Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most visited areas. It’s also considered to be one of the most scenic provinces in the country because of its stunning mountain ranges, valleys, vegetation, and wildlife.
Northern Thailand has a tropical wet and dry climate which offers warm to hot weather.
The night-time conditions during the dry season can be cooler and are much lower than daytime temperatures. Surprisingly in some of the mountain villages, the temperatures can reach as low as 0c.
Mountains Around Chiang Mai
In the mountains Around Chiang Mai people are extremely proud of their northern roots and the Lanna origins. This part of Thailand has unique foods, language, and way of life compared to Bangkok or southern Thailand.
The mountains around Chiang Mai are also home to various hill tribes, and each one has their own distinctive culture.
It’s possible to either rent a vehicle or drive straight up into the mountains to explore for yourself. However, it’s much easier to plan the trip with a company like Farm Stay Asia.
Driving along the mountains roads is an adventure on its own. Exploring tight windy roads can be fun, but as the signs are in Thai it’s better to have someone who knows where they are going!
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No visit to the mountains around Chiang Mai would be complete without stopping off at the local temple. Temples are a point of curiosity travellers, but they also play a significant role in everyday life for local people in Thailand.
People go to the temple to pray to the Buddha for things such as health, happiness, wealth, and advice from monks.
Buddhist temples in Thailand are called “wats” which means an enclosure.
Wat design and architecture has changed over the course of Thailands history. Although there are differences between style and layout, they mostly follow the same principles.
A Thai temple normally has two parts: the Phutthawat and the Sangkhawat.
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The mountains around Chiang Mai offer some incredible day hikes. It’s even possible to eat bush snacks like bamboo and mushrooms from the forest while hiking near Chiang Mai.
It’s important to note that most of the mountain paths are unmarked with no signs. Paths around a waterfall area like the one we hiked may have one or two signs – but even then the information was lacking.
I recommend taking it easy at first and not venture out too far without proper knowledge or a guide to avoid getting lost.
A local guide is invaluable regarding knowledge of the routes and area. When you take a local guide on a hike, it’s also nice to know you are putting some money back into the community.
Our guide lived in the village and had plenty of information to share about its history.
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Even if you can’t stand to be away from the city for long, it’s worth staying out here for at least one night.
From the traditional ways all the way to present day conveniences, it’s interesting to see how self-sufficient the villagers can be.
Many locals grow fruits, vegetables, and even coffee beans. With no supermarkets close by there’s much more of an emphasis on growing things yourself.
Growing food in the mountains around Chiang Mai is surprisingly cheap and healthy. It’s also not that difficult once you understand the concepts – which the locals are happy to share with you.
If you are interested in this type of travel, I used Farm Stay Asia to organise my trip. At present thye have over 20 different locations around Thailand to visit.