Northern Thailand is likely one of the most superb locations to visit in Southeast Asia. While the large metropolis of Bangkok and the islands off of Phuket and Koh Samui get most of Thailand guests’ consideration, the north isn’t to be missed. Each time we’ve shoppers return house from their journey to Thailand, indisputably, the north is all the time a prime highlight. Northern Thailand is the right place to go for culture, numerous landscapes and scrumptious food. Plus, it’s quite a bit cheaper and has cooler temperatures than what you might find in the south. From temple hopping and mountain climbing, to waterfalls and elephant encounters, there’s something for everybody in Northern Thailand.
- 1 Chiang Mai cafe culture
- 2 Previous Metropolis temples in Chiang Mai
- 3 White Temple in Chiang Rai
- 4 Elephant encounters
- 5 Khao Soi and delicious Northern Thailand meals
- 6 Hippie hangouts in Pai
- 7 Climbing in Mae Hong Son
- 8 Going again in time to Sukhothai Historical Park
- 9 Climbing cliffs in Chiang Dao
- 10 Buying in Lampang
- 11 Thailand’s highest mountain: Doi Inthanon
- 12 Embracing culture in Nan
- 13 Visiting Thailand’s oldest city: Chiang Saen
Chiang Mai cafe culture
In case you’re after a superb cup of joe, you’ll ensure to discover it in the coffee capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai. A stroll via the cafes in Chiang Mai’s Previous Metropolis may need you considering you by accident stumbled into a classy Melbourne coffee district.
In the 1980s, espresso and tea crops have been introduced to the mountain regions surrounding Chiang Mai. A strain of Arabica from Central America was successfully planted and the espresso business was off! Lately, Thailand is the third largest espresso producer in Asia and the cafe culture is strongest in Chiang Mai. Right here you’ll discover each expat and regionally owned cafes, lots of which are adorned in additional Western types. The cafe tradition has even expanded to embrace nitro chilly brew coffees, cocktail bar and espresso store hybrids, and (a favorite among the many digital nomads) co-working spaces serving up a few of the best local beans.
For those who’re in Chiang Mai, be certain to go to some favorites like Australian impressed Ristr8to, Good Morning Chiang Mai with its lovely backyard, and the suitably named, Espresso Lovers.
Previous Metropolis temples in Chiang Mai
In addition to fantastic cafes, Chiang Mai’s Previous Metropolis can also be house to over 300 temples (!). The easiest way to explore this maze of temples is on foot and and not using a map; let yourself get misplaced within the Previous Metropolis and see what you happen to encounter.
Notable temples embrace Wat Phra Singh, completed in the 14th century and house to lovely murals, and Wat Chedi Luang, with its distinct architecture. Simply outdoors of the Previous City walls you’ll find Wat Umong, a temple comprised of a collection of tunnels, in addition to the well-known Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, a golden temple set in the mountains.
White Temple in Chiang Rai
The primary attraction in Chiang Mai is Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple), which is visually beautiful thanks to its all white coloring. The Buddhist temple was created by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Despite being a spiritual website, this temple is usually considered rather more trendy and quirky than typical Thai temples, with symbols of Good day Kitty, The Matrix and Superman discovered throughout.
After the White Temple, it’s time to head to the Black House, or Baan Dam Museum. Artist Thawan Duchanee is liable for this morbid sight meant to be a portrayal of hell complete with animal bones and demonic art. Thawan truly lived in the house earlier than his dying in 2014!
In addition to its well-known temples, Chiang Rai has many different things to uncover. Here you’ll be able to watch the golden clock tower show, experience a boat along the Kok River, chill out in the waterfalls of Khun Korn Forest Park, discover the mountains inhabited by hill tribes, and jet off to nearby Laos or Myanmar.
Many guests journey to Northern Thailand so as to see the famous Asian elephants up shut. The elephant has been an necessary animal in Thailand for hundreds of years. In Buddhism, the elephant is a sacred animal and you’ll see it depicted in many temples all through Thailand. As the nationwide animal of Thailand, elephants have been used in historic occasions for guide labor and by royalty. In recent times, elephants are principally seen within the tourism business.
