We have heard nothing but great things about the city of Chiang Mai, and many travelers have told us that it placed high on their list of favourite destinations. Unfortunately our arrival in Chiang Mai came as poor timing because it was a few days before the Thai new year celebration, and without prior reservations we had no chance of finding accommodation during the busy days of the festival.
We spent very little time in Chiang Mai before heading to a smaller northern city for Songkran, the Thai new year, but enjoyed walking around and exploring a large golden Wat with our short visit. The old city, where many restaurants and cheap guesthouses are located, is enclosed in a brick wall and moat that give the area an enchanted feel. Even though Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s largest cities it does not give off the large metropolitan vibe and instead feels cozy and welcoming.
We do regret not being able to spend more time getting to know the city of Chiang Mai, but we also were a little relieved to escape before the new year celebrations turned the city into one big wild party and water fight. We were off to Pai, a few hours from Chiang Mai, where Songkran could be celebrated with a milder wild party and water fight!