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  • Phra That Doi Suthep
  • Thapae Walking Street
  • Doi Ang Khang
  • Nimmanhaemin road
  • Doi Inthanon

With beautiful nature blended with Lanna Culture and colours of contemporary perfectly Chiang Mai is, therefore, a province that has many tourists, both Thai and foreigners, come in many millions each year. Popular tourist activities in Chiang Mai include worshipping the Phra That doi suthep , which is an important Landmark of Chiang Mai people. Experience the Local way of life and shop for stylish handmade products at Thapae Walking Street. Visit various species of plants at the Queen Sirikit botanical Garden and Rajapruek Royal Park. Do not miss to shop art products, taste local CUISINE and see Culture s on Nimmanhaemin Road . In addition, nature and mountain tours are another activity that should not be missed when visiting Chiang Mai , whether stepping on the highest point of Thailand at the top of doi inthanon . Absorb the beauty of the rice fields, feel the Cool breeze while watching the giant tiger flower at Doi Ang Khang. Experience Ecotourism HomeStay in Mae Kampong and visit Hmong villages in Doi Pui and many more.

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Home » Travel Guides » Thailand » 25 Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai (Thailand)

25 Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai (Thailand)

Known as the ‘Rose of the North’ Chiang Mai is steeped in history and surrounded by beautiful architecture. Founded over seven centuries ago Chiang Mai is the capital of the Lanna Kingdom and home to more than 300 temples. Due to its location in the north of the country the temperature is cooler than you would find in Bangkok or any of the more southern regions meaning you can spend longer each day sightseeing without feeling the same levels of fatigue.

The locals of Chiang Mai are some of the nicest and most laid back in all of Thailand and the city has a charm will instantly make you fall in love with the place, whittling this list down to just 25 was incredibly hard so with further hesitation let’s get started on the top things to do in Chiang Mai :

1. Take A Visit To Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

The most famous attraction in all of Chiang Mai is Doi Suthep, every travel agent and driver will ask you if you want to go, it is like Big Ben is to London. Doi Suthep is about 12km outside of Chiang Mai and is a mountain that has a fantastic view over all of the city. Standing at 5400 metres the mountain also houses Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a 13th century temple that is home to a large white elephant shrine as well as a replica of the Emerald Buddha.

Tip: This Doi Suthep & Hmong Hill Tribe Village Visit includes a scenic throughthe  historic areas of Chiang Mai, a visit to Doi Suthep and a visit to the Meo Hill tribe

2. Be Fashionable At Nimmanhaemin Road

Nimmanhaemin Road

Nimmanhaemin Road is the trendiest part of Chiang Mai, full of fancy bars and restaurants it is the place where all the up and coming citizens of the area hang out. The main road has several high end bars and the side streets (soi’s) are full of them as well. There is a new shopping mall at one end of the road which contains many designer shops as well as a multiplex cinema and many famous restaurant names. The area is the most expensive part of Chiang Mai both in terms of property and general eating out.

3. Take A Trip Down The San kamphaeng Road

San kamphaeng Road, Chiang Mai

Also known as the ‘Handicraft Highway’ a 10km stretch of road where you will find outlets famous for their pottery, silverware, lacquerware, sculpting, wood carving and silk products. The area is especially famous for its pottery which is known as Celadon, it has a green glaze which in turn makes it look like Jade, there are several outlets on this road where you can pick these up. Not many know but Chiang Mai is famous for some of the best silverware in Thailand and if you stop into Louis Silverware you will be able to watch the master artist carrying out his work.

4. Visit Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park is home to the highest mountain in all of Thailand, an extension to the Shan Hills and made mostly from granite. The park covers a land area of 48,240 hectares, The highest point of the mountain is 2565 metres tall and has been known to hit lows of -8 degrees centigrade, whilst visiting the Park you cannot help but notice the number of birds that you will see, Doi Inthanon is home to more species of bird than anywhere else in Thailand.

5. Eat Khao Soi

Khao Soi

Northern Thailand is famous for many things but its greatest export surely has to be Khao Soi. It is a coconut and curry flavored soup filled with yellow egg noodles and chicken, sitting on top of the soup are crispy fried egg noodles giving a real mix of textures to the dish. At the side of soup bowl you will be given a small plate that has chopped red onions, pickled green mustard and a wedge of lime. If there is no other local food you try whilst you are in Chiang Mai you cannot leave before trying Khao Soi, it is absolutely delicious. There are also several food tours available.

6. Shop Again At Warorot Market

Warorot Market

Right next to the Ping River is the Warorot Market. Most of the other markets in this city are night markets but Warorot opens early in the morning and closes when darkness descends. This is the market where the locals shop so the prices are low and not inflated like so many of the tourist markets. You can find just about everything at the market such as vegetables, fruit, meat, clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, fireworks and many other things. When you come out the market and venture into the side streets you will find a lot of Thai Handicraft goods made by the local Hill Tribe and again at much cheaper prices than anywhere else.

7. Take A Boat Trip On The Mae Ping River

Mae Ping River

A two hour boat trip along the Mae Ping River is an excellent way to spend an afternoon, you get to watch as the scenery along the river changes, you will also get to see many beautiful traditional teak houses as well as a lot of rural greenery along the wat. There are a couple of tour companies ( book online ) that carry out the boat trips and they both sail for about forty five minutes before stopping off at a local farmers house for lunch, whilst at the house you can also see how the production of jasmine rice is completed as well as further relaxing in the luscious gardens.

9. Stop For Coffee At The Cat Café

Cat Cafe, Chiang Mai

Popular in China and Japan, Chiang Mai now has its very own Cat Café and it is aptly named Catmosphere, the café is designed to fit in with its name with pictures of spaceships and cats floating around in UFO’s adorning the walls. There are fifteen cats currently living in the café and they are free to roam around as if it is their home (after all it is their home.) Drinks are a little pricier than a normal café which you would expect as a lot of time and money is spent grooming the cats and making sure everything is as clean as possible. During busy periods a two hour maximum stay is put on visitors but that should be ample to get your weekly cat fix.

10. Stop at Chiang Mai’s Very Own Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, Chiang Mai

An old soil quarry this place is still very much unknown, it is a huge canyon that is now filled with water and has some absolutely staggering views. The Canyon is very deep and the water filling it is collected rain water that is now estimated to be forty meters deep. At the entrance is a nice restaurant to stop for a drink in before you start off on your adventure. There is not a lot to do here except for continuously wowing yourself with every turn as the sights are stunning and you will never get bored of them.

12. Have Fun Bartering At The Night Bazaar

Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai

Chang Klan Road is just another road during the day, but at night the whole place lights up as the stall holders drag out their stalls and get set up for the night.  Hundreds of traders line the road selling various goods such as fake designer items, lanterns and other handcrafted goods. A lot of things will not have a price on and bartering is openly encouraged. The market is open every single day of the year whatever the weather.

13. Make A Visit To Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Sing is a Buddhist temple and monastery that was founded in the 14th century. Known as the Temple of the Lion Buddha it houses two Buddha statues. There are 700 monks living in the temple who regularly come to talk to the tourists and are normally very friendly. The largest building at the site is the assembly hall which was rebuilt in 1925 and houses Phra Chao Thong Tip, a very large copper and gold cast of the seated Buddha, various other buildings can be found on the site giving you a lot to explore when you arrive. Is included in several available temple tours .

14. Check Out The Ruins Of Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

Known as the Temple of the Big Stupa, Wat Chedi Luang is the ruins of an ancient temple situated in the center of Chaing Mai. Before the temple was in its current state it used to be the home of the Emerald Buddha, the holiest religious object in all of Thailand. An earthquake in 1545 damaged large amounts of the temple and when the Burmese captured Chiang Mai five years later the temple was left to fall into ruin. The temple is still an active worship place so you will still see monks going about their daily work as well as several Buddha shrines.

15. Relax At Bai Orchid And Butterfly Farm

Bai Orchid And Butterfly Farm

The Orchid is the symbol of Thailand and Thai Airways so it is no surprise that Orchids are very popular amongst the people. Situated just outside Chiang Mai, visitors can marvel at the year rounds exotic blooms as well as buying seedlings. The souvenir shop has fresh orchids that have been dipped in gold and made into different jewellery items. The Butterfly Farm is just next to the orchid farm and houses thousands of butterflies in their natural habitat.

16. Visit The Long Neck Karen Tribe

Long Neck Karen Tribe

The Karen are a tribal group who are originally from Myanmar but fled to Thailand during the political unrests 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 in order 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. There’s a full day tour available: Chiang Dao: Five Hill Tribes Trek

17. Hail a Songthaew

Songthaew

Chiang Mai is home to the Songthaew , the most common being a bright red one which the locals refer to as a ‘red car’ it is an easy and cheap way to get around the city. The Songthaew’s spend their days driving around the narrow roads picking up customers and dropping them off in their chosen locations. You sit in the back of the car on a bench with the other tourists and locals, the car drives around dropping people off whilst picking up new ones. Not every Songthaew will want to give you a lift as it depends if you are on a similar route to the other customers the driver has already picked up. This is a much cheaper alternative to getting a ride in a tuk-tuk.

18. Participate In The Loi Krathong Festival

Loi Krathong, Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai celebrates the Loi Krathong festival more than any other city in Thailand, an annual event that ties in with the twelfth lunar month. A Krathong is a basket that is shaped like a lotus and has a candle sitting in the center of it, these are placed in the water of the moat that surrounds part of Chiang Mai and left to float of into the distance, this is done to show respect to Buddha. At the same time as the Krathongs are being released you will see thousands of lanterns filling up the sky above, the whole festival is incredibly special and something you must put on any bucket list you have.For those considering coming to Chiang Mai during the festival you should book early as the hotels fill up fast at this time of the year.

20. Visit The San Kamphaeng Hot Springs

San Kamphaeng Hot Springs

Nestled within a wooded area and surrounded by mountains are the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs. At the hot springs are mineral baths and a traditional mineral water swimming pool. The waters in the springs have Curative powers due to the high sulfur content in the water. Whilst you are there pampering yourself you can also take advantage or a full body Thai massage or bizarrely you can buy eggs to boil in the water for your lunch.

21. Have A Traditional Khantoke Dinner

Khantoke Dinner

Chiang Mai is famous for its rich traditional Lanna culture so when in Chiang Mai take advantage of a Khantoke dinner. When you arrive at the dinner you will be seated on the floor at a large round table (called a toke) and traditional northern Thai food will be served. During the meal you will be treated to traditional Lanna entertainment. Depending on where you choose to go for your dinner you may also be treated to some classical Thai orchestral music.

22. Party At The Songkran festival

Songkran, Chiang Mai

Songkran happens each year between the 13th and 15th April and is the Thailand traditional New Year celebration. However Chiang Mai takes the celebration to another level where the celebrations can go on for five or six days and sometimes even longer than that. Songkran has a religious meaning with Thai’s believing that the throwing of water will cleanse your sins. Chiang Mai can often come to a complete standstill during the celebrations with people standing at the side of the roads with buckets of water ready to soak every passer-by. People will often visit the many temples during the festival to pray and give food to the monks living there. You will see many images of Buddha paraded through the streets during the festival with locals throwing water over them, this is also to help with the cleansing of sins.

23. Get Involved With The Nightlife.

Chiang Mai Nightlife

Chiang Mai is full of bars and clubs and with prices being a lot lower than Bangkok it is worth getting your partying done here. Nimmanhaeman Road has a very large number of trendy bars but is also home to The Monkey Club and The Warm-Up Cafe, both of which are frequented by locals as well as tourists. Thapae Gate is another popular area for drinking with Zoe’s bar filling up each night and the drinking carrying on until the early hours. In Chiang Mai it is very common to buy a bottle of spirit and sit down with soda or coke and an ice bucket, all the bars sell spirits by the bottle and it is the cheapest way to have an evening’s drinking.

24. Enjoy A Traditional Thai Massage From An Ex-prisoner

Chiang Mai Prisoner Massage

Wherever you look in Chiang Mai you are likely to see a massage parlor, most of the massage parlors are very reputable with fully qualified staff but maybe it is time for a slightly different experience. The Woman’s Prison in Chiang Mai has various programs that are run where the soon to be released women are taught life skills and one such program is the ex-prisoner massage parlor that has been set up. The women are watched over at all times without it being intrusive and is an excellent opportunity for the women as finding their way into work after prison life is over is often incredibly difficult.

25. Shop Till You Drop At The Weekend Market

Weekend Market Chiang Mai

Also known as the Sunday Market or the Walking Market this is probably the most famous of all the markets in Chiang Mai, it opens every Sunday starting at Thapae Gate and running along the entire length of the Ratchadamnoen Road. A lot of the stalls on the market sell handmade goods and as you walk through the market it is not uncommon to see the stall holders sitting down and carrying on with their handicraft in-between selling their goods. Dotted along the Ratchadamnoen Road are several Buddhist temples, they usually open their forecourts to various food sellers who cook the food in front of you as you wait. If that was not enough in between the stalls you will see a plethora of street artists singing, dancing or performing some other kind of act.

25 Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai (Thailand):

  • Take A Visit To Doi Suthep
  • Be Fashionable At Nimmanhaemin Road
  • Take A Trip Down The San kamphaeng Road
  • Visit Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Eat Khao Soi
  • Shop Again At Warorot Market
  • Take A Boat Trip On The Mae Ping River
  • Stop For Coffee At The Cat Café
  • Stop at Chiang Mai’s Very Own Grand Canyon
  • Have Fun Bartering At The Night Bazaar
  • Make A Visit To Wat Phra Singh
  • Check Out The Ruins Of Wat Chedi Luang
  • Relax At Bai Orchid And Butterfly Farm
  • Visit The Long Neck Karen Tribe
  • Hail a Songthaew
  • Participate In The Loi Krathong Festival
  • Visit The San Kamphaeng Hot Springs
  • Have A Traditional Khantoke Dinner
  • Party At The Songkran festival
  • Get Involved With The Nightlife.
  • Enjoy A Traditional Thai Massage From An Ex-prisoner
  • Shop Till You Drop At The Weekend Market

PlanetWare.com

15 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Chiang Mai

Written by Diana Bocco and Meagan Drillinger Updated Dec 28, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Meagan Drillinger visited Chiang Mai most recently in 2022.

Chiang Mai is essentially Thailand's second city - the smaller, more relaxed answer to the madness of Bangkok . It was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, but now is a major draw for backpackers and travelers of all kinds, not to mention retiring ex-pats and humanitarians.

Temple in Chiang Mai

Many who come here return again and again or stay for years when they had meant to stay only a few weeks. There's an energy in the city that captivates those who visit, whether they seek a trekking adventure or a spiritual awakening as they travel from temple to temple.

The city itself offers plenty of things to do in the way of cooking classes, temple visits, street food, and culture. But beyond its boundaries, you'll find natural perfection, awe-inspiring animals, and unique communities deep in the mountains. Explore the sights with our list of top attractions in Chiang Mai.

See also: Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

1. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

2. discover doi pui village, 3. walk around doi inthanon, 4. wat chedi luang, 5. the old city, 6. wat prasingh, 7. try street food at the chiang mai gate market, 8. get your shopping done at sunday walking street, 9. end your day at the night bazaar, 10. stop by the highland people discovery museum, 11. mingle with rescued elephants at elephant nature park, 12. explore bua thong sticky waterfalls, 13. relax at huay tung tao, 14. art in paradise, chiang mai, 15. wat lok moli, where to stay in chiang mai for sightseeing, more tropical adventures in thailand.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

This mountaintop temple is a must-see in Chiang Mai. Wat Doi Suthep's central shrine contains a much-revered seated Buddha and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

You can reach the temple by hiking up the mountain (a sweaty but surely memorable endeavor), renting a motorbike, or hopping into a songthaew (red trucks that essentially operate as communal cabs). The drive is a short one, so you can do this whole trip in about two hours. Tip: Visiting just before sunset is a special treat, as this is the hour when the monks begin their evening chants.

At the base of the staircase leading up to the temple, you'll find vendors selling souvenirs, antiques, and snacks. Brace yourself for the climb because the staircase is steep, but the effort is well worth it. Statues of two demons guard the entrance to the temple precinct.

Generally, only two of the six gates leading to the gallery and the chedis are open. The gallery is adorned with statues of Buddha in the Chiang Mai and Sukhothai styles. The temple itself is ornate, with many representations of the Buddha, detailed dragon statues, and elephant carvings. There is also a small museum on the premises.

On a clear day (and most of them are clear unless you're visiting during the rainy or burning seasons), you can look out over the entire city and spot the chedis atop other wats poking out among the clustered buildings. If you're wearing shorts, you will be required to put on a sarong-like wrap to cover your legs. It is advised to cover your shoulders and your legs at least past your knees when visiting any temple. There is a small fee to enter the temple complex.

Doi Pui Village

This small Hmong village is admittedly more tourist-oriented than authentic. Yet there is a small exhibit of a traditional hill tribe home and information on the history of the many groups that have settled in the Thai mountains in past generations.

Here, you will find many small shops where you can purchase hand-woven textiles, handmade jewelry, tea, and other goods. You can also explore a large garden with a diverse array of plants and enjoy breathtaking views from the village. Stop for lunch at one of the small restaurants overlooking the greenery below and order a hot bowl of khao soi, Chiang Mai's most famous dish.

It's a good idea to add this to your itinerary the same day you visit Doi Suthep since you only need to drive a bit farther into the mountains to reach Doi Pui. Enjoy the ride; it's a beautiful one.

Doi Inthanon

This is the highest peak in Thailand, and the national park that surrounds it is filled with some of the many natural wonders that make the country such a draw in the first place. You can do some trekking and hike the mountain, or take a more leisurely route around the park.

Doi Inthanon

Several waterfalls and a hill tribe village are other attractions, along with two pagodas built to honor King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. You'll want to either hire a driver for the day or rent a motorbike and see the sites on your own, as you won't be able to make your way through the entire park on foot. But it's only about a two-hour drive from the city, so if you leave early, you can get in a full and satisfying day on the mountain.

Wat Chedi Luang

Ruins aren't exactly a rare sight in Chiang Mai, or in Thailand generally, for that matter. But there's something about Wat Chedi Luang that is particularly beautiful and haunting. Constructed in 1401, the imposing structure was damaged during an earthquake in 1545. But it remains remarkable today, and you can still see the massive elephant carvings that adorn it.

Beneath a huge gum tree on the left of the entrance to the precinct stands a delightful little temple, the Lak Muang . Built in 1940 on the site of an earlier wooden building, the shrine is the abode of Chiang Mai's guardian spirit (Lak Muang). According to tradition, if the great tree should fall, disaster will overtake the city. The temple is something to behold at any time of day, but it's particularly lovely at night, when it is all lit up.

Chiang Mai's Old City

One of the first stops on your visit to Chiang Mai will certainly be the Old City. In fact, this is often where most visitors opt to stay, as it's fairly walkable and is packed with temples, restaurants, and charming back streets. You'll recognize the Old City because it is bordered by water channels that resemble a mote. You'll also see remnants of the old walls.

This was the original site of the city when it was founded as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. It was founded in the 13th century on the banks of the Ping River.

Today the Old City is highly concentrated with some of the best things to do in Chiang Mai, from the Three Kings Monument to the Chiang Mai Art and Cultural Centre, massage houses, temples, cooking schools, and the Sunday Walking Street Market.

The Old City has so much to see and do that you can fill an entire itinerary just by staying within its boundaries.

Wat Prasingh

This temple stands at the heart of the Old City. Amid the sois, or alleys, and heavy motorbike traffic, Wat Prasingh rises at the end of Rachadamnoen Road.

It is the largest wat in the city and dates to 1345, when an ancient king built it in his father's honor. The father's ashes are still buried on the grounds - but don't let that spook you from visiting. The decadent structures are impressive, and it's an especially great place to check out on Sundays.

The wat's most sacred shrine is a small building called the Phra Viharn Lai Kam, erected during the reign of King San Muang Ma (1385-1401) to house the famous, now sadly headless, Sukhothai-style figure known as the Phra Singh Buddha.

According to tradition, the Buddha, in the familiar "calling the earth to witness" pose, came to Thailand from Ceylon, finding its way first to Ayutthaya and then to Kamphaeng Phet, Chiang Rai, Luang Prabang, and back again to Ayutthaya before, in 1767, arriving in Chiang Mai, where it has been ever since (but there are doubts as to the relic's authenticity).

Head to Wat Prasingh in the early afternoon, and you'll have a chance to browse a market on the grounds, perusing creative souvenirs and sampling fresh juices and teas after visiting the temple.

Street food at the Chiang Mai Gate Market

This is the place to find the best street food in Chiang Mai. Every night, vendors set up at the Chiang Mai Gate and sell everything from pad kra pow (spicy meat and basil dish) to the perfect dessert of fresh mango sticky rice topped with coconut milk.

