I found several great places to eat in Chiang Mai. I enjoy good food. And thankfully I can find very good food all over the world (anywhere I have been). That makes me happy. I have fewer instances of finding really great food that I miss if I move on.
It isn’t that I don’t miss the great food I had but when I find lots of great new choices I am fine. I generally eat fairly cheaply, in stalls some, but also in simple restaurants. But rarely in expensive places (though in cheap locales I will splurge much more than if I am in an expensive city).
Banana Flower Salad at the Achan Vegetarian Restaurant. Absolutely wonderful. All photos by John Hunter.
I found lots of very good food in Chiang Mai. I found 3 places I really enjoyed a great deal (I went to each weekly, or more often). Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant is one of the places I would suggest everyone try. I see it as a highlight of being in Chiang Mai. I rarely find restaurants I feel this way about. To reach this level they not only have to provide great food, atmosphere and service but also capture some of the essence of locale.
The also had Anchan juice which when I asked what it was the waitress pointed to the blue berries on the mural. I didn’t enjoy the juice so much actually, so only tried it once, but it was worth trying.
Chicken Banana Curry at Cooking Love, again wonderful. They also give you very large servings.
Two other places I highly recommend in Chiang Mai are: Cooking Love and Food4Thought.
Digital nomads and full time expats must take care of regular life while abroad. You don’t read much about this other than the wonderful views they have from their latest wifi cafe. One of those tasks you must address is finding a dentist.
Some locations are better than others for taking care of these items. Chiang Mai is a good location for finding a dentist. Chiang Mai University, as with many universities produces many qualified people and usually a surplus find they like the city and stay.
Dental 4 You Clinic
Chiang Mai has a steady supply of retirees, tourists and recently digital nomads supplementing the local population. Reading online I was able to find several highly recommended dental practices and I selected Dental 4U. They had many recommendations for quality and price.
My experience was very good and I recommend Dental 4U as a wise place to take care of your dental needs. The whole process was excellent, arranging the appointment, showing up and being seen as scheduled (in the USA I almost always have waits, sometimes long ones and so do others I talk to) and the appointment itself.
Chiang Mai, Thailand is home to many ancient Buddhist temples. Wat Lok Molee (or Wat Lok Moli) sits just North of the moat surrounding the old city.
The “zip line” is to bring something up to the Buddha in the Chendi. I don’t know what, but maybe offerings. I have seen the at some other temples but not many.
Although it is know this temple was originally built in the 14th century the architecture of the Chendi (also called stupa or pagoda) dates to the 16th century.
One of my challenges is dealing with the various visa requirements. They shouldn’t be that complicated but I seem to often find myself in situations that don’t quite fit what the general rules are and trying to determine what that means I have to do is tricky.
I didn’t get a visa in advance for Thailand, which seems to usually be the case for me (I just don’t plan ahead well enough to get the Visas when I am somewhere it might be possible, Bangkok etc.).
So one of the challenges is I that I don’t have a visa for Thailand, I actually have a 30 day visa free stay. There is talk about extending visas (in internet forums and on the Thailand government site) but it mostly wasn’t clear (at least I couldn’t see it clearly) what it meant for me. Wether extending 30 days by paying 1,900 baht (about US$ 60) at the Chiang Mai immigration office or going on a visa run (and in this case if you got 14 or 30 days was a bit tricky to understand) applied to someone with a visa free stay was not obvious.
Chiang Mai Immigration office is near the airport
[Update: read about new location and more information]
Then I found this great post: How To Extend Your Thai Tourist Visa in Chiang Mai. It is packed with great info. And the good news was I could extend my 30 day visa-free stay for 30 more days (for 1,900 Baht – good money for Thailand’s government) at the local office. And he had detailed instructions on what to do including what to bring and forms to download in advance.
Tourist visas can be extended simply by visiting your local immigration office anywhere in Thailand, filling out a form, and paying a fee. Extending your visa should be done before your visa expires; you can get your visa extended on the last day without any problem.
