“Thailand evokes images of serene beaches, ancient temples and delicious coffee. this country has a growing coffee industry and caffeine-seekers can find a cup of jo basically everywhere. The northern city of Chiang Mai is particularly known for its coffee outlets serving locally grown coffee and making for a welcome break between visiting temples and shopping for souvenirs” (lonelyplanet.com).
After my last trip in Hua Hin, I came up with a new trip in one of famous tourist cities of Thailand, Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is a famous tourist city in the North, this city itself has the international airport so you can book a direct flight to Chaing Mai. Or you can fly directly from Bangkok, it will take you only 1 hour like I did and the plane tickets would be between 30 USD – 60 USD ( 22-50 GBP ) for one way ticket, I purchased the one way ticket for 39.06 USD or 29.94 GBP on Airasia Airline.
In addition, if you are a backpacker who want to try the most saved budget transport, you can take the bus or the train from Bangkok like my friend did. This option will cost you around 20 USD (15 GBP), but you will hang in your transportation for 8-10 hrs so I suggest you to start your trip at night and you will arrive to Chiang Mai in a very early morning so you can have a full day trip there. In my opinion, I suggest you to take the plane because the ticket price is cheap and there are many low-cost airline to get there. It saves your time as well as your budget.
I arrived to Chiang Mai at 3 pm. and I took a taxi to my hostel that I booked on Booking.com, a taxi costed me 7 USD (5 GBP). I know this price is nothing when it is in USD or GBP, but guys you can get a shared taxi (local people called Red truck or Songthaew) and you only pay 1 USD or 0.80 GBP per people. But if you can’t wait for the Red Truck like me, grab a taxi or use UBER or GrabCar. Don’t worry guys, as soon as you arrive to the airport there are many options there (not like in Phuket, if you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about).
And here we are, I arrived at my hostel, Hub Hostel Chiangmai. I want to tell you that this is my very first hostel I have stayed in my life. Actually, I can book a hotel as the hotel price in Chiang Mai is not high but I heard that the hostels in Thailand have their own character, well design and of course save your money pocket. And there are so many hostels here in this city, depends on which area do you want to stay. The Old City and Nimmanhaemin road are the most popular areas to stay. If you have never been to Chiang Mai before, you might wonder which area you should stay? Me either!! Luckily, my friend who joined me the trip has been there every year so she knows every single part of this city. She suggests that we should stay in the Nimman area as the purpose of this trip is to go to lovely cafes and try their coffee and tea. On Nimmanhaemin road has many cute coffeeshops, restaurants, hotels and hostels which you can walk around or biking. But most of the tourists don’t know this area much especially European and American, so they are likely to stay in the old town area. The old town area is also good because you can visit a lot of temples which located in the area and see the Northern cultures, architecture and meet people around the world.
Now we come back to the hostel where I stayed, after I told you guys a bit about the areas so it could help you make decision when you want to book a hotel! As I told you that I’d never been stay in a hostel before, so I want to give it a try!! I’ve been searching for the hostel which suits me for a few days. First, I want a hostel which costs less than 40 USD a night (30 GBP), it has to be cleaned and of course well decorated ( as my friend and I are architects so we love the design). And I ended up booking Hub Hostel on Booking.com, we got a private room with a bathroom which is 28 USD a night ( 21.78 GBP ) yes it is!! The room design is Loft style, very simple but look nice. I assume that they only have 2 private room, if you want to stay here don’t hesitate to book because the rooms can be full easily.
Or if you are a group they also provide a dorm room for 4 people-8 people with a shared bathroom. The hostel also provides the washer and dryer machine with a small counter and the fridge. For the dorm room, it is 10 USD/people/night (7.78 GBP).
After we checked in, dropped our luggage and yeah took a shower in the evening, we started walking around Nimmanhaemin side-streets as there are restaurants and cafe’ waiting for us to explore. And here is the first place we grabbed our dinner (first meal of a day) at Kua-Kai Nimman. Kua-Kai also is a name of the food. Basically, it is a Thai wide noodle with chicken. We got 2 signature dishes, Thick stir-fry rice noodles on a sizzling hot plate with egg and chicken with 2 soft drinks. This meal costs 5.71 USD (4.44 GBP) for 2 people. It tasted excellent but their portion can be too small for a foreigner, make sure you order an appetizer if you don’t want to get hungry again after 1 hour lol.
