Unlike the vibrant lifestyle of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the destination for tourists who want to enjoy the peaceful beauty of ancient temples, friendly elephants or great natural scenery surrounding the city. These are 10 top coolest things to do in Chiang Mai you should try.
- Chiang Mai travel blog — The fullest Chiang Mai travel guide for a great trip to the “Rose of the North” of Thailand
- Top places to visit in Chiang Mai — Top 19 most famous, beautiful, must go & best places to visit in Chiang Mai
- Top hostels in Chiang Mai — 9 best hostels in Chiang Mai & cheap homestay in Chiang Mai
- Best places to eat Chiang Mai blog — Top 5 best restaurants in Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai Old City
- Best cafes in Chiang Mai — Top 9 unique & best coffee shops in Chiang Mai, Thailand
1. Wander the Old City
From the Tapae Gate in the old city, you can wander around the traditional markets or stroll through the small alleys with unpretentious cafes, bars, eateries.
Additionally, Segway tour – a means for visitors walking around the small town, would be a suitable option for you.
2. Visit the temples
Visiting Chiang Mai, you can not ignore the big temples such as Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Doi Suthep.
Wat Phra Singh is considered a marvelous temple in Chiang Mai with the famous statue of Phra Singh (Lion Buddha) in the 14th century.
3. Go shopping at the Sunday Walking Street Market and Night Bazaar.
Vendors ply their trade from 4 pm until midnight, selling an array of beguiling items – much made by the stallholders themselves.
You can find a lot of affordable items here. If you do not want to shop, this is also a great place for you to enjoy street foods.
4. Learn how to cook or massage like a Thai
Travelling and tourism often focus on relaxation and leisure, but learning can often deepen an understanding of a local.
In Chiang Mai, you can take a cooking class that includes, along with the excellent tuition, a tour of a local market, where you can learn how to source the right foods for your dish, along with a Thai food tasting session.
You can learn how to make appetizers, curries, soups, stir fry, and dessert, all in traditional Thai style.
Thailand is also famous for its tradition of massage & Chiang Mai is the best place to get introduced to massage learning practices, learning the basic foot, leg and back northern-style at one of the city’s massage courses.
There are even shorter courses that can be completed in a day or an afternoon, a must-do in Chiang Mai.
5. Take care of elephants
Just an hour’s drive outside the center of the city, visitors will be immersed in the natural space of the elephant sanctuary.
Here, you will get many unforgettable memories out in nature, feeding and bathing the elephants.
6. Take a dip in the Grand Canyon
Located 12 km from the city, Tueng Huay Thao Lake is a picturesque lake at the base of Doi Suthep mountain. You can swim and behold the stunning scenery here.
If you like adventurous games, visitors should try the feeling of jumping from a cliff into the lake Grand Canyon from a height of 10 m.
For those who prefer to relax, you can choose to take a dip in the hot springs of San Kamphaeng.
7. Go Climbing in the Great Outdoors
Around a 45 minute drive from the center of Chiang Mai is Crazy Horse Crag, known as one of the world’s greenest and diverse crags.
Here you can take a climbing course and be introduced to rock climbing in just a day or go deeper with a three-day course where you can learn to be a fundamentally solid, and safe, climber, equipped with the know-how to climb without a guide.
8. Over Chiang Mai in a hot air balloon
For a panoramic view of Chiang Mai, you can take a tour on a hot air balloon, drift peacefully over the trees, villages, lakes, and wildlife, and then be greeted with a customary champagne celebration on landing.
Alternatively, you can take a microlight flight, flown by an experienced pilot, and enjoy true freedom of the skies and an elevated view of the beautiful Mae Kueng dam.
Finally, you can even charter a helicopter and pilot for a rare view from above the city, then down the Mae Ping river, the lifeline of the region.
9. Have a peak experience atop Chiang Mai’s mountains
If you want to enjoy the magnificent natural surroundings of Chiang Mai, you can climb to the top of Doi Suthep – one of the most famous mountains here.
Doi Suthep is a must for anyone visiting the city. Here at the summit is the temple known as Wat Phra Tat, an important site for Buddhists and a simply beautiful one for tourists.
Doi Inthanon, around 100 km west of the city, crests at 2,565 meters, the highest peak in the country.
10. Visit traditional tribes
Thailand’s northern region is inhabited by many ethnic minorities. Visit traditional villages around the Chiang Mai city, you will get a better understanding of the traditional customs and the way of life of locals.
Are you looking for more Chiang Mai travel guide and top things to do in Chiang Mai? Let’s read: Chiang Mai travel blog — The fullest Chiang Mai travel guide for a great trip to the “Rose of the North” of Thailand.