After spending four days in Bangkok we agreed that we could use a break from the city and decided that we will take a train to Chiang Mai located 435 miles north. I would like to stop here for a moment, because I have few things to share about train ride.
Train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Our journey was scheduled to take us about 11 hours, but because of the one hour delay we had a chance to check out the train station very well. The ticket cost us 681 baht each ($20), which I reserved online a few days before from www.12go.asia . Once purchased, you are required to pick up the tickets from their office located in front of the train station. I would suggest at least a day before your departure just to save yourself some time and stress. All the information with address, directions, etc. you receive via email. We chose the 8:30am departure and 7:30pm arrival so we could sightsee. There is an overnight train as well, with a better service class, but we wanted to spend the day enjoying the mesmerizing views passing us along the way. Train itself was very comfortable with folding seats and air condition. The other important thing is that included in the price are snacks, a hot meal plus tea or coffee, so there is no need to bring a lot of food with you. I wish I knew that before my ride????After we arrived in Chiang Mai we used Uber to get to our hotel, but there are plenty of taxis waiting for travelers at the station.
Must see things in Chiang Mai
The Old Town of Chiang Mai you basically can explore by foot finding different temples with every step you take. The most important ones that you should not miss are Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The last one we actually did not visit, because we were short on time, but we agreed we are coming back, so nothing lost. Aside from those three the city pillar, Anusawari Sam Kasat (Three King Monument) or town the oldest Wat Chiang Man are worth mentioning.
Temples in Chiang Mai
Wat Phra Singh is Chiang Mai’s the most respected temple located at Ratchadamnoen road and dated to the XIV century. It is a great example of Lanna architecture. On the wat area you can find viharn (assembly hall) Lai Kham, viharn Luang, Ubosot which is a place where monks are ordained, as well as the scripts library Ho Trai. Entrance fee cost 20 baht ($0.58).
Wat Chedi Luang has that mysterious atmosphere which you experience with your first view of it. That massive chedi was built for almost 100 years, and when it was finally finished in 1475 it was 85 meters tall and 44 meters wide. Unfortunately, a big part was destroyed in 1545 by a serious earthquake. Entrance is free and you are left with amazing sensation.
As I mentioned before, every step takes you to a new place that you need to get to know and understand. Personally, I used Lonely Planet guide book quite often. Do not forget to take a break from walking in the sun and let yourself enjoy a Thai massage or maybe something to eat. In the evening, be sure to visit the night market at the Chang Klan road, which starts at 6pm. Lots of delicious food, stalls with everything you need or not need and thousands of people strolling around.