The Best Things To Do In Chiang Mai

Written By: Sofia Jackson

Ancient temples, colorful markets and breathtaking natural scenery all set against a background of a rich regional culture make this northern Thai city stand out in a country filled with an abundance of tourist hot spots. Chiang Mai, which is also fondly referred to as the Rose of the North, is situated to the southwest of the cities Chiang Rai and Phayao while Nan lies to its east. The cities of Lamphun and and Lampang are also located to its south while Phrae and Uttaradit lie to its southeast.

During your vacation in the ‘New City’, you will be able to visit the famous San Kamphaeng Road to admire and even purchase skilfully created silverware, carvings and silk cloth. You will also get to immerse yourself in the rural beauty of the surrounding countryside. Chiang Mai is a haven of natural beauty and one of the very best spots to admire it is the Doi Inthanon National Park. Visiting this vast enclave of unspoilt nature also means the opportunity to view the highest peak in Thailand. If you love birds, you will also especially enjoy your visit since the park is also home to the greatest variety of birds in the entire nation.

Chiang Mai is the very image of a dreamy, marvelous getaway thanks to its abundance of beautiful traditional architecture, impressive wildlife sanctuaries and countless opportunities for retail therapy. The Venus of the East, Bangkok is really close by with just a 75-minute flight separating it from this amazing holiday spot. The rather boisterous Phuket and the much calmer Krabi on the other hand, happen to be slightly further with flight times from either destination averaging a couple of hours.

The ubiquitous songthaews in red, white, blue and green are very popular options for traveling around Chiang Mai and may even be hired for a trip or the entire day. Taxis are also readily available and are often only a phone call away while motorbikes and bicycles are also quite handy for discovering the city’s best kept secrets.

A visit to the Night Safari will bring you face to face with a plethora of animals including tigers, lions, reptiles and even a few wild canines. But to enjoy a closer look at the world’s largest feline all you have to do is visit the Tiger Kingdom where you will be able to observe its regal residents and even get to bottle feed a cuddly little cub too. The city also boasts the largest number of tame elephants in the nation and at Maesa Elephant Camp, you will get to splash about with the sage, happy pachyderms and watch the little ones receive a healthy dose of maternal care from their doting mothers.

To immerse yourself once more in the pulse of the city a visit to Nimmanhaemin Road comes highly recommended. Here you will not only be able to enjoy an unforgettable meal at one of its restaurants, but will also be able to treat yourself to loads of shopping too.


Wat Umong

Dating back to the fourteenth century, the beautiful Wat Umong is an ancient temple nestled against the majestic mountains of Doi Suthep. The temple has a fascinating web of tunnels constructed under the forest in which the temple is set. Explore the temple and its tunnels, the garden, and the many shrines that surround it, and perhaps find that special place to meditate!


Mae Kampong Village

Not far from Chiang Mai, lies the picturesque Mae Kampong Village, with its homes perched against the hillsides, surrounded by dense forest. Learn about the production of pickled tea leaves and explore the countryside on the walking trails. For the more adventurous, there is zip lining and rafting close by. Why not really experience the culture of this region and stay overnight in a homestay!


Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

The majestic Wat Phra That Doi Suthep lies near the peak of Doi Suthep, and its extravagant gold and copper cladding shines like a beacon in the sunlight. Built in 1383, and made even more resplendent over time, take the steps or the cable car, and admire the architecture and the statues, as well as the museums and the shrines. You may see many temples in your visit to Thailand, but this one is a must, and the views are superb!


Wat Chedi Luang

As you explore Chiang Mai, in the heart of the city you will find Wat Chedi Luang; a charming temple dating back to 1441. Here, you don’t just get to explore the temple, and the surrounding buildings, ruins and statues, but you can also speak directly with the monks, and ask them any questions you might have about their religion and the country!


Wat Chiang Man

Located in Chiang Mai, the Wat Chiang Man dates back to 1297 and displays magnificent teak columns and stone carvings that will amaze. Stroll through the complex and admire the magnificent halls as well as the temple itself. There are also two beautiful Buddha’s – one on a marble bas relief and the other, a crystal seated Buddha – that are housed in one of the sanctuaries.


Doi Suthep-Pui National Park

Take a break from sight-seeing and explore the natural beauty of the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. While there is the magnificent landmarks of the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple, and the Bhubing Palace, there are also many trails to explore that will show the picturesque scenery and the stunning views of the countryside. Take the time to see nature’s beautiful bounty in rural Thailand.


The Golden Triangle

The borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand come together in the exotically named Golden Triangle in the northern province of Chiang Rai. The official center of the Golden Triangle is the town of Sop Ruak, where the Mekong meets the Nam Ruak. The term actually covers a much wider area stretching into the three bordering countries, linked by the trade in opium.

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