Chiang Mai’s Hidden Gems

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I can’t stop talking about Chiang Mai!!! I love it. I spent nearly two weeks in the city but I easily could have spent the entire month there. One day I’ll live there. I had already done all the touristy stuff during my last visit to Chiang Mai, so I made it a point to get out of the Old City and really explore the surrounding areas. It paid off, and I found four amazing areas around Chiang Mai that most people never get to. I’m going to be a good citizen and share these with the world.

The Sticky Waterfall

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Otherwise known as the Bua Thong Waterfalls, these limestone waterfalls are so fun to spend a day at. A friend and I took a motorcycle out there, about an hour’s drive. We eventually found them after getting lost. There aren’t a lot of people around, unless a tour group comes by. There are three different levels to the waterfalls, but it’s best to start at the very bottom and walk all the way up to the top. So glad I made it out here, it was worth the long drive (and getting very lost). Lounging around on the waterfall while the water crashes down around you is a lovely feeling.

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The Forest Temple

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This temple in the forest, Wat Pha Lat, is hidden behind the Chiang Mai Zoo, way past the university. I walked all the way there, which took about two hours, but it was a great hike up. After walking past the zoo, there’s a sign that indicates the start of the monk’s path. It was maybe about a 30 minute hike up. The path was indicated by strips of orange cloth wrapped on the trees. There were only two other people there when I got to the temple, making it the most serene and peaceful temple I had ever been to. This was truly a very zen place, perfect for meditation. I took to writing in my journal on the rocks over the river as I look out at the killer view of Chiang Mai. The atmosphere was so tranquil and made you feel so at peace with life. Absolutely my favorite place in Chiang Mai now.

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The Terracotta Garden

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So, this is in the Old City, but on northeast side which most tourists don’t venture to. There’s a cafe here now, which makes it a great place to focus and do work. There are tons of broken terracotta statues around here which are amazing to photograph.

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Wat Suan Dok

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This temple is enormous and also doubles as a university for the monks. Tourists don’t usually venture to this part of Chiang Mai, which is only just north of the Old City. Monk Chat can also be found here. I found the most interesting part to be the white mausoleums, which contain the ashes of the royal family of Chiang Mai. This funeral ground is stunningly beautiful, especially in the evening when the light is perfect.

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