In our Good Life Local column, we take a trip around a specific location through the eyes and experiences of a local resident based in that city. With cool places popping up all over the country, it can be quite a challenge to keep up with the latest, best must-visit spots. This series aims to suss out the insider hidden gems and create a tailored itinerary from the perspective of a local.
24 hours in Chiang Mai with Irin Ariyatanaporn
For our inaugural feature in this travel series, we’re spending 24 hours in Chiang Mai with a Chiang Mai-based artist. Meet Irin ‘Ann’ Ariyatanaporn, an architect and professional doodler. Her work leans towards minimalism and her art can be described as crisp, intricate, and classic. All of her endearing doodles pay close attention to detail and narrate a story in a charming, minimalistic way.
When she’s not creating art for local brands, you’ll find Irin sipping on coffee, spending quality time with her Jack Russell Terrier (also a coffee lover), or exploring indie spots around town. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Chiang Mai, according to Irin Ariyatanaporn.
Irin starts off her day with breakfast at The Larder Cafe & Bar
Irin recommends you start off your day at The Larder Cafe & Bar with an outdoor breakfast. French toast, bacon and eggs, vegan options, avocado toast, and more – there is something for everyone here. For Irin, this cafe takes her back to her Australia days. For a more local vibe, the creative recommends Moo Ping Khun Por, the famous Thai breakfast spot located in the most touristic area of the city, Nimman.
Kalm Village is her favourite creative spot
“Chiang Mai is a pretty creative city, so you’ll see lots of different creative things in different areas of the city, “says Irin. “I like Kalm Village; they have local products and yoga on the weekends, too.” Being an art, crafts, and culture centre, creativity is the soul of Kalm Village. The next time you’re traveling up north, head to the village to endorse local creativity during the week and let your body thank you by partaking in yoga during the weekend.
For lunch, it’s noodles and doodles at Rote Yiam Beef Noodle
After all that exploring, it’s time for an afternoon meal. For Irin, noodles are always an option. Where to go for good noodles in Chiang Mai? Irin says you can’t go wrong with lunching at Rote Yiam Beef Noodle. For non-vegetarians, the bestselling beef noodles are not to be missed.
Irin loves shopping for local products, and recommends a local artist village
Fuelled from all the noodles at lunch, you’re ready to empty your pockets and fill up your tote bags. Where is all this shopping action taking place? The artist recommends walking among local vendors and shopping local art products at charming little artist village Baang Kang Wat, as well as the unique community space Jing Jai Market.
For coffee, the options are endless
Spoken like a true Northerner, “it is tricky to pick one because we are a coffee city, so you can get great coffee literally three blocks away from each other ” is the doodler’s take on where to go for the best coffee in Chiang Mai. No argument there.
She unwinds with a walk in the park at Ang Kaew Reservoir
A walk along the Ang Kaew Reservoir located within the campus of Chiang Mai University with her furry friend is one of the ways Irin unwinds. If you’re one for nature, the park is a relaxing place to spend your evening.
The best views are at Mae Kampong
Looking to immerse yourself even further into nature? A small village in the woods located merely an hour from the city, Mae Kampong offers an exciting interaction with nature. Irin recommends this drive up to the mountains for the best views.
For fine dining, it’s got to be Cuisine de Garden or Blackitch Artisan Kitchen
Irin likes to end her days with a fine dining dinner. Among the several fine dining outlets in the city, her two favourites are Cuisine de Garden and Blackitch Artisan Kitchen. The former serves nature-inspired cuisine prepared with premium local ingredients, whilst the latter serves holistic localised artisanal cuisine by the well-known and well-loved Chef Black. For both restaurants, the artist appreciates that the dishes are “Thai ingredient-based with added foreign nuances.”
Lastly, the night ends with cocktails at Noir or wine at Cru
For an easygoing, laidback night of cocktails and comrades, book a table at Noir. The cosy cocktail bar does a jazz night every now and then, and “is a great place to hang out with a group of friends.” For when she’s in the mood for fine wine, Irin is impressed with CRU wine bar’s selections. A perfect way to end your day in Chiang Mai.