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Things to do in Chiang Mai

Things to do in  Chiang Mai

Welcome to Chiang Mai

After the dizzying metropolis of Bangkok and the buzzing beach resorts of the south, Chiang Mai shows off a side to Thailand that many visitors miss. The capital of northern Thailand is a city infused with Thai culture and it’s best explored at a leisurely pace, strolling around the maze-like lanes of Old Chiang Mai, admiring the ancient temples and royal pagodas, or browsing the markets for traditional handicrafts. Looming over the northwestern edge of the city, the mountaintop Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple is the crown jewel of Chiang Mai’s spiritual heritage. Back in the city, Wat Phra Singh (Wat Phra Sing Waramahawihan), Wiang Kum Kam, and Wat Chedi Luang are among the most visited landmarks, while those intrigued by Thai culture can experience a Thai massage, take a Thai cooking class, or sample a traditional khantoke dinner. Chiang Mai also serves as a popular base camp for trekking to the Hmong, Karen, and Lisu hill tribe villages, and there are ample opportunities for jungle treks, white-water rafting, bike tours, and zipline adventures in the surrounding region. A short drive from the city, the Doi Khun Tan and Doi Inthanon national parks abound with lush rainforest, cascading waterfalls, and forest-cloaked temples. Further north, Chiang Rai is the gateway to the so-called “Golden Triangle,” the meeting point of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.

Top 10 attractions in Chiang Mai

#1
Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park

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Rising 8,415 feet (2,565 meters) above sea level, Mt. Doi Inthanon, situated in the center of Doi Inthanon National Park, is Thailand’s tallest mountain. While many visitors strive to see the views from its summit, the surrounding forests, waterfalls, stupas—dome-shaped Buddhist shrines—and trails are just as impressive.More
#2
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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The golden spire of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep glitters near the summit of Doi Suthep, a 5,499-foot (1,676-meter) mountain outside Chiang Mai. The wat, established in 1383, is one of northern Thailand’s most sacred temples. The International Buddhist Center at the wat hosts informal discussions, chanting, and meditation.More
#3
White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)

White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)

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With brilliant white spires, eaves, and bridges that all glitter in the sunshine and reflect in surrounding pools, the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) is Chiang Rai’s signature sight. The building’s surroundings and interior are filled with art inspired by everything fromThe Matrix, to Hello Kitty andKung Fu Panda.More
#4
Golden Triangle

Golden Triangle

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The mountainous border regions of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand come together in the exotically named Golden Triangle—a haven of Buddhist architecture, lush forest, and colorful riverfront villages. Located in the Chiang Rai province at Thailand’s northernmost tip, the Golden Triangle is thick with wonders, both natural and man-made.More
#5
Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang

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This partially ruined wat, possibly the largest structure in ancient Chiang Mai, dates back to the year 1441 and is most famous as the former home of the incredible Emerald Buddha. Nowadays, a jade replica fills the eastern niche of Wat Chedi Luang, although you can see the original in Bangkok at the Wat Phra Kaew.More
#6
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

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Chiang Mai’s Night Bazaar is perhaps the city's most popular attraction. The colorful mix of shops and stalls sell all sorts of things, from ersatz designer fashions to embroidered hill tribes textiles, Thai silks, silver jewelry, carvings, ceramics, and antiques. It’s also one of the best places in town to sample some spicy street food.More
#7
Wat Phra Singh Waramahawihan

Wat Phra Singh Waramahawihan

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If you only see one temple during your time in Chiang Mai, Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan should be it. Set in the heart of the old city, the temple was founded in 1345 and is home to Chiang Mai’s most sacred relic—the Phra Singh, an image of the Lion Buddha housed within a golden shrine.More
#8
Mae Kachan Hot Spring (Mae Ka Chan)

Mae Kachan Hot Spring (Mae Ka Chan)

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You can boil an egg in minutes in the 80 C water of the Mae Kachan Hot Spring (Mae Ka Chan) located in Chiang Rai province. The water from the main geyser is too hot for bathing, so instead there are separate pools where you can soak your feet in the naturally warm water and relax amid the gardens.Mae Kachan hot springs make a popular rest stop for people traveling between the cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. In addition to the hot springs, you’ll find washrooms, souvenir shops, restaurants, food vendors, and people selling raw eggs to boil in the hot springs!More
#9
Doi Suthep–Pui National Park

Doi Suthep–Pui National Park

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Doi Suthep-Pui National Park protects a swath of verdant forest and mountain ranges in Northern Thailand near Chiang Mai. Named after a hermit who lived in the forest before it became a national park, Doi Suthep-Pui is perhaps most famous for the temple at the summit of Doi Suthep Peak (known for its stunning views of Chiang Mai).More
#10
Warorot Market

Warorot Market

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Warorot Market is a feast for the senses, where stalls selling dried durian paste and exotic fruits stand cheek by jowl with vendors offering fluffy bath towels and Buddhist amulets. The indoor hub—a more authentic alternative to Chiang Mai’s night markets—is a great place to sample local delicacies and purchase handicrafts at low prices.More

