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Chiang Mai: useful guide to visit the city

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There are many beauties in Chiang Mai, city which is 700 km from Bangkok, in the Northern Thailand.
In ten days I discovered green mountains, golden temples, friendly people, protected areas for elephants, rice fields, waterfalls, art museums, royal palaces and a great sense of tranquility. The city, which covers an area of 200 km in the Ping river valley, is famous not only for the craftmanship, in fact there are artifacts made of silk, wood, silver and ceramics, but also to be close to beautiful mountains including the highest peak in all of Thailand: Doi Inthanon.

How to get to Chiang Mai

From Bangkok I took a domestic flight of Bangkok Airways, which, in one hour, took me in the “Rose of the North”. The international airport of Chiang Mai is located about 3 km south-west of the city center, 10-15 minutes by car. The taxis depart from the north terminal, but to get to the center you can take bus No. 4, which costs 15 baht, or hire a tuk-tuk or songthaew (pick up) for 50-60 baht.

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The City

When we speak of Chiang Mai we have to distinguish the old city from the new one. The modern part, extended along the Ping River, is famous for its night market Thanon Chang Klan and the luxury hotels, while the historic center is bordered by the ruins of an ancient wall in turn surrounded by a moat crossed through small bridges.Within the walls of Chiang Mai lies a labyrinth of narrow streets that, in appearance, seem all equal. Don’t ask me how I managed to lose myself, but it happened!
On a sunny afternoon with a takeaway cappuccino as the only supply, attempting to return to the hotel, I’ve lost my way. So, desperate, I walked the entire perimeter of the old city before finding the right path. 

The PICK-UP

In Chiang Mai if you don’t have a car pick-up you’re nobody! Even the buses and taxis for tourists, are pick-up and have their own name. They are called songthaew and are of two colors: red for tourists, and yellow for the local residents. Before stepping on the red pick-up always try to negotiate the price with the driver.

HOTEL

My home for ten days was the Bodhi Serene.
Located in the heart of the historic center of Chiang Mai, the hotel is in a great location for exploring the old part of town where there are numerous temples built with a combination of styles from Burma, Sri Lanka and Lanna Thai. The Bodhi Serene is reminiscent of a small medieval fortress. Behind the imposing walls and the the carved wooden doorway, are hidden green gardens, a rooftop pool and rooms super luxury where you will make peace with yourself and with the world. The breakfast was the best moment of the day: it took place in a veranda overlooking a zen garden filled with plumeria trees, full of fragrant white flowers: frangipani.

In the next articles I bring you to discover temples, national parks and the people of the north of Thailand. Are you ready to travel with me?

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