Chiang Mai: 5 Top Tips For A Visit Part One

When one thinks of Thailand what sort of pictures come to mind? Is it the beautiful beaches and islands of southern Thailand where you can bask in the sun to your hearts content day after day? Is it the Culture and the arts of central Thailand  where you can visit many magnificent temples including The Grand Palace and Wat Po in Bangkok, the incredible markets where you can hon your bartering skills, take a trip up to Kanchanaburi to visit the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai, perhaps its the floating markets of Damnoen Saduak or the ancient site ruins and Elephant riding of Ayutthaya?  Maybe it is the Gulf of Siam including such locations as Rayong, Koh Samed, Koh Chang, Hua Hin and Cha -am for more sandy beaches and watersports plus Pattaya for not only more sandy beaches and watersports, but a high paced pulsating nightlife as well? It could be your interest is Culinary and you want to learn the art of Thai cooking from a master chef or you have pure indulgence in mind and will not be found far away from the health spa throughout the whole trip or maybe you want to take advantage of the affordable health care and world-class medical facilities and have a full medical check up whilst also relaxing on holiday. Aside from the beach, but with some great swimming pools and still plenty of sunshine the rest of the above can be done at a slower pace and in the company of the lovely people of the North in Chiang Mai.

Here are 5 quality tips for a visit to Chiang Mai.

Breakfast

My usual trick of a morning is to get up early around 6.30 am  and take a walk in  a different direction of the city. On carrying out this routine one morning I walked up near the entrance to what is called the ”old city” in Chiang Mai and passed a small place that catered for western and Thai breakfast so went back and rallied up the troops to try somewhere new for breakfast. The name of this wonderful little family run restaurant is Sailomjoy Thai Restaurant and it can be found at  7 Rachadamnorn Road, T. Phrasingh, Chiang Mai literally just inside the ”old city”. The proprietors Khun Pom and Khun Weaw are just delightful people as our all the staff here. The only morning out of the 10 left that we did not have breakfast here was when they had a well earned day off. This place became the normal breakfast venue for the fantastic food, both Thai and Western, the great service and more than pleasant company. Everyone was trying different things each day like  Muesli, yoghurt and fruit all washed down with a blueberry smoothie, porridge and banana, scrambled eggs, club sandwiches and delicious Thai dishes like fried chicken and ginger, phat Krapow and Phat Thai. This truly is a marvellous breakfast place and worth tracking down and the prices are fantastic.

Sailomjoy Thai Restaurant with proprietors at the front

Health Spa

Chiang Mai is absolutely full of spas and massage places and it depends really on the budget you are allowing for your pampering. You can visit the top of the range spas with no expense spared like booking into resorts for a full overhaul and a new you or use a  day spa at your leisure combining the spa treatments  with the visiting of surrounding Chiang Mai attractions and the sampling of fine Northern Thai cuisine. The best of all worlds as it were. A fantastic day spa right bang in the center of Chiang Mai is the delightful Lanna Come Spa located at 88/4 Sri Donchai road, Changklan, Chiang Mai, Lanna Come Spa is literally a stones throw away from the night bazaar stalls and other markets in the area. This superb spa re-creates the magic of Lanna, upholding the traditions and cultures of ancient Lanna. The only actual thinking you will need to do is to decide as to which of the fantastic treatments you are going to have, choosing from Various Massage treatments, body wraps, body scrubs, hydrotherapy, Thai herbal hot compress, Jacussi bath energizing therapy, facial treatments and many, many more is not an easy job, but someone has to do it and why not you… You deserve it. A simple telephone call to Lanna Come will see you collected by them from your hotel and your rejuvenation process beginning immediately. For more information on Lanna Come spa and the treatments available please visit www.lannacomespa.com

Lanna Come Spa

Restaurant

One of my favourite restaurants in all of  Chiang Mai, no sorry scrub that , one of my favourite restaurants in all of Thailand, let alone Chiang Mai is a place called Aroon Rai, which can be found on Kotchasan Road. It’s a place with very few airs and graces, but who needs airs and graces with the culinary delights that they serve up. I have yet to find anywhere in Thailand that does a better Yellow Chicken curry (Gang Gari), further more not only is the food fantastic, but the prices are more than reasonable. On a recent visit to Aroon Rai four of us ate an aray of dishes consisting of Gang Gari – Yellow Chicken curry, Spring rolls, Nam Prik oon – a mix of pork, garlic, chilli, onions and tomato,  Khao Niaw gap gai yaang – Fried Chicken and sticky rice plus ice Tea for all of us, which came to a grand total of 505 baht – just over £10-00. The food overall is excellent and the staff and service are prompt friendly and efficient.What more could you need.

Aroon Rai Restaurant

Guesthouse

I suppose it is occasionally nice to stay in a very posh hotel and be waited on hand and foot especially if your pockets flow with currency, but for me all that is required with the accommodation bit is an adequate place to rest up and some where I can leave my luggage.   However in Baan Pim  on Sittiwong road a small road off of the main Chaiyaphum Road  you have a very clean, comfortable, friendly and tremendously priced Guesthouse ran by a lady called Khun Pim and her family. The guesthouse is conveniently located with access to everything that you would want including the massive Sunday Thapae night market or also known as ”Walking street market”. Rooms are equipped with air-conditioning or a fan if you prefer, on-line facilities for your e-mail and a beautiful tranquil garden setting to relax in and take in a cool drink of an evening….. just perfect….. and so is the price approximately 500 – 700 baht per night depending on the room and facilities chosen. Lovely family run traditional Thai Guesthouse with pleasant and attentive staff. For more information or to make a booking please visit www.baanpim.com

Baan Pim Guesthouse

Swimming Pool And Gym

We have already discussed that Chiang Mai is a long way from the beach, but that there is plenty of sun and water available else where in Chiang Mai. If you are someone who whilst indulging in the culinary delights of Chiang Mai would like to offset it with some exercise to stop the unwanted pounds from stacking up in the form of a gym for a work out and a pool for a swim, then I know just the place. The Hillside Fitness Center which is on the 4th floor of the Hillside Plaza & Condotel 4 on Huaykaew Road chiang Mai has a great pool and gym. For a fee of 100 baht to use the gym single entry and then 50 baht to use the pool for a visit it is a very inexpensive way to spend a few hours. A day in Chiang Mai for me is not complete without a work out, swim and finally a long relaxing time in the sun by the pool with a quality book. A total of 150 baht  approximately £3-00 to stop myself feeling guilty from the curry and Singha beer and to learn something worthwhile whilst laying in the sun – who needs the beach. The gym has everything you could need with cardio machines, weight machines and plenty of free weights, the pool is quality as well. You can also buy or rent one of the condos in the building if you would like.

Hillside Fitness center And Pool: Huay Kaew Road

This tips Information has been made available by Engaging Thailand, more information about Engaging Thailand tours and  services can be found at www.engagingthailand.com

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