Sadly, these elephants turned an endangered species in 1986, principally due to over-logging eliminating their habitat. The federal government, in addition to many native organizations, labored to assist shield these animals and conserve what’s left of their natural habitat. Unfortunately, not all efforts are as humane as they need to be.
In Northern Thailand, many organizations supply elephant encounters – from rides and exhibits to feeding and observing. Not all of these organizations comply with ethical animal tourism practices. For extra info on how to make sure you’re interacting with animals as responsibly as attainable, take a look at our submit on moral animal tourism. Arms down our favourite choices for elephant encounters in Northern Thailand is [email protected]
Khao Soi and delicious Northern Thailand meals
Top-of-the-line elements of a journey to Northern Thailand is the delicacies! This area produces Thai meals chances are you’ll not discover on a menu again residence – it’s not just Pad Thai and inexperienced curry up north. Historically the food in Northern Thailand is predicated on a staple of sticky rice, and uses much less coconut and spices than within the south. It also depends on seasonal produce grown in the cool mountainous region.
Khao Soi is among the most well known (and most delicious!) dishes from Northern Thailand. This dish is wheat-and-egg noodles in a rich, yellow curry, typically served with meat, like hen or pork, and topped with crunchy noodles. Different notable dishes embrace Gaeng Hung Lay, a curry made with garlic, ginger, spices and pork belly, Jin Dup, a troublesome piece of beef that has been marinated and made tender, and Nam Phrik Ong, a chilli dip made with tomatoes and minced pork.
Hippie hangouts in Pai
After Chiang Mai, the preferred city in Northern Thailand would have to be Pai. Pai is called the hippie hangout of the north, a laid back place where backpackers can recharge. Whereas Pai nonetheless retains its hippie roots, it’s not almost as quiet or serene nowadays, thanks to its growing reputation.
But Pai continues to be an awesome stop in your Northern Thailand itinerary. Right here you possibly can take a yoga class, get a therapeutic massage, and frequent one of the many health outlets promoting natural merchandise and vegetarian meals. Here you’ll discover juice outlets, meditation centers, therapeutic workshops and health retreats.
And also you’ll also discover a raging nightlife. With this many backpackers in a single place, issues can get a bit of crazy. Whenever you need a break, head to the nearby countryside for a trek via the mountains or an afternoon of white water rafting.
Climbing in Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son is a small city situated close to the border of Myanmar. That is the right place to go for those who’re concerned with climbing and trekking across the countryside. Guides will take you out to the Su Tong Pae Bamboo Bridge, Tham Pla Fish Cave, Pha Sua Waterfall, Pang Tong Palace, or Wat Phra Non reclining buddha.
Once again in town, spend your time enjoyable by the lake and watching the locals apply Tai Chi. Take pleasure in consuming at one of the many cafes or restaurants, and buying at the nightly strolling road market. Take a break from huge city life, get back to nature and discover a unique aspect of Thailand in Mae Hong Son.
Going again in time to Sukhothai Historical Park
Sukhothai was Thailand’s first capital metropolis, the capital of Siam based by King Ramkhamhaeng. Within the 13th Century, Sukhothai was the guts of Thailand. At this time, this historic metropolis is a playground of ruins for guests to explore and see what life was like 800 years in the past.
Sukhothai Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Website and divided into 4 separate sections. After paying a small admission payment, you’ll be granted entry to a park full of big Buddha statues, crumbling temples and idyllic lakes coated in lily pads. You’ll assume you stumbled into the temple grounds of Angkor Wat!
After the park, you possibly can proceed to discover the world paying a go to to Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, Ramkhamhaeng National Park, Sri Satchanalai Nationwide Park, and Wat Mahathat.
