This is a guest post by Ivana and Gianni of Nomad Is Beautiful. They are a digital nomad couple who broke their old habits to live a new, healthy lifestyle on the road. On their journey, through their stories and photographs, they show you places where you can replenish your spirit, take good care of your body, eat and drink healthy, local food and beverages and live mindfully while being on the road.
Plus Ivana is from Peter’s homeland Slovakia. Anyway, Lindsay and I didn’t make it up to the north of Thailand on this trip, so we’re happy to include on Where Is Your Toothbrush? Ivana’s and Gianni’s list of places to relax in the backpackers’ Mecca, Chiang Mai. Enjoy!
It is not a coincidence that Chiang Mai has become a top destination of northern Thailand.
The town where the rushed streets mingle with the quiet side alleys, and peaceful temples stand close to busy bars full of tourists. What can charm you at first glance when you arrive here is that you do not have to escape the town when you fancy a serene or meditative place, on your own or accompanied by the people on your wavelength. When you deviate a bit from the usual touristic spots, you will find plenty of relaxing places. Here is a short list of our favorites.
Baan Phor Liang Meun’s Terra-Cotta Arts (or simply Terracotta Garden)
This place is hidden just nearby the lively and hectic Chiang Mai Gate Market. It is filled with Hindu and Buddhist terracotta sculptures and reliefs, many of them cracked or damaged, covered with moss, or surrounded by bushes or trees. Find others hidden behind the walls, as you enjoy a short walk, or just sit on the stone benches in the shade and absorb the feeling of the magical, ancient history.
A great spot for hot days.
Truly, our most favourite place here in Chiang Mai. Here, you will be served high quality tea, but what counts more is their art of presentation and their love of serving each cup. Sati is a highly recommended experience. Ms. Echo, the owner and the tea-artist also gives amazing yoga classes each morning, as she pays special attention to each student and performs her asanas with great awareness.
Nakara Jardin Garden
If you have something to celebrate and you’d like to indulge with scrumptious food, sweets and tea, look for this Monet style garden near the Ping river, Nakara Jardin Patisserie and Bistro. Here, not only can you splurge on amazing tastes and luxuriously presented food, but you will also have a chance to relax in comfortable French style chairs on the patio with a river view in the shade. Enjoy the lovely breeze in your hair while listening to jazz music at this garden bistro.
Once you have seen all the temples in Chiang Mai, it is time to explore its outskirts. Wat Pha-Lat is the right place to relax in the forest, meditate near the waterfall, sit on the bench with beautiful view of the massive rocks, or to have a walk around the complex of temples. Located just 8 km from Chiang Mai in the Pui National Park near Doi Suthep, this place is indeed an oasis of peace.
For those who prefer to meditate indoors, we recommend the Green Papaya Sangha at Yoga Tree. This Sangha has been around for over 7 years and is held according to the principles of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. The class takes 1.5 hours, from 7.30 -9.00 pm and is usually facilitated by the people from the New Foundation. During the class you will experience about 20 minutes of guided meditation, 20 minutes of walking meditation and 20 minutes of silent meditation. Yoga Tree is a very nice place to meet new people and to slow down after a working day.
We have been staying in Chiang Mai now for nearly three months, and during this time we have found these places to be a great break from computer work. They let us get off the beaten path and away from over-advertised, touristic activities in town. Overall, it is wonderful to stay in a place like Chiang Mai where you can easily find peace and relaxation and recharge your batteries.