48-hour Chiang Mai travel guide for your next long weekend
This year we finally took a weekend trip from Singapore to the popular city of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Although the trip was short, we made sure we made the most of our time there. From cafe-hopping to cultural experiences and excursions to soaking in the wonders of nature- we managed to do it all. I was pleasantly surprised by the sleepy little city and loved the laid back vibe that it had to offer along with its ethical and eco-friendly values.
Here a list of things to do and see in Chiang Mai inspired by our 48-hour amazing getaway!
Where to stay
We stayed in the Old Town of Chiang Mai at a hotel called Green Tiger House. We really enjoyed our stay here, and the breakfast every morning was delicious. Book via my link for £15 credit on your next stay!
Some more great hotel options: -18 In Town Homestay - Inn Oon ChiangMai Home - Hongkhao Village
Check out the instagrammable coffee shops
The scrumptious selection of food in Chiang Mai is great. For my vegetarian friends, there are many vegetarian as well as vegan restaurants all around the city. Although I am neither vegan or vegetarian, however, I appreciated the fact that these options were available.
Sone flavourful dining options for you:
- Blue Diamond
Another great find, this cafe has a wonderful variety of vegan and gluten-free food. It is located in a cute little neighbourhood. They offer Asian and Western dishes, and the coffee and smoothies are a must-try.
- Graph Cafe
A well-known spot for its creative coffee selection, this popular cafe has a chilled and intimate atmosphere. Go and enjoy the great vibes here.
- Rustic & Blue The Farm Shop
This is yet another great spot with farmhouse-chic interiors, outdoor patio and hammocks. Prices are slightly higher since they cook using organic and fresh farm produce, but the food is exceptional!
- The Barn Eatery & design
Furthermore, complete with bright, airy and lush green interiors, this little spot is a great place for relaxing with a book with a cup of coffee.
- Fern Forest Cafe
We ended up visiting this little gem twice as we loved the vibe of the beautiful green courtyard, complete with a pond and koi fish. This is a great little spot for breakfast or coffee. Their food portions are generous at reasonable prices.
- Farm Story House
Lastly, farm Story House is a beautiful little cafe located on a quiet side road with plenty of wholesome vegetarian choices and great coffee. We really loved the interiors of this place, complete with handmade soaps and trinkets.
Explore the countless temples
Thailand is the land of rich culture and there is no dearth of intricate temples here. Some of the most popular temples to visit are Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh.
Spend the day with elephants
📍Elephant Nature Park
One of the main reasons we wanted to visit Chiang Mai was the visit an elephant sanctuary, and experience the beautiful creatures up close. We did extensive research before deciding which sanctuary to visit, as it is vital to ensure that you are supporting legitimate companies that have the animals best interest at heart.
There are many places that claim to be 'sanctuaries'. But, unfortunately, these places are in fact, exploiting animals by supporting abusive behaviour. They offer activities like elephant rides, photoshoots with tigers while keeping the animals chained. In the end, we decided to visit the Elephant Nature Park- a rehabilitation park. They provide a natural environment for elephants, dogs, cats, buffaloes and many other animals that have been rescued from industry abuse. This way you can ensure that your money goes towards supporting and caring for the rescued animals, as opposed to contributing to the problem. It was incredible to spend the day observing these magnificent creatures roaming freely, and watching the babies bath time was my favourite. That was a day to remember that’s for sure!
Take a Thai cooking class
📍Thai Cookery Centre
We had never taken a Thai cookery class before, and we decided to do so on our last morning in Singapore before we flew back to Singapore that afternoon. We were picked up from the hotel by our cookery teacher who took us straight to a local market to buy the ingredients for our dishes. It was a great experience and our guide went into great detail about the ingredients commonly used in Thai dishes. We made three delicious dishes and enjoyed the experience to the fullest.
In a nutshell, we really enjoyed our short but sweet stay in Chiang Mai. If you are planning a weekend trip, 3 nights should be enough to explore the wonders that Chiang Mai has to offer.
Did you love this Chiang Mai travel guide? For more of my short trips in Asia recommendations, you can check out my Singapore Ebook Guide The S Word.
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