Top 20 Things to do in Chiang Mai (Thailand)

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Famous for its numerous temples, waterfalls, beautiful national parks, scenic mountains, and delicious foods – there are still many things to do in Chiang Mai one can do and experience.

Chiang Mai, aka the spiritual capital of Thailand, opens doors for you to enjoy several activities and experiences that you cannot find anywhere else. After doing some island hopping towards the south and exploring the significant capital Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the most popular and well-known destination if you are getting in Thailand.

Thanks to its laid-back presence, value for money shopping and food, and friendly people, it is the place you can enjoy the most. There so many things to do in Chiang Mai. It is a fantastic place to experience different things in life and turn your usual 9-to-5 routine to 180 degrees.

The ‘Rose of the North,’ Chiang Mai is well covered by its stunning architecture and is beautifully steeped in history. Founded around seven centuries ago, Chiang Mai houses around 300 temples and belongs to the Lanna Kingdom. The climate remains cooler than in Bangkok thanks to its location in the north.

So, you can spend a longer time sightseeing each day without feeling fatigued. Its unending charm will make you fall in love with this beautiful city. Here are some of the top things to do in Chiang Mai that will make your trip complete.

Experiences and top things to do in Chiang Mai

Northern Thailand food Chiang Mai Thailand

Learn how to cook Northern Thailand food

Northern Thailand food is truly a delight to your taste buds. You cannot find such a great fusion of spicy, sweet, and salty in one dish. One thing, which is quite incredible in Thai food, is how simple it is to prepare. Most of the dishes are served well without much preparation or stress. Some of the dishes taste and look so delicious with far less effort than western dishes.

You can learn to cook several different dishes, such as curry paste, spicy soup, and spring roll. There are several cooking classes, which offer a comprehensive recipe book to prepare the meals when you get back home. It is an experience you must have, even though you are not a connoisseur. Anyone can cook delicious Thai food.

Whether Red Curry, Pad Thai, or Som Tum, you must learn how to cook your Thai food, there are so many cooking schools available in Chiang Mai. There is an exciting competition among cooking classes, and you can even cook an extra dish in some of them. You can also indulge in a market tour in some schools. It is one of the best Chiang Mai attractions.

Read also: Top 15 Places to Visit in Thailand

Monks in Wat Phra Singh Chiang Mai

Go to a Monk Chat

There is nothing more exciting than visiting the beautiful wats in Chiang Mai, but it can be more enriching to visit these Chiang Mai attractions. You can have a Monk Chat program at a few of the temples where you can speak to the monks freely about their beliefs or aspects of their daily life. In return, you can teach them some English.

It is quite a unique experience to indulge in them. Some monks might be shy, while others are very friendly and talkative. It is inspiring to perceive your own life in a different way of living.

→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephant Sanctuary In Chiang Ma

Bath the elephants at the elephant sanctuary

Sadly, Thailand has a turbulent past of animal abuse for the sake of tourism. Chiang Mai activities like seeing sedated tigers in most of the temples and elephant ride add to its cruelty, and you should avoid it at all costs. Elephant Nature Park or Elephant Sanctuary is committed to the rehabilitation and rescue of elephants. Here, you can get to learn about their habitat and even feed and bath them.

The park is just 1 hour off from the city center, and they can also pick you up at the hotel. This elephant sanctuary rescues abused elephants, which have used over the decades for tourism. You can volunteer to help them or even see them in their habitat. Elephant ride is prohibited. Therefore, it is better to protect and treat these magnificent creatures.

→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Tourist attractions and places to visit in Chiang Mai

Mai Buatong Waterfall Chiang Ma

Sticky waterfalls

waterfalls are very slippery by nature. Slick surfaces and gushing waters are the main reasons how you end up slipping down the stream. So, how you can climb up the falls? As the name suggests, the Sticky Waterfalls named after a mineral deposit, which is very grippy. The rocks feel like a hard sponge. They are a bit prickly and callous to the touch, but they can give a bit of pressure.

