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Things to do in Chiang Mai

297 contributors

The top 135 attractions in Chiang Mai

Temples in Chiang Mai
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
(21)
The following trip took us to Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai. This is a rich complex of religious buildings. The temple is considerably large itself, with its holy relics, and was founded in the fourteenth century. It is considered the symbol of Thailand Lanna. Four golden parasols surround the central chedi decorated with filigree gold leaf which are placed there by pilgrims to the temple. It is a delight to walk among the faithful and feel some peace and tranquility that seems to emanate from the many images of Buddha.
Temples in Chiang Mai
Wat Phra Singh
(14)
No wonder this temple, or wat in Thai, is famous. You might get sick of reading this term if you travel to Thailand because it's the most visited in Chiang Mai. Taking advantage of a sunny day, we walked throughout the old city that's full of temples. We visited all the historical ones and we generally loved their accessible and full of life environment. Speaking of life, the Phra Singh was certainly the liveliest temple, meaning lion Buddha. He's the most revered of Chiang Mai and little is known of him. I remember the feeling I got when I went into the room and saw many people (mostly monks of all ages). We spent a good time walking through the different corners, browsing the customs of its inhabitants, their prayers, etc.. The atmosphere invited us to be comfy. I enjoyed it very much, especially considering that yellow is my favourite colour and all its different shades flood this space.
Churches in Chiang Mai
Wat Chedi Luang
(11)
Wat Chedi Luang is undoubtedly one of the most interesting temples in the walled city and one of the oldest. I recommend going at night to walk around this one or other temples. You can feel the peacefulness and the ambience going after dark because these parts of the city are full of magic! Chiang Mai is a city worth spending three nights in. SIAMTRAILS has many trips covering the region.
Markets in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
(9)
A return to the night market of Chiang Mai. It is open late, til 11 pm, and over the holidays. There are international chain restaurants and souvenir shops. The Chinese, mostly immigrants from the province of Yunnan, celebrate the new year here. Roast duck, spring rolls, fried noodles and cakes are everywhere, plus a show for children and hundreds of rockets exploding everywhere. I had a great meal here, after six months in South America eating chicken with rice, this place has a variety that makes you mouth water and it's all very cheap, you can eat like a king for 2 euros. But, you don't always want to eat in this heat. It's best to have a main meal in the evening and just have some fresh watermelon or pineapple during the day. I tried everything, vegetables that I didn't know existed, burning my throat with peppers and spices. Meal time always comes with a big jug of water, not of the purest I'm sure, but I never got sick.
Of Touristic Interest in Chiang Mai
Laos–Thailand Border Crossing
(8)
I will stop there in just a little over a month. The boat to cross the Mekong River from Chiang Khong in Tai, to Houei Xai in Laos, costs 20 baht (in May '09). The visa for Lao, can be extended to a month-long visa, $ 35 USA. You need to be sure you have a passport valid for 6 months from the date of issue of the visa, and two photographs (even if you have two with it, in my case). I spent one night in Houxei, I never expected to get to Laos that day and so I had to come up with something. The next day I took the boat down the Mekong to Luang Phrabang. PS: I can not re-edit, but the photos belong to Houei Xai in Laos. I guess I felt bad, because this place did not exist in the drop-down menu, and I had to leave it as is. Sorry.
Of Touristic Interest in Chiang Mai
Maesa Elephant Camp
(9)
One of the typical things to do in Thailand is the Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, north of Bangkok. In a large arena domestic elephants show off their skills by juggling, drawing, and acting for the public, always under the watchful eye of their trainers. After the performance you can ride the elephants and take a walk to the river where the tour continues on rafts.
Of Cultural Interest in Chiang Mai
The Karen Tribe
(6)
These tribes in northern Thailand belong to a fairly large group from the south of Myanmar, Union of Burma, which are not considered ethnic because they differ from each other in terms of language and religion. The group belonging to northern Thailand is not very big, but as a whole they are divided into different countries. Living on the earth, these groups are often displaced by the depletion of the fields after they are prepared by cutting and burning. Supposedly, these groups were trying to be incorporated in Thai culture to prevent their nomadic way of life, whose method of agriculture can be damaging to the environment. Of course, along with most of the tribes in this area, they also make all kinds of ornamental crafts and clothing due to the large amount of tourism. Greetings.
Temples in Chiang Mai
Wat Chiang Man
(3)
Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai and dates from the 13th century. For a time, it was the residence of King Mengrai, the founder of the city, ve lived here during the city's construction. It has been restored several times during its history and the décor has a distinct Burmese influence. It's notable for the row of stone elephants. Inside, there are two famous images of Buddha, one in marble and the other in crystal. It's located in the old city so it's easy to find.
Festivals in Chiang Mai
Loi Krathong Festival
(8)
I was back to being a kid for the two days the festival lasted. Hundreds of hot air balloons floating in the sky and candles swimming down the river. Worth seeing this at least once in your lifetime!
Of Cultural Interest in Chiang Mai
Sunday Night Market
(5)
If you're in Chiang Mai on a Sunday, you'll have the opportunity to see this wonderful craft market, with bracelets, earrings, household items, clothing, paintings, food, etc. It takes place every Sunday between 5 and 11. This is a cultural event, in which many of the vendors sell products they've made themselves. Unlike the night market, it's not aimed just at tourists, and most of the attendees are locals. There is music, puppet performances, etc. Don't miss it if you're in Chiang Mai on a Sunday!