Do yourself a favor and order a smoothie from Mrs Pa. Her stand is located directly across from the 7-Eleven and says Pa's Smoothies on the sign. Your best bet is to let her mix up a concoction of her devising; you can never go wrong this way. The market is held seven nights a week, but it's best to go on weeknights since there are fewer vendors on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Souvenirs for sale at the Sunday Walking Street

If you're wondering where to get your street grub on during the weekend, fear not. Chiang Mai has a market for every occasion. The Sunday Walking Street is a must for eating and shopping in Chiang Mai. Go early, though, if you're not one for crowds.

The main market thoroughfare is Rachadamnoen Road, which begins just behind Thapae Gate, where you'll find vendors selling handcrafted lamps, dolls, soaps, jewelry, clothes, Christmas ornaments, local handicrafts, and just about every other keepsake you can imagine.

As you reach the end of the first block of Rachadamnoen, you'll find yourself flanked by two temples. The courtyards of both are filled with food stalls offering a grand mix of pad Thai, Japanese curry, sushi for 15 cents a piece, samosas, fried bananas, and dumplings.

Flower soaps for sale at the Saturday Walking Street

The market stretches the length of the road, and if you're interested in doing any shopping at all, leave yourself several hours to wander, shop, and eat. Also make sure to be patient, as the throngs can make it slow going when it comes to browsing.

The Saturday Walking Street on Wualai Road is a slightly tamer, and slightly less crowded, version of the Sunday market. You'll find it just behind the Chiang Mai Gate, and it's a great place to pick up hand-woven clothing, pillow covers, purses, wallets, and other items sold by members of local hill tribe communities.

Shirts for sale at the Night Bazaar

This is a great spot for shopping if you are prepared to do some haggling. Because the Night Bazaar attracts many tourists, you'll want to be on your guard against getting ripped off. But there are some great finds here, from clothes and scarves to carvings and housewares.

When you've finished shopping, you can take in a Muay Thai boxing fight at the stadium on the premises. Muay Thai fights are a big part of local culture and can add an exciting element to your stay in Chiang Mai. Entrance to the fights is usually between 200 and 400 THB.

Location: Chang Klan Road

Portrait of a woman from the Karen hill tribe

Also known as Chiang Mai's Tribal Museum, this is the perfect starting point to learn about Thailand's minority hill tribes before you head out on a hike or visit a tribal village. Northern Thailand is home to several mountain tribes, including the Karen and Hmong (the two largest), as well as smaller ethnic groups, such as the Akha, Lua, and Mien, among others.

This great little ethnographic museum should be at the top of your places to visit if you want to learn more about the local hill tribes and their unique identity and culture. Indoor exhibits cover jewelry and costumes, traditional tribal music, handiworks, and more. There are also photo and video presentations explaining the unique differences among tribes and their difficult history and conflicting relationships with mainstream Thai society.

Because most of the tribes don't have a written language, the museum plays an important role in preserving and showcasing the history and culture of these ethnic minorities.

Outside the museum building, visitors can explore recreations of tribal huts in a tranquil garden setting. The museum's gift shop sells authentic handiwork from the various tribes represented here.

Address: Chotana Road Rd., Chang Phueak, Muang Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai's Elephant Nature Park

There are many elephant camps around Chiang Mai, but all are not created equal. Many have been criticized as treating the animals poorly and overworking them. Elephant Nature Park is not one of these places.

Visitors are invited to spend a day volunteering with the elephants, feeding them, and bathing them in the river. Most of the elephants are rescues, having suffered as show or labor animals. Once they come to ENP, they are no longer workers and are treated gently and respectfully.

A day spent here is an eye-opening experience, as you get to spend time up close with the elephants and learn about their plight. The cost of volunteering includes transportation and lunch, and the money goes toward maintaining the grounds and providing for the animals. Be sure to book in advance, as the volunteer spots do fill up ahead of time.

Bua Thong Sticky Waterfall

You'll definitely want to spend a day outside the city checking this place out. The wooded area surrounding the falls is serene and peaceful, but the real draw is the fact that you can walk up the falls. The limestone is "sticky" even as the water runs over it, so you can climb up and down to your heart's content. It's a real treat and provides a welcome complement to some of the more traditional tourist activities.

Aim to go on a weekday, since the place is fairly crowded on weekends. For between a few hundred and a thousand Thai baht, you can hire a songthaew or tuk-tuk driver to take you out and back.

Huay Tung Tao

This is a perfect place to laze away a day under the Thai sun, surrounded by hills and with a lake to swim in at your leisure. This reservoir is popular with locals and ex-pats. You can rent a hut on the lake for the equivalent of a few dollars and a huge tube to lounge on in the water for a small fee.

Don't worry about packing lunch because you can order fresh fish and other dishes from the local kitchens. And it's only about 10 kilometers from the city, so it makes a perfect day trip. You can hire a driver and negotiate a pickup and drop-off rate. It's worth purchasing an inexpensive Thai SIM card, so you can give the driver a call if you need to make adjustments to your meeting times.

Art in Paradise, Chiang Mai

At Art in Paradise, you can surf a big wave, ride a magic carpet, and stand amid an erupting volcano, or at least look as though you are. This illusion art museum displays 3D art that has an incredibly realistic effect, providing plenty of fantastic photo opportunities.

The collection includes more than 130 photos divided into six different zones, such as the underwater world, wildlife, Ancient Egypt, and European cities. Plan on spending at least two hours here, posing for photos in the scenes of your choice for fun mementos of your visit.

Address: 199/9 Changklan Road, Changklan, Muang Chiang Mai

Wat Lok Moli

Wat Lok Moli sticks out like a beautiful, amber-colored beacon — especially at sunset when the light hits it just right. It's next to a gas station, which is a perfect synopsis of Chiang Mai — ancient and modern coexist everywhere here.

The Buddhist Temple sits just outside the Old City, about 400 meters from the Chang Phuak city gate. It dates back at least to the middle of the 14th century and is one of the oldest temples in Chiang Mai.

Of the many temples in the city, this is one of the most beautiful. The most noticeable feature of the temple is the large chedi, which sits behind a temple structure that contains a large Buddha. In fact, one of Lanna's kings invited monks from what is now Myanmar to Chiang Mai during the 14th century to help spread Buddha's teachings. While the monks were in Chiang Mai, this is the temple at which they lived. Monks still work on the grounds today.

Inside the chedi are the ashes of many of the kings of the Mengrai dynasty, which ended in the 16th century when Burma invaded Thailand. For many years the temple was abandoned and was recently renovated in the 20th century.

Address: 298/1 Manee Nopparat Rd, ตำบล ศรีภูมิ อำเภอ เมืองเชียงใหม่ Chiang Mai 50200

If you're planning to see the top tourist attractions in the city of Chiang Mai, the best place to stay is near the walled Old City, a wonderful place to explore on foot, with its Buddhist temples, bookstores, antique shops, and cafés. Near the Old City's Tha Phae Gate, the lively Night Bazaar buzzes with activity and the surrounding area is also popular and centrally located for sightseeing.

Hotels in the area of town called Riverside tend to be a little more tranquil but still lie within easy access of all the attractions. Below are some highly rated hotels in convenient locations for sightseeing:

Luxury Hotels:

  • Minutes from the Old City and Night Market yet in a tranquil Riverside location, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort is a stylish sanctuary with contemporary Asian accents.
  • Also within walking distance to the Old City is the more intimate colonial-style Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa with charming gingerbread trim.
  • The stunning teak buildings of 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai have been lovingly restored and now offer suites with private pools, open-air showers, and vintage tiled verandahs overlooking the lush gardens.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • An excellent mid-range option in the heart of the city is the Golden Bell Hotel next to the Sunday Walking Street market.
  • If you're seeking a little more serenity, a good-value boutique hotel on the outskirts of the city is Rimping Village , a 10-minute walk from the Night Market.
  • Shewe Wana Boutique Resort and Spa is a great choice if you want easy access via tuk-tuk to all the top attractions.

Budget Hotels:

  • If you're on a budget, Varada Place offers excellent value within walking distance of the Old City.
  • Simple but charming, Amora Resort Tapae Chiangmai is close to many great restaurants and attractions and also offers great views.
  • Rustic River Boutique is also centrally located and a short hop from the Night Bazaar.

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From palaces to picturesque beaches, Thailand is packed with plenty of things to do. Near Chiang Mai, beautiful Mae Hong Son blends both the Thai and Burmese cultures. In Bangkok, you can explore sacred temples and the magnificent Grand Palace , while the old Thai capital of Ayutthaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Not far from Bangkok lies the bustling beach resort of Pattaya , the historical attractions and national parks of Kanchanaburi , and the Buddhist monuments of Nakhon Pathom .

A short flight from the capital is Surat Thani Province , with the popular islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, and Phuket Island , with plenty of appealing day trips , including Khao Yai National Park .

Chiang Mai Map - Tourist Attractions

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Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham in Chiang Mai.

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13 Awesome Things to Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand (2024 Guide)

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  • Last Updated: April 2, 2024

When you’re looking for the best things to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand, you can’t go past these top 13 attractions and activities. You’ll be amazed at all the choices for what to do in Chiang Mai!

From the world-class beaches in the South to the mountain forests in the North, Thailand really does have something for everyone.

While Bangkok is its bustling capital, the north is the heart of culture and creativity, and there are hundreds of things to do in Chiang Mai.

See the best things in Chiang Mai, such as the temples of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Chedi Luang or visit a national park such as Doi Inthanon or Doi Suthep-Pui.

Stay busy with Chiang Mai’s busy markets and street food in the old city, relax with meditation or a Thai massage, or even take a day trip to Chiang Rai or to some of the most beautiful landscapes in Thailand.

Wat Phra Singh 10 Things To Do In Chiang Mai Thailand

Table of Contents

1) Visit Elephant Nature Park

2) enjoy the cafe scene, 3) ride the mae hong son loop, 4) spend time with a local, 5) explore the buddhist temples, 6) hill tribe trekking in the surrounding mountains, 7) wander the sunday walking street markets, 8) visit san kamphaeng hot springs, 9) do a meditation course at wat doi suthep, 10) get a thai massage at the chiang mai women’s correctional institution, 11) cliff diving at the hang dong rock quarry, 12) get a sak yant from a monk, 13) go shopping at the night bazaar, where to stay in chiang mai, best backpacker’s hostel in chiang mai, best mid-range accommodation in chiang mai, best luxury hotel in chiang mai – 137 pillars, the best things to do in chiang mai.

You could easily spend a month (or more) in Northern Thailand, making Chiang Mai a base for exploration.

With the best restaurant and cafe scene in the country, excellent nightlife, a strong Buddhist presence, and enough activities to fill a calendar year, there is definitely no shortage of things to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

It really is the cultural capital of Thailand, and no doubt you’ll fall in love with it on your next visit. Best of all it’s very affordable compared to the south of the country.

There are so many places to visit in Chiang Mai, and every day we found more and more to do! If you want to know what to do in Chiang Mai, have a read of this article and come visit the city for yourself!

READ MORE: When planning to visit Thailand be sure to use our comprehensive Travel Guide to Thailand !

Unfortunately, Thailand has a history of animal abuse to help boost its tourism economy. Activities such as riding an elephant or visiting the sedated tigers in many of the temples only add to this cruelty and should be avoided at all costs.

But in Chiang Mai, there is one sanctuary that is committed to education and rehabilitation. Elephant Nature Park is a rescue centre for elephants that have been abused by the tourism industry over the decades.

Here you can either visit the elephants in their natural environment or volunteer at Elephant Nature Park to help out around the sanctuary.

Riding elephants are prohibited; instead, the focus is on treating and protecting these beautiful creatures. Definitely one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai.

Elephant Nature Park is also the most expensive option for visiting elephants in Chiang Mai, but that’s because they are the absolute best company in town.

Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai

Ok, we admit it – we’re suckers for a city with a great cafe scene. And in Thailand few places offer the kind of coffee-hopping joys that Chiang Mai does.

Because we work online, we love a good cafe with tasty coffee, a comfortable setting, funky music and fast wifi.

After a huge morning seeking out all the Chiang Mai attractions, we’d often find ourselves in one of the quirky cafes to while away the afternoon hours.

Our favourites were Good Morning Chiang Mai and Bird’s Nest Cafe, but you could spend weeks bouncing from place to place and never get sick of it.

The cafes really are the bomb and one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai.

Ok, this isn’t exactly in Chiang Mai, but no trip to Northern Thailand would be complete without renting a scooter or motorbike and riding this incredible four-day loop.

Starting from Chiang Mai, you complete a circuit, spending nights in Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son and seeking out the beauty in Pai, before returning back to the city.

It is known to be one of the best motorbike loops in Southeast Asia, and after we spent 10 months riding two motorbikes 15’000km around the region, we can honestly agree that it is well worth doing.

There’s a lot to see and do along the way, and first up is the sensational mountain scenery. Make sure your travel cameras are charged because it’s seriously going to blow your mind.

There are also a lot of cool detours you can take that will take you up to some unique hill tribes. The people up there are very friendly and welcoming, but make sure you are dressed modestly and show them respect.

And if the temperature is getting the better of you, there are plenty of gorgeous waterfalls to stop off at and take a quick dip.

The Mae Hong Son Loop is probably up there with Chiang Rai as being one of the best trips from Chiang Mai. Many travelers hit up Chiang Rai afterwards, but save time for the Mae Hong Son Loop, you certainly won’t regret it!

(Seriously, don’t be one of those digital nomads or backpackers who spend all their time in the city and never leaves.)

Read our complete guide on riding the  Mae Hong Son Loop .

Mae Hong Son Loop 10 Things To Do In Chiang Mai

We’ve been lucky enough to spend months backpacking Thailand, and one thing we never tire of is the welcoming and generous culture of the Thai people.

When you’re in the country you will no doubt have countless incredible interactions that will help convince you Thailand may just be the best country in the world.

If you’re in the city and on a limited schedule, there are plenty of things to do with locals in Chiang Mai, such as trekking and a Thai cooking class.

Our absolute favourite experience with locals is a Thai cooking class. We did this one and absolutely loved it.

READ MORE: Check out our brand new 3-days in Chiang Mai itinerary guide!

Chiang Mai is full of amazing Buddhist temples, known as ‘wats’, and the majority of them are open to visitors. While Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is probably the most beautiful, the ones in the city should not be missed either.

Even if you don’t consider yourself spiritual, Chiang Mai’s temples are a must-see.

Definitely check out Wat Phra Singh, Wat Pan Tao, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Umong. One of the real unique things to do in Chiang Mai is to attend a monk chat.

Basically, this is where you can visit a temple and talk to the monks about Buddhism, life in the temples, or just about anything you can think of.

They are often very excited to practice their English, so it is mutually beneficial. Check out the posters plastered around the temples to see when the regular monk chats are on.

The monks might even give you some more tips on what to do in Chiang Mai!

Wat Phra Singh 10 Things To Do In Chiang Mai

A lot of people who visit Thailand start in the Southern islands, which are undoubtedly beautiful, but can lack a bit of culture and authenticity.

It is no wonder then that when people arrive in Chiang Mai, they are often craving to learn about the history and ethnic development of the country.

Chiang Mai’s jungles are a trekker’s paradise, filled with waterfalls, valleys, mountains and, perhaps more interestingly, various hill tribes.

Just make sure you sign up for your treks with a reputable and responsible tour operator, where the majority of the money will go to the local people of northern Thailand.

Avoid visiting the Karen long neck tribes.

These minority people have been forced to continue their paralysing traditions, at the insistence of the government, to keep growing the booming tourism economy.

This one trekking at Doi Suthep Mountain is really cool (booked with Klook).

Every Sunday night the centre of the Old City is closed to traffic, and food vendors, craftspeople and artists take over with their unique and bargain-priced street markets.

The night street markets are among the most popular of Chiang Mai’s tourist attractions.

It’s a wonderful evening out, and you’ll find locals and tourists alike wandering around, checking out the items for sale and just enjoying themselves.

If you’re looking to buy any souvenirs or trinkets this is the place to do it. You’ll find all kinds of things here, from traditional to contemporary, and usually at very good prices.

Or if you would rather spend your money on something different, you can get foot massages for only a few dollars, and literally stuff yourself silly with all the delicious local food that is scattered all over the markets.

Definitely one of the better things to do in Chiang Mai at night. The Saturday Night Market is also just as great!

Hot tip – don’t eat lunch on a Sunday, because you’re going to fill yourself up at the walking street markets for dinner!

Sunday Walking Street Market 10 Things To Do In Chiang Mai

Renowned for its therapeutic and relaxing qualities, the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs offers visitors a rejuvenating experience amidst serene surroundings.

It’s one of the best tourist destinations near Chiang Mai!

Visitors can immerse themselves in a series of hot mineral pools while enjoying the picturesque surroundings of tropical gardens.

Additionally, the site offers recreational activities such as egg-boiling in the natural hot springs and exploring the nearby Mae On Cave. With its tranquil ambiance and healing waters, San Kamphaeng Hot Springs offers a lovely day of relaxation and natural therapy.

Chiang Mai is full of ways to get in touch with your inner self, but perhaps the most famous one is the Doi Suthep Vipassana Meditation Centre . Situated on top of Suthep Mountain, this temple receives thousands of visitors every single day.

For those that want to stay longer and learn more about this life-changing method of meditation, the monks open their doors and provide courses that range from 3-28 days.

Speaking is forbidden during your time in the temple, and all your energies are focused on breathing and clearing your mind of thoughts and troubles.

Courses are run on donations. Alesha completed a 7-day course in 2014 and absolutely loved it.

Click here to find out more about her Vipassana meditation course in Chiang Mai .

Wat Doi Suthep Vipassana Meditation 10 Things To Do In Chiang Mai Thailand

READ MORE: Be sure to check out all of the great things to do in Krabi !

That’s right – get a Thai massage at the women’s prison . Before you turn your nose up at this idea, it is important to realise that this is actually a wonderful and hugely beneficial enterprise.

The women in this correctional facility are all serving short sentences for minor offences, and this is a way for them to learn a new skill to help them migrate back into society.

There’s a cafe and crafts store on site, and the massages and spa facilities are very reasonably priced (expect 180 Baht for a massage). One of the strangest, but more interesting, things to do in Chiang Mai.

If jumping off of high things into water sounds like your idea of fun (it is for us), then make sure you head out to the Hang Dong Rock Quarry in northern Thailand.

Originally used as a mine to clear out limestone, the quarry has now filled with water that glows a vibrant turquoise green. The massive pool is deep enough to launch from the highest cliffs, some of them up to 12m high.

If you would rather take a dip without taking the dive, there are plenty of spots you can just swim out.

It can be hard to find, so hiring a scooter or songthaew is the best way to get there. The spot is also sometimes called Chiang Mai Grand Canyon.

If you’re done with Chiang Mai sightseeing and you’d like to commemorate your northern Thailand adventure – get a sak yant.

If you’ve ever wanted to get a bamboo tattoo, then Chiang Mai is the place to do it. Luckily there’s an incredible way to have this experience too.

A sak yant is a traditional, sacred tattoo in the Buddhist religion that is performed by an Ajarn, or tattoo master.

These Ajarns are often Buddhist monks, and the sak yants given are ancient script and designs that offer protection and strength to the person wearing it.

Getting a sak yant is often something many travellers want to do on their trip around Thailand, but finding a clean and hygienic place to do it can be tough.

Not wanting to risk infection, we signed up for a sak yant tour with Where Sidewalks End and even had an English-speaking guide to help translate the entire experience for us with the monk.

It was one of the real highlights of our time in Chiang Mai, and if you’re interested in doing this yourself, we highly recommend it.

Check out our detailed article about our experience getting a sak yant in Chiang Mai .

Sak Yant Chiang Mai

The night bazaar in Chiang Mai is an absolute must for anyone who wants to dive into the myriad options for gifts and trinkets from Chiang Mai as well as various practical items for travellers.

Hundreds of vendors begin setting up their stalls around 6 PM. But the night bazaar doesn’t start kicking off until an hour or so later.

If you’re not in the mood to buy anything, there is plenty to see in just walking around the night bazaar.

Plus there are lots of places where you can pick up something to eat or drink. Thai street food is among the best in the world!

Chiang Mai Travel Guide

Organising a trip includes so much research and planning – it can be a bit tiring. To save you the hassle and time, we created a list to help you find accommodation options regardless of your budget situation.

The Chiang Mai International Airport is also just 20 minutes from the center of town, so transport to your accommodation should be quick and easy. If you’re wondering where to stay in Chiang Mai while visiting northern Thailand, read on!

Chiang Mai has a huge number of accommodation options to match every budget, from backpacker hostels and tiny guesthouses to 5-star luxury resorts.

We stayed in a few places while visiting Chiang Mai, and they were all very decent. If you are a backpacker, check out the options on Hostel World .

If you are a couple or would prefer something a bit higher-end, Booking.com has a huge selection of accommodations.

Which Neighbourhood in Chiang Mai?

If you’re wondering where to stay in Chiang Mai, it’s important to choose the right neighbourhood to stay in.

While a lot of ex-pats and digital nomads choose the popular Nimmanhaemin area for its abundance of cafes, bars and restaurants, the truth is it’s a bit far away from the tourist attractions.

