7 Awesome Things To Do in Chiang Mai
As one of the bustling and attractive destinations of Thailand, Chiang Mai is situated in the highlands of Northern Thailand, playing an important role in Thailand’s tourism. Coming to Chiang Mai, you should not miss the special things such as playing with elephants, trekking hill tribe villages, or heading further north to Pai or Chaing Mai, shopping ’til they drop at the endless night markets.
To attract you to Chiang Mai, we compiled giving you 7 things to do to that make your Thailand vacation full of unforgettable memories.
1. Bathe An Elephant
Well known for the land of elephants, Thailand always treats elephants with affection. Feeding, bathing, and playing with elephants in a natural environment are one of the reasons that tourists want to experience and be highlighted in Chiang Mai.
Most of the animal excursions in Chiang Mai have adopted more of a conservationist approach to interacting with wildlife. “No ride, no hook” is the common message that the people conveys to tourist and you’ll see echoed by the ethical elephant sanctuaries in the area.
Regardless of your choice, you will be picked up from your hotel and the journey to the sanctuary is about an hour’s drive. You will have the opportunity to change into your clothes and then experience bathing and feeding the elephants. Try this experience it is so amazing!
2. Find Religion
With the diversity of religions in Thailand, Chiang Mai has a long religious background. The sacred land of Chiang Mai has not yet contained temples with unique architecture and impressive appearance; you can admire the beauty of these temples on the roads. Every year, many religious festivals take place here such as the lantern festival.
Explore some iconic temples in Chiang Mai:
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most important Buddhist temples in the region and also provides sweeping views of the valley.
- Wat Pha Lat: Wat Pha Lat is a tiny temple hidden in the jungle of Doi Suthep. It’s typically overlooked by tourists so you’ll find the setting quite tranquil, especially if a few monks serendipitously wander through during your visit.
- Wat Chedi Luang: You’ll likely glimpse the massive ruined brick stupa of Wat Chedi Luang from several points in Chiang Mai.
3. Explore the Local Night Market
Chiang Mai is famous for its long-established “Night Bazaar” to the east of the city. The real highlights of Chiang Mai are the night markets that are set up on Saturday and Sunday nights – so make sure you stick around for the weekend.
On Saturday night you find a huge market that starts south of the Chiang Mai gate and runs southeast along Wu Lai Road. You’ll find loads of high-quality goods that are handmade in northern Thailand. Delicious food stalls offer everything including barbeque seafood, rich curries, and fresh fruit shakes. You’ll also encounter live music and performances tucked into the side streets and courtyards along Wu Lai Road.
4. Ride in a Songthaew (Red Truck)
When you visit Chiang Mai you can’t miss the numerous songthaews, or red trucks, on the roads. Songthaews translated means “two rows”. They are converted red trucks with two padded bench seats in the bed and act as shared “taxis” throughout the city.
Red trucks are our favorite way to get around Chiang Mai. Not only are red trucks plentiful and help reduce the number of cars on the road, but they are also fairly inexpensive costing only 30 THB (USD 0.93) per person anywhere within the old city.
5. Swim at Huay Kaew Waterfall
Not far from the Nimman neighborhood, Huay Kaew Waterfall is hidden in the jungle, and few travelers know it exists. A visit to these little-known waterfalls is a good way to escape the city and find some solitude. When we went, we only crossed paths with a handful of people. You’ll make it to a swimming hole, complete with a rope swing! Keep going up the path and you’ll find more and more small pools to hang out in.
6. Indulge in delicious eats in one of Thailand’s food capitals.
If you’ve spent some time exploring the Land of Smiles, you may quickly come to realize Chiang Mai is home to arguably Thailand’s most delicious food. From the one-of-a-kind curry noodle dish Khao Soi to the tomato pork sauce masterpiece of Nam Prik Ong, it’s hard not to be wowed by the mouthwatering meals on offer here. Other notable dishes to try are the northern sausage Sai Our and the ginger pork belly curry concoction of Gaeng Hungary. You can also take a cooking class and learn to cook Thai food at home.
7. Visit The Long Neck Karen Tribe
The Karen are a tribal group who are originally from Myanmar but fled to Thailand during the political unrest of the past. They now live in small villages one of which is in Mae Rim just outside of Chiang Mai. The visits to the villages are enlightening experiences as you get to see the tribal people going about their everyday life whilst having to sell their products to tourists to feed themselves. Always go with a tourist guide as they will be able to communicate with the locals and ask any questions you may have of the tribe’s members whilst you are there.
Let us know if you have anything else to do while in Chiang Mai!