Traveling to a foreign territory alone can be intimidating. However, if the location is perfect, you will have the best memories. Chiang Mai is a mountainous city in the northern part of Thailand that has retained its traditional culture. The diverse attractions, bustling night markets, and a thriving art scene make it the ideal destination for solo travelers. Over the years, Chiang Mai has become a backpacking hub due to the tourist-friendly atmosphere, welcoming natives, and affordable cost of living.
With a tropical climate, you can expect the weather to be hot, dry, or wet. Therefore, the best time to visit Chiang Mai is from mid-October to February. During that time, the weather is pleasant and ideal for outdoor adventure. However, you may have to share the city will many tourists. If you have plans to travel solo to Chiang Mai, we got you covered with a two-day itinerary.
Day One Activities
If you manage to get to Chiang Mai early in the morning, you will get plenty of time to visit places of interest. You can also enjoy a meal or get a burger in Chiang Mai before exploring the famous temples in the area.
You will hardly have time to visit all the temples in the city. Therefore, you can choose three among the 300 Buddhist temples in the area. Wat Phra Singh is the most beautiful and probably the most prominent temple and monastery. Dating back to the 14th century, its exquisite architecture, and Buddha statues are a remarkable sight. You can visit the temple grounds, take a tour, and talk with the monks. The temple has multiple facilities to explore, including the golden chedi and scripture library.
Wat Chedi Luang is a short distance from Wat Phra Singh popularly referred to as ‘Temple of the Great Stupa.’ It has a towering stature and could have been the largest temple if not for the earthquake that destroyed part of it. However, it is still a notable temple to visit.
After exploring the two temples, it is time to take a taxi ride to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. It was built in the 14th century, but the addition of shrines done over the years has expanded the temple. The beautiful temple sits on a mountain. Once you have had your fill of temple hopping, you can go for a hike and enjoy the natural scenery before heading back to the Old City. When temple hopping, you do not have to worry about expenses piling up due to entry fees. Most Buddhist temples and monasteries are free, making it ideal for solo travelers to tour the facilities without additional costs.
Courtesy of Blue Ridge Walker
In the evening, you can dine at the Hard Rock Cafe as you listen to live music before exploring the night bazaar for your shopping fix. Night bazaar offers the best shopping experience in Chiang Mai; the range and diversity are fantastic. You can spend the entire evening browsing, soaking up the scene, and snacking.
Be sure to visit the Night Bazaar and collect souvenirs. Being the epicenter of shopping in Thailand, the Night Bazaar runs until 2230hrs local time. It is a collection of stalls dotted along Chang Khlan and Loi Kroh roads. You will find lots of handicrafts, artworks, music, food, and clothes for sale.
One of the benefits of being a solo traveler in Chiang Mai is that you can eat alone comfortably. In the night bazaar, you can snack as you walk without anyone batting an eye. Even if you go to restaurants and sit alone at the table, you will not feel self-conscious since there are many solo travelers. Besides, Chiang Mai has community-centric dining spots. The restaurants allow you to share meals with strangers and make new friends.
Day Two Activities
Elephant Nature Park is a rescue center and animal sanctuary with over thirty elephants. You can visit the park for a day tour, but if you can spare the whole day, volunteer in the shelter. Elephant Nature Park is one and a half hours from the Old City on a taxi, and you will have a fun-filled day feeding the elephants. However, you have to make a reservation before the visit.
Doi Inthanon National Park
Instead of going to the elephant sanctuary, you can go to the Doi Inthanon National Park, which is famous for its picturesque view of the Doi Inthanon Mountain and rare species of birds. The park is an hour away from the Old Town by car. It is the home to the highest mountain in the region and features nature trails, stunning landscapes, and waterfalls. You can get to the highest point in Thailand by walking up the path through the forest. You can also hike or cycle along the various nature trails and takes in the natural scenery of the beautiful landscapes. The numerous waterfalls surrounding the park include Mae Ya, Sirithan, and the Wachirathan waterfalls. The waterfalls are spectacular with a viewing platform and are easy to access from the trails. The park also has picnic gardens, but you will have to carry snacks since there are limited food vendors.
After spending your morning in the park, your muscles will be aching. Luckily, there is a remedy for that. You can go for a deep tissue massage from one of the many spa and massage parlors in Chiang Mai. You can also support the locals by getting a massage in the women’s prison. It is a fantastic program for supporting women by helping them gain skills and making their integration into the community after release seamless.
Sunday Walking Street
If you are in Chiang Mai during a weekend, make sure you go to the Sunday walking street on Sunday evening. The famous market usually runs from Tha Pae Gate to Ratchadamnoen road, creating a temporary walking street. The street has a myriad with food vendors, massage parlors, locally made handicrafts, and souvenirs.
Chiang Mai is a quaint and unique piece of paradise. The beautiful location is accommodative to both nature lovers and city enthusiasts. You can relax and unwind in the massage parlors or enjoy hiking and exploring the attractions. Whatever you choose to do in Chiang Mai, 48 hours will not be enough to exhaust your options.