If you’re a backpacker you’ll want to stay near the Old City, which is the most picturesque and is walking distance to most of the Chiang Mai points of interest.

However high-quality hotels are quite limited in the Old City, so you’ll have to venture further afield. Don’t worry though – you’re never too far from anything in Chiang Mai, and tuk-tuks and motorbike rentals are very cheap ways to get around.

There’s an overwhelming number of awesome hostels in Chiang Mai, and it can be daunting trying to narrow it down to just one.

But the hostel with the most good reviews is Hostel Lullaby . With over 1,000 positive traveler reviews, and a 9.7 out of 10 rating on Hostelworld, this is easily a top pick.

Travelers love that it’s centrally located in the Old City and social, yet not super loud like a party hostel.

There’s no shortage of mid-range accommodation in Chiang Mai, but one of our favourites is the Sakorn Residence and Hotel .

It’s just outside of the Old City, so it’s a quieter place to rest your head and it really has a stunning setup.

There’s a pool, huge, bright and clean rooms, a great restaurant and friendly staff. It really has just about everything you would want for a stay in the city.

If money isn’t an option and you really want to splurge out on the most brilliant accommodation in Chiang Mai, then you need to check out the beautiful and historic 137 Pillars .

We stayed here on our most recent visit to Chiang Mai and absolutely fell in love with it.

It is arguably the best 5-star hotel in the city, and when you see it for yourself you’ll understand why. The suites surround private courtyards, and there are art galleries and delicious cafes and restaurants on-site.

The history of the place is unrivalled, and the service provided is seriously next level. The rooms feature deep, ancient teak timbers and huge 4-post beds like you’d see in the movies.

Seriously, if you want to live in pure luxury in Chiang Mai, this is the place to do it.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

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Alesha and Jarryd

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Great list of things to do in chiang mai, thanks for sharing great information.

Thank you. Glad it was helpful.

What a fantastic Post! This is so chock full of useful information, most concise step-by-step guide, I was looking for some places around Thailand, and your blog really helped me. Thanks for sharing the information. Can you suggest me some places to visit around Phuket?

Hi Finnich, we are so happy this article was helpful. As for Phuket, we have an article about accommodation https://www.nomadasaurus.com/where-to-stay-in-phuket/ and doing a detox if you are interested in that https://www.nomadasaurus.com/healthy-living-detox-atmanjai/ . As for things to do, we did some day tours out to some islands. There are many nice beaches to visit but do keep in mind they are all going to be busy as Phuket is a holiday destination. Do your research about visiting any animal entertainment places. There are many bad ones out there and treat the animals horribly. Have a great time and enjoy Thailand.

Thanks a lot for this article ! Very helpful ! I have a question regarding the message in the women correctional institution. Is it actually inside the Prison that is located outside the old city ?

It is located near the prison (not inside) and they have an area set up. It is like you are walking into a message salon. There are officers there supervising.

Thanks for your detailed article on Chiang Mai! We love it there because it is so great for digital nomads. We try to stay a few months every year to work on our blog. Gotta make it in time for the lantern festival one year!!

You are welcome. Glad it was helpful. It definitely is a great place to work. The internet is great. We have never been to the lantern festival. We just missed it a couple of years back when we moved there. Have a great time.

hi , thank you for this blog. its awesome..! you guys spent lot of time there. I’m also planing to visit Chiang Mai. But I won’t have that much time to spend in there. may be 2-3 days. I want to visit Buddhist temples and visit local area. could you give me your suggestions where to visit? I really really appreciate it.

Hi Varuni, that is awesome you are travelling to Chiang Mai. You will have a great time. There is so many Buddhist temples to visit, so we know what you mean about seeing the best ones.

Our friends over at Southeast Asia Backpackers have written a great post about the top 5 temples. Check it out. https://southeastasiabackpacker.com/chiang-mai-temples-top-5/ and if you get them all done and want more check out our friends, Hannah and Adam over at Getting Stamped’s post https://www.gettingstamped.com/chiang-mai-temples/

Have a great trip. :_)

Wow, thanks heaps guys for the tips and recommendations. I’m going to Thailand next month for my birthday and by reading your blog you guys really did inspire me to adventure and explore Thailand. Such a beautiful country 🙂

Hi Sarahia, so awesome. You are going to have a great time in Chiang Mai. Happy birthday for next month. Have a great trip.

Waoo, Thailand is really awesome. I wish to visit there. Thanks for sharing such amazing images and information about Thailand. I appreciate your blog post.

Hope you get there one day. Glad you enjoyed our post. 🙂

As a local farang living and working here in Chiang Mai it takes a bit to impress me when it comes to blogging and writing articles about this city. Anyway you guys made it and I enjoyed your writing which gave me some great flashbacks from when I came to CM the very first time as a tourist, hungry for adventures.

Keep it up thanks

Hi Jack, Thank you so much. We love visiting CM, no matter how many time we have been there. You really can find more awesome things to do every time. How long have you been living there for? We stayed for a short period of 3 months one time and really enjoyed it. We tried so many local restaurants and loved food shopping at the local markets. Hope you are going ok with the air pollution at the moment. It is crazy how terrible the air gets in the burning period.

Love all of the helpful information I am finding in your blog. Love the opening video and am wondering where this lovely via ferrata is located.

Thank you so much. Glad the article was helpful. That must of been our “world’s most dangerous hike” video. It is located in China.

About learning more about Thai culture and Hmong, Karen and other hilltribes and rural life: I would totally recommend for openminded travellers is to live in a (hill tribe) village for a few days.

We stayed through Duara Travels in 2 different villages 3 nights each, first being a Thai farmer village with the most amazing vegetarian food.

And the second was a Karen village on the slopes of Doi Inthanon – but no longnecks for display, only warm-hearted hosts. The idea is to really to connect with the locals and participate in their daily lives, far from the tourist scene.

There was also 3 thirth village available but as we are travelling with two kids we did not go, as the journey would have been too much. But may be next time, as those days spend with our new friends are the total highlight of our numerous travels.

If you’re a nature lover you’ll definitely fall in love with Chiang Mai. Aside from enjoying the stunning scenery there are lots of activities that you can also do here. Whenever I go here I usually go to the elephant sanctuary, sticky waterfall, explore the temples and talk to the monks and also enroll myself in a short cooking class.

Totally agree with you. They are great places to visit. We are looking forward to going back to Chiang Mai and going back to these attractions. 🙂

If you’re talking massage Chiang Mai is also one of the few places you’ll get a Tok Sen or hammer massage. Rather than using their hands the therapist uses a dowl-like bit of wood that they hit with a hammer. Despite it sounding a bit like a building site it’s surprisingly relaxing!

Oh wow. That sounds interesting. Thanks for the tip Helen. We will have to check that our next time.

A CM local stumbled upon your blog. Normally I would just read but there is a misunderstanding I’ve found (again and again and again in many foreigner’s blog.)

…Avoid visiting the Karen long neck tribes. These minority people have been forced to continue their paralysing traditions, at the insistence of the government, to keep growing the booming tourism economy…. >>>> 1. No forcing. They do that on therir own will. Of cause they can give up their tradition whenever you want and nobody would do any thing to force them to be back to their tradition. They just don’t do that (give up their tradition) beacuse it gaive them money.

2. Most of your tourists think they are Thai and the gov fored them to live that way. Fact is they are not Thai. Thai is nationality, not race. Problem is that many of the hilltribes has no Thai nationality. They are refugee from neighbor: Myanmar, Laos. That’s the case of many long neck Karen you see.

3. What most of tourists (roughly 99.99 percent from what I’ve read/talk) don’t understand is that Thai nationality is given by blood, not by birthplace like most Western countries. That’s why some who are not Thai, even though they gave birth in TH, sill be Myanmese, Lao, etc. That’s included these hioll tribes.

4. For those hilltribes who has Thai nationality they can gain any access Thai people have. I’m teacher in an acdemic institution in the north and I have many student who are hilltribes. They can get student loan. Some even got the Queen scholarship. They can get health insurrance and any benefit others Thai have. Of cause some of my student are from long neck Karen tribe. They give up their tradition on their own and nobody forced them to be back to their ways.

No offense, I know you like Thai. I’m appreciate that fact. But, like most tourists, You don’t understand us and, worse, you assume based on your own thought. And worst, they would not listen to us no matter how we explain them.

Hope you are not one of those tourist, otherwise, just ignore my explantion. Thank you.

I loved Chiang Mai! Been there two years in a row for weeks. One of my favorite things was to walk or bike around and visit the temples. I went to ENP as well, but I thought it was too big and touristy and you had not really a lot of time with the elephants. x

Hi Stephanie, That’s awesome. Chiang Mai is a beautiful place. Sorry you felt like that about ENP. We felt like we had a lot of time viewing the elephants. We didn’t look at our visit to the park as spending time with the elephants close up but by watching them, learning about them and their past and what the park is doing for them to better their lifes. There are a lot of tourist that visit this park, but this is the same as everywhere else in Chiang Mai. The elephants looked happy and well looked after and by having very little human contact is amazing. They have had a hard life. Thank you for your comment and happy travels 🙂

Great post!

Chiang Mai is a perfect gateway from the hustle and bustle of big city, like Bangkok. I’d definitely use this list for my next trip to Chiang Mai – thanks!

Besides exploring Chiang Mai town, I’d recommend to drive a bit up north to Mae Rim! It’s only 25 mins driving and the nature there is incredible. It is a perfect place to go for a day trip. The waterfalls and butterfly farm are the highlights of this place.

Thank you so much for the tip. That’s great. We love being in nature. Glad our post can be handy for when you go to Chiang Mai again. Happy travels

Great read! Are there any tours or hill tribes you recommend visiting that are ethical?

Hi Lauren, sorry we have no idea. There is a lot of websites that have written about Chiang Mai. Maybe try Together in Thailand, Tieland to Thailand or Travelfish. Sorry we can’t help you anymore. All the best and we hope you find the right tour. 🙂

Love this list! I finally made it to Hang Dong on my last visit to Chiang Mai, and I couldn’t believe I never heard about it during the year I spent living and teaching in Thailand. It’s amazing, and a definitely must! I’ll have to check our your suggested cafes on my next visit 🙂

That’s awesome Jessica. We are stoked you had a great time out there. Thank you for reading.

A great list of things and I’m so annoyed I didn’t get to see the Hang Dong Rock Quarry, I love jumping off things like that! Chiang Mai is amazing so I’ll be going back an I’ll definitely be doing some of the stuff off this list!

I also did a Bungy jump just outside of Chiang Mai (AJ Hackett certified) and the Zip lining, both great fun things to do around Chiang Mai.

Hope all is well back in home and you can get back on the road soon!

Wow we didn’t even realise you could bungy jump just outside Chiang Mai. We will have to hit that up next time. Next time you head back be sure to head out to the Quarry. Thank you for your concern. We have been back on the road again for the last 5 months and all is well. We were run down and some rest definitely did the job. Cheers Oscar

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Best Museums

Where to Go Shopping

Best National Parks

Foods to Try

Best Restaurants

Nightlife Guide

Best Time to Visit

Weather & Climate

Getting Around Chiang Mai

Airport Guide

Neighborhoods in Chiang Mai

48-Hour Itinerary

Top Things to Do

The Top 12 Things to Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

chiang mai tourist information

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The northern Thai metropolis of Chiang Mai was once the revered capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom and is now a cultural hub of Northern Thailand. It's a city of dualities with centuries-old stupas standing alongside brand-new office buildings; urban congestion with untamed jungle only an hours’ drive away; and is a traditional city that also happens to be the hottest “digital nomad” hub in Southeast Asia.

Explore Chiang Mai Old City on Foot

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When Chiang Mai Old City was founded in 1296, the heavily-armed neighboring regions made massive walls and surrounding moat a necessity. Part of the original walls and moat remain today, with four gates welcoming visitors into the 914-acre historic area.

The best place to start is at the Three Kings Monument and the three museums surrounding it: the Lanna Folklife Museum, Chiang Mai Historical Centre and Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre ( cmocity.com ), each dedicated to individual aspects of the former Lanna Kingdom’s history and cultural fabric.

South of the museums stands Wat Chedi Luang , an ancient crumbled stupa that dates all the way back to the 15th century. You can spend a day or so exploring the Old City’s other attractions, including more than 40 temples, bustling nightlife, and weekend night markets: Sunday at Tha Pae, and Saturday at Wualai.

Climb 300 Steps to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is Chiang Mai’s most popular temple , bar none. The gorgeous gold-plated Buddhist stupa is set in the mountains overlooking the city from the west.

Red songthaew (buses) can take you from the city to the temple’s parking lot. A 300-step staircase leads up from the parking lot up to the stupa levels, flanked by sculptures of naga (serpents). Visitors can take a tram to the upper level, but devout Buddhists prefer to make merit by ascending on foot.

Visitors will find two terrace levels at the summit: a lower level with small shrines and a memorial to the white elephant that died on this spot to determine the temple’s location; and an upper terrace with a golden stupa at its center. Buddhist visitors leave offerings at the many shrines surrounding the stupa.

Buy Traditional Umbrellas at Bor Sang

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This “Umbrella Village,” located 6 miles from Chiang Mai’s city center, specializes in the age-old trade of creating handmade paper umbrellas. These painstakingly-constructed umbrellas come in all sizes—from cocktail umbrellas to giant stationary parasols, mostly created using paper made from mulberry-tree pulp.

The local artisans have made some concessions to modernity; some umbrellas are now made using cotton, they’ve switched to using acrylic paints, and the designs have evolved from the traditional floral patterns to landscapes and abstracts.

Time your visit for the Bor Sang Umbrella Festival on the third Friday of January, where the entire San Kampaeng District around the village throws a party celebrating their trade.

Learn to Cook Thai Cuisine

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Chiang Mai’s cooking schools can’t be beat for hands-on experience with the region’s age-old culinary techniques. The teachers have the routine down to a science: they’ll take you to an authentic local market with a list of ingredients to buy; help you cook your choice of Thai dishes, taking you through each recipe step by step; and send you off with a cookbook so you can keep practicing when you get back home.

The best Chiang Mai cooking schools have a small student-to-teacher ratio, and have their own organic gardens where you can pick your ingredients fresh off the stem.

Meet the Animals at Chiang Mai Night Safari

Courtesy of Chiang Mai Night Safari

Despite the name, Chiang Mai’s Night Safari opens at 11 a.m. The zoo’s real action begins around sunset, when all three animal zones are open to the public. Once you’ve finished at the Jaguar Trail (opens at 11 a.m.) surrounding the zoo’s lake, proceed to either the Savanna Safari or Predator Prowl (both open at 6 p.m.); both night zones can be seen on a tram that winds past individual animal exhibits, each taking 30 minutes to complete the trip.

You’ll find all sorts of nocturnal animals awake in the dark like wild deer, Bengal tigers, wallabies, flamingoes, and giraffes. Some of the animals can be hand-fed at certain times; make sure to stay for the nightly laser light show by the lake.

Shop at a Night Market

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Chiang Mai’s night markets are a staple of Thai retail. The biggest one, the Night Bazaar , takes place nightly along Chang Klan Road between Thapae and Sridonchai Roads, spilling out onto alleyways (soi) radiating out from the main stretch.

After sunset, these streets are closed to motorized traffic, and stalls set up shop on either side of the road. You’ll find all sorts of touristy tchotchkes and activities in either night market: street food, northern Thai artwork and handicrafts, cheap T-shirts, massages, and street performers. 

Within the old city, two other separate night markets unfold over the weekend: the Wualai Road Night Market on its namesake street every Saturday, and the Sunday Night Market down Ratchadamnoen Road from the Old City’s Tha Pae Gate.

Talk to a Thai Buddhist Monk

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Chiang Mai’s temples have regular monk chat programs, where tourists can talk to a Buddhist monk about any topic of their choice. The benefits flow both ways: the monks get some practice in the English language, and the tourists can get an inside look at Buddhism and its practice.

Most of Chiang Mai’s prominent Buddhist temples have monk chat schedules. Wat Chedi Luang in the Old City hosts daily monk chats on the north side of the stupa from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Up at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, monk chats take place daily from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

When talking to the monks, remember to avoid sensitive topics like politics, and observe the etiquette for visiting Buddhist temples .

Enjoy an Ethical Elephant Encounter

The best Chiang Mai elephant sanctuaries pride themselves on ethical encounters where there's no riding the elephants, only care activities like feeding or bathing the animals in their own natural habitat.

For instance, the 30 resident elephants at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai are former workers in the Thai logging industry, where the poor pachyderms are worked to the bone with little time to rest. Visitors to the Jungle Sanctuary help pamper the retired elephants, participating in the animals’ care alongside local tribespeople who also make a living on the site.

Visitors can choose a half-day tour or an overnight tour at the Jungle Sanctuary; kids under three years old can enter for free.

Rediscover Nature at Doi Inthanon Park

Set on the slopes of Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon Park can be reached in less than two hours’ drive from Chiang Mai: a playground for nature lovers that’s practically on the city’s doorstep.

Given the lofty elevation, temperatures around the park feel refreshingly cool all year round, dipping to freezing from October to February. Once you’ve set up camp in the middle of the park, you can hit one of the park’s four nature trails to see its major draws: scenic waterfalls, the “King” and “Queen” pagodas constructed in honor of the late Rama IX and his consort Queen Sirikit; and, for a few weeks between January and February, the pink blossoms of wild cherry flowers in full bloom.

Enjoy a Traditional Thai Massage

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Chiang Mai’s traditional Thai massages cover both the conventional and the wackily offbeat. For the latter, look for a practitioner of tok sen massage that uses a hammer and a blunt peg in place of oil-covered hands; or yam khang massage that uses fire, oil, and feet to give you a soothingly warm back rubdown.

Your dollar goes a long way in Chiang Mai, but don’t settle for the first cheap massage joint that comes into view. Look at online reviews to winnow out the Thai massage that suits your budget and your needs.

Get a Cold Shower at Bua Thong Falls

Among the many waterfalls in the countryside surrounding Chiang Mai, Bua Thong offers the best combination of beauty and fun. Locals call Bua Thong the sticky waterfall: its limestone walls are rough enough that visitors can climb them without fear of slipping.

Even if you don’t want to climb the falls, you can just picnic at the bottom (no need to bring your own food, just buy from the local eateries); hike to a nearby shrine; or take a dip at the pool, the cool shower of the falls providing some much-needed relief on a hot day.

Eat Khao Soi Noodles

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While khao soi can be eaten throughout northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has put its own spin on the dish. Bowls of coconut curry-bathed noodles with chicken, shallots, fresh herbs, and chili can be eaten all throughout the city, sold in both streetside stalls and five-star restaurants.

Beyond khao soi, you can explore other Northern Thai foods typical of Chiang Mai’s vibrant street cuisine scene like sai oua, a grilled pork sausage; laab, a spicy salad; and khanom jeen, a rice noodle dish. You’ll find these, and more at street food stalls and markets throughout the city.

Your Trip to Chiang Mai: The Complete Guide

The Top 7 Neighborhoods in Chiang Mai

48 Hours in Chiang Mai

The Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai

The Top 8 Places to Shop in Chiang Mai

12 Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai's Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: The Complete Guide

LGBTQ Travel Guide: Chiang Mai

9 Dishes to Try in Laos

Your Trip to Bangkok: The Complete Guide

The Top 10 Things to Do in Chiang Rai, Thailand

8 Scenic Nature Parks Around Chiang Mai

Top Chiang Mai Temples to Visit

Chiang Mai's Wat Chedi Luang: The Complete Guide

Where to Stay in Bangkok

The Top 8 Temples to Visit in Bangkok

9 Places to Visit in Chiang Mai + Things To Do for First-Timers

9 Places to Visit in Chiang Mai + Things To Do for First-Timers

Chiang Mai’s location in the mountainous region of northern Thailand gives it a sufficient advantage as a tourist destination. Apart from extremely alluring sights, it also offers unique experiences that tourists would appreciate. Not to mention, it’s also one of the cheapest places to travel in Southeast Asia!

As the capital city of Chiang Mai province, Chiang Mai features top-rated attractions, which start with old city temples and quaint villages. You cannot leave the city without visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a mountaintop temple with a revered seated Buddha as the centerpiece. There are over a hundred more temples inside Chiang Mai walled city if you want to go on a crazy temple run, including Wat Chedi Luang. For gorgeous views of nature, head to Doi Inthanon National Park, home to the highest mountain in Thailand and the massive Mae Ya Waterfall. Doi Pui Village is another sight worth exploring, exhibiting the vibe of a traditional tribal village, as it played host to various groups through the years.

The best way to enjoy Thai culture is by indulging in delicious Thai food. Tourists coming to Chiang Mai also enjoy having a gastronomic adventure at the Gate Market, where vendors serve affordable, tasty delicacies—from khao soi, pad kra pow to mango sticky rice.  Chiang Mai is undoubtedly the best foodie destination north of Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is well worth a visit if you want to experience authentic Thai culture minus the madness—and high price—of the country’s capital, Bangkok. It may be 700 kilometers from the city center but having its own Chiang Mai International Airport is an edge that helps draw tourists from neighboring Asian cities, like Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Singapore, and others.