The Sticky Waterfalls are a beautiful sight to behold and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Chiang Mai. The rocks are bulbous and cream-colored; they contrast well with the dense green forest. The water is also cold and crystal clear. The waterfall is present all year round, and it comes from mineral spring.

→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Read also: Top 20 Best Beaches in Asia You Must Visit

Doi Suthep

Shining like a northern star, Doi Suthep is the high mountain facing the city on the northwest. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the spiritually and historically beautiful places to visit in Chiang Mai, and a beautiful personification of Lanna culture originated from around 700 years.

A lot of foreigners and Thais visit here to experience the magical charm of this sacred place. With its prestige and importance, it is a lavish Bhubing Palace for the Royal Family.

→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Phra Singh Temple Chiang Ma

Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Sing is a Buddhist monastery and temple founded in the 14th century. It has two Buddha statues and is also called the Temple of the Lion Buddha. The temple has around 700 monks who regularly meet the tourists, and they are very friendly by nature.

There is an assembly hall, which is the largest building complex at the site, which was rebuilt in the year 1925 and houses an enormous gold and the copper cast of Buddha in seating position, the Phra Chao Thong Tip. You can find a lot of other buildings at the site where you can explore a lot when you come.

Chiang Mai Night Market

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

If you are wondering what to do in Chiang Mai, the night market is an unmissable part of Chiang Mai and the main shopping venue to have a great experience. This mighty commercial landscape located when Loi Khro and Chang Khlan Road intersect.

The market starts in between 18:00 hours until around 22:30, with only a few vendors available. Starting from Tha Phae Road and going towards the south in Loi Khro is a great way to get the whole thing.

Once you reach the end, you may cross this street and work your way out the other side. Be sure to peek down a bit on the arcades and alleyways on the road. There are plenty of vendors and lots of products available for sale.

→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Phra That Doi Kham Chiang Mai

Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Also known as the Golden Temple or Wat Doi Kham, the Wat Phra That Doi Kham positioned atop a hill towards the southwest of Chiang Mai. It is known to have impressive views from the top so you can view both the rolling mountains and the city at Doi Pui Mountain. It is mainly visited by Thais to explore an idol of sitting Buddha, which stands 17m tall. You can see the Buddha from the bottom, and it well designed in gold. So, it is also known as ‘the Golden Temple.’

Buak Hard Public Park Chiang Mai

Buak Hard Public Park

It is a public park located in the southwest of the old city of Chiang Mai. It opens every day from 05:00 to 21:00 and is adorned with several flowers and trees. It is well known for tourists and locals to visit, and it is well known for festivals like the Flower Festival. If you want to know more about what to do in Chiang Mai, do visit this private park.

→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Ma

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a Theravada Buddhist wat in Chiang Mai. It is also known as Doi Suthep, and this is the name of the mountain where it is located. It is a holy site 15 km from the city center. You can capture the impressive views of downtown from the temple.

→ Where to stay: Best hotels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Chedi Luang Chiang Mai

Wat Chedi Luang

The temple of the Royal Stupa or Temple of the Big Stupa, Wat Chedi Luang, is a Buddhist temple located in the historic city of Chiang Mai. It hosts monk chats every day. Here, tourists can talk to the monks and ask anything about Thailand and Buddhism. If you are asking what to see in Chiang Mai, we would recommend this temple.

Doi Suthep Pui National Park Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep–Pui National Park

Also known as Doi Aoy Chang, Doi Suthep-Pui National Park is well known for the mountain where Sudeva, a hermit, lived on its slopes over the years. It is located northwest of Chiang Mai City. It belongs to Thanon Thong Chai Range, and most of the bedrock of the park is made of granite.

Wat ChiangMan Chiang Mai

Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Man is a Buddhist temple in the old city of northern Thailand. It is Chiang Mai’s oldest temple back in 1296 when the city was founded. When King Mengrai decided the construction of a new city and made it the new Lanna Kingdom’s capital, he built the first temple on the site. It is one of the best places if you ask what to see in Chiang Mai.

Read also: Best Cities to Visit in Asia: Top 20 Beautiful and Best Cities to Travel in Asia

→ Check out these activities in Chiang Mai

 

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