Climbing cliffs in Chiang Dao
Nature lovers will feel utterly at residence in Chiang Dao, Northern Thailand. Right here you’ll discover big limestone cliffs and considered one of Thailand’s tallest mountains, Doi Chiang Dao. Spend your days mountaineering, caving and spotting a number of the over 300 hen species. You may also visit Pha Daeng Nationwide Park, an amazing place for trekking by way of bamboo forests, recognizing rare wildlife, and strolling along Northern Thailand’s principal river methods.
Once you tire of scaling cliffs, you possibly can loosen up in Chiang Dao’s other famous pure marvel, scorching springs. Soak in one of many pure scorching springs, a welcome spot should you occur to be visiting Chiang Dao through the chilly winter months.
Only 90 minutes from Chiang Mai, Chiang Dao is the right place to get again to nature.
Buying in Lampang
Because the third largest town in Northern Thailand, Lampang undoubtedly deserves to be in your Thailand itinerary – particularly in the event you love to shop. On the weekend, the Gad Gong Tha night time market takes over Lampang. Right here you’ll give you the option to purchase all the things from delicious Thai snacks, meals and drinks to souvenirs like native ceramics or paper produced from elephant dung.
Whenever you want a break out of your retail remedy, Lampang has tons extra for you to uncover. The town has a rich history, with individuals dwelling there for over 1000 years. Visit the emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao, the murals at Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, and Ban Sao Nak, or House of Many Pillars. As one of many few places in Thailand where tuk-tuks don’t exist, you’ll have to get round on foot, by songthaew (coated pickup truck), or on horse-drawn carriage.
Thailand’s highest mountain: Doi Inthanon
In Chiang Dao you’re able to go to Thailand’s third tallest mountain. Now it’s time to go to Thailand’s tallest mountain, Doi Inthanon. Doi Inthanon is situated in Doi Inthanon Nationwide Park, a spot that may make you are feeling like you’ve been transported out of Thailand.
Residence to Thailand’s highest mountain, this park is at a excessive elevation and can even experience frost within the winter – which you gained’t see in some other a part of Thailand. Hike along the Ang Ka Nature Trail and make sure to cease on the park’s famous waterfalls: Mae Klang Waterfall, Mae Ya Waterfall and Sirithan Waterfall. If you need a break, cease by the Hmong Market to meet locals and purchase some snacks and souvenirs.
Embracing culture in Nan
When you’re extra thinking about tradition, historical past and custom, Nan is the right place for you. Back in the 14th century, Nan was a city state within the Lanna Kingdom. It grew to be a profitable area, thanks to its location midway between Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang, Laos. In 1931, Nan officially rejoined Thailand, making it a comparatively new Thai metropolis however a really historic town within the space. Study extra about Nan’s fascinating heritage by visiting the Nan National Museum.
For more history and culture, stop by the King of Nan’s Teak Home and see the murals at Wat Phumin. Head up to the Blessing Buddha at Wat Phra That Khao Noi for lovely views over Nan. Finish your night time strolling along the Nan River purchasing the walking road market and watching boat races on the water.
From Nan, you may also visit close by Phayao, a peaceable lakeside town. Visit Wat Tilok Aram, go fishing on the lake and take pleasure in a number of the delicious regional meals.
Visiting Thailand’s oldest city: Chiang Saen
Should you actually have a heart for history, you’ll have to visit Thailand’s oldest metropolis, Chiang Sean. Again within the Lanna Kingdom days, Chiang Saen was often known as Wiang Hiran Nakhon. It was the capital city earlier than Chiang Rai was established in 1262.
Chiang Saen sits along the Mekong River and borders Laos and Myanmar, making it the right place to continue your Southeast Asia travels. Study more concerning the space by visiting the Chiang Saen Nationwide Museum and then wander the town’s well-known temples, Wat Pa Sak, Wat Phra Chao Lan Thong and Wat Phra That Pha Ngao. In the evenings, be a part of the locals by eating at one of many street-side vendor stalls, sitting on plastic chairs, and having fun with the most effective of Northern Thai dishes.