To help with your trip planning, I’ve added links to the locations on Google Maps. Feel free to click/tap on the links posted below. Then, use the “save” feature on the Google Maps app for easy reference. But before you start ticking goals off your bucketlist, here are travel essentials & discounts you’ll need to check. Pre-book online for a hassle-free trip!

Chiang Mai travel essentials

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Chiang Mai Airport Transfers (CNX) for Chiang Mai City & more (northern Thailand)

Chiang Mai Car Charter – One Day or Multiple Days Surrounding Areas

Doi Inthanon National Park

Chiang Rai & The Golden Triangle Tour from Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep Temple-Chiang Mai City Tour by Oriental Holiday

Private Chiang Mai International Airport Transfers (CNX) for Chiang Rai

View all travel tips on: Chiang Mai .

1. Chiang Mai Old City Temples

chiang mai tourist information

Chiang Mai city tour packages

Tours + discounts

Must-visit temples in Chaing Mai

Wat Chedi Luang Location: 103 Prapokkloa Rd, Tambon Si Phum.  Save on Google Maps .

Wat Phra Singh Location: 2 Samlarn Rd, Phra Sing.  Save on Google Maps .

Wat Chiang Man Location: 171 Ratchapakhinai Rd, Tambon Si Phum.  Save on Google Maps .

Wat Phan Tao Location: 127/7 Prapokkloa Rd, Tambon Si Phum.  Save on Google Maps .

Wat Lok Molee Location: 298/1 Manee Nopparat Rd.  Save on Google Maps .

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2. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Doi Suthep Lanna in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Location : 9 หมู่ที่ 9 Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand . Save on Google Maps .

See rates & book online

3. Mount Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon National Park near Chiang Mai, Thailand

Location : Ban Luang, Chom Thong District . Save on Google Maps .

Doi Inthanon National Park tour package from Chiang Mai

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4. Mae Ya Waterfall

Mae Ya Waterfall at Mount Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Location : Doi Inthanon National Park . Save on Google Maps .

5. Old City Walls & Gates

Southeast bastion of the old city wall surrounding Chiang Mai, T

6. Chiang Mai Food

Pad Thai in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Baan Thai Cooking Class

Kao Soi Khuj Yai Location: 8 Sri Poom Rd.  Save on Google Maps .

Nimmanhaemin district Location: Su Thep.  Save on Google Maps .

7. Chiang Mai Weekend Markets

Night market in front of Wat Phan Tao, in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai weekend markets

Sunday Walking Street Location: Rachadamnoen Road (behind Thapae Gate).  Save on Google Maps .

Saturday Walking Street Location: Wualai Road (behind the Chiang Mai Gate).  Save on Google Maps .

8. Wiang Kum Kam

Wat Chedi Liem at Wiang Kum Kang, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Location : Southeast of Chiang Mai Old City . Save on Google Maps .

9. Wat Jed Yod

Wat Chet Yot in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Location : Tambon Chang Phueak (Northwest of Chiang Mai Old City) . Save on Google Maps .

Location : Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand . Save on Google Maps .

Chiang Rai Travel Essentials

Where to stay Tours + discounts

Black House & White Temple Trip from Chiang Mai

Top discounts

Chiang Rai Airport-Chiang Rai City/Hotel Shuttle – CEI Shared Transfers

Chiang Rai tour package from Chiang Mai

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See more : Chiang Rai travel tips

6 Places To Visit in Chiang Rai

Location : Sukhothai province, central Thailand . Save on Google Maps .

Sukhothai Travel Essentials

Sukhothai Biking Tour – Half Day and Whole Day Tours

Sukhothai One Day Tour

Sukhothai Highlights Half Day Tour

See more : Sukhothai travel tips

6 Things to do in Sukhothai + Tourist Spots

Thi Lo Su Waterfall

Location : Mae Chan, Umphang District, Tak 63170, Thailand . Save on Google Maps .

Location : Bangkok, central Thailand . Save on Google Maps .

Bangkok Travel Essentials

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link (ARL) Ticket

Bangkok Chao Phraya Princess Cruise

Ayutthaya Day Trip with Sunset Boat Ride from Bangkok

See more : Bangkok travel tips

12 Places To Visit in Bangkok

Luang Prabang, Laos

Monks at the riverside in Luang Prabang, Laos

Location : Luang Prabang province, northern Laos . Save on Google Maps .

Luang Prabang Travel Essentials

Pak Ou Cave & Kuang Si Waterfall Day Tour from Luang Prabang

Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang Shuttle – Shared City Transfers

Luang Prabang Private Car Charter by Laos Smile

See more : Luang Prabang, Laos travel tips

11 Places To Visit in Luang Prabang

What places have you added to your bucketlist? Have you been to beautiful places in Chiang Mai that should be on this list? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Places to visit in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai tourist spots, things to do in Chiang Mai, where to go in Chiang Mai & more.

Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Click below & search recommended Chiang Mai hotels/hostels/home rentals within your budget. Remember to set your  min/max price , travel dates, and  sort by review ratings . I often book online with these trusted booking sites below for rock-bottom prices & convenient bookings.

Agoda Booking.com

Book sooner rather than later if you already have your dates set. Cheaper-priced rooms and hotels with high reviews tend to get fully booked faster, especially during busy days like weekends, holidays & peak tourist seasons.

Don’t Stop Here

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20 Things to do in Thailand + Tourist Spots

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Chedi Luang Varavihara

Wat Chedi Luang Varavihara

Wat Phra Sing

Wat Phra Sing

Thanon Kon Dern Chiang Mai

Thanon Kon Dern Chiang Mai on Sunday

1.Thanon Kon Dern Wua Lai (Saturday market) is on Wua Lai Street, near Chiang Mai gate. It is open only on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Most of the sellers are local villagers living at Wua Lai street. Therefore, the street market here has a smaller space than Thanon Kon Dern Tar Paer. The village on Wua Lai street is home to silverware craftsmen. This village both creates and sells their handmade silverware. Moreover, tourists can enjoy shopping other local products as well.

2.Thanon Kon Dern Tar Paer (Sunday market) is on Tar Paer Street heading to Ratchadamnoen Road. It is especially open on Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. This market place sells products that come in larger size. A variety of products can be found here. For cultural goods or local products, there are accessories , clothes, souvenirs, bags, scarves, lamps, etc. Fashionable stuff can also be purchased here at this Sunday market, including food, such as Kanom Jeen Nam Ngeaw (Fermented Rice Noodle in Pork Rib Soup), Kanom Jeen Namya (Noodles With Thai Fish Curry). For a winter visit, roaming down this street market can give you another enjoyable experience. Thanon Kon Dern Tar Paer is the biggest walking street market in Chiang Mai, and receives high popularity among Thai and foreign visitors.

Thanon Kon Dern Chiang Mai at Sankampang

4.Thanon Kon Dern –Sai Sankampang handicraft route Every Saturday from 3 p.m.-10p.m., Sankampang street market is open for tourists to shop for handicraft products, food, souvenirs while enjoying Sankampang traditional music along. Around the joining Laampoon-Chiang Mai route, in Amphoe Sarapee, on Sai Ton Yang street, there's another street market called Thanon Kon Dern Yang Nerng. The market is open at 5 p.m. every Saturday. The products sold here range from agricultural goods such as organic vegetables, ceramic OTOP products, basketworks until mass produced clothes, Thai desserts, and household equipment. This street market fully facilitates the disabled and the elderly people. The market path includes an especially designed slope for the handicapped. All walking paths are linked together in a level smooth surface, making every paths and corners accessible for the wheel chair users.

Ratchaphruek Garden

Ratchaphruek Garden

Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon

The Inthanon Royal Project Research Station is situated in Mong Khun Glang village. The building is decorated beautifully with a winter plant glasshouse and offers cozy accommodation and a restaurant. Siripoom waterfall (originally known as Lao-Lu Fall among locals) at 30 km. gives a spectacular view of two streams of white water. On the right side of the road not far from Doi Inthanon National Park Office is a line of wooden stalls where villagers come to sell their agricultural products, fresh and processed, from early morning until the evening. This is called Mong market. Drive on for another 4.5 km. and you will arrive at Doi Pa-tang, twin cliffs on a mountaintop, another magnificent viewpoint of Doi Inthanon. Pra Maha Tat Napametaneedon and Pra Maha Tat Napaponpoomsiri are perfect spots for blossoms viewing and watching the sunrise and sunset.

There are both short and long nature trails in Doi Inthanon for tourists of all abilities and ages. Giw Mae Pan is a short trail of approximately 3 km. abundant with wild flowers such as rhododendron, white roses, and orchids that bloom colorfully in the late winter. You may also find Chinese gorals prancing in the morning if you're lucky. In addition, Ang Ka Luang nature trail on the top of Thailand is 2,560 meters high and can be reached by car. The highlights of this trail are the moss and fern covered trees rhododendrons, and green-tailed sunbirds. How to get there From the centre of Chiang Mai, take Highway number 107 to Jomtong sub-district then take a right signposted Doi Inthanon.

Mae Sa Elephant Camp

Mae Sa Elephant Camp

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Travelers guide to the historic city of Chiang Mai, find the best things to do, places to go, travel tips and advice.

Chiang Mai Travel Guide

Chiang Mai Travel Guide Contents

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Welcome to Thailand Travel Hub's complete guide to Chiang Mai, Thailand's second-largest city. A beautiful and much more laid back destination with lots of history and culture , and also a great place to escape from the chaos of Bangkok or the throngs of tourists on the beaches of Phuket and Samui. Thailand's "Rose of the North" is around 700 km north of the capital, with a slightly cooler and more bearable climate, and although there is no beach, it's a fantastic place to visit with loads to see and do.

Here you can find the information you need about the best hotels and resorts, the best temples, the best activities and the best places to shop and eat in the city, along with our essential travel tips and advice, travel resources and booking information, all in one place. Chiang Mai has been popular with visitors to Thailand for many years because of it's slower pace of life, it's beautiful scenery and temples, plus the fantastic cuisine of northern Thailand. It's Thailand with a more laid-back vibe, but is still very accessible and tourist-friendly with an abundance of cultural attractions as it was once the ancient capital of the Lanna kingdom, but it still has enough nightlife and entertainment to keep visitors happy.

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Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

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Warorot Market

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Grand Canyon Chiang Mai

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Chiang Mai Historical Centre

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Khao Soi Yai

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Maeklang Elephant Conservation

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Elephant Nature Park

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The Gallery

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Pingviman Hotel Chiang Mai

Pingviman Hotel

Price ฿10000 - ฿20000

raming lodge hotel chiang mai

Raming Lodge Hotel & Spa

Price ฿1300 - ฿8000

mandala budget hotel chiang mai

Mandala House

Price ฿ 600 - ฿ 3500

Chiangmai Boutique House

Chiangmai Boutique House

Price ฿ 600 - ฿ 1600

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Northern Thailand Adventure

Price $1328 / £1095

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Half-Day Doi Suthep and Temples From Chiang Mai

Price $109 / £90

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Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle Day Tour from Chiang Mai

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Accommodation

Chiang Mai Weather & When To Go

Chiang Mai, like the rest of Thailand, has three seasons. Due to its location and elevation, however, it feels noticeably cooler than Bangkok or Phuket, but don't let this deceive you; in the hot season, daily highs can still reach over 30°C. Particularly during the cool season, you will notice that it gets much cooler during the night in Chiang Mai, which means many will be able to sleep comfortably without air-conditioning.

The cool season is October to February when it is noticeably more comfortable during the evening and the night-time. The hot season is February to June when it can be slightly too hot for many, and especially during the middle of the day, it can be too sticky to consider walking far. The monsoon season is June to October, when it is hot and wet with daily highs of over 30°C, with torrential downpours daily.

Another key point to consider when deciding when to come is the burning season. This is when farmers and landowners in the north of Thailand burn their waste products, resulting in terrible air quality with a high number of particulates. This takes place between late February and April and is best avoided for people with asthma or allergies (many ex-pats take holidays away from the city during this time).

Getting To Chiang Mai

There are many different methods of transport to help you get to Chiang Mai, from taking a local bus, express buses, overnight VIP buses, train and by plane.

Plane – To get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, many local carriers are operating out of both Don Mueang airport and Suvarnabhumi. Don Mueang appears to be more competitive and will be easier to get to if you are already in Bangkok city centre. There are flights almost every hour from the capital, from many different airlines including Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Vietjet Air, Thai Smile, Bangkok Air, Lion Air and Thai Airways as well as flights to and from many international hubs including Doha, Singapore, Hong Kong etc. meaning that you can fly from your home country to Chiang Mai, avoiding the need to stop in Bangkok if preferred. Prices for a one-way ticket from Bangkok start at 800 baht ($26.50) if booked in advance, but can be as much as 2500 baht ($82.70) if left to the last minute. Flight time from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is around 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Taking an overnight VIP bus to Chiang Mai from Bangkok is probably the best option, the seats on the bus recline quite far back, so it is relatively comfortable and fairly easy to catch some sleep, plus you can save on not having to for a nights accommodation.

Train – Traveling by train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a pretty awesome experience, you'll get the chance to experience Thailand's more rural areas and see some beautiful landscapes and scenery. There are a range of different tickets available, we recommend the 2nd Class AC seats only, 2nd Class Sleeper AC and 1st class sleeper. The train journey departs from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Train Station and takes between 11-14 hours, depending on which train you take, the number 7 is the quickest leaving at 08.30 and arrives at 19.30 with a journey time of 11 hours.

Taxi – Despite the distance, you should find that Thai taxi drivers will be willing to make the journey, for a price of course. Expect the journey to take 7-9 hours depending on stops, and to cost you 2500-3500 baht ($83-$116), depending on whether you agree a price or use the meter. With the abundance of budget airline tickets, however, going by taxi makes little sense.

TTH Recommendation: There are a few different ways to get to Chiang Mai, the most convenient and cost effective way is to fly. However taking the train or bus both have their advantages and give you the freedom to stop at places along the way such as Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. It is always best to book your transport in advance, especially in peak season and Thai holiday periods. We highly recommend 12Go Asia , they have an easy-to-use booking website and helpful staff on hand to help you with bookings and tickets.

Check Transport To Chiang Mai and Book Tickets on 12Go Asia

Getting around Chiang Mai

Visitors will find that many of the city’s attractions are found in what is known the “Old City”, which is the central part of Chiang Mai enclosed by the square moat and the ancient remains of the city walls. This means that, depending on the weather, you may well be able to walk to many destinations – just don’t forget to take some water with you as it can still get very hot even during the cool season. Bicycles can be rented from many places in Chiang Mai for around 50-100 baht ($1.65-$3.30) per day and they will usually supply a lock and helmet.

Renting a motorcycle - If you’re a confident rider with a motorcycle license you can rent a small capacity motorbike for around 250 baht ($8.25) per day. Check the bike over before you agree to rent it, and ask about insurance – even if you have travel insurance you may well find that it won’t cover you in the event of an accident. The combination of poorly maintained, steep and winding roads with distracted and sometimes careless drivers means that Thai roads can be deadly. Take extra care until you’ve gotten used to Thai driving etiquette. Small cars are available to rent from around 1000 baht ($33) per day. Due to more frequent police checkpoints, it is advisable to obtain an international driving permit as the police are now asking for these, they can be obtained online in minutes and printed off for a small fee, or over the counter at your local post office.

Taxis - Taxis are convenient and safe, however, just like in Bangkok they rarely want to use the meter. You should be able to find a driver willing to turn his meter on eventually, or failing that you can negotiate a fair price in advance if you know roughly what the cost should be. Motorcycle taxis are great value at about half the rate of a taxi, and they don't get stuck in traffic. They are not suitable for the faint-hearted, however. Try the Grab app on your smartphone, it is quick and convenient and you can see the price in advance.

Songtaews - Like in many Thai towns and cities, songtaews offer the best compromise between price and convenience, with most trips costing 20-30 baht ($0.66-$1). They drive on fixed routes, to get aboard just flag one down by the side of the road and ring the bell when you want to get off. You’ll see that these are very popular with the locals. To find out the routes you can use the smartphone app, go to tourist information or ask at your hotel.

Tuk-tuks - Tuk-tuks, like everywhere else in Thailand, are more expensive than even taxis with some drivers (particularly in the evenings) quoting silly prices. By all means, try one once if you've never experienced it, but you won't see the locals using them much, if at all.

Airport to city center - The airport is several kilometers from Chiang Mai city center, with the usual gang of taxi drivers hanging around offering expensive taxi rides to your hotel. 160 baht should be the usual price for a taxi, or there are public buses outside for a fraction of that (although the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers will tell you there are no public buses because they want you to go with them). Alternatively, book a taxi with the Grab app to avoid having to haggle and being overcharged.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Old City – Surrounded by the ruins of the ancient city walls, the Old City is a very central and convenient place to stay. It is also home to numerous cheap guest-houses and hostels, so is also a very economical choice if you're on a budget. There are plenty of attractions and places to eat within walking distance (provided you avoid the middle of the day when it can get really hot). The Old City has plenty of temples, markets and museums to see and is a great place to start if this is your first time in Chiang Mai, it is the city's historic center and a fascinating place to stay. The most convenient area would be near to the Tha Pae Gate which is located at the center of the eastern section of the moat, there are several places to stay around there and it's easy to get transport from as it is right on the main road which circles the Old City.

Nimman Road – Nimman Road is home to some thumping nightspots and would be a great place to stay if that's your thing. Northwest of the Old City, the area is much more trendy and modern, being a popular nightspot for the young local Thais looking to unwind in the evening. It is convenient for access to the airport, offers a vast array of drinking and dining options, and despite being super modern and clean still comes in at budget-friendly prices in most cases.

Night Bazaar Area – If you've come to Chiang Mai to fill your suitcases with bargains, then staying in the Night Bazaar area might be up your street. It's a more traditional area but is still a very bustling place with a huge variety of places to eat and drink. It is also very close to the Loi Kroh Road, walkable in fact, which has an abundance of bars and discos so is great for nightlife. It's easy to get to both the riverside and the Old City from here so is a great choice for most people, however, it can get busy so may not be the best place if you're looking to relax. You'll find everything from budget hostels to huge hotels in the area.

Riverside - This area is a bit more relaxed with many nice resort hotels, so would be an excellent choice for families visiting the city. There are many picturesque riverside bars and restaurants to relax at whilst overlooking the Ping river, but you're not particularly close to the city's attractions or shopping options, although transport is readily available. You pay a bit more for having a quieter location away from the nightlife hotspots but it's still very good value by western standards.

Chang Phuak – Chang Phuak is a large region to the north of the city center which encompasses much of the Doi Suthep National Park and much of the city north of the Old City. It is noticeably less touristy than the central areas and offers a more authentic experience with even lower prices for accommodations. There are plenty of attractions, shopping malls and restaurants in the area itself, and it also offers an excellent base from which to explore the city of you want to stay somewhere away from the tourists.

Hang Dong – Hang Dong is a large, less developed district south-west of the city center, but it does have some great temples and the Grand Canyon water park. There are some country clubs and resorts to stay at in the region, but you'll be fairly remote and it's more suited to families and people wanting to explore the great outdoors. It is much less touristy than Chiang Mai city itself. You will need a car or motorbike to explore the area as it's not so easy to find a bus or taxi and the area is fairly spread out.

TTH Recommendation: The city of Chiang Mai is absolutely packed with excellent accommodation for all types of traveler, from budget hostels, guest houses, budget hotels to five star hotels and luxury resorts. It's a good idea to book online before you go, especially in peak season or during Thai holidays. We recommend Agoda.com and Booking.com for online bookings, in most cases you can cancel or alter your bookings just in case your travel arrangement change. You can also take a look at other peoples reviews and experiences about the accommodation, to help you decide on the perfect place to stay.

Check Out The Latest Chiang Mai Accommodation Deals On Agoda

Best Things to See & What to Do in Chiang Mai

Trekking & Hill Tribe Villages

Go Trekking & visit the Hill Tribe Villages

If jungle trekking is on your agenda then Chiang Mai is an excellent base, being surrounded by thousands of acres of untouched natural tropical vegetation and sensational scenery. Most jungle trekking trips will be a 1-3 day tour through stunning jungle and rice paddies, with incorporated visits to points of interest such as waterfalls, cave formations, tiny villages and incredible viewpoints. You will also get a chance to visit and stay with one of the famous local hill tribes, where the women have elongated necks from wearing numerous metal rings, plus you will have the opportunity to camp and cook amongst them.

There are many companies offering trekking tours around the Chiang Mai area so take the time to find out which one would suit you best. Many offer fully tailored packages for small groups if you have something specific in mind. Most tour packages will start at 2000 baht ($66) per person per day for the most basic package, but even that should include food and water, transportation, any national park fees, activity costs and insurance.

