by Sean Stenning
(Toronto, ON, Canada)
One of the many temples in Chiang Mai
For anyone who has never been to Chiang Mai before, I have some advice. Get lost!.
This is not meant as an insult, I mean literally. Just leave your hostel, grab some water, and start walking. The worst that can happen (assuming you are staying in the centre of town) is that you walk so far you hit the walls of this fortified city.
The best thing that can happen is that you find some wonderful temples hidden amongst the more obscure Sois (streets). This, I think, is the one of the wonders of Chiang Mai. Spending an afternoon wandering around local wats, taking in the sights of Buddhist monks going about their daily business is a great way to spend some time here.
The second of my 3 T’s, Trekking ,is par for the course when visiting Chiang Mai. The city is a hub for arranging these trips into the surrounding area to visit the local hill-tribes. Many of these trips will include overnight stays within local communities, which I cannot recommend highly enough.
It’s a great way to get a real feel of the local lifestyle. Treks can be arranged through your hostel, just make sure you are of relatively good health as there is a lot of walking involved, sometimes with steep inclines, and through treacherous terrain.
The third T, toes, is not specifically about your feet. However, a foot Massage in Chiang Mai is not just good, it is sensational. One evening, I had some poor lady massage both of my feet whilst I writhed in pure ecstasy. Of course, I paid her handsomely for this sensual delight.
Having not had a full body massage, I cannot vouch for the quality of such an experience, BUT, on the basis of my foot massage, I would highly recommend you at least get your feet tended to. Ask your hostel owner for a reputable place nearby to where you are staying.
So there we have it, the 3 T’s of Chiang Mai, Thailand. A beautiful city to visit, and one I fell in love with whilst completely losing myself in the endless maze of temples, treks and toes.