Gardens in Chiang Mai
Sai Nam Phung Orchid Farm
(5)
This is the best Mae Rim botanical garden north of Chiang Mai! Although it is located in the northern part of Chiang Mai, specifically in the town of Mae Rim, 10 kilometres from the city. This is one of the best places to enjoy Thai orchids, along with a butterfly farm. Also you can also buy orchid souvenirs or their seeds.
Spa in Chiang Mai
Lila Thai Massage
(2)
Maybe Lila Chiang Mai Massages Room isn't the cheapest place to go, but the facilities are the best I've seen. It's very clean, with fresh linen and towels for each client. One of the more interesting things about this place is that behind this incredible massage parlor, there's also a social project that helps women develop relationships with ex-convicts, giving them quality training and a chance at a new life. They'll treat you to free internet if you have to wait a little while. They do recommend booking a reservation in advance (a few hours before should be enough). The whole body one hour massage costs about 200 Bhats. If you can, you should go.
Bars in Chiang Mai
THC Rooftop Bar
(3)
The first time we came here, we didn't know what we were looking for. The entrance is a clothing store. Going up the stairs, you find walls painted with psychedelic colors. Suddenly you're asked to take your shoes off (something very common in Thailand). You go up the stairs and finally, you are on the terrace of the Roof Top Bar with many tables scattered with young people sitting around, drinking beer. A DJ spins electronic music and the atmosphere, with the limitation of the fact that it is only foreigners here, is the best in town. A bottle of local rum, 3 cokes and ice costs 650 Bhats (14 €). The beer costs about 70 Bhats.
Rafting in Chiang Mai
Mae Ping River Rafting
(1)
At the end of our experience with the elephants had the opportunity to go down the river either in a canoe or a raft, but this river is so calm that it was just a nice, pleasant thing to do more than being an adventure. It's a nice experience that exudes tranquility where you can admire the lush vegetation of this beautiful place. It's really hard to handle a bamboo raft. The trunk is very long, and you have to touch the bottom with your stick in order to go anywhere. It takes lots of practice to keep the raft in a straight line. Another one of those days to remember when you get back to nature in daily life and you don't even realize it. Cheers.
Of Touristic Interest in Chiang Mai
Bangkok to Chiang Mai VIP Bus
(6)
VIP charter buses are offered by various travel agencies in Bangkok. They usually have television and air conditioning. The Bangkok to Chiang Mai route takes about 11 - 12 hours, vs 12 - 14 on the train. These buses usually leave at night and arrive in Chiang Mai at dawn. The price is negotiable - the normal price is around 450 baht (about 10 euros), but you can manage to lower it to 300 or even 200 baht. From Chiang Mai to Bangkok it is easy to find buses for 300-400 baht.
Rivers in Chiang Mai
Bamboo Rafting
(3)
One of the most fun things I did during my trip to Thailand was bamboo rafting down the river. The river was right next to the Chiang Dao Elephant Training Center in the village of Ta Yaak near Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. You go four to a boat and our driver was super friendly. He even gave us traditional hats to wear and took pictures of us. We had a great time floating along and admiring the tropical forests lining the river.
Nature Reserves in Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon National Park
(5)
About 90 km from Chiang Mai is the beautiful Doi Inthanon National Park, home to the highest peak of Thailand at an altitude of 2595 meters. From November to February, it is cold, about 5 or 6 degrees, in the early morning or evening. The National Park includes attractions like the beautiful waterfalls of Mae Ya and Wachiratan, the tribal village of the Mong who live in the jungle environment and who are engaged in growing fruit trees, vegetables and flowers, which are part of the many so-called Real Projects for the integration of these minorities. With SIAMTRAILS you can visit the Magic Triangle or the Opium trail going to Mae Hong Son. The best time to visit is from July to March when the waterfalls have more water, but overall every season is charming. It is also a place frequented by the Thai tourists which adds even more charm for the foreign visitor.
Airports in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai International Airport
(6)
During my trip through Thailand, I passed through several airports, incuding Chiang Mai International Airport which is located just 4 kilometers from the center of Chiang Mai. It receives about 130 flights a week, mostly from Bangkok, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Myanmar and Laos. Carriers include Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines and Bangkok Airways. Its flights are operated from 6.00 to 23.30.

The best things to do in Chiang Mai

Wondering what to do in Chiang Mai? Well, it's the perfect place to get lost wandering among the bustling streets. Whether you prefer to explore on foot, by bicycle or by motorbike, there's lots to see and no end to fun things to do in Chiang Mai.


Some the main Chiang Mai attractions are the numerous Buddhist temples are found throughout the city. Of all these temples, one stands above the rest: Wat Phra Singh, built in 1345. Another of the best places to visit in Chiang Mai
is the Doi Inthanon National Park, one of the most beautiful nature reserves in all of Thailand. It's full of majestic temples and paradisaical waterfalls, as well as the country's largest peak.

One of the most controversial Chiang Mai activities
is elephant riding. While elephants are a symbol of Thailand, some elephant camps are more ethical than others, and conscious travelers should make responsible decisions about where they give their business. These interesting mammals are a symbol of the country.

The list of stuff to do in Chiang Mai doesn't end there! Head to the market of Thanon Ratchadomnoen for some handcrafts or cheerful, colorful clothing or take a day trip to visit the Hmong tribes in the surrounding mountains. If you're looking for the absolute best attractions in Chiang Mai, check out the tips and reviews from minube travelers and find the best things to see in Chiang Mai for your next trip!