Trekking in Chiang Mai is now pretty touristy, the hill tribe villages are very used to seeing foreign tourists and are very welcoming. Keep a lookout for charitable and higher end agents, who often donate to local hill-tribes and conservation projects.

Trekking around Chiang Mai is a wonderful way to get out of the city and explore the jungle, rivers and wildlife as well as experience the culture and rural way of life in northern Thailand.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Visit The Amazing Temples of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is packed with hundreds of ancient and spectacular temples, with many being within walking distance of each other inside the walls of the Old City. The most famous temple, however, is the incredible Wat Doi Suthep perched atop a steep hill overlooking the city, a must-see for every visitor to Chiang Mai. As well as the temple complex, the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park even has some easily accessible waterfalls and lagoons and some (fairly basic) bungalows if you'd like to stay the night.

There are many smaller temples scattered all across the city, with some particularly interesting ones inside the walls of the Old City. Wat Chedi Luang was built in 1385 and once housed the much-revered Emerald Buddha, which now takes pride of place in Bangkok. Wat Phra Sing is another ancient temple, but this one was fully renovated less than a century ago and houses a beautifully ornate and gilded main temple building which is home to a huge standing golden Buddha. If you're short on time the temple tours are an excellent option but don't try to do too many in one day or you'll get "templed-out".

For something slightly different – head outside of the old part of town to Wualai Road where you’ll find the odd, but beautiful Wat Sri Suphan – the silver temple. In the evenings the temple is bathed in neon lights, lending an otherworldly, almost futuristic edge to the structure.

Doi Inthanon National Park

Visit the National Parks

Northern Thailand is known for it's beautiful, jungle-covered terrain and natural features, so it should come as no surprise that there are indeed many amazing and relaxing parks to visit in the area. Doi Inthanon National Park is named after Thailand's highest peak and encompasses the 1000 km2 of jungle and hills surrounding it. The terrain is covered in some fairly dense undergrowth but is dotted with various hiking trails and several waterfalls. Doi Suthep-Pui National Park is known as the home of the famous hilltop temple complex, and again, the whole area is heavily forested and home to many species of local wildlife.

Si Lanna National Park is noticeably more mountainous and home to a stunning nine-level waterfall. Ob Luang National Park is noted for its beautiful river canyon, its hot springs, and its interesting cave complex featuring long underground tunnels, with many stalactites and stalagmites. Ob Khan National Park is a tranquil getaway from the city, only about an hour away with some beautiful surroundings, a river that you can swim in, and a campsite.

Elephant Nature Park

Visit the Elephant Nature Park

The Elephant Nature Park is a rescue center and sanctuary for distressed elephants in northern Thailand and is around 60 km from Chiang Mai city center. It offers amazing experiences, getting up close with these impressive creatures, plus you will be taken on a guided tour of the reserve and given a chance to learn more about the stories of how they were rescued. Many would have died if they had not been brought here to safety, and most have experienced cruelty and hardship in their lives.

For many people, this will be a truly amazing opportunity and an experience that you are unlikely to forget in a hurry. The animals are extremely intelligent and very well treated by the staff, and your visit goes a way to helping them to continue their work. The cost for a full day is 2500 baht ($83) and half price for children under 11, and it is well worth every penny. Also, a two-day, one-night overnight visit is available for 5800 baht ($192).

Chiang Mai Massage

Relax with a Massage and Spa Visit

No visit to Thailand would be complete without at least one Thai massage and some cut-price pampering at a local spa. A good quality Thai massage is a rejuvenating experience, and with prices starting from as little as 200 baht ($6.60) per hour you could treat yourself every day if you wanted to. You can choose from a full body massage, a head and shoulder massage, foot and leg massage, a Swedish massage, hot stone or aromatherapy massage and many more options besides.

Plus, a seemingly endless array of spa treatments are available in Chiang Mai, including manicures and pedicures, facials and reflexology, which can be combined with your choice of massage for a full afternoon of bliss without hurting your budget. Chiang Mai is home to numerous fantastic spas at various price points, all offering something slightly different. Some particularly well-known ones include Fah Lanna Spa, Orn Healing Hands and The Giving Tree, but there are massage salons and spas all over the city so don't be scared to give your nearest one a try.

Cooking Classes Chiang Mai

Classes & Workshops

Chiang Mai is no stranger to tourism and offers a vast array of different classes, courses and workshops of all description. There are several camps and gyms where you can learn some Muay Thai moves and expend a serious amount of energy in the process, whether you want just a few hours or 6 months, you will be welcomed. Or, for something a bit less strenuous there are many, many cooking courses where you can learn how to make a sensational Pad Thai or Thai green curry, plus vegetarian and vegan classes if you prefer. If you plan to return to Thailand in the future, perhaps a Thai language course might interest you, you can learn with others or have one to one tuition, all at great rates.

Plus, Chiang Mai offers photography courses, art classes, certificated Thai massage training, fruit carving lessons, yoga classes, martial arts training, and much, much more besides. There is a lot more to Chiang Mai than just the temples and Khao Soi, plus the classes are a great way to meet new people.

Chiang Mai Night Bazzar

Grab a Bargain at the Night Bazaar and Markets

Chiang Mai is full of great markets, and if you've never experienced a Thai market before, you're in for a treat. They offer a bewildering array of goods, clothes, souvenirs, and more importantly food, at rock-bottom prices and are often the thriving, social hub of the area for the locals. The night bazaars are very much an attraction aimed at tourists, as such, you'll find many of the vendors able to speak a few words of English to help things along but expect to find higher prices than at the other markets (look for where the locals are buying for the best deals).

Warorot Market , in particular, has a bewildering array of goods at great prices, but be prepared to haggle for the best deal, especially if you are buying several items from the same vendor. There are dozens of other markets in the city, including the Saturday night market, JingJai, Somphet, Mueang Mai and Tha Pae walking street, plus the Amulet Market is also well worth a visit.

Experience Chiang Mai’s Nightlife

Chiang Mai does have a thriving nightlife scene, although it's noticeably more subdued than places such as Bangkok or Pattaya. Having a few drinks at a riverside bar overlooking the Ping river is a popular pastime with the locals, listening to some live music. Also, there is the trendy Nimman Road which is an up and coming area full of modern cocktail bars and nightclubs, with venues to suit different budgets. A bit more sedate but just as much fun are the beer bar complexes and smaller bars along the Loi Kroh Road, which is the closest Chiang Mai gets to a red light district.

In addition to the bars, nightclubs, restaurants and live music venues, Chiang Mai is also home to several "party hostels", which offer cheap accommodation and food to young travelers looking to make the most out of the nightlife and social scene. If you want peace and quiet, these will not be the places for you, but if you're looking to meet some new friends and party every night, they could be just the ticket.

Loy Krathong

Explore Chiang Mai's History, Culture & Heritage

Chiang Mai has a long and interesting history, being founded around 1294, and it eventually took over from Chiang Rai as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom (now northern Thailand). The moat and fortifications were built as a defense against local marauders including the Mongol Empire and neighboring tribes who were a constant threat during the period. Chiang Mai then developed over the centuries, becoming Thailand's second most important city, economically and culturally . However, as the northern Thais are descended from the Lanna people, they have a slightly different identity which you can learn more about during your stay in the city.

There are many places where you can go to uncover the city’s history and the culture of the Lanna people. There is the Lanna Traditional House Museum, the Tribal Museum, the Lanna Architecture Center, plus the Chiang Mai National Museum and many more besides. They are fascinating attractions and a great way to while a few hours away if it’s raining (to save money you can often buy combined tickets for several attractions).

Chiang Mai has some fantastic festivals throughout the year, which attract clusters of people from all over Thailand and the world – from Songkhran – the new year celebrations in mid-April, to the awe-inspiring Loy Krathong festival which takes place during the full moon in November, when thousands of candles are floated down the Ping River in lotus-leaf boats.

Incidentally, Loy Krathong coincides with the Yi Peng festival in Chiang Mai, when hundreds of thousands of lanterns or khom loy are released into the sky, creating a light show that resembles a gigantic constellation of lightly burning orange embers.

Khao Soi Northern Curry

Experience the best Northern Thai Food & Learn to Cook

The dishes in northern Thailand are heavily influenced by the surrounding countries of Myanmar, China and Laos, and as such, are slightly different to the Thai food that you may be familiar with. You will note that many of the soups and curries of the region do not use coconut milk, but instead consist of a clear broth heavily infused with local herbs and spices. Less spicy than the cuisine from southern Thailand, and not as sweet as foods from the central region, food up here is predominantly salty, fragrant and bitter, but delicious and a nice change from the ubiquitous pad Thais and green curries.

So forget about coconut milk and fish sauce, which comes from the south of Thailand and get ready for roots, plants and herbs plucked from the jungles and thrown into dishes like nam prik ong, a spicy tomato pork dip made with bunches of dried chillies, and Kôw soy – a fragrant curry-based dish with sides of vegetables and lime, topped with fried noodles and synonymous with Chiang Mai.

There are plenty of food markets to choose from in Chiang Mai but we love the Warorot evening market – where amongst the ambiance and fragrance of the stalls you’ll find dishes such as sai ua (a local lemongrass infused sausage) and kaeng khanun (jackfruit curry) amongst Thai favorites such as mu ping (pork skewers) and Tom yum.

A visit to Chiang Mai wouldn't be complete without learning how to cook some of these amazing dishes from northern Thailand. There are plenty of highly recommended cooking schools in Chiang Mai, they are great fun and fantastic way to meet new people too.

Day Trips and Excursions In Chiang Mai

As you'd expect from such a well-heeled destination, there are many excellent day trips which you can undertake when staying in Chiang Mai, either by doing it yourself or booking through a tour provider. There are dozens upon dozens of tour operators and most packages can be customized to suit you, so don't feel pressured into booking the first one you come across.

Chiang Rai - Chiang Rai is a smaller, older and less touristy city about 3 hours drive northeast of Chiang Mai and is famous for the spectacular Wat Rong Khun, known as the white temple. This temple alone is worth the journey. A full day trip will also take in the ancient 7th-century ruins at Chiang Saen, a stop in the famous Golden Triangle and a boat ride along the Khong River. It's quite a long drive but the scenery along the way is spectacular, and there are plenty of places to stop for some refreshments and local cuisine. A full-day tour costs around 2000 baht ($68) per person, if you have a larger group you may be able to negotiate a discount.

Hill Tribe Villages - A very common day trip involves winding up the mountain roads surrounding the city to visit one of the hill tribes. It's certainly an interesting opportunity and a great place to get some candid photos, but be aware that the steady stream of tourists over the years has changed some of these tribes into almost side-show attractions. There are more ethical tours available and you'd be wise to choose one of these.

Mae Sa Waterfalls - The famous Mae Sa waterfalls complex is only a short drive north of the city center and boasts a beautiful ten-level waterfall, set amongst beautiful natural surroundings with abundant tropical flora and fauna to be found. It's a great spot for a picnic and a spot of swimming in the cool and clear waters. There are many pools suitable for swimming, and some small local style restaurants, plus camping is allowed here for a small fee.

Huay Tung Tao Lake - Huay Tung Tao Lake is another peaceful and relaxing destination where you can easily while away an entire day taking in the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Only about 20 minutes drive from the city center, the lake is lined with Thai-style bamboo huts where you can sit and order food and drinks from local vendors. It's a great place to go with a group of friends to enjoy some authentic local food in the stunning surroundings of the Doi Pui mountains, and maybe enjoy a few beers or some of the local whisky.

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon - The Chiang Mai Grand Canyon is not very well known amongst tourists but offers a fantastic day out, especially for thrill-seekers. If you're willing to seek the place out, you'll be rewarded, especially if the weather is good. The huge canyon is filled with beautifully clear and cool blue-green water and is perfect for swimming, plus the surrounding area is fantastic for enjoying a picnic and lounging in the sun, being Chiang Mai's closest thing to a beach. There are several levels carved into the cliff for jumping into the water, starting at a few feet and going up to daredevil heights.

TTH Recommendation: Travel agents and tour companies are plentiful in the vibrant city of Chiang Mai, offering some excellent tours and experiences. However, if you prefer to book conveniently online then we recommend Get Your Guide and Viator , both are very well established and provide excellent customer service. You can also check out customer reviews and experiences before you make your booking. Most tours and activities have a free cancellation policy as well, just in case your travel arrangements change.

Check The Best Chiang Mai Tours & Activities On Get Your Guide

Prices, Expenses & Typical Costs In Chiang Mai

Accommodation - Amazingly, you can get a bed in a hostel dorm room in Chiang Mai for as little as 80 baht ($2.65) per night. For a private room with air conditioning (advisable during the hot season), prices start at around 300 baht ($10) a night but spending a few extra baht will get you something a little more comfortable in a better location, 600 baht ($20) would be a better bet. Over 1000 baht ($33) should get you a modern, boutique-style guesthouse or hotel in a central location.

Transportation - Short hops of 1-2 km on a motorcycle taxi can be as little as 30 baht ($1), with taxis and tuk-tuks charging something in the range of 60-90 baht ($2-$3) for a similar journey. Taxis and tuk-tuks will almost always try and overcharge. Using the Grab app is the best way to get around without getting ripped off. You can rent a bicycle from 100 baht ($3.30) per day, a motorcycle for 200 baht ($6.60) per day, and a small car from around 1000 baht ($33).

Food and Drink - Chiang Mai offers great value food from both street vendors and at the markets, with a bowl of noodle soup starting from as little as 30 baht ($1), and small restaurants and cafes would charge around 100 baht ($3.30) for a duck red curry with steamed rice and a can of soda. At a more upmarket venue, expect to spend 1000 baht ($33) or even more for a western-style meal with a dessert and imported wine.

Recommended Budgets For Chiang Mai

Backpacker traveling solo with no alcohol or partying: $20-$30 per day per person.

Average traveler, staying at decent guesthouse/hotel, exploring some attractions and a few drinks in the evenings: $60-$80 per day per person.

Nightlife enthusiast staying at 3-star guesthouse or hotel, lots of drinking, entertainment and eating at restaurants: $100-$140 per day per person.

Family staying in a family room in a nice hotel or resort, with attractions, taxi/tuk-tuk transport and restaurant meals, plus shopping budget: $150-$250 per day per family.

Luxury traveler, 5-star hotel, taxis, cocktails and lots of nightlife: $300 and up per day, per person.

Chiang Mai Money Saving Tips

Chiang Mai has always been considered as a good value destination in Thailand, with things like accommodation, food and transport supposedly being cheaper than places like Bangkok and Phuket. Whilst this is in many cases quite true, with the Thai currency now reaching heady 6-year highs against some currencies, it still pays to follow some simple money-saving tips.

Eat street food - Don't be afraid of the street food, the Thais know that some of the freshest and tastiest food is served on the street and it's the best value as well, with meals starting from as little as 30 baht ($1). Chiang Mai has excellent quality street food - don't leave without trying a bowl of the famous Khao Soi. These places might look a little unorthodox to you, with the plastic chairs and rickety tables, but they are clean, tasty and cheap, indeed you can have five street food meals for the price of a McDonald's meal.

Exchange money when you get to Thailand - Don’t change your money into baht before coming, this is a rookie mistake and you’ll lose 10-15% of your money instantly. Money exchangers in Thailand, even at the airports, will offer a much, much better rate than in your home country. Just bring pounds, dollars or euros with you and you’ll be much better off. And don’t plan to use your ATM card in Thailand as the fees are exorbitant, there’s an unavoidable charge of 220 baht ($7.30) at the ATM itself, then your bank at home will charge you a foreign transaction fee, plus you won’t get the best rate. Thus, if you make three withdrawals during your holiday, you could lose almost $100 in fees alone.

Ask for discounts - With fewer tourists in Chiang Mai recently due to the surging baht, there are many great deals to be had. Most guest-houses can and will give a reasonable discount if you book for many nights and pay cash upfront, plus many restaurants and bars will be offering all kinds of happy hours and special offers. Also, keep an eye out for the young ladies handing out coupons (called koo-pong in Thai) in the malls, they can save you as much as 50% on a meal at their restaurant.

Don't waste money on clothes & laundry - Clothes at the markets in Chiang Mai are cheap. So you may be surprised to find that many resorts and hotel chains charge a small fortune for laundry services. However, it is fairly easy to find small shops in the city offering to do your load for as much as 90% less than your hotel, just take care with any designer or expensive items and ensure that they are written on your receipt when you hand your clothes in.

Is It Safe to Travel Around Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is a very safe destination, and you are highly unlikely to become the victim of a crime. However, like everywhere else in the world, petty, opportunistic crimes can and do still occur, but with a bit of common sense, you can reduce the risks of anything happening to you to almost zero.

As of 2019, Chiang Mai is experiencing something of a downturn in tourism, possibly caused by a perfect storm of several factors including a very strong currency, and overly convoluted immigration rules and regulations.

Therefore people may be more tempted by your Macbook Pro or expensive DSLR camera so take extra care with such items. And don't flash lots of money when settling your bills, basic common sense but you'd be surprised how many tourists do it.

What is far more of a risk to you in Chiang Mai are the roads and traffic. The roads in Thailand are generally not well maintained and particularly some of the roads surrounding the city and going up to Doi Suthep can be steep and winding, particularly dangerous at night or during a monsoon downpour. Be extremely cautious if you drive a motorcycle, even if you are a very experienced and accomplished rider, that 6-inch deep pothole you didn’t see could put you in hospital fast. Driving standards in Thailand will not be up to the same standards as your home country, indeed Thailand now has the number one most dangerous roads in the world with many people dying everyday from avoidable accidents. Take extreme care on the roads.

If you are reliant on medication, take plenty with you as Thai pharmacies, although generally very helpful and well-stocked, won’t keep everything that your pharmacy at home does. The tap water in Chiang Mai is considered to be safe, but it is advisable to do as the locals do and not drink it, bottled water is cheap and available everywhere. Like elsewhere in Thailand, avoid being intoxicated in public, as this can attract the attention of undesirables.

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CHIANG MAI TRAVEL GUIDE: Budget, Itinerary, Things to Do

CHIANG MAI TRAVEL GUIDE: Budget, Itinerary, Things to Do

By continuing to read this article, you agree to double check with the authorities or other concerned entities for the latest updates.

I will always remember Chiang Mai as the place where I felt like a backpacker for the first time.

I was backpacking around Southeast Asia when I first set foot in Chiang Mai. It wasn’t my first stop, but it was here when I found myself alone for the first time. In Singapore and across Malaysia, I was traveling with Vins. In Siem Reap and Bangkok, a Thailand-based friend joined me. It wasn’t until I was on the overnight train to Chiang Mai when solitude finally kicked in. I was traveling alone in a foreign country for the first time in my life. I was nervous, dreading the possibility of realizing that this whole travel thing wasn’t really for me.

But Chiang Mai turned out to be an ideal place to have one’s solo backpacking debut. Since that trip, Chiang Mai has become my favorite destination in Thailand.

Chiang Mai: Essential Travel Information

Chiang Mai has all the right qualities of a backpacking hub in perfect balance. It has a tourist-friendly atmosphere, vibrant markets, irresistible cuisine, affordable cost of living, and warm, helpful locals. It is the largest city in Northern Thailand with lots of commercial establishments, but it retains a peaceful, traditional vibe. No wonder it has become one of the most popular bases for digital nomads in Asia.

Chiang Mai was the capital of Lan Na, a kingdom that occupied what is now Northern Thailand from the 1292 to 1775. Chiang Mai literally means “new city,” a reference to its new status after replacing Chiang Rai as capital. For centuries, it was a walled city surrounded by a defensive moat to keep away the invaders. Today, the walls remain standing, marking the boundaries of the city’s historic core called the “Old City.” (Yes, it’s the Old City of a city whose name literally means New City. Teehee.) Outside of the Old City walls, a more modern commercial area sprawls. For travelers, Chiang Mai is best known for the countless temples that fill its streets and crown its mountains, and its lantern festival that illuminates the night sky every November.

chiang mai tourist information

Here are more facts about Chiang Mai.

  • Language : Thai. Their language can be quite daunting to non-native speakers, especially its lengthy words and tongue-twisting pronunciations, but as with every other language, it only intimidates in the beginning. English isn’t widely spoken, but what the locals lack in English fluency, they make up for with their friendly attitude toward tourists.
  • Currency : Thai Baht (THB, ฿). THB100 is roughly USD3, EUR 2.6, SGD 4.2, PHP 164 (as of August 2018).
  • Modes of payment : Cash. Although some restaurants and hotels accept credit cards, smaller establishments only accept cash.
  • Electricity Info : 220V. Most common sockets are sort of a combination of Types A and C. They have two holes that can accept both flat and round pins. This type of socket can take plugs that are Types A, C, and F.

chiang mai tourist information

WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?

Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai

November to mid-February , because of the mild weather and festivities. However, this is also the peak season, so prices are a bit higher, which isn’t much. Even in high season, Chiang Mai remains a generally affordable destination.

chiang mai tourist information

Chiang Mai enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons: dry, hot, and wet. But don’t take it by name.

