One of the most revered temples in the area, and certainly the best in Chiang Mai. Check out the long, long Naga (snake demons) that undulate up the balustrades to the summit of the hill, and the golden chedi in the main temple. Well worth the hassle to get to.
Either on a tour, or take a red pick-up truck taxi (songtheaw) from the little station across from the northside of the city wall, near Pratu Chang Phuak gate. Should cost about 50 Baht for the 45min ride and 30 more more for entry. Be aware that you're going to climb 300 steps in the heat, though there is a cable car option.
A street lined with cheap eats. One place worth mentioning is the open shop with bowls of curry and random stir-frys on show and a few tables set out in front. Everything is cheap, and everything is good. Try the potato and chicken curry at 30 - 50 baht a plate.
Thanon Rambutri just behind Khao San, up past the police station.
A smallish Chinese-looking building from the exterior, with two floors overlooking a stage area where local Reggae and Blues bands play almost nightly. A great place to relax to some Marley and stick your name up on the blackboard for a game of pool.
Th. Rangsiyanon Keep walking out of town past the police station and it'll be on your left, covered in fairy lights.
Let's face it, Khao San is a 'farang' magnet. Everyone ends up there at some point. Grab a Singha beer from the 7/11 about half-way down the road, pull up a chair at one of the few patio-style tables on the pavement and do some of the best people-watching to be had in Thailand.
Banglamphu Neighbourhood. Just listen for Jack Johnson asking 'Where'd all the good people go?'
The traffic in BKK is awful and can be at least partially avoided by using the riverboat system. For budgeteers out there the nearest one to Koh San is Tha Pra Atit. The boats operate on a flag system. So you need to look on the map at the pier and figure out which coloured flag boat goes to your destination or indeed stops at the pier you are standing on (you may need to ferry to another pier to get a faster boat). So when the boat arrives look for the flag on the top - if it matches the colour you want then hop on. A conductor clicking a money tray open and closed will come round and take your fare and it helps to have change. Different boats have different prices but they're all dirt cheap. When you arrive at your stop get ready to leap off the boat as they don't tie up for long!! If you are really brave there are boats which traverse the city's canals but good luck with that one.
Tha Pra Atit
It's a bar near Koh San road that plays the best blues and has a cool range of cocktails. It was my local when I taught English there and I was never out of the place. Try the flatliner cocktails - guaranteed to make your night go faster!! Mr Sharkey
It's a restaurant come guesthouse situated in Trok Mayom which is an alley that runs parallel to Koh San Road. It does by far and away the best food in that area and they also sell wine by the glass which is difficult to find. For those not yet used to the delights of firey food it does a fab western menu in tandem to the best currys I have ever tasted (try the Massaman). As a guesthouse it's not great but it is cheap.
Runs paralell to Koh San Road
Not so much a house but a collection of old teak structures lovingly assembled by a rich American eccentric with a Boy's Own Adventures life story. Now a museum, it also contains a range of Asian artefacts in a setting far more appealing than a museum. If you leave here without wishing you too could live in it, travel in Asia is not for you.
6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Road Tel: 216-7368, 215-0122 Walkable from the Stadium or Siam Square skytrain stations
"Hello, I take you anywhere, many temple, jus' twenny baht!" So begins one of the oldest scams in Bangkok's voluminous book; I still fell for it. What the driver really wants is a petrol token, which will be given to him by someone at the tailors' or jewellers' shop he will inevitably bring you to after a short tour of the neighbourhood's least spectacular wats.
Outside most of Bangkok's main attractions.
Every backpacker knows Bangkok's Khao Sanh Road, but running parallel to it is a much lesser-known alley with all the cheap hostels, bars, restaurants and shops you find on the main drag. Just far less crowded and frenetic.
Find your way to the Khao Sanh road in the Banglamphu area: Trok Mayom lies just to the north. Walkable also from Phra Athit river pier.
I had the experience of going to a local village just out of Chiang Mai and watching a friend get a traditional Thai Tattoo. It was not a machine drawn by some hippie want to be, in a night market - but one done by a former monk in a private house. The tattoo was applied by a long bamboo stick and a couple of needles attached to the end dipped in ink and speared into the skin.
Baan Noi, moo 1, Doi Saket, Chiang Mai
It is a lesser know local market that is created on Saturday nights by closing a street just out of Chiang Mai gate. It is open from about 5pm till 11pm and has lots of unique items that are only found there.
The real treat is that it is for locals more than westerners so you can people watch and enjoy the Thai people without being hassled by vendors like at a night bazaar but they have enough English to get understood.
It is not so big that you feel lost or overcrowded but enough to fill the evening with things to see.
Many of the local day stores are open late from shops selling handmade silver to a wedding boutique that has Thai and western wedding dresses - so lots to see.
Wualai road in the heart of the Silver treet area, just outside the Chiang Mai gate.
This is fantastic! Little huts (some on stilts) just outside the centre. Trees and plants are totally overgrown so you feel like you're in the jungle. A great breakfast is included in the very cheap price and the nice guy who runs it will help you book treks and elephant rides. It's a complete gem.
3 Soi 4, Ratchadamnoen Rd, Chiang Mai (most taxi/tuk tuk drivers will know it well when you get in at the station or the airport);
tel: (053) 278 140;
What's great about the Tamarind Village is its lack of tack. Low-rise, with only 40 rooms set among gardens, and a small pool, this hotel has a relaxed and intimate vibe. Rooms are simple, and perhaps don't have all the trimmings that you might get in the Hilton, but the interiors are tastefully understated and the overall design seems to have a calming effect, which is something to be cherished in the heat and bustle of Chiang Mai. Staff are great too, as are the breakfasts.
50/1 Rajdamnoen Road, Sri Phom, Muang, Chiangmai 50200;
tel: 0 5341 8896 9
Krabi's night market is wonderful - tonnes of different foods to try and all fantastic and so cheap. The atmosphere is relaxed but exciting too, and there's a real community feel as most of the town turn up at some point during the evening. A must!
Conde Nast have named their "best new hotels in the World for 2006" (May 2006 - US Edition). Fortunately, for those of us who don't have 800USD to blow on a hotel room, CN were sweet enough to include a few recommendations that may just be within our reach, including the Old Bangkok Inn.
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