That’s how we found the best pizza in Asia (By Hand Pizza Cafe).
Fresh avocados the size of a melon, crunchy fresh greens, mango sticky rice, flavourful rich coffee, massages every other day – what a life. But after a few days we were ready for another adventure.
Up next: the unexpected transformation of Chiang Mai on a Sunday night, emerald Buddha, white temple with Star Wars murals, black house of a true genius and more. Excited to share these stories with you soon!