We really loved our five weeks in Chiang Mai. We felt like we never ran out of things to do. There are so many beautiful Wats, two zoos, gardens, cooking classes, waterfalls, and the food…Oh the food!
Here are our top picks:
Yummy Yummy Food
Our picks for the best vegetarian restaurants in Chiang Mai.
(We aren’t actually vegetarian but we prefer to limit our meat intake)
Pun Pun Organic Restaurant: Located inside the grounds of Wat Suan Dok, just behind the monk chat building this was by far our favourite vegetarian restaurant in Chiang Mai. Most of the produce is sourced from the organic Pun Pun farm and the food is simply beautiful. The location is stellar, under an old bodhi tree behind the Wat and there is nothing on the menu over 60 baht.
Free Bird Cafe: Located just outside the moat on the North side this Cafe serves up a dose of delicious along with a sprinkling of some feel good karma. ALL the proceeds from this restaurant go to helping run the Thai Freedom House, a not for profit society that helps to educate Burmese refugees. Tasting the vegetarian Burmese food is an explosion of flavours in your mouth. So, so delicious! They also have a great spot with toys and books for kids which makes them the perfect spot to spend a few hours over a quiet meal with a latte for desert. Check out their used clothing shop while you are there and make a donation if you have any clothes you are tired of!
Beetroot Stories: A simple vegetarian restaurant in the courtyard behind Wawee coffee on Ratchadamnoen Road. Try their coconut shake. Yum.
The Vietnamese Restaurant beside Beetroot Stories: The sign for the Vietnamese Restaurant is in Thai only but look for the picture of the bowl of Pho. They have very yummy bowls of noodle soup and some great fresh salad rolls.
Blue Diamond: On Moon Muang Road Soi 9 This is a great place to come for breakfast. Many of the dishes can be ordered as vegan which was great for Mike who can’t have dairy. Their hash browns are delish and you can get muffins, croissants, bread, and a variety of health food there too!
The Sunday Walking Market: We haven’t missed a Sunday Walking Market yet! We actually have not bought much from any of the markets but it is fun to go and look. If you need some natural soaps in Chiang Mai this is where I stocked up on mine (in the first few blocks across from the bank with purple signs). This market is for tourists and if you were on your way home this is a great place to fill your bags. We also really enjoyed eating at Pan On Wat because the food court that is set up there on Sunday does not use any styrofoam for serving, the garbage is separated into compostable, and recyclable, it is cheap, and we can all dig in to whatever dish we fancy because there are so many choices of food.
Warowot Market: This is not a tourist market, which is why we liked it. It is a fun place to people watch and inspect all of the interesting things for sale. If you are in the market for fried bugs, skinned frogs, live turtles, or pig heads you will not be disappointed! Although we did not buy any clothes here, there was an upstairs area that had a lot of the comfy cotton clothes you see at the tourist markets.
Niyom Shop: 80/6 Ratchadamnoen Road. This is a clothing shop that I just really liked. I could have spent a lot of money here. There was lots of variety and the owner was super friendly. I bought three shirts and a dress here of high quality with lots of detailing and so far I have not been disappointed with any of my purchases. It is worth seeking out if you are in the market for a new wardrobe.
Chiang Mai Playgrounds
Buak Hat Park: South West corner of the moat. The pickings for playgrounds in Chiang Mai is slim. We only found one free playground in the city and it wasn’t a great one but it will do if you just need some space for the kids to run around. Our kids liked feeding the pigeons and fish and the playground held their interest for a little while.
Other Playgrounds in Chiang Mai: There is a great playground at The Night Safari but you have to pay your entrance fee to the zoo as well as an extra 40 baht to get into the playground. Near the Night Safari at Royal Park Rajapruek there also a great little park but again, you must pay the entrance fee to get into the gardens.
If you are coming to Chaing Mai with or without your family I hope our suggestions help you out!