  • Dry Season (mid-October to mid-February). This season sees pleasant, comfortable weather, ideal for sightseeing. This is also the peak season so expect to share the city with a big crowd, especially around Christmas and during the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, which usually falls in mid-November. Although it is also called “Cool Season,” the cool part is often noticeable at night. It can still get pretty hot during the day.
  • Hot Season (mid-February to mid-June). Avoid it if you can help it. It can get too hot for comfort, sometimes going over 40C in May. One thing you should also be aware of is the so-called Burning Season, which happens from late February to mid-April, when farmers in the region burn the waste from their harvests, filling the air with smoke. This slash-and-burn practice coupled with forest fires (both natural and intentional) creates a layer of haze that reaches the city. If you have asthma, this season is not for you.
  • Wet Season (mid-June to mid-October). It’s the rainy season but it doesn’t mean it’s raining every day or all day. It rains often but they don’t usually last long. My first visit in Chiang Mai was in September and I barely noticed the showers. It’s always pretty cloudy but it remains humid. The rain and the clouds keep the temperatures from going to scorching levels, which is nice.

How to Get to Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai and the greater Northern Thailand region are served by Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) . It is the fourth busiest airport in Thailand, next only to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, and Phuket.

Over two dozen airports fly from and to Chiang Mai Airport. Most of them connect the city to the rest of Thailand, Southeast Asia, and China.

Many travelers access the city by land from Bangkok as part of a more elaborate multi-city Thailand or ASEAN itinerary. For this, the most commonly used gateway is Chiang Mai Train Station, about 3km east of the city center.

If you’re coming from Manila, there are no direct flights but you still have plenty of options. The most economical is to fly to Bangkok. AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines all offer affordable fares. From Bangkok, you can either take the train or another flight to Chiang Mai.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Plane

From Bangkok, you can fly to Chiang Mai with another low-cost carrier. The cheapest flights are usually operated by Thai Lion Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai VietJet Air, and Nok Air. You can find fares for as low as ฿775 (USD24, PHP1270).

Here’s a quick flight scan on Traveloka.

chiang mai tourist information

It is important to note that Bangkok is served by two airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang International Airport (DMK). If you’re connecting in Bangkok, make sure you’re flying to Bangkok and to Chiang Mai via the same airport so you don’t need to switch.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Train or Bus

If traveling by train, the first thing you should do is to get to Hua Lamphong Station (aka Bangkok Railway Station), where trains bound for Chiang Mai start their journey. If you’re coming from Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Mueang Airport, here’s how to get to Hua Lamphong: Airport to Hua Lamphong .

chiang mai tourist information

At Hua Lamphong Station, you have a choice to ride a daytime train or an overnight sleeper train.

The journey to Chiang Mai takes 11 to 16 hours, depending on what train you’re taking. The daytime seat-only express Train #7 takes 11 hours, leaving Bangkok at 8:30am and arrives at 7:30pm. Fare is around ฿890 (USD27.32, PHP1460).

Hence, I recommend the overnight sleeper train so you won’t waste a day and you actually save a hotel night.

All overnight sleeper trains have second class berths, but not all have first class. Some trains are air-conditioned; others use fan only. Double check before booking.

  • Second-class fare: from ฿830 (fan only) to ฿1300 (air-conditioned)
  • First-class fare: around ฿1753 (USD54, PHP2875)

What I took was Train #13, which left Hua Lamphong at 7:35pm and arrived in Chiang Mai the next morning. Our train got delayed but it was a good experience overall. Just bring snacks onboard in case you get hungry.

Daytime and overnight buses are also available, leaving Morchit Station and arriving at Chiang Mai Arcade. Fare is from ฿530 to ฿830.

✅ SEARCH FOR BUS OR TRAIN TO CHIANG MAI HERE: BANGKOK TO CHIANG MAI

Chiang Mai Airport to City Center

Chiang Mai Airport is just around 5km from the Old City, about 10-15 minutes away. Here are your options:

  • By Airport Taxi. Fare is fixed at ฿160 to anywhere within the city center except the Arcade Bus Terminal (฿200). That’s per taxi, not per person. The taxi can accommodate up to 5 passengers. If you’re a bigger group, you can charter a bigger taxi for ฿260 instead.
  • By Metered Taxi. Depending on which part of the city center you’re going, fare should be around ฿110 plus ฿50 airport surcharge.
  • By Shared Taxi. Locally called songthaew , it’s like a small truck turned into a passenger service taxi. (Much like the jeepneys in the Philippines.) I’m not sure how much the fare is exactly but it should be between ฿40 and ฿60. Expect them to wait for other passengers. Some drivers will also try to convince you to just rent the whole vehicle for a rate that is higher than the taxi. I fell victim to it once because I was a newbie traveler at the time and didn’t know any better.
  • By Tuktuk. Fare: ฿120-160, depending on your negotiation skills.

Chiang Mai Train Station to Old City

The train station is only 3km from the city center. Here are your options:

  • By Taxi. Fare: around ฿150, depending on which part of the city is your destination.
  • By Tuktuk. Fare: ฿120-150, depending on your negotiation skills and where in the city you’re going.
  • By Bus. Take the City Bus B1. Fare: ฿15.
  • By Songthaew (shared taxi). Fare: ฿30 or more, again, depending on where you’re going.

Expect the songthaew to wait for other passengers. Like at the airport, some drivers will also try to convince you to just rent the whole vehicle for ฿150 or higher. Don’t. Just share with other passengers.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

The best places to stay in Chiang Mai are in and around the Old City and near Night Bazaar. In both areas, you’ll have quick access to transportation and an almost endless array of restaurants, bars, shops, tour operators, and temples.

Lodging is cheap in Chiang Mai. This is one of the main reasons why this city is a clear favorite among digital nomads from all around the world. Even I, who lived in the province of a developing country, find these rates unbelievable.

Top Chiang Mai Hostels

Here are the top hostels and dorms in Chiang Mai as ranked by Agoda users.

About a Bed Hostel Chiangmai

  • About A Bed Hostel Chiangmai. Check Rates & Availability .
  • Eden Walking Street Hostel. Check Rates & Availability .
  • Tanwa Hostel. Check Rates & Availability .
  • The Entaneer Poshtel. Check Rates & Availability .
  • Hoh Guesthouse. Check Rates & Availability .

Top Budget Hotels in Chiang Mai

Old City Wall Inn

  • Little Guest House Hotel. Check Rates & Availability .
  • Anumat Premium Budget Hotel. Check Rates & Availability .
  • TCH Boutique Hotel. Check Rates & Availability .
  • iWualai Hotel. Check Rates & Availability .
  • Old City Wall Inn. Check Rates & Availability .

Search for more Chiang Mai Hotels

Internet connection in chiang mai.

chiang mai tourist information

If you’re the type who relies heavily on the Internet for directions and recommendations, you might want to get a local data SIM . You can book one from Klook and pick it up at Chiang Mai Airport . You can enjoy unlimited data for up to 8 days, with 3GB data allowance for maximum speed (throttles after 3GB is used up). The SIM also comes with ฿100 call credits, which is equivalent to 30 minutes.

chiang mai tourist information

How to Get Around Chiang Mai

chiang mai tourist information

Getting around Chiang Mai is easy. Within the Old City or from Old City to the night bazaar, you can just travel on foot. For longer distances, there are plenty of cheap transportation options to choose from.

  • By Bicycle. Rent is ฿50-250 per day, depending on bike type. Find a shop that also offers a helmet even when it costs more.
  • By Motorbike or Scooter. If you know how to drive a motorcycle and you have a license, this is a good option too. Rent is ฿150-200 per day for a regular motorbike. You’ll find shops offering lower rates and you can negotiate too. Prepare to leave a deposit.
  • By Tuktuk. The fare varies depending on distance. From the Old City to the Night Bazaar, it should be between ฿50 and ฿100. Up to ฿150 if to the airport. An additional ฿20 surcharge is collected at night.
  • By Songthaew. Fare is often ฿30 for short distances and ฿40-60 from within the city walls to outside, depending on the destination.
  • By Grab. Grab operates in Chiang Mai, providing a better and often cheaper alternative to the taxi. If you’re not familiar with Grab, it’s a ride-sharing app just like Uber.
  • By Tour Package. If you’re the type who wants a tour guide or don’t want to worry about anything else, you can just book a pre-arranged tour.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

Chiang mai temple tour.

Dozens of temples mark the corners and streets of Chiang Mai’s Old City. Two of the most prominent are Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang , built in the 14th century to house the ashes of a king. You can easily visit most of them on your own because they stand within the walls of the historic center, near hostels, shops, and restaurants.

If you want to appreciate these temples better, you can join a group tour instead. A guide will explain the history and significance of these sites, making the experience more educational. Most tours also bundle these Old City temples with a visit to Doi Suthep , a mountain 15 km from the city center where another spectacular 14th-century Theravada temple is located.

chiang mai tourist information

Klook’s tour includes buffet lunch and roundtrip transfers. You can do a full-day tour. If you don’t have the luxury of time, you can opt with a morning or afternoon half-day tour instead.

Chiang Mai Food Trip

Thailand boasts one of the most internationally celebrated cuisines in the world. It’s also one of my two personal favorites. (The other one is Japanese.) What I like about the Thai’s food culture is that you don’t need to spend much to enjoy it. In Chiang Mai, kerbside cuisine rules the streets. Everywhere, you’ll find cheap eats.

chiang mai tourist information

Mobile pork barbeque carts roam around. Small kiosks serving irresistible plates of pad thai and drool-worthy bowls of tom yum are just a short walk away. And the weekend night market comes to life when lanes of food stalls begin taking shape.

Food tours are also available, if you want to learn what the go-to street food spots are from a local’s perspective.

Thai Cooking Class

chiang mai tourist information

If you want a more immersive take on the Thai culinary tradition, you can join a cooking class instead. Learn how to cook authentic dishes so you can prepare them yourself even when you’re back home! Like most cooking classes, you’ll have an instructor to guide you every step of the way.

You’ll never run out of cooking class choices in Chiang Mai. On Klook alone, there are at least four companies offering this activity. However, the cheapest and the most popular by far is the one organized by Mama Noi. The session begins with a visit to the local market to shop for ingredients. You’ll then move to the venue, where you’ll tour a small organic farm before the actual class begins.

You may opt to attend a full-day class or just stay for half a day (morning or evening).

Flight of the Gibbon Adventure

chiang mai tourist information

Chiang Mai has more than its share of zipline and forest adventure tours, and they all seem like they’re offering the same thing.

But the most popular is the one organized by Flight of the Gibbon . On Klook, while others have a few thousand bookings to date, Flight of the Gibbon dwarfs them with over 30,000 bookings and a perfect 5-star review rating.

The canopy tour will take zooming through the forest on a 5-km zipline, rappeling, and conquering sky bridges. Also included in the package is a set menu lunch or dinner at a waterfront restaurant. The catch is, it’s also a lot more expensive, more than twice the price of other similar tours. But if its popularity and user reviews are any indication, this tour is probably worth it.

Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle Tour

chiang mai tourist information

Chiang Mai is also a good base for travelers who wish to explore other parts of Northern Thailand. One of the destinations you can visit from the city is Chiang Rai , another ancient city and is home to the stunning White Temple , the 9-tier Wat Huay Plakang, and the Black House.

Most tour companies also include a stop in the Golden Triangle, the area where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos meet.

Doi Inthanon National Park

chiang mai tourist information

Doi Inthanon National Park is often called “the Roof of Thailand” because it is the site of Doi Inthanon, the tallest mountain in the country. Situated 60 km from the city center, it is one of the top destinations among Chiang Mai visitors. The national park is home to the Karen and Hmong peoples, among others. Several waterfalls also make a splash here, including Wachiritharn Falls, Mae Ya Fall, and Mae Klang Falls.

To get here, you can rent a car and drive yourself. But for most tourists, joining a group tour is most beneficial. Group tours usually include a guide, roundtrip transfers, and a stop at the following:

  • Wachiritharn Falls
  • the King and Queen’s pagoda
  • Angkha Nature Walk
  • the summit of Doi Inthanon
  • Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon
  • Wat Phra Tard Sri Chom Thong
  • Hmong village market

The tour also includes lunch at a local restaurant.

Night Markets

Aside from the Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai has a few more night markets for your shopping fix. If your visit happens to fall on a weekend, check out the Saturday Market and Sunday Market. Both are walking street make-shift markets that take form in the late afternoon and closes around midnight. The vibe resembles a street festival with lots of music, food, crafts, artwork, and other curious finds.

chiang mai tourist information

The Saturday Market occupies Wu Lai Road, while the Sunday Market fills Rachadamnoen Road. Although located in different parts of the city, the feel and items on sale are very similar.

If you miss out on these weekend markets, you may check out the Anusarn market at Charoen Prathet Road, which is open DAILY, from 11:30am until midnight.

Sample Chiang Mai Itinerary

Here’s a sample 4-day/3-night Chiang Mai itinerary. Note that it assumes you’re staying in the Old City and booking your tours via Klook. Feel free to make the necessary adjustments to match your flight or train schedule, preferences, and whatnot.

Day 1: ARRIVAL, NIGHT BAZAAR 12:30pm – Arrival at CNX Airport 01:30pm – Transfer to Old City: ฿60 02:00pm – Hotel check-in, rest 05:00pm – DIY Street food trip, ฿200 08:00pm – Night bazaar (or weekend market if weekend) 09:00pm – Lights out

The itinerary above will cost you at least ฿3600 (USD111, EUR95, SGD151, PHP5900) , excluding airfare and accommodations.

If you stay in a hostel dorm for ฿200 per night, prepare to shell out at least ฿4200 (USD129, EUR110, SGD176, PHP6880) , excluding airfare.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chiang mai safe.

Yes, Chiang Mai is generally safe. Of course, you should still use commom sense at all times and don’t flash your gadgets in the open or leave your valuables unattended.

Are there scams in Chiang Mai that we need to worry about?

Yes. The good news is, scams are not as rampant in Changmai as they are in Bangkok, Pattaya, or Phuket. The bad news is, they exist. The notorious jewel or gem scam is present in Chiang Mai, too. The modus operandi is, a local or an expat will approach and be friendly to you, and at one point they will try to convince you to visit a jewelry store. Some tuktuk drivers are in on it too. They will offer to tour you around and make a stop at a jewelry store, so book tours with a reputable operator.

Beware of ATM skimming. If you need to withdraw, use a machine that is inside a bank or a hotel. At night markets, beware of pickpockets.

As in any other city, be careful and vigilant. But don’t worry too much about it.

What is tipping policy in Chiang Mai?

Tipping is NOT mandatory in Chiang Mai, but it is surely appreciated. When eating at sit-down restaurants, a tip of 10% of the bill should be fine. You can also just round off your bill. For example, if your bill is ฿135, you can leave ฿150. Same with cabs. If the meter is ฿105, round it off to ฿110 or ฿120. At hotels, you can give ฿20-50 to the porter who carries your luggage to your room, depending on the number of pieces. For a massage, tip ฿50. For full-day tour guides, at least ฿200 is alright.

Where can I see elephants in Chiang Mai?

There are a lot of “sanctuaries” that offer close encounters with elephants, but most of them are not real sanctuaries. As far as ethical treatment of elephants are concerned, the one with the best reputation is Elephant Nature Park , an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center.

I can’t vouch for it because I have never tried any of them. But Elephant Nature Park is most recommended by my fellow bloggers for ethical reasons.

Where to exchange money in Chiang Mai?

I don’t know exactly which company offers the best rates in Chiang Mai. But if we base it on just the reputation, SuperRich is your best bet.

I didn’t exchange money in Chiang Mai because I converted more than enough when I was in Bangkok. I also exchanged at SuperRich in Bangkok.

What is the power socket used in Chiang Mai?

Most common sockets are sort of a combination of Types A and C. They have two holes that can accept both flat and round pins, the shape of two door knobs or rubber stamps facing each other. This type of socket can take plugs that are Types A, C, and F. If your plug has three pins, you will be needing an adaptor.

Do I need a visa to visit Thailand?

Foreigners holding passports issued by the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, United States, United Kingdom, Germany and 40+ other countries can enter Thailand visa-free , provided that they stay shorter than 30 days.

To see the complete list of countries, visit this: List of Visa-Free and Visa-on-Arrival Countries

However, visitors must have the following upon entry:

  • a valid passport (with at least 6 months validity)
  • return or onward ticket
  • at least 10,000 baht per person or 20,000 baht per family or equivalent in other currencies, cash.

They don’t ask for show money all the time. Our team has been in and out of Thailand recently but none of us were asked how much we carry. But it would help to just comply, just in case.

It will also help to have a hotel reservation .

Note that if you’re not arriving by air, you’re only allowed to enter Thailand twice per year.

*Cover image purchased from Shutterstock 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣8️⃣ • 8️⃣ • 3️⃣0️⃣

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guest

Hai im Lyn this coming November me and my sister will visit Chiang Mai your blog is very useful for us . thank you for this information.

Yosh Dimen

Yayyy! Chiang Mai is awesome! Happy planning! :)

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Home » Southeast Asia » Thailand » Chiang Mai

12 BEST Places to Visit in Chiang Mai (2024)

Chiang Mai is a haven for expats and backpackers. This part of Thailand is filled with temples, spicy food, and a culture that’s warm, welcoming, and delightfully foreign. If you’re looking for places to visit in Chiang Mai during your trip, you’d better have plenty of time available for the explorations.

But Chiang Mai has its difficult side too. Unfortunately, this country has become known for the kind of travel that’s exploitative and unpleasant. A small number of travelers go there for less savory activities. In fact, if you read the news, you might think that’s all there is to do in this country. But that’s why we’ve created this list, to prove that you can have a great time without being part of the unsavory scene.

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Chiang Mai:

These are the best places to visit in chiang mai, faq on the best places to visit in chiang mai.

Where to stay in Chiang Mai Old City Map

Chiang Mai’s Old City

Literally, walled-in, if you are wondering where to stay in Chiang Mai -this is the most popular option. It’s great for your first Chiang Mai itinerary. The Old City is often the cheapest place to stay in Chiang Mai, with a plethora of backpackers’ hostels and budget guesthouses, so this is also our pick for where to stay in Chiang Mai on a budget.

  • Relax and feed the pigeons at Suan Buak Hat Park
  • Visit Chiang Mai’s oldest temple: Wat Chiang Man
  • Shop like a local at Somboon Market

There’s more than just Chaing Mai’s old city in this bustling metropolis. If you’re curious to see more, be sure to check out where to stay in Chiang Mai . And then, dive into the fun below!

chiang mai tourist information

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#1 – Wualai Walking Street – A great place in Chiang Mai if you love to shop!

Wualai Walking Street

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  • This is one of the best hotspots in Chiang Mai if you want to shop without the crowds.
  • This market is held every Saturday night and is quieter than some other options in Chiang Mai.

Why it’s so awesome: Markets are great, but they can get incredibly crowded. If you want a fun and lively market that isn’t as packed as the rest, then show up on Wualai for the Saturday market. It opens in the later afternoon and runs until late.

What to do there: This market is a little smaller, which is why you won’t have to fight your way through the crowds. This is a strolling market, where you’ll find a good array of goods and food stalls without the claustrophobic crush of other markets in the city. This peaceful atmosphere is what makes this market one of the best places to visit in Chiang Mai.

#2 – Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – One of the most religious places to see in Chiang Mai

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

  • This temple is a Chiang Mai must see!
  • Visiting temples can get a little monotonous, so if you’re only planning to see one then make it this one.

Why it’s so awesome: This temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city to be found on every backpacking Chiang Mai travel guide . It also contains an important seated Buddha statue as well as a myriad of statues throughout the gallery. The entire building is ornately decorated in the Chiang Mai style, and there’s a museum on-site if you want to learn more about the history and religion of the area.

What to do there: It’s quite a hike up the mountain to the temple, but doable as long as you have a reasonable level of physical fitness. You can also rent a motorbike or hire a songthaew, one of the red trucks that function as cabs in Chiang Mai. Once you get there, you’ll have to climb the steps up to the temple so you can explore the site. There are vendors outside selling souvenirs and snacks as well, so stop by them if you get overheated and need a break.

#3 – Doi Inthanon – A beautiful and scenic place to check out in Chiang Mai

Doi Inthanon

  • Chiang Mai is famous for its lush natural surroundings, and this area will show you why!
  • You can go hiking or just explore the area and take in the natural landmarks and pagodas.

Why it’s so awesome: This is an awesome are to spend a day or half a day in. It’s the highest peak in Thailand and is surrounded by a national park that will prove to you why Thailand is famous for its natural surroundings. But even if you don’t like nature very much, there’s still a lot to do and see in this area. In fact, there’s too much to see on foot, so if you really want to explore this Chiang Mai must do then you will need to hire a driver or a motorbike for the day.

What to do there: There are lots of activities and things to see at this site. The hiking and trekking are great, and the paths will take you past waterfalls, pagodas, and a hill tribe village. You can also take it a little easier and hire a driver to take you round to the best spots, an option that’s even more appealing on really hot days.

