Last month, we visited Chiang Mai and spent four days in the city. I’ve been to Bangkok several times but this was my first time to Chiang Mai – the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand. Much to my surprise, it is full of friendly locals, incredible food markets, dozens of beautiful temples, a relaxed vibe, and beautiful landscapes. 😀
In addition, it has a lot of delicious Western food, cafes and bars all around the city, but despite that the “Thai-ness” of the city hasn’t gone away. A visit to this city will certainly leave you enamoured. And if you travel in December, like we did, you’d love it even more. The cool season (December to February) is the most popular time to visit Chiang Mai, weather-wise. During the day, the temperatures max out at a pleasant 28°C and drop rapidly after sunset, sometimes to as low as 10°C.
Now, let’s check out our suggested itinerary in Chiang Mai.
Things to See and Do in Chiang Mai
1. Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and its 309 Steps
This is a must-visit in Chiang Mai. In fact, when we were there, the temple was full of tourists and buses. We couldn’t even take a decent photo of ourselves, hahaha! 😆
Here we are standing in front of the 309 steps to reach the pagodas!
For those of you who have visited the Big Buddha in Hong Kong, you should have experienced climbing 268 steps. This one is 41 steps more! I almost fainted halfway through it LOL. Nonetheless, the good news is – you can take an electric tram up if you’re not keen to walk (with a small fee of 50 THB for foreigners).
Movenpick SuriwongseHotel is a 4-star hotel located in downtown Chiang Mai offering 266 well-decorated rooms and suites. It was re-opened on 7 November 2017 after a revamp and rebranded from Suriwongse Hotel Chiang Mai (now under the Mövenpick hotel chain).
I read a lot on Trip Advisor whenever I’m searching for a hotel. This hotel has really mixed reviews, I guess mainly because it has two wings – one refurbished (new wing) and the other one not (old wing). Knowing that, I’ve specifically requested for a room in the refurbished wing in my booking.
There are two main reasons why we chose this hotel. Firstly, based on most travellers’ reviews, the hotel has a great LOCATION. Turned out, YES! It’s just right outside the night market. But don’t worry, there is no noise issues. Any activity you want to do in the city is only a short trip away. Almost all tours or day activities will do a free pick-up from this hotel – saves us lots of time and energy!
Secondly, most travellers also commented that the buffet breakfast is huge and plentiful (more on this later). Hotel’s breakfast service has always been one of our priorities, and so we were glad to shortlist this hotel for this reason. Price wise, this is a mid-range hotel that also fell within our budget. Considering that we’ll be out most of the day, we were not planning to stay in a luxury hotel.
We stayed 4 nights in a Deluxe Room with an average nightly rate of $160 (all-in with breakfast for 3 pax).
The Deluxe Room is 30 sqm in size, which is quite spacious. Available in King or Twin Beds configuration, the room can accommodate 2 adults + 1 child, or 3 adults. The room has an earthy tone with subtle Thai design elements.
There’s a sofa seating area, coffee and tea, mini fridge and bottled waters. The bathroom, however, is slightly smaller than expected. To my dismay, there was no bathtub even though their website clearly stated that bathtub is available for this room type.
Sawasdee ka! 😎 We had an amazing time during our 10 days trip to Thailand. We spent 4 days in Chiang Mai before we flew to Bangkok and stayed for another 6 days. Today, I’ll be sharing our 10 days in Thailand Bangkok Chiang Mai itinerary, cost breakdown and some travel tips.
The weather, the food, the tours and the activities have all met our expectations. Perhaps, my only complaint is the super packed BTS – it was MADNESS! I shouldn’t complain about our SMRT any more, hahah! But honestly, I guess it can’t be helped since we were travelling during the peak season.