After we finished our meal, we walked to the next door. Yes next to the restaurant is a famous ice cream shop, iBerry Garden. They serve drinks, homemade ice creams and desserts. This place is a café with a large garden area and one of the strangest art pieces in Chiang Mai. The tourists who visit Chiang Mai always stop by here. I stopped by here as well but just for a picture as we were still full from our Kua-Kai dishes.
The rest of the café is equally interesting, with a beautiful tree covered in fairy lights and a window shaped like Mickey Mouse. Look for the cartoon heads on the wall – they are actually hollow so you can put your head inside and take a photo with them.
Now we already got some cool pictures, then we move on to the next place to find the best ice cream in the area. But we gotta stop by this lovely cafe’! Omg there are many lovely cafe around this area. If you ever visit Nimmanhaemin road, get your camera ready please!! This lovely cafe is SS1254372, yes I know these numbers are the cafe name.
Then we went directly to the destination, I Tim Baan Yaii. I Tim Baan Yaii is the lovely small ice cream shop in a quiet area of Nimmanhaemin. They made homemade ice-cream and serve drinks. This place doesn’t have the A/C so I don’t suggest you to come in the afternoon because it would be humid and packed by the tourists. I was lucky that I came in the evening because it wasn’t hot and no other customer.
I got the Thai Tea Ice-cream and Blueberry smoothie for 3 USD (2 GBP) , they were fine like other cafe but this tiny scale cafe is just so cute.
After we’d some surveyed on Nimman side-streets for a few hours. We planned to go to one of the night markets. Chiang Mai has many night markets where you can find cheap clothes, souvenirs, handmade stuff, and local street food. And the one we were gonna go on Friday night was CMU Market (local people called Kad Na Mor Market), Kad Na Mor is a student night market nears Chiang Mai University. How can we get there? Most of this trip we always used Songthaews (The shared Red Truck). First you call them anytime you see this red truck coming on your way, then tell them where do you want to go? The red trucks are shared taxi’s. They drive around and everybody can ask the driver to bring them somewhere. And the driver will tell you if he can take you or not, if so ask him how much is it gonna be? The average price will be 20-40 THB (less than 2 USD/1 GBP) in the city. Don’t let them charge you for overprice just because you’re a foreigner. When a red truck shows up, just raise your hand and wave a bit to the driver.
The driver makes his route on the destinations of the clients. So it can happen that the driver pick you up first and takes more people along the road. Sometimes you can make new friends and share information as other tourists commute on the truck as well.
And here we are at Kad Na Mor What can we find here? The answer is everything about fashion and more importantly, in a low and bargainable price. The market is very food-focused, with whole areas sectioned off and under the cover of metal roofs dedicated to mostly Thai and Japanese food. Most nights of the week there are lots of fashion stalls too, with vendors selling everything from vintage plaid shirts and second-hand shoes, to cheap makeup and accessories for the girls (and boys). We spent time here for a few hours, I got one cute dress for 4.5 GBP (6 USD) which I would wear in this trip too and got my nails done for 8.8 GBP (11.43 USD) as there are a plenty of nail salons here with a very cheap price. And here are my nails, I really do love them ( P.S. I used my Fuji XT10 and my friend’s Sony camera on this trip).
After we had been walking around the market for 3 hours, we took the red Songthaew back to Nimman area. On the way back, I met one girl from Ukraine on the Songthaew. She came to Thailand alone and she were going to Chiang Rai the next day. This is why I love traveling as I can make new friends from around the world and share experiences. It reminded me when I went to Amsterdam alone and met new people, I really had a good time even I traveled alone. By the way, I hope she have a safe trip because some area isn’t safe enough to travel alone.
Then, we came back to the area nears our hostel on Nimmanhaemin road and stop by the famous cafe yeah cafe again!! We got Butter sweetend condensed milk on toast for 1 GBP (1.5 USD) for a slice. It was so amazing!! If you ever come to Nimmanhaemin road in Chiang Mai, I really do recommend you guys to stop by Mont Nom Sod. They serve Thai dessert, drinks and fresh daily milk. Actually if you visit Bangkok, they also have several branches there as well. Oh my god, I’m craving for this toast right now when I’m posting the photo of toast below! It is just so good. And here was how we finished our first night in Chiang Mai.
On my first day I spent 102.16 USD or 78.30 GBP which includes the accommodation for 2 nights. My friend and I split the accommodation and the food bills. The first day we barely spent on food as I arrived to Chiang Mai in the late afternoon, I had only one meal on that day lol. So let’s see on the second day. Thank you for reading my blog and see you guys on the second day trip in Chiang Mai. I hope I could inspire you to visit Chiang Mai;)
For more photos, visit my Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ladycandyko/