Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second-largest city and is a jumpoff point for many other destinations in northern Thailand.  The city has many of the trappings of Bangkok with a much more chilled out pace of life. There are temples, markets, an abundance of amazing cafes and restaurants, not to mention some incredible natural scenery just a stone’s throw away.

Soon after I arrived in Chiang Mai I was keen to get stuck right into exploring. I jumped in a taxi and asked the driver to take me to whichever temple they’d most recommend.  I ended up at Wat Phra Singh which had some very impressive gold pagodas. One of the things that I’d really missed about Thailand were its temples. I find them incredibly calming and peaceful.  The smell of fresh jasmine and burning incense brings back so many good memories from my first ever trip to Thailand.

One of Chiang Mai’s top attractions is the Tha Phae Gate, in the Old City.  The surrounding area is buzzing with things to see and do as a result of the tourist footfall that it receives.  You should definitely check it out when visiting Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai doesn’t just benefit from its rich culture and history but also the fact that it has a fantastic array of shopping destinations, restaurants and cafes.

Got to have an iced Matcha tea!

Chiang Mai is packed with artisan, independent (and in many cases) hipster eateries and coffee shops.  SS1254372 Cafe is one such place that is a perfect brunch destination, located in the Nimmanhaemin neighbourhood, which is apparently the trendiest part of the city.

SS1254372 Cafe is flooded with natural light and has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.  It’s the perfect place to just chill out. If you are looking for a top brunch in Chiang Mai then you are hardly short for options but SS1254372 Cafe & Gallery is definitely one of the best.

I had a gigantic passion fruit juice cooler to rehydrate, as the weather in Chiang Mai was scorching.  I also opted for an ultra-tasty black rice bowl with quinoa, grilled vegetables, avocado and a miso dressing.

What makes SS1254372 Cafe so special is the fact that it is also an art gallery, selling homemade works created by local artists.  It’s worth checking out even just to see the lovely displays.

Chiang Mai has gained a reputation for its coffee culture.  Independent cafe Ristr8to offers a worldly array of coffees at its open-plan cafe space.  Ristr8to Coffee has drawn inspiration from Australia’s thriving coffee culture and exacting standards.  It’s the place to go for what is said to be the best coffee in Chiang Mai.  

I adore the experimental and unique menu of coffee that Ristr8to Coffee offers.  Much consideration has gone into refining its offerings, from the type of coffee that is used to the cup size and shape to reflect the flavours and maximise the drinking experience.  What I also love are the wacky names. Ristr8to Coffee has gained notoriety for its skilled baristas who create intricate latte art, so you’ll always have a highly Instagrammable cup of coffee to enjoy.

I opted for a ‘Godmother Mocha’ – it was heavenly.  If you are a coffee lover, be sure to stop by Ristr8to Coffee for your caffeine fix next time you find yourself in Chiang Mai.

Another wonderful place to enjoy a cup of coffee (or Matcha tea if you are a fan like I am) is The Terracotta Garden.  Tucked away in Chiang Mai’s Old City, this hidden gem of a cafe is a place where you can enjoy some alfresco peace and quiet.  

Everywhere you look there are moss-covered works of terracotta art amongst the foliage.  It’s so wonderfully calming to kick back under the leafy canopy and soak in all of the incredible sights.  

That concludes my little tour of Chiang Mai.  I highly recommend adding Chiang Mai to your travel itinerary next time you are planning a trip.  What’s more, it’s a great jumpoff point for Chiang Rai, where you can see the impressive White Temple and Pai, where you can explore the incredible canyons.  

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