#4 – Chiang Mai Gate Market – A must-see for foodies!

Chiang Mai Gate Market

  • This market is absolutely iconic and one of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai.
  • Make sure you fast for the day before you visit this market, as you’ll need the stomach room.

Why it’s so awesome: This market has the most awesome food stalls in Chiang Mai and perhaps even all of Thailand. The market is held most nights of the week, but weeknights are the most popular. There are fewer vendors on weekend nights, so make sure you go when you can enjoy everything this market can offer.

What to do there: This city has some of the best food in the world, so you’ll be hard-pressed not to put on weight when you’re visiting Chiang Mai. But it’s worth it, particularly when it comes to this market. Eat lightly throughout the day and prepare yourself for a night blowout. And once you’re there, try everything that looks or smells good. Some popular offerings are the mango sticky rice, smoothies, and pad kra pow, which is a spicy meat and basil dish.

#5 – Wat Umong – One of the more unique places to visit in Chiang Mai!

Wat Umong

  • A network of underground tunnels protects the seldom visited shrines in this area.
  • These shrines are still used by Buddhist monks, so make sure that you’re quiet and respectful.

Why it’s so awesome: There are a lot of temples and shrines in Chiang Mai. In fact, when you’re looking for the most interesting landmarks in Chiang Mai, you’ll find that most of them are temples. But these shrines are a little different because they’re nestled underground, attached to a network of tunnels that were once used by a king and a Chiang Mai monk who preferred to pray underground.

What to do there: This site was first abandoned in the 15th century but fortunately it wasn’t eaten by the forest. It’s now open to the local Buddhist monks as well as curious travelers. The tunnels are located a few miles out of town, so you’ll need to get a motorbike or arrange other transport to get there. Make sure that you book return transport too, or you might find it difficult to get back to your hotel. Once you’re there, explore the tunnels and the surrounding forest as well. You’ll find numerous Buddhist shrines, statues, and signs all over the area. And the hunt is partly what makes this one of the most enthralling points of interest in Chiang Mai.

#6 – Huay Tung Tao Lake – A nice non-touristy place to visit in Chiang Mai

Huay Tung Tao Lake

  • Located just outside of the city center, this is a local hangout where you’ll enjoy some of the best food in the city.
  • The tranquil, waterside atmosphere in this area is what will really amaze you in the middle of the busy city.

Why it’s so awesome: The heavily touristed areas don’t usually have the best foods. If you want to try really authentic northern Thai cuisine, undiluted by the tastes of travelers, then head a few miles outside of the city center to this lake. It’s where the locals gather to try some dishes, relax in the mambo huts around the water, and socialize.

What to do there: This isn’t the kind of area that you want to visit with a big, loud group of intoxicated friends. The lake has a tranquil atmosphere which is what makes the locals come back night after night. So, make sure that you respect that. There are vendors offering street food dishes all around the lake. So, watch until you find one who’s busy and serving something that looks delicious and eat your meal by the water. Make sure you grab a drink too because the food will probably be very spicy.

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#7 – Chiang Mai Old City – One of the most amazing places in Chiang Mai!

Chiang Mai Old City

  • This whole area is like a living museum, and you could spend hours exploring the temples and side alleys.
  • You’ll need a whole day to enjoy everything this area has to offer, so make sure you block out the time on your Chiang Mai itinerary.

Why it’s so awesome: Chiang Mai might feel young and lively, but the truth is that it has a long and fascinating history. And much of that history still remains, cluttering the streets and looming above passersby. When you’re exploring Chiang Mai, make sure you take the time to get to know the tiny slice of history that’s contained in the Old City.

What to do there: This area is a maze of streets, shops, temples, historical buildings and is surrounded by some of Chiang M a i’s best hostels . Fortunately, it’s also a fairly small area, so you can easily explore it on foot. Set out early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat and enjoy the atmosphere. There are several temples in this area that are worth seeing including Wat Phra Singh, Wat Phan Tao, and Wat Chedi Luang. And there are more temples too, so just wander wherever your curiosity takes you.

#8 – Bo Sang Handicraft Village

Bo Sang Handicraft Village

  • If you like art and craft, then you need to explore where they’re made in this village.
  • The crafts made in Bo Sang are known all over Thailand, which makes this one of the most interesting places to visit in Chiang Mai.

Why it’s so awesome: Brightly colored umbrellas and parasol are found all over Thailand, and most of them come from Bo Sang Village. This is what makes this village one of the most famous places in Chiang Mai and a great idea for a day trip. You’ll get to meet the local people and watch them create things you’ve seen all over Chiang Mai but probably never gave a second look.

What to do there: This village is located about 9 kilometers from Old City, so it’s in the perfect place for a day trip. You can hire a driver or take a motorbike for the day and explore the slower pace of life in this village. You’ll also see some incredible hand-painted goods and can actually tour the factory and watch them get made as well.

#9 – Lanna Folklife Museum – A fascinating educational place to visit in Chiang Mai

Lanna Folklife Museum

  • People from northern Thailand were once known as the Lanna, and this museum explores their unique history and customs.
  • The north of Thailand is very different to the south, and you’ll learn why at this museum.

Why it’s so awesome: The exterior of the museum is fairly plain. It’s a white colonial building that seems unconnected to the culture around it. But once you go inside, you’ll find it full of exhibits about the lives, customs, and history of the Lanna people. And the exhibits are in several languages including English.

What to do there: When you explore Chiang Mai, you want to learn about more than the bars and the temples, and this museum is your chance to do it. The building isn’t large, so you won’t need more than a couple of hours to see it all. And taking the time will add immeasurably to your appreciation for and understanding of the local culture.

#10 – Wat Kum Kam – A great place to see in Chiang Mai if you love architecture

Wat Kum Kam

  • This is often known as the underground ancient city exploring the ruins is a Chiang Mai must do.
  • If you don’t feel like walking, then take a carriage ride for a little extra spice to your visit.

Why it’s so awesome: This site is located around 5 kilometers south of Chiang Mai along the Ping River. The city dates back to the 8th century and was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom of northern Thailand. The city was long abandoned and lies in ruins now, but still contains some incredible statues, sculpture, architecture, and pottery for you to explore.

What to do there: This is a large site to explore, particularly on hot days, so you can always hire a bicycle, or have a horse-drawn carriage to take you around. But whatever form of transport you use, there’s a lot to see. Wat Chedi Liam, the temple at the center of the site, is also one of the most popular landmarks in Chiang Mai. It features a Burmese style pavilion and is characteristic of the early Lanna period. You can also learn more about the Lanna people at the Cultural and Local Wisdom Center, where they have exhibits containing Lanna objects and traditional houses.

#11 – Sunday Walking Street – A great place to visit in Chiang Mai at night

Sunday Walking Street

  • This market is only held on Sundays and is the place to shop, eat, and be seen on the weekend.
  • If you’re only in Chiang Mai for a couple of days, try to make it on a Sunday so you can experience this market.

Why it’s so awesome: This market stretches for a kilometer along the main tourist area in Chiang Mai, all the way from Tha Pae Gate towards Ratchadamnoen Road in the west. From 4pm, the road’s closed to traffic and fills up with stalls selling everything you could want to buy, eat, or drink.

What to do there: This market is one of the best places to visit in Chiang Mai for handicrafts of all descriptions. So, make sure you leave your Sunday evening free and head down to the market. You can shop, eat, spend some time at the makeshift bars and even get a foot massage. Also, make sure that you check out the wide range of handicrafts if you need a souvenir to take home.

If you need help figuring out what to see and do, then use our  epic backpacker’s Chiang Mai itinerary  to gain some insider tips and knowledge! 

#12 – Nimmanhaemin Road – Cool place to see in Chiang Mai with friends!

Nimmanhaemin Road

  • The trendiest part of Chiang Mai and the most expensive in terms of food and souvenirs.
  • This is the area to visit for a fun and busy night out.

Why it’s so awesome: Nimmanhaemin Road is one of the most famous places in Chiang Mai for a night out. It’s also incredibly trendy and surprisingly expensive compared to the rest of the city. So, be prepared to spend more on a meal. But the attractions more than make up for the expense, because you can do everything from going to the cinema to spending a night in the bars in this area.

What to do there: This is a great place to visit if you just want to wander and see what looks interesting. The street boasts a shopping mall at one end that contains designer shops, a cinema, and some famous restaurant. There are also several high-quality bars and side streets filled with interesting stores all the way along the road.

chiang mai tourist information

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Find out what people want to know about the best places to visit in Chiang Mai

What is Chiang Mai famous for?

Chiang Mai is famous for its temples, picturesque mountains and elephant orphanages – though many of them are tourist traps, be careful which one you visit.

Is 3 days enough to visit Chiang Mai?

Yes, three days should be enough to see the highlights, however you could easily stay longer and enjoy some of the nature in the area

Is Chiang Mai a safe place to visit?

Yes, Chiang Mai is a generally safe place to visit. However, many street vendors can be pushy when selling their products.

Is Chiang Mai expensive?

No, Chiang Mai is a cheap destination and great for backpackers.

Final Thoughts on the Coolest Places to Visit in Chiang Mai

When you travel to this part of Thailand, you’ll find delicious food, colorful and friendly people, and lots of amazing places to visit in Chiang Mai. And by exercising a few precautions, you’ll also be able to avoid the seedier side of the city and have an active and exciting visit. If you’re looking for things to do in Chiang Mai, start with this handy list and then see where your travels take you from there!

  • Devise your ultimate itinerary for Chiang Mai with our in-depth guide.
  • Check out our Chiang Mai hostel guide for a vibing place to stay.
  • If you’re feeling like splurging, check these epic Airbnbs in Chiang Mai .
  • Our ultimate Backpacking in Thailand guide is an essential read before you travel.
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  • Don’t forget the essentials with our in-depth backpacking packing list .
  • Plan your entire Southeast Asia backpacking adventure with our mega-guide!

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chiang mai tourist information

  province  is in Northern  Thailand . The Chiang Mai weather is always cooler than the rest of the country, with an average temperature of 25°C throughout the year. The city has plethora of things to see and things to do. The beauty of the mountains, hill tribe villages, and  botanical  gardens attracts millions of tourists to Chiang Mai every year. You can also enjoy a  Zoo  and  Aquarium , a nocturnal zoo, and classic Northern Thai temples and architecture which are a  Fusion  of Lanna, Mon, and Burmese styles.

The north of Chiang Mai borders the Shan state of Myanmar. Cross-border trade is allowed at Kew Pha Wok checkpoint in Amphoe Chiang Dao and Ban Lak Taeng checkpoint in Amphoe Wiang Haeng, so both are tourist sites and places for cultural exchanges between two nations. 

The south is next to Amphoe  Sam Ngao , Amphoe Mae Ramad, and Amphoe  Tha Song Yang  of  Tak  Province, with tourist attractions like Bhumibol  Dam , Sam Ngao Cliff, Mae Kasa Waterfall, and Thee Mo Bo Waterfall.

The east is next to Amphoe Mae Fah Luang, Amphoe  Mueang   Chiang Rai , Amphoe Mae Suai, and Amphoe Wiang Pa Pao of Chiang Rai Province, Amphoe Mueang Pan and Amphoe Mueang  Lampang  of Lampang Province, and Amphoe Ban Thi, Amphoe Mueang  Lamphun , Amphoe Pa Sang, Amphoe Wiang Nong Long, Amphoe Ban Hong, and Amphoe Li of Lamphun Province.

The west is next to Amphoe Pai, Amphoe Mueang  Mae Hong Son , Amphoe Khun Yuam, Amphoe Mae La Noi, Amphoe Mae Sariang, and Amphoe Sob Moei of Mae Hong Son Province. Most popular places are Amphoe Pai, Pang Oung, and Doi Mae U-kho.

Chiang Mai has a long  History . It was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. Nowadays it is a very modern city, similar to  Bangkok .

Chiang Mai literally means “new city” and has retained the name despite celebrating its 700th anniversary in 1996. King Meng Rai the Great founded the city as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom on Thursday, April 12, 1296 around the same time as the establishment of the  Sukhothai  Kingdom. King Meng Rai even conferred with his friends, King Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai and King Ngam Muang of  Phayao  before choosing the site where the capital of the Lanna Kingdom was to be founded. Henceforth, Chiang Mai not only became the capital and cultural core of the Lanna Kingdom, it was also to be the center of Buddhism in northern Thailand. King Meng Rai himself was a very religious leader who even founded many of the city’s temples that remain important to this day. Chiang Mai is one of the few places in Thailand where it is possible to experience both  Historical  and modern Thai  Culture  coexisting side by side: the city features centuries-old pagodas and temples next to modern convenience stores and boutique hotels. This dichotomy is best appreciated within the moat-encircled old city, which retains much of the fortified wall that once protected the city center as well as the four main gates that provided access to the former Lanna capital city. Strangely, for many years, tourists had mistaken Chiang Mai simply as the base from which they could plan  Trekking  and  Rafting  trips to hill tribe villages and explore other provinces. Once in Chiang Mai, however, tourists are surprised by the fact that there are so many things to discover other than its beautiful and historic temples. Intriguing diversity among ethnic tribes, a number of elephant camps, many cooking and massage schools, numerous outdoor activities, a variety of handicrafts workshops, various cultural performances, and breathtaking scenery make Chiang Mai one of Asia’s most attractive tourist destinations. The phrase “a day in Chiang Mai is enough to see things around town” was once a common expression. Today, two weeks in Chiang Mai may not be long enough for travelers to experience all that Chiang Mai has to offer.

The old city of Chiang Mai is a showcase of the north’s fascinating indigenous cultural identity that includes diverse dialects, a delectable cuisine, distinctive architecture, traditional values, lively festivals, numerous handicrafts workshops, northern style massage, and classical dances. Chiang Mai is also blessed with pristine natural resources including mountains,  waterfalls , and  River s. The presence of numerous hill tribes that feature a wealth of unique cultures enhances Chiang Mai’s distinctive diversity. Hill tribe trekking often combined with river rafting and elephant riding has always been one of Chiang Mai’s greatest tourist attractions. Nowadays there are innumerable activities and attractions both in the city and the surrounding province, including massage instruction and golf. Moreover, visitors can visit workshops where they can learn about the production of silk or silver, and purchase memorable, hand-crafted souvenirs. With such a diverse range of attractions and an equally grand selection of dining and accommodation options, Chiang Mai is a place where both backpackers and luxury tourists can enjoy the ultimate Thailand holiday.

Explore Chiang Mai

A vivid night out in chiang mai.

When the darkness is about to fall, bustling Chiang Mai  is cooled down by the evening breeze.  The city turns lively again. Sometimes, it is more comfortable for an easy night out.

chiang mai tourist information

STYLISH CHIANG MAI ON NIMMAN

Stroll the Nimmanhaeminda Road of Chiang Mai, and you will learn how chic the enclave is. 

Tourism Authority of Thailand Singapore Office

  • c/o Royal Thai Embassy 372 Orchard Road Singapore 238870
  • +65 6235 7901
  • [email protected]

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Chiang Mai, the City of Life & Prosperity of its own unique culture and nature with 715 years old city (Ancient Kingdom of Lanna)

Chiang Mai is the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand , and is the capital of Chiang Mai Province. It is located 700 km (435 mi) north of Bangkok, among the highest mountains in the country. The city is on the Ping river, a major tributary of the Chao Phraya river.

In recent years, Chiang Mai has become an increasingly modern city and attracts approximately 1 million visitors each year. Chiang Mai gained prominence in the political sphere in May 2006, when the Chiang Mai Initiative was concluded here between the ASEAN nations and the “+3” countries (China, Japan, and South Korea). Chiang Mai’s historic importance derived from its strategic location on the Ping river and major trade routes. The city has long been a major center for handcrafted goods, umbrellas, jewelry (particularly silver) and woodcarving.

While officially the city of Chiang Mai only covers most parts of the Mueang Chiang Mai district with a population of 150,000, the urban sprawl of the city now extends into several neighboring districts. This Chiang Mai Metropolitan Area has a population of nearly one million people, more than half the total of Chiang Mai Province .

King Mengrai founded the city of Chiang Mai (meaning “new city”) in 1296, and it succeeded Chiang Rai as capital of the Lanna kingdom. The ruler was known as the Chao. The city was surrounded by a moat and a defensive wall, since nearby Burma was a constant threat. With the decline of the Lannathai kingdom, the city lost importance and was often occupied either by the Burmese or Thais from Ayutthaya. Because of the Burmese wars that culminated in the fall of Ayutthaya in April 1767, Chiang Mai was abandoned between 1776 and 1791. Lampang then served as the capital of what remained of Lannathai. Chiang Mai formally became part of Siam in 1774 by an agreement with Chao Kavila, after the Thai King Taksin helped drive out the Burmese. Chiang Mai then slowly grew in cultural, trading and economic importance to its current status as the unofficial capital of northern Thailand, second in importance only to Bangkok.

The inhabitants speak Kham Muang (also known as Northern Thai or Lanna) among themselves, though Central Thai is used in education and is understood by everyone. English is used in hotels and travel-related businesses and many educated people speak English. The Kham Muang alphabet is now studied only by scholars, and Northern Thai is commonly written with the standard Thai alphabet.

The modern municipal dates to a sanitary district (sukhaphiban) that was created in 1915. This was upgraded to a municipality (thesaban) on March 29 1935, as published in the Royal Gazette, Book No. 52 section 80. First covering just 17.5 km2 (7 sq mi), the city was enlarged to 40.216 km2 (16 sq mi) on April 5, 1983.

Chiang Mai Weather

Being a mountainous region, Chiang Mai weather varies considerably in comparison to other parts of Thailand. However, the moderate and cool weather is a big allure for locals and tourists alike.

Chiang Mai does not experience too many variations between day and night time temperatures. Due to its higher elevation, the city’s weather can be quite unpredictable at times.

The weather of Chiang Mai can be clearly divided into three seasons – hot, rainy and cool. Summers begin at the early March and go on till the end of May. During this period, temperatures range between 17’C and 36’C. During the daytime, the average temperature is around the 30′ Celsius mark. April is the hottest month in the region.

By the end of March, the surrounding valley becomes hazy and the rainy season sets in. Sometimes, short and violent stormsbringin winds and rains that provide a relief from the dryness. The rainy season lasts between June and October. In this season, theaverage daytime temperature is about 25’C, with September being the wettest month. The afternoons experience short and intense rainstorms that get cleared by the evening.

The period from November to February is the cool season in Chiang Mai . Temperatures are slightly low at nighttime. At higher altitudes, temperatures even drop to near freezing levels. The information on weather in Chiang Mai will guide you about the kind of clothing and precautions to be taken during your trip there.

Chiang Mai People and Culture

The people and culture in Chiang Mai provide a deep insight into the heritage and tradition of the place.

Chiang Mai Province consists of a population of 1,670,317 (This number from Department of Provincial Administration, Dec 2008) live in the city. The people of Chiang Mai are of mixed origin. The Mon was first the first group of traders that joined the inhabitants of Chiang Mai, and founded a new region. By the 13th century, Tai became the dominant ethnic group in the region.

Burmese came to Chiang Mai in the 16th century and brought in their culture and traditions. In the later half of 19th century, a number of Chinese and Muslims also migrated to the place. Thus, people of Chiang Mai are a mixture of various world cultures.

The ethnic language spoken here is kham muang. Theravada Buddhism is the main religion followed by the people of Chiang Mai. Islam and Christianity are also followed by some ethnic communities in the city.

The culture of Chiang Mai is deep-rooted in traditionalism, yet in sync with modernity. The city is home to numerous art centersthat promote the artworks of local artistes. Silverwork, bamboo work, woodcarving, etc are some of the local forms of handicraftsthat are extremely popular.

Various Thai festivals and events are celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm as per the culture of Chiang Mai. The architecture of the buildings in the city is a fine blend of western and oriental influences, styles and methods.

