Chiang Mai is the perfect location to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and explore the infinite number of temples and the ever growing hipster scene. While the city has a population of one million people and hordes of tourists can overload it during the Lantern Festival, it has a very laid back vibe.
The beauty of Chiang Mai lies in the fact that, even though the city is relatively small, it has much to offer, especially once you go past the never-missed Old Town, and the trendy student neighborood of Nimman.
Located on the East side of Mae Ping river, the Wat Ket neighborood is one of Chiang Mai’s undiscovered gems.
Old timber houses, stores trading genuine and beautiful artifacts made by hill tribes, a large array of groovy cafes, art galleries, and local unpretentious Khao Soi houses, this borough has definitely got an interesting and entertaining mix to satisfy all tastes and budgets.
This part of town somewhat feels quite historic, as the local community daily life goes ahead with very little “foreign” intrusion and the pleasant lack of tourists’ double deck buses.
Baan Orapin Boutique B&B: Built in a Lanna style architecture, this upmarket guest house is an oasis of peace. Rooms are decorated with simple and elegant furnitures, clean, the service is very attentive without being intrusive. The swimming pool and its surrounding garden are perfect to get a break from the heat and humidity of Chiang Mai.
Bedtini: free Wi-Fi in all rooms, luggage storage, car park, restaurant and organised tours.
Wat Ket Karam Temple & Museum: This beautiful and peaceful temple is dedicated to those born in the year of the dog and seem to be largely ignored by tourists. The adjacent museum has a bizarre collection of out of ordinary and historic objects, which are randomly jumbled together, making of it an interesting sight.
Cafe Des Artists: stylish cafe with Japanese decor. The setting is stunning and the food is beautifully presented and it tastes delicious. Prices for main courses range around $4/5.
Sukothai Noodles: a locals’ favourite. They serve delicious Koy Soi and other traditional noodle carries for 50Bath, in a very unpretentious and genuine setting.
Vietnamese Dumplings: this little gem is not even on Google Maps. They sell delicious Vietnamese dumplings at the side of the road and they only cater for take-away at lunch time. They are served with crispy onion and coconut crem and they are not to be missed! (Clink on the name for the google coordinates)
Sop Moei Arts: Hand made decorative products made by the hill tribes of Sop Moei, in the Southern hills out of Chiang Mai. Head here for fine textiles and smoked wood baskets, woven and leather handbags, custom pillows, hanging light fixtures, wine holders, high quality frames for photographs, as well as handmade sets of spoons and forks.
Vila Cini: this atmospheric store is within an old teak house with marble floors, and ir sells high-end, handmade silks and cotton textiles.
Crafitti: Handmade jewellery by local artists, inspired on nature. Great attention to details and design.
Nussara: High quality cotton clothing and textiles sold in a beautiful store with a charming back garden.