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Things to Know before Traveling to Chiang Mai

Did all those Instagram and Facebook posts inspire you to visit Chiang Mai? Are you desperately waiting to experience and admire the beauty of those lush forests, vibrant culture, historic temples and adventurous activities? Well, wait no more and visit the land of elephants, learn some authentic Thai cooking, and visit historic temples! Chiang Mai, located in North of Thailand, is known as the city of contrasts where several Buddhist temples shine bright all day long. It is a journey into the city of winding streets, past the ancient buildings and walls of old city of Chiang Mai. So, let’s look at some of the things you must know before you set on your journey to discover Chiang Mai.

Things to Know before travelling to Chiang Mai

A little knowledge of Thai language can go a long way

Although English is widely spoken in the city, it is always good to know a few basic Thai words to communicate well with the locals, tuk tuk drivers, hotel staff and while ordering food. In general also, it is always good to know a few local phrases to show some respect to the locals. What you would find interesting about Thai language is that the men and women use some different words at the end of sentences. While males generally use the word krap, females use kap. Some of the commonly and widely used words are – Sawadee (krap or Kap) which means Hello, Khopkhun (krap or kap) for Thank you, Mai as in No and so on.

Old City Chiang Mai
Old City Chiang Mai

Dress appropriately in Chiang Mai

Since Chiang Mai is the home of several monks and takes pride to have around 300 temples, show respect by dressing up appropriately. It is always good to wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders as Northern part of Thailand is little conservative as compared to other cities of Thailand. It is best to carry loose fitting, decent clothes as wearing skirts and shorts might even burn your body. So, cover yourself from the sun and keep sweat at bay by wearing breathable outfits. Check the complete post n what to wear in Thailand here.

Best time to visit the city of temples

The peak season starts in November when the weather of Chiang Mai is at its best. Tourists from all over the world travel to the city in the months of November, December and January. However, it is best to avoid a visit during March as that’s when the farmers burn their crop and the city gets covered with a thick blanket of smoke, which is unbearable and terrible.

Temple in Chiang Mai
Temple in Chiang Mai

Don’t hesitate to haggle

When out shopping, do not think twice before haggling with the shopkeepers. While the street markets of Chiang Mai has some of the great stuff to offer, the vendors try to fool the tourists to earn a little extra money. So, offer them a price you feel is the most suitable for an item and walk away if they don’t agree to it. They might call you back with a smile!

Souvenirs in Chiang Mai Thailand
Souvenirs in Chiang Mai Thailand

6 must visit hidden treasures of Thailand

Thailand has been a bucket list destination for travellers across the world. It’s not at all surprising, and its popularity is quite understandable because of the bustling Bangkok city, rich history of Chiang Mai, walking street of Phuket and parties of Koh Samui. But, if you are an offbeat destination lovers like us; then how about discovering the lesser known Thai destinations; which many tourists are yet to discover. Here are the six hidden treasures of Thailand which can inspire your next getaway.

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Six Hidden treasures of Thailand

Trang

If you want the feel of Krabi but aren’t keen on the crowds flocking there with each other and every day, consider visiting Trang instead. It parallels and perhaps even exceeds Krabi in many ways – the limestone cliffs and emerald waters here are more magnificent than any other. Many tourists pass Trang, en route to another destination. So, you’ll pretty much have Trang to yourself.

Trang - hidden treasures of Thailand
Trang, Hidden Treasure of Thailand (Source: CNN)

Consider checking Trang town too, where you can discover an authentic and unique blend of Thai, Chinese and Muslim culture. It’s reflected in everything from their architecture to the food. Be sure to sample the diverse cuisine on offer, described as a bastion of curry, kopi and cake.

Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is Recommended as one of the best ancient ruins on offer in Thailand.  It has a fascinating and rich history that many travellers aren’t even aware of. Once the place also boasted the title of the biggest and most populated city in the world, but the Burmese invasion in the 18th century left it burnt to the ground.  And the result is? A dilapidated yet still magnificent complex of temples and ruins.  The intricate details of temples and sculptures beckon you to explore further. Hints of white and gold architecture can be found throughout. With hardly any tourists here, Ayutthaya remains undisturbed and quiet as ever.

Ayutthaya: must visit hidden treasures of Thailand
Ayutthaya, Hidden Treasure of Thailand (Source: Top Tourist)

Koh Lanta

It seems like a dream to have your own personal deserted island, but a visit to Koh Lanta will give you just that feel. Beautiful beaches and waters are absolutely unfrequented means you’ll be left to your own devices in one of the most beautiful settings in the entirety of Thailand.

Koh Lanta: must visit hidden treasures of Thailand
Koh Lanta, Hidden Treasure of Thailand (Source: Kilroy travels)

Head inland to the Koh Lanta town and you’ll be greeted by welcoming smiling locals. Here too, you’ll find a mix of cultures, in a similar vein to Trang. There are also some beautiful and extravagant resorts on the island for accommodation, and many of these lie only a stone’s throw from the deserted beaches.

Lampang

Lampang lies quite close to the wildly popular Chiang Mai and is much quieter and rewarding. The city is famed for its majestic temples and was once part of the Lanna Kingdom. Now, only the temples remain standing tall and beautiful throughout.

Lampang: must visit hidden treasures of Thailand
Lampang, Hidden Treasure of Thailand (Source: Shutterstock)

Visit the Temple of Lampang’s Great Buddha Relic to discover some beautiful ancient Buddha artefacts.  Also, explore Chalermprakiat Temple atop Pu Yak Mountain. It is one of the most incredible sights in the entire world, even if many say the journey there is terrifying.

Also Read: The best party hostels in Chiang Mai

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai, a sleepy city in Northern Thailand is often overlooked in favour of the aforementioned Chiang Mai. But, truth is, Chiang Rai offers even more than its counterpart. Take the example of famed White Temple, a majestic and beautiful architectural marvel which is hard to find anywhere elsewhere in the country.

Chiang Rai: must visit hidden treasures of Thailand
Chiang Rai, Hidden Treasure of Thailand (Source: citiestips.com)

Foodie Lovers, make sure to visit the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar. The food court here serves the most delectable dishes, from traditional Thai to a unique spin on Western cuisine. Also, do snap a picture of the famed Clock Tower, where light shows take place every evening.

Koh Khai

Koh Khai can be recognised by its stone arch jutting into the water. Many travellers already have their dream pictures with it but still many tourists skip this tiny, deserted island while travelling to Thailand. There is only a beach and a small forest, but it is the perfect place to unwind away from the civilisation.

Koh Khai: must visit hidden treasures of Thailand
Koh Khai, Hidden Treasure of Thailand (Source: GettingStamped.com)

Although; many locals do flock to the island, so try to be there at the right time to have a feel of whole place belonging to you. There are no options for the night stay at KohKai, and a day trip is enough too. One can even take private speedboat tours that allow to stop off and get mesmerized by the luscious scenery.

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These six hidden treasures of Thailand are the perfect mix of tradition, culture and natural beauty. We are sure they will leave you stunned and speechless.

If you liked them do share these hidden Treasures of Thailand with your family and friends.

6 must visit hidden treasures of Thailand