In the beginning, of my trip, I spent two weeks in Chiang Mai, and I liked it a lot! It was a great spot to enjoy the sunshine, different activities, great happy people and international atmosphere. Chiang Mai is a famous city of the digital nomads – people like me trying to work and enjoy it abroad. In cheap but modern Thailand it’s possible to find a flat at a reasonable price. I was staying in the hip area of Nimman and paid 600 baht (approx. 15 e) per night for a nice big studio with a great skyline view. This place was called HimNimman, and there are a couple of other residences (PT, Mirror, B2) on the same street and along the city. The price that I paid was “still high” because I stayed for such a short time. On a walking distance was everything I needed. When moving in Chiang Mai otherwise, it is easy to take the cheap red cab (20 baht to old town) or Tuk-tuk that you negotiate the price with (tuk-tuks are more expensive). Nimman is the place for nicely branded cafes, pubs and restaurants (they are a bit more expensive too). The only issue is that everything closes so early in Asia – at midnight! That felt crazy in the beginning but then, on the other hand, it’s good if trying to get something done.
It’s not always the easiest to work abroad; what can you do when there are so many temptations! Like pool parties, beautiful hikes, interesting temples, etc. Travelling is such a hard knock life; it’s hard to earn when the spirit takes you in, and you would just only want to enjoy life. What I find enjoyable and lovely in Chiang Mai / Thailand is that people are so friendly, and generally, they are not going to cheat you (Bangkok might be an exception.) It’s also very safe. The minus thing with Chiang Mai is that airplanes are coming and going all the time, you can hear the take offs all the time but also get used to that. The airport is close to the city. Also, pay attention when you’re heading to this city. The “burning season” when the farmers are illegally burning and preparing their fields for next season starts in February/March. It’s not too nice to breathe and not the best season to enjoy the city when the air and the mountains around are covered with smoke. Otherwise, it’s nice in Chiang Mai when the air is more “fresh” than down in the humid south.
I also popped by in Pai, which is a nice village a three hours ride from Chiang Mai. It’s green and lush, and there is some cool hikes, hot springs, a canyon and all that pretty nice shit! I only had two days in Pai, so I did a one-day hike and then just enjoyed the countryside and jungle life.
What to do in Chiang Mai – my recommendations
1. North Gate Jazz Club
This is a great little very creative music spot, which is packed with an atmosphere! Every Tuesday night at nine there starts an open mic night when the different skilled musical people come up – interesting! Free entry.
2. Le Meridien Plunge Pool Party – every month except when there is a winter break
Normally I’m not into pool parties; they remind me of MTV Grind or anyway, douchebags dancing half-naked. But thank god this was different! There were professional people with some brains at least, and even I’m a rapper the house music was good. I also have something with the Le Meridien chain haha! For some reason, I love their hotels. PS. Free for ladies!
3. Sunday Night Market in the old town – go early, before it’s crowded!
This is “the creative” night market; they sell art, handmade things, etc. not only unnecessary rubbish. I was thinking though how there is too much stuff in this world! The market turns anxious when it gets full of people, so go around 5 o’clock when it starts! And bring cash money.
4. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – go just before sunset!
This is a touristic attraction but a pretty place to see. If you go just before sunset there shouldn’t be too many crowds, it’s quite peaceful, and you see the monks praying. What a good atmosphere. I did the hike all the way up there. You can also get there by motor vehicles. (The hike, Monk’s Trail, consists of two parts. The first part was smooth with the beautiful stop at Wat Phalat. But the latter part to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep wasn’t good; the route was difficult, full of obstacles. Good exercise, though.)
5. Nimman restaurants!
There are such great tasting experiences in Nimman. The hood is full of cool cafes and restaurants. Of course, you pay more (pay for the setting and the atmosphere) compared to street food but it’s totally affordable. So cheap compared to Europe anyway! ENJOY IT!