Explore Chiang MaiAugust 29, 2013
For most medical students, one of the highlights of a placement in Thailand is the opportunity to explore Chiang Mai. A charming, peaceful and serene region, Chiang Mai is far removed from the cacophonic hustle and bustle of the country’s capital, Bangkok. Located in the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai is surrounded in all directions by more than three hundred Buddhist stupas, temples and chedis, most them built between the 13th and 16th centuries.
Wherever you go in the region, you will come across plenty of these picture-pretty relics. You can rent a bike and spend the day exploring all of these quaint and peaceful temples or Wats or you can even explore them by foot. There are plenty of Wats so plan on spending the entire day. Start early so you can see as many as possible before they start to get really crowded.
Wat Phra Singh, the crowning glory of downtown Chiang Mai is one of the most popular temples in the region. The Wat Doi Suthep, another beautiful temple with a brilliant gold shining Chedi is located high on the nearest hillside and offers stunning views of the sprawling city of Chiang Mai down below. If you love sunrise photography, head on over to this temple early morning and you’ll be in for a real treat.
The lush Mountainside area on the outskirts of the city is a huge attraction for visitors to his region. The area is not difficult to access from the main city and offers a unique experience amidst the mountainous terrain of the region. From here you can visit the famous Doi Inthanon National park, which is home to numerous waterfalls, amazing wildlife and the highest mountain in Thailand.
On a trip to Chiang Mai, a visit to the interesting, historical Old City is a must. The narrow streets of the area are lined with small temples jostling for space with the many antique shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. Spend your time here rambling around on foot as you soak up the buzz in the air and the flurry of activity all around. If you love reading, there are several second hand bookstores where you can get some great bargains. Definitely worth looking into. On Sundays the whole place comes alive with all kinds of street entertainment and festivities from concerts and buskers to local stalls selling all kinds of curios, snacks and knick knacks.
Your weekend off is the perfect opportunity to book one of the many local tours to the areas surrounding Chiang Mai. There’s the tour to the elephant nature park where you can interact with elephants and even take an elephant back ride through the jungle.
If you love shopping, the Saturday Night market would be your idea of heaven. It’s crazy, crowded and cacophonic but it’s also great fun and not to be missed. Another fascinating market is the Warorot Market, which is a huge complex near the Mae Ping River. Here you can find fun apparel and accessories for yourself and all your family and friends back home at unbelievably low prices.
Nothing beats a Thailand medical placement for a trip that combines medical experience with loads of unusual things to see, do and buy.