About Kirsty S
Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Feb 2015
I have travelled extensively through Southeast Asia. I know Thailand and Malaysia particularly well, but also love Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore. I travel to this part of the world whenever I can, sometimes on a short trip while on route to Australia, and sometimes for extended periods of time so that I can really get beneath the skin of a particular area – whether I’ve been to that spot before or not. I've spent a lot of time in Bangkok – it's a fascinating melting pot of a city where there's always something new to explore. I also love Hanoi and have explored it both independently and as part of an organised tour. More than anything, I love discovering something new while travelling and sharing it with those who have the same passion for travel as I do. I’m a bit of a foodie and never get bored of the beach.
Religious Sites, Observation Decks & Towers, Lookouts
Ancient Ruins, Architectural Buildings, Religious Sites
Mountains, National Parks, Lookouts
Flea & Street Markets
Flea & Street Markets
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Start your time in Chiang Mai by going to see one of its most important temples. Set high up on a hillside, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep towers over Chiang Mai and is one of the most revered Buddhist temples in the whole of northern Thailand. It features a shining golden chedi and offers panoramic views of the city below. If you’re not up to climbing the few hundred steps to reach it, you can take a cable car from the base instead.
Wat Chedi Luang is one of the must-see temples in Chiang Mai. It is so named due to the gigantic brick chedi that sits within its grounds. Visually striking and built some 600 years ago, Wat Chedi Luang is particularly impressive at night when it's lit up to highlight its remarkable architecture.
Wat Phra Singh is the temple not to be missed and is home to a highly revered Buddha symbol, the Phra Singh (Lion Buddha). Elsewhere, look out for classic ancient Lanna architecture and an ornately painted main ceremonial hall.
While in Chiang Mai, make sure you explore some of its beautiful natural surroundings. Doi Inthanon is the tallest mountain in Thailand and the national park that encompasses it showcases some truly stunning scenery. The park has hiking trails, waterfalls and two stunning pagodas. It's a popular day trip from Chiang Mai, offering a cool respite from the heat of the city.
Visiting the Night Bazaar is practically a rites of passage for visitors to Chiang Mai. Situated right in the heart of the city, the Night Bazaar is a great place to hang out after the sun has gone down. It’s busy yet laid-back by Thai market standards, and you’ll find all the usual tourist souvenirs here, along with a few surprises along the way.
Start your day in Chiang Mai the way the locals do by heading over to the Warorot Market. Spread over three floors, this market is ideal for getting your fill of local food, whether you want to have a breakfast with a Thai twist or to choose something to savor later in the day. Part of the market is dedicated to vendors who will actually prepare and cook a meal for you from scratch there and then, with spicy aromas and flashes of pan-fire creating a real assault on the senses.
Mae Sa Waterfall is actually a series of falls divided into eight tiers. A trip there will provide you with some fantastic photo opportunities, as well as some great spots for hiking, swimming and picnicking amid all that stunning natural scenery.
Chiang Mai is the perfect place in which to learn how to cook delicious Thai cuisine, so if you’d prefer to stay in the city for the day, it’s a good chance to learn how to do just that. Owned and run by ‘Master Chef’ Sompon Nabnian, the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School uses only the freshest ingredients. It teaches skilful preparation, along with how to combine the right ingredients at the right time in order to achieve the most delicious results.
If you like shopping, make sure that at least one of your days in Chiang Mai falls on a weekend. There’s a Saturday night market held here too, and both are open from late afternoon until midnight. The Sunday Walking Street Market starts at the Tha Phae Gate and stretches for around a kilometer along Ratchadamnoen Road. It’s a bustling, thriving place where market stalls fill the street, selling everything from clothes and jewellery to local arts and crafts.
As an alternative to simply hopping on the back of an elephant with one of the many tour operators offering elephant treks, why not visit a unique elephant conservation park instead? If you’re a fan of these gentle giants you’ll be pleased to hear that the Elephant Nature Park is actually a sanctuary and rescue center rather than an unsustainable tourist attraction. On your day visit, you’ll get to hear the stories of the elephants at the park before getting the chance to feed and bathe them.
While in Chiang Mai, you should treat yourself to a classic Thai massage. There are plenty of places to enjoy a massage around the city, but Green Bamboo operates in a particularly warm and friendly atmosphere with a strong focus on Lanna Thai treatments.
With delicious food, exceptional service, fine wines and a relaxed atmosphere, dinner at DK David’s is a fantastic way to experience the best that Thai cuisine has to offer.