Founded in the year 1296, Chiang Mai is located in the mountainous regions of northern Thailand. Due to its culture, many Buddhist temples, and great food, Chiang Mai has become a popular destination for digital nomads and tourists. Despite Chiang Mai’s growing popularity as a travel destination, it has managed to retain much of its cultural appeal, most of which can be felt and seen in the Old Town section of this mid-sized city.
My preference is to travel slowly. For me, this means staying in most destinations for at least one month and sometimes even two months. This slow style of travel enables me to really get a feel for a place. It also reduces the risk of travel burnout from constantly moving. In addition, traveling slowly provides me with time to just “be” in a place, to live in the moment, and to take it all in.
It’s easy to lose that sense of living in the moment with the constant planning and looking ahead that is necessary with my perpetual travel lifestyle.
However, some places are better than others at encouraging a slow pace mindset. Chiang Mai, Thailand is one of those places.
Surrounded by a moat and remnants of an ancient wall, Old Town Chiang Mai tends to move at a slower pace while the rest of the city hustles.
I found myself walking the sois (side streets) of Old Town Chiang Mai often during my time there. It has a way of coaxing you into moving slowly as you wander aimlessly and explore its small streets, food options, and many Buddhist temples. It’s a wonderful place to just slow down and observe life.
There are hundreds of Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai. I came across many of them by simply strolling around town. Some temples can be busy, however, most of them offer a very serene and peaceful environment. They are all unique and beautiful.
The temples of Chiang Mai are great places to have a quiet moment and contemplate life.
The food scene in Chiang Mai is one of the best I have experienced in southeast Asia so far. There is quite a variety ranging from authentic local dishes to western style food. With that said, Chiang Mai is a great place to satisfy your noodle cravings. The quality of the noodle dishes rivals the many bowls of noodles I’ve enjoyed in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
One of the more famous foods of Northern Thailand is a noodle dish called Khao Soi. Khao Soi is a coconut curry-based soup with both soft and crispy noodles. It is usually made with either chicken or beef, although vegetarian versions exist as well. It is often served with a side of pickled veggies, red onion, and lime. I’m sure I didn’t get to them all, however, I did my best to sample all of the Khoa Soi recipes around town.
Some of my other favorite dishes included earthen jar crispy roast pork, as well as in-house-made Yunnan-style noodles.
Venturing a bit outside of the city and up into the mountains of Chiang Mai. Beautiful scenery abounds.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s a bustling city with lively markets, great food, and an active nightlife. There are also many opportunities both in town and on the outskirts to find a quiet place to get away. All this combined with beautiful temples and scenery… I’ll be back for sure.
Besides, I’ve got more Khoa Soi recipes to try.