Chiang Mai is the coolest Little Big City in Thailand! A definitely MUST SEE for any backpacker.
We recommend renting a motorbike and seeing the city on your own terms. You will cover so much more ground, and save a lot of money that way. Budget travel for the win!
Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand
Whenever you rent a motorbike in Thailand, take photos and/or video of the bike and any damage AS you are renting it in order to protect yourself from possibly being charged from those damages when you return your bike.
Oh, and wear a helmet, as dorky as it looks. The streets are crazy, and if you don't have a lot of experience navigating the insanity of Asian roads on a motorbike, you'll want to take it slow, and start out on side streets to get the hang of the "flow" of traffic (or lack there of).
Explore Chiang Mai Markets
Chiang Mai is famous for their street markets. And the streets really come alive at night. Our favorite Night Bazaar is along Chang Klan Road. You can find bbq pork belly, passion fruit juice, fried quail eggs, fried chicken feet, banana pancake roll, sticky rice and egg on a stick, fresh coconut, Thai doughnut, dehydrated squid, and much more if you explore and feel adventurous.
Also, be sure not to miss the Sunday Night Walking Street along Rachadamnoen Road. It's not to be missed. The entertainment is right up there with the quality of the wares.
Explore Temples in Chiang Mai
There are many amazing Buddhist temples to visit. Ladies make sure you have something covering your bare shoulders, and no shorts either.
Our absolute favorite temple to visit near Chiang Mai, Doi Suthep, was also quite the journey via motorbike along a windy mountain road east of the city. Once there, there are a few hundred stairs leading to the top. The reward is a unique spiritual experience combined with a priceless view over the top of Thailand.
There are so many things to see and do in Chiang Mai. It's really a must-see place, and definitely a "do over" destination for me and Nick.