Immediately west of Chiang Mai lies Doi Suthep containing temples, a dragon stairway, and other religious sites. Tours allow plenty of time to wander the complexes, and I almost ended up getting lost following a path which my offline map showed would curve back around, but didn’t. I discovered a slice of temple life behind the scenes. Everything was large and grandiose, funded partially by the waves of tourists adding to it’s popularity. I managed to get dropped off at Chiang Mai University and walked through the campus, avoiding random dogs, until finally reaching the city walls. Then I caught the overnight bus for a long days journey to the Myanmar border.
Universities are a fantastic and highly underrated tourist attraction. You can experience a country’s culture, find English speak youths, and get a sense for the country’s future potential. Many campuses are also quite beautiful with a mix of nature and modern aesthetic.