The dances in Chiang Mai’s culture are expressions of birth, death and daily life of its people. Local music is deep and soothing and touches the hearts of listeners.The culture of the city is sure to leave an inerasable impression in the ATTRACTION BY OTHER DISTRICTS

  • Mueang Chiang Mai
Old City of Chiang Mai > Wat Phra Singh , Wat Chiang Man , Wat Chedi Luang , The Art and Cultural Centre Chiang Mai , Three Kings Monument , Wat Phan Tao City Area > Chiang Mai Zoo , Wiang Kum Kam , Wat Chet Yot , Wat Umong , Wat Suan Dok , Wat Rampoeng ,  Art in Paradise ,  Wat Sri Supan , Chiang Mai National Museum ,  Wat Ket Karam , Wat Lok Moli ,  Wat Chaimongkol Markets > Night Bazaar , Sunday Markets (Walking Street Only Sunday) , Saturday (Wua Lai) Market , Warorot Market or Kad Luang , Khamtieng Plant Market (Flower market), Nimman Walking Street Doi Suthep – Doi Pui National Park > Wat Phra That Doi Suthep , Bhubing Palace , Doi Pui Hmong Village , Khun Chang Kian Hmong Village , Wat Pha Lad
  • Mae Rim District
Huay Tung Tao , Tiger Kingdom , Orchid and Butterfly Farms , Mae Sa Snake Farm , Mae Rim Crocodile Show , Monkey School , Siam Insect Zoo , Mae Sa Waterfall , Mae Sa Elephant Camp , Botanic Garden , Mon Jam , Elephant Poopoo Paper Park , Eco-Agricultural Hill Tribes Village ,
  • Samoeng District
Strawberry Farm in Samoeng , Samoeng Loop
  • San Kamphaeng District
Sankampaeng and Borsang Handicaft Village , Muang On Cave , San Kamphang Hot Spring
  • Mae On District
Baan Mae Kampong , Flight of the Gibbon
  • Hang Dong District
Royal Flora Ratchaphruek , Chiang Mai Night Safari , Wat Phrathat Doi Kham , Chiang Mai Grand Canyon ,
  • Doi Lo District
Mae Wang National Park >   Pha Chor , Rafting in Mae Wang River , Wat Luang Khun WIn
  • Mae Taeng District
Mae Tang Elephant Camp , Kang Kued Whitewater Rafting Huai Nam Dang National Park > Doi Chang , Doi Gew Lom Si Lanna National Park > Bua Tong Waterfall , Mae Ngat Irrigation Reservoir
  • Chom Thong District
Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong Doi Inthanon National Park > Ang Ka Natural Trial , Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail , Phra Mahathat Chedi Nophamethanidol and Phra Mahathat Noppholbhumisiri(King and Queen Pagoda) , Hmong Market , Mae Ya Waterfall , Mae Klang Water Fall , Wachirathan Water fall, Khun Wang Royal Project ,
  • Mae Jam District
Mae Jam   > Step rice field , Sinh Teenjok Fabric , Pin Thong Luang Hairpins , Wat Pha Daed , Wat Yang Luang , Wat Phuttha Eoen , Mae Aok Hue Waterfall
  • Chiang Dao District
Chiang Dao Cave Pha Daeng National Park > Doi Luang Chiang Dao
  • Fang District
Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang ,  Doi Ang Khang Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park > Doi Pha Hom Pok , Fang Hot Springs
  • Mae Ai District
Ta Ton Sailing Trip , Tha Ton temple
  • Doi Tao District
Doi Tao Lake

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Hotel Okura to add over 500 rooms in Thailand, including Chiang Mai, under expanded partnership with AWC

Will also launch Chao Phraya River cruises this December

Hotel Okura Co., Ltd. announced today that it signed a multiple-property framework agreement on May 17 with Asset World Corporation (AWC), Thailand’s leading integrated lifestyle real estate group, to operate a new hotel being developed by AWC in Chiang Mai by 2028 and several (to be announced) Okura Group luxury hotels across Thailand by 2030, adding more than 500 rooms in the country. Separately, the two companies have also agreed that Hotel Okura will provide hospitality services for cruises to be launched on the Chao Phraya River starting this December.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240522153976/en/

AWC CEO and President Wallapa Traisorat (center left) and Hotel Okura President Toshihiro Ogita (center right) at signing ceremony (Graphic: Business Wire)

AWC CEO and President Wallapa Traisorat (center left) and Hotel Okura President Toshihiro Ogita (center right) at signing ceremony (Graphic: Business Wire)

The hotel, which will be the first Okura-branded hotel to open in Chiang Mai, will be part of AWC’s Lannatique project, a commercial development in Chiang Mai’s Chang Klan area. The hotel’s design will be inspired by a combination of Lanna Dynasty tapestries from Chiang Mai’s ancient past and modern art from contemporary Japan, seamlessly blending the art, history and traditions of both Lanna and Japanese cultures. Guests will also enjoy services promoting physical and mental well-being, including a spa, Zen garden and Japanese tea café. The Chiang Mai property is scheduled to open in 2028 and, together with other projects in key cities including Bangkok, will expand the Okura Group’s presence in Thailand to over 2,000 new and existing rooms by 2030.

The two companies have also agreed on a plan for Hotel Okura to provide hospitality services on “Okura Cruise” river excursions on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, between Asiatique the Riverfront Destination and Rama VIII Bridge. Beginning this December, passengers on the cruise ship will enjoy sumptuous meals while taking in fascinating river scenery, including serene landscapes dotted with historic landmarks and other distinctive Thai architecture. The excursion’s mystique will be further enhanced by the cruise ship’s unique decor inspired by Japanese origami patterns, including cranes and turtles, both symbols of longevity.

Hotel Okura aims to expand its global network of hotels in Japan and other countries and regions to 150 locations by 2030, including 75 outside of Japan, including in Asian countries with attractive tourism opportunities. In line with this plan, the new agreement with AWC will enable Hotel Okura to increase its brand awareness in the promising Thai market. Since the opening of The Okura Prestige Bangkok in 2012, Hotel Okura has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with AWC, which has spearheaded several development projects in Thailand. Hotel Okura looks forward to contributing to the local tourism industry by building stronger ties between Japan’s Omotenashi spirit of hospitality and Thailand’s own rich tradition of hospitality.

Toshihiro Ogita, President, Hotel Okura, said: “We are excited to build on our success with The Okura Prestige Bangkok through our expanded partnership with AWC. We are especially thrilled to introduce the Okura brand to Chiang Mai, a world-renowned destination, to provide guests with unique experiences that combine Lanna and Japanese cultures. We are also excited about collaborating with AWC on the ‘Okura Cruise’ along the Chao Phraya River, which will combine Japanese hospitality with the rich scenery of this historic river. Going forward, we are committed to leveraging our expertise and tradition of offering the essence of Japanese hospitality to deliver top-quality accommodation and cruise services in Thailand, including to strengthen AWC’s leadership in the Thai lifestyle real estate market.”

About Asset World Corporation

Asset World Corporation (AWC) is Thailand’s leading integrated lifestyle real estate group and a member of TCC Group, with the focus on hospitality, lifestyle destinations, and commercial workspaces. Driven by the philosophy of “Building a Better Future,” AWC strives to grow and expand beyond the norms with a diverse array of quality projects, providing responsible and sustainable solutions for all our stakeholders. The company has two main businesses. Hospitality business managed by top hotel executives of world-renowned hotel brands such as Marriott, The Luxury Collection, InterContinental, Okura, Banyan Tree, Hilton, Sheraton, and Melia, and Commercial properties whose projects include 1) Retail and Wholesale such as lifestyle travel destinations, community shopping malls, community markets, and wholesale business real estate. Popular real estate projects consist of Asiatique the Riverfront Destination, Gateway at Bangsue, Phenix, and Tawanna Bangkapi, and 2) Commercial buildings including the famous ‘The Empire’ and Athenee Tower located in Bangkok’s central business district. AWC is committed to integrating its sustainability strategy in every part of its operations to create long-term sustainable value for all stakeholders. The sustainability strategy consists of three key pillars: Better Planet, Better People and Better Prosperity, while the framework has created numerous long-term initiatives including the reConcept, The GALLERY and other projects. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.assetworldcorp-th.com/en/home .

About Hotel Okura Co., Ltd.

Hotel Okura Co., Ltd. , founded in 1958, opened its flagship Hotel Okura Tokyo in 1962 as a first-class hotel that quickly became renowned worldwide for its blending of traditional Japanese beauty with the very best in accommodation, cuisine and service. It closed its doors in August 2015, and after four years of rebuilding work reopened as The Okura Tokyo in September 2019. Hotel Okura has extensive expertise in the hospitality world, including asset ownership and hotel development, as well as hotel management, the restaurant business and chain operations through its subsidiaries and other group companies. The brand unites member hotels under its “Best Accommodation, Cuisine and Service” philosophy to ensure that all guests enjoy Okura’s signature hospitality, which combines Japanese attention to detail and Western functionality. Please visit www.okura.com .

Okura Nikko Hotel Management Co., Ltd. , a subsidiary of Hotel Okura, operates 79 properties (53 in Japan and 26 overseas) encompassing some 23,630 guest rooms (as of May 1, 2024) under three hotel groups: Okura Hotels & Resorts , Nikko Hotels International and Hotel JAL City . Please visit www.okura-nikko.com .

chiang mai tourist information

Media Contacts Ms. Ikuko Arai, Ms. Aoi Kubota, or Mr. Ryutaro Suzuki Public Relations Hotel Okura Co., Ltd. Phone: +81 (0)3 4400 0632 E-mail: [email protected]

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240522153976/en/

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Hotel Okura to add over 500 rooms in Thailand, including Chiang Mai, under expanded partnership with AWC

Will also launch Chao Phraya River cruises this December

Hotel Okura Co., Ltd. announced today that it signed a multiple-property framework agreement on May 17 with Asset World Corporation (AWC), Thailand’s leading integrated lifestyle real estate group, to operate a new hotel being developed by AWC in Chiang Mai by 2028 and several (to be announced) Okura Group luxury hotels across Thailand by 2030, adding more than 500 rooms in the country. Separately, the two companies have also agreed that Hotel Okura will provide hospitality services for cruises to be launched on the Chao Phraya River starting this December.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240522153976/en/

AWC CEO and President Wallapa Traisorat (center left) and Hotel Okura President Toshihiro Ogita (center right) at signing ceremony (Graphic: Business Wire)

AWC CEO and President Wallapa Traisorat (center left) and Hotel Okura President Toshihiro Ogita (center right) at signing ceremony (Graphic: Business Wire)

The hotel, which will be the first Okura-branded hotel to open in Chiang Mai, will be part of AWC’s Lannatique project, a commercial development in Chiang Mai’s Chang Klan area. The hotel’s design will be inspired by a combination of Lanna Dynasty tapestries from Chiang Mai’s ancient past and modern art from contemporary Japan, seamlessly blending the art, history and traditions of both Lanna and Japanese cultures. Guests will also enjoy services promoting physical and mental well-being, including a spa, Zen garden and Japanese tea café. The Chiang Mai property is scheduled to open in 2028 and, together with other projects in key cities including Bangkok, will expand the Okura Group’s presence in Thailand to over 2,000 new and existing rooms by 2030.

The two companies have also agreed on a plan for Hotel Okura to provide hospitality services on “Okura Cruise” river excursions on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, between Asiatique the Riverfront Destination and Rama VIII Bridge. Beginning this December, passengers on the cruise ship will enjoy sumptuous meals while taking in fascinating river scenery, including serene landscapes dotted with historic landmarks and other distinctive Thai architecture. The excursion’s mystique will be further enhanced by the cruise ship’s unique decor inspired by Japanese origami patterns, including cranes and turtles, both symbols of longevity.

Hotel Okura aims to expand its global network of hotels in Japan and other countries and regions to 150 locations by 2030, including 75 outside of Japan, including in Asian countries with attractive tourism opportunities. In line with this plan, the new agreement with AWC will enable Hotel Okura to increase its brand awareness in the promising Thai market. Since the opening of The Okura Prestige Bangkok in 2012, Hotel Okura has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with AWC, which has spearheaded several development projects in Thailand. Hotel Okura looks forward to contributing to the local tourism industry by building stronger ties between Japan’s Omotenashi spirit of hospitality and Thailand’s own rich tradition of hospitality.

Toshihiro Ogita, President, Hotel Okura, said: “We are excited to build on our success with The Okura Prestige Bangkok through our expanded partnership with AWC. We are especially thrilled to introduce the Okura brand to Chiang Mai, a world-renowned destination, to provide guests with unique experiences that combine Lanna and Japanese cultures. We are also excited about collaborating with AWC on the ‘Okura Cruise’ along the Chao Phraya River, which will combine Japanese hospitality with the rich scenery of this historic river. Going forward, we are committed to leveraging our expertise and tradition of offering the essence of Japanese hospitality to deliver top-quality accommodation and cruise services in Thailand, including to strengthen AWC’s leadership in the Thai lifestyle real estate market.”

About Asset World Corporation

Asset World Corporation (AWC) is Thailand’s leading integrated lifestyle real estate group and a member of TCC Group, with the focus on hospitality, lifestyle destinations, and commercial workspaces. Driven by the philosophy of “Building a Better Future,” AWC strives to grow and expand beyond the norms with a diverse array of quality projects, providing responsible and sustainable solutions for all our stakeholders. The company has two main businesses. Hospitality business managed by top hotel executives of world-renowned hotel brands such as Marriott, The Luxury Collection, InterContinental, Okura, Banyan Tree, Hilton, Sheraton, and Melia, and Commercial properties whose projects include 1) Retail and Wholesale such as lifestyle travel destinations, community shopping malls, community markets, and wholesale business real estate. Popular real estate projects consist of Asiatique the Riverfront Destination, Gateway at Bangsue, Phenix, and Tawanna Bangkapi, and 2) Commercial buildings including the famous ‘The Empire’ and Athenee Tower located in Bangkok’s central business district. AWC is committed to integrating its sustainability strategy in every part of its operations to create long-term sustainable value for all stakeholders. The sustainability strategy consists of three key pillars: Better Planet, Better People and Better Prosperity, while the framework has created numerous long-term initiatives including the reConcept, The GALLERY and other projects. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.assetworldcorp-th.com/en/home .

About Hotel Okura Co., Ltd.

Hotel Okura Co., Ltd. , founded in 1958, opened its flagship Hotel Okura Tokyo in 1962 as a first-class hotel that quickly became renowned worldwide for its blending of traditional Japanese beauty with the very best in accommodation, cuisine and service. It closed its doors in August 2015, and after four years of rebuilding work reopened as The Okura Tokyo in September 2019. Hotel Okura has extensive expertise in the hospitality world, including asset ownership and hotel development, as well as hotel management, the restaurant business and chain operations through its subsidiaries and other group companies. The brand unites member hotels under its “Best Accommodation, Cuisine and Service” philosophy to ensure that all guests enjoy Okura’s signature hospitality, which combines Japanese attention to detail and Western functionality. Please visit www.okura.com .

Okura Nikko Hotel Management Co., Ltd. , a subsidiary of Hotel Okura, operates 79 properties (53 in Japan and 26 overseas) encompassing some 23,630 guest rooms (as of May 1, 2024) under three hotel groups: Okura Hotels & Resorts , Nikko Hotels International and Hotel JAL City . Please visit www.okura-nikko.com .

chiang mai tourist information

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240522153976/en/

Media Contacts Ms. Ikuko Arai, Ms. Aoi Kubota, or Mr. Ryutaro Suzuki Public Relations Hotel Okura Co., Ltd. Phone: +81 (0)3 4400 0632 E-mail: [email protected]

Business Wire

TOKYO--( BUSINESS WIRE )--Hotel Okura Co., Ltd. announced today that it signed a multiple-property framework agreement on May 17 with Asset World Corporation (AWC), Thailand’s leading integrated lifestyle real estate group, to operate a new hotel being developed by AWC in Chiang Mai by 2028 and several (to be announced) Okura Group luxury hotels across Thailand by 2030, adding more than 500 rooms in the country. Separately, the two companies have also agreed that Hotel Okura will provide hospitality services for cruises to be launched on the Chao Phraya River starting this December.

The hotel, which will be the first Okura-branded hotel to open in Chiang Mai, will be part of AWC’s Lannatique project, a commercial development in Chiang Mai’s Chang Klan area. The hotel’s design will be inspired by a combination of Lanna Dynasty tapestries from Chiang Mai’s ancient past and modern art from contemporary Japan, seamlessly blending the art, history and traditions of both Lanna and Japanese cultures. Guests will also enjoy services promoting physical and mental well-being, including a spa, Zen garden and Japanese tea café. The Chiang Mai property is scheduled to open in 2028 and, together with other projects in key cities including Bangkok, will expand the Okura Group’s presence in Thailand to over 2,000 new and existing rooms by 2030.

The two companies have also agreed on a plan for Hotel Okura to provide hospitality services on “Okura Cruise” river excursions on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, between Asiatique the Riverfront Destination and Rama VIII Bridge. Beginning this December, passengers on the cruise ship will enjoy sumptuous meals while taking in fascinating river scenery, including serene landscapes dotted with historic landmarks and other distinctive Thai architecture. The excursion’s mystique will be further enhanced by the cruise ship’s unique decor inspired by Japanese origami patterns, including cranes and turtles, both symbols of longevity.

Hotel Okura aims to expand its global network of hotels in Japan and other countries and regions to 150 locations by 2030, including 75 outside of Japan, including in Asian countries with attractive tourism opportunities. In line with this plan, the new agreement with AWC will enable Hotel Okura to increase its brand awareness in the promising Thai market. Since the opening of The Okura Prestige Bangkok in 2012, Hotel Okura has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with AWC, which has spearheaded several development projects in Thailand. Hotel Okura looks forward to contributing to the local tourism industry by building stronger ties between Japan’s Omotenashi spirit of hospitality and Thailand’s own rich tradition of hospitality.

Toshihiro Ogita, President, Hotel Okura, said: “We are excited to build on our success with The Okura Prestige Bangkok through our expanded partnership with AWC. We are especially thrilled to introduce the Okura brand to Chiang Mai, a world-renowned destination, to provide guests with unique experiences that combine Lanna and Japanese cultures. We are also excited about collaborating with AWC on the ‘Okura Cruise’ along the Chao Phraya River, which will combine Japanese hospitality with the rich scenery of this historic river. Going forward, we are committed to leveraging our expertise and tradition of offering the essence of Japanese hospitality to deliver top-quality accommodation and cruise services in Thailand, including to strengthen AWC’s leadership in the Thai lifestyle real estate market.”

About Asset World Corporation

Asset World Corporation (AWC) is Thailand’s leading integrated lifestyle real estate group and a member of TCC Group, with the focus on hospitality, lifestyle destinations, and commercial workspaces. Driven by the philosophy of “Building a Better Future,” AWC strives to grow and expand beyond the norms with a diverse array of quality projects, providing responsible and sustainable solutions for all our stakeholders. The company has two main businesses. Hospitality business managed by top hotel executives of world-renowned hotel brands such as Marriott, The Luxury Collection, InterContinental, Okura, Banyan Tree, Hilton, Sheraton, and Melia, and Commercial properties whose projects include 1) Retail and Wholesale such as lifestyle travel destinations, community shopping malls, community markets, and wholesale business real estate. Popular real estate projects consist of Asiatique the Riverfront Destination, Gateway at Bangsue, Phenix, and Tawanna Bangkapi, and 2) Commercial buildings including the famous ‘The Empire’ and Athenee Tower located in Bangkok’s central business district. AWC is committed to integrating its sustainability strategy in every part of its operations to create long-term sustainable value for all stakeholders. The sustainability strategy consists of three key pillars: Better Planet, Better People and Better Prosperity, while the framework has created numerous long-term initiatives including the reConcept, The GALLERY and other projects. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.assetworldcorp-th.com/en/home .

About Hotel Okura Co., Ltd.

Hotel Okura Co., Ltd. , founded in 1958, opened its flagship Hotel Okura Tokyo in 1962 as a first-class hotel that quickly became renowned worldwide for its blending of traditional Japanese beauty with the very best in accommodation, cuisine and service. It closed its doors in August 2015, and after four years of rebuilding work reopened as The Okura Tokyo in September 2019. Hotel Okura has extensive expertise in the hospitality world, including asset ownership and hotel development, as well as hotel management, the restaurant business and chain operations through its subsidiaries and other group companies. The brand unites member hotels under its “Best Accommodation, Cuisine and Service” philosophy to ensure that all guests enjoy Okura’s signature hospitality, which combines Japanese attention to detail and Western functionality. Please visit www.okura.com .

Okura Nikko Hotel Management Co., Ltd. , a subsidiary of Hotel Okura, operates 79 properties (53 in Japan and 26 overseas) encompassing some 23,630 guest rooms (as of May 1, 2024) under three hotel groups: Okura Hotels & Resorts , Nikko Hotels International and Hotel JAL City . Please visit www.okura-nikko.com .

Media Contacts Ms. Ikuko Arai, Ms. Aoi Kubota, or Mr. Ryutaro Suzuki Public Relations Hotel Okura Co., Ltd. Phone: +81 (0)3 4400 0632 E-mail: [email protected]

chiang mai tourist information

Release Summary

Hotel Okura signed a multiple-property framework agreement with AWC, to operate a new hotel in Chiang Mai and several hotels across Thailand by 2030.

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  27. Hotel Okura to add over 500 rooms in Thailand, including Chiang Mai

    Guests will also enjoy services promoting physical and mental well-being, including a spa, Zen garden and Japanese tea café. The Chiang Mai property is scheduled to open in 2028 and, together with other projects in key cities including Bangkok, will expand the Okura Group's presence in Thailand to over 2,000 new and existing rooms by 2030.

  28. Hotel Okura to add over 500 rooms in Thailand, including Chiang Mai

    The Chiang Mai property is scheduled to open in 2028 and, together with other projects in key cities including Bangkok, will expand the Okura Group's presence in Thailand to over 2,000 new and ...