Thai tourist visas and visa exemptions (what people wrongly call “visas on arrival”) can be extended by 30 days at the Chiang Mai immigration office. Visa exemptions used to be only extensible for 7 days, but this changed in August 2014.
He suggests going early and being prepared for a long wait (3 hours) with a longer wait later (and if they can’t finish you that day you have to come back the next day). Also they close down for an hour at lunch time.
I see the Sunday Market in Chiang Mai, Thailand as a well done attraction created for tourists. The stalls are selling mainly items of interest to tourists and food.
I really like that photo. Here is a similar photo my dad took of an artist drawing my brother (when he was a kid) and we were visiting Rome, Italy. There are a group of about 5 artists drawing portraits in the center of the street.
The street was quite packed. Starting just before sunset seems wise (based on my reading) and it worked for me. Others say it gets more crowded later – and it was plenty crowded while I was there. The Sunday market (also called the Walking Street Market) covers from Tha Pae gate to Wat Phra Singh on Ratchadamnoen Road.
I had very positive memories of the photogenic nature of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. But my photos from my last trip were not digital and I haven’t seen them in over 10 years. I was worried I would be disappointed. I wasn’t.
Emerald Buddha temple, Grand Palace
See my video of the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand:
Chiang Mai, Thailand is a huge center for tourism and digital nomads. I began my stay in Chiang Mai at the Swiss-Lanna Lodge, a wonderful small lodge with beautiful wood furnishings and a personal touch. It is a converted traditional Thai house.
Pha Noi, Toto and Phi Rose in front of the Swiss Lanna Lodge.
Pha Noi, on the left of the photo is the cleaning lady for the Lodge. Toto is the general manager of the guesthouse who is responsible for sharing information about tourist attractions, transfer service and all about the accommodations with customers (she speaks Thai, English and French). And Phi Rose is the wonderful chef, who is responsible for providing homemade meals for guests. I didn’t get a photo of the other staff person – who also speaks a bit of Chinese (along with Thai and English) for the growing number of Chinese tourists.
The staff are extremely helpful and provide great hospitality. I enjoy this level of hospitality which I only find in these smaller boutique hotels. I also prefer to be a bit away from the hectic center of activity so the Swiss-Lanna Lodge is a great fit.
The lodge is located a couple kilometers from old town Chiang Mai. The building is surrounded by a garden with fruit trees, flowers and hammocks.
comfortable hammocks in the garden. One of the trees it hangs from is a star fruit tree.
I have made multi-city reservations in the past and doing so was significantly or marginally cheaper than individual tickets for each leg of the journey.
For my next trip I plan to stop over in Bangkok for several days and then fly up to Chiang Mai, Thailand. The prices of airplane tickets in South East Asia are pretty good in my opinion. And these were fine too.
But I found a multi-city ticket was double what the same sites quote for buying the tickets separately. That seems pretty bizarre to me. I am not really sure what is driving that. I mean I could imagine they get tied up with what airlines will cooperate on the multi-city venture but I figured if none would they would just create an itinerary piecing together unrelated tickets. But that appears not to be true, or something weird is going on. Is this a common thing with multi-city trips in SE Asia?
It is also a joy to fly in South East Asia compared the horrendous mess the USA has made out of air travel. Flying in the USA just keeps getting more and more atrocious. It isn’t like travel in SE Asia is really so wonderful, but in comparison it is.
I prefer Hipmunk. I’ll also try airlines directly. I have read people suggesting Google travel search so I tried that. It did provide one cheaper (10%) flight that Hipmunk missed, otherwise they seem to find identical flights. It does seem like Google’s one is much faster, but I still really like Hipmunk (I would like it even more if I could just register with them and have all my pay, details etc. stored with them and they deal with the airline but even as it is it is decent).
Do people have suggestions about plane reservations in SE Asia? Now that I am going nomad I’ll travel much more. Are you wise to lock things in a month in advance, or what? Any special need to lock things in for the December period in Thailand this year?
Related: Finding Places to Stay to Stay with Decent wifi – Khao Lak, Thailand – Digital Nomad Guide to Chiang Mai