Trip ideas

Chiang Mai Temple Trail

Chiang Mai Temple Trail

Elephant Conservation in Chiang Mai

Elephant Conservation in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Hill Tribe Villages

Chiang Mai Hill Tribe Villages

Recent reviews from experiences in Chiang Mai

star-5
Diffrent tempels + +
Bernt, Feb 2020
Car Rental with an English Speaking driver ( Chiang Mai area-s only )
Recommended well-known tourist attractions and told things along the way.
star-5
Best way to see Chiang Mai
Bernt, Feb 2020
Car Rental with an English Speaking driver ( Chiang Mai area-s only )
Highly recommend this for those who want to see Chiang Mai in the best way.
star-4
Temple tour
michelleroya, Jan 2020
Chiang Mai City and Temples Half-Day Tour
Got to see 3 different temples around Chiang Mai.
star-4
Temples,temples and more temples
cam4234, May 2019
Half-Day Doi Suthep and Temples From Chiang Mai
We were picked up promptly and wisked off to visit at least 3 of the more famous temples in Chiang Mai, (there are over 35 temples within the "old" city.
star-5
White Temple Chiang Rai Tour from Chiang Mai
GrandTour56772674007, Feb 2019
Chiang Rai Small-Group Day Trip from Chiang Mai City with Golden Triangle
Maybe they can look at dropping one of the activities on this tour.
star-4
Very informative guide. You get to...
Daniel K, Jan 2018
Private Tour: Chiang Mai City and Temples
You get to see a few improvement temples (one of which is on top of a mountain) and hear about the rich history of Chiang Mai.
star-4
Very good way to get a glimpse of...
Marie Emilia V, Jul 2017
Chiang Mai City and Temples Half-Day Tour
Despite the pouring rain, we were able to visit all the sights.
star-5
If you only have a short time in...
Emily R, Oct 2017
Chiang Rai Small-Group Day Trip from Chiang Mai City with Golden Triangle
If you only have a short time in Chiang Mai and want to see a bit more of the country side this is a good trip.
star-4
A great way to see a load of sights...
James D, Mar 2017
Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle Day Tour from Chiang Mai
A great way to see a load of sights in one day!
star-4
We enjoyed our tour of Chiang Mai's...
Donna P, Feb 2017
Small-Group Chiang Mai Evening Street Food Tour
It was enjoyable to share the experience with other tourists, and interesting to see the city at night.
star-5
Loved this tour my first night in...
nlascase, Jun 2016
Chiang Mai by Night: Private Tour including Buddhist Chant, Thai Dinner and Night Market
It was great to see the actual local temples instead of busy touristy spots.
star-5
Our family of four really enjoyed...
susan c, Jul 2016
Morning Buddhist Almsgiving and Temples Tour in Chiang Mai
It was great to see all the monks walk down the street and then fill their bowls with food and have a blessing and then go and visit all the temples.
star-4
This is a very interesting way to visit...
Howard H, Jul 2007
Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle Day Tour from Chiang Mai
This is a very interesting way to visit the Golden Triangle and enjoy the scenery along the way from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.
star-5
Excellent private tour to Chiang Rai
cdabski, Feb 2020
Chiang Rai Temples Private Tour from Chiang Mai with Lunch
The trip started around 7:30am and about an hour later included a quick stop at small but interesting hot mineral springs where we soaked our feet in warm water and took pictures.
star-5
Educational, insightful, personal and highly recommended - go deeper with this tour!
heatherqamar, Feb 2020
The Lost Treasures of Chiang Mai
Instead of just going to see a site, this provided such a personal, educational and insightful view of Chiang Mai, its history, and its craftsmen and we are much the richer for it.
star-5
Very enjoyable
299PeterD, Dec 2019
Chiang Mai City Tour with Doi Suthep and View Point
Lots to see here, but I especially liked the ruined (by earthquake) pagoda and the paintings inside the Inthakhin Pillar (sadly women not allowed in).
star-5
Enjoyable outdoor experience with a million photo ops
Freedom827109, Oct 2019
Fantastic! Doi Inthanon National park tour + 2hr trekking at Phadokseaw
This tour covered everything I wanted to see in the hills above Chiang Mai.
star-5
Bicycle Tours by Grasshopper Adventures
Happiness04506701027, Sep 2019
Chiang Mai Night Bicycle Tour
The guides spoke fluent English and were well versed in the histoical monuments and temples.
star-4
Very good private tour
ScphS, Sep 2019
Full Day Tour of Doi Suthep Temple and Doi Inthanon National Park
We've decided to pick the best worth to visit places during 4d3n trip, and found this tour.
star-5
Best Excursion of the Honeymoon
Jonathan N, Sep 2019
Doi Inthanon Private Tour with Trek & Lunch from Chiang Mai
We saw beautiful waterfalls, toured the king's and queen's pagodas, ate locally sourced food, and had a private 2 hour hike that ended in freshly brewed coffee from the beans grown in the local fields.
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