Chiang Mai is home to hundreds of unique and intricately carved Buddhist Temples. The mountainous city is the best place for seasoned tourists to widen their horizon and for new travelers to collect a bunch of memories. The wide boulevard of the alluring city is home to best shopping destinations. Thai massages, cooking courses, and adventurous activities, the city has in abundance things to keep you happily busy. Chiang Mai is a paradise for party animals and has a rich history for those who love to explore.
To help you prepare your itinerary. Here is a comprehensive list of places that tourists love to visit in Chiang Mai.
1. Chiang Mai Old City
Chiang Mai is bathed in history. Until 1558, it served as the capital of Lanna Kingdom. Today’s Old City use to the center of all activities of the Lanna Kingdom back in the days. The old capital was encompassed by walls for protection. The Old City has many aspects of the former capital that withstood civilization and climatic change. Old Capital City has an air of past about it that attracts several tourists. Thapae Gate, walking streets, museums, cultural centres, and temples are some of the things you can explore here.
2. Night Bazaar
The epicenter of shopping and enjoying Chiang Mai nightlife. Placed in two blocks on Chang Khlan Road the place is not only a shopping hub. The bazaar has some shocking surprises in store for the first time visitors. Beer Bars, several shops including portrait painters and unique handicrafts, toys, high tech gadgets, clothing, jewelry, the market lacks nothing.
3. Wiang Kum Kam
Chiang Mai has an old soul. On the banks of the Ping River, the historic settlement of Wiang Kum Kam reflects the rich history that Chiang Mai is proud of. The 13th-century settlement was the forfeited capital of the old Lanna Kingdom. The capital was abandoned due to flooding. The place was later evacuated. Now, the place is famous among tourists who love knowing more about history.
4. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
It is a revered Buddhist Temple offering a bird-eye view of the entire city from its summit. The temple is a pilgrimage destination in Chiang Mai. The temple seems bathed in gold and sunlight shines like a beacon on the summit. Doi Suthep along with Doi Buakhao and Doi Pui is situated in a National Park. The highest peak of the park is Doi Suthep.
5. Tha Pae Gate
The historic gate was a fortress protecting the ancient city of Chiang Mai. The gate is now an epicenter of life. It is the best place to stay in the city owing to its collection of bars, restaurants, hotels, cafes, massage parlors, and shops. If you are traveling alone, then it is a great place to meet new people and interact with other travelers. The place also happens to be in the vicinity of numerous major attractions like temples, riverside, and night bazaar.
If you love trendy things, then you must visit this place. A loved spot for all young tourists. You will find yourself surrounded by uber cafes, boutique hotels, trendy shops, cool bars, and tempting restaurants. Taking away from the traditional vibe that Chaing Mai has, this place is ideal for spending a fun night out.
7. Wat Chedi Luang
Chiang Mai has no dearth of revered ancient temples. If you too have a good appetite for anything spiritual and holy then Wat Chedi Luang in Old City is a place you can visit. ‘Laung’ means ‘very big’ and the beautiful crumbling structure of 80 meters height certainly lives up to its name. The ancient architecture of the temple dates back to the year 1385 and is the highest point in the Old City.
8. Doi Inthanon National Park
A part of the Himalayan mountain range. The park is best for adventure lovers. You can trek to the park, the view from the top is stunning. The best time to visit the park is in between December and January when you get to witness siamese flowers in bloom. The park has several waterfalls, bird-watching sites, two tall summits, Brichinda Cave, and camping sites.
9. Chiang Mai Night Safari
Fashioned like the Night Safari in Singapore. The park is designed to let visitors have a thrilling experience. The safari has three animal zones. Visitors can feed the animals, get up close to tiger cubs, witness a laser and fountain show.
10. The Tiger Kingdom
-Best place for wildlife lovers. Wildlife preservation has houses many Indochinese tigers. They vary in size and age groups. There are amenities for you to camp for the night in the vicinity. There are entry fees of INR 1530 for all tourists to the Tiger Kingdom.
11. Wat Phra Singh
Another beautiful temple in the Old City. The center of attraction in the temple is the elaborately decorated assembly hall, Lai Kam. The murals in the temple tell the story of the lives of people who lived hundreds of years ago. The best time to visit the temple is during Songkran, Thai New Year. The temple shines in a different glory as many visitors and worshippers come to pray during the New Year.
12. Flight of Gibbon
If you are an adventure lover then do not dare to miss this opportunity. Your day will be well spent ziplining and abseiling in the Chiang Mai rainforest. The zipline tour operator started in 2007. It has since then been a must for all tourists whenever they visit Chiang Mai.
13. Walking Market
The one-kilometer long market street is set up every Sunday along Ratchadamnoen Road. The market contains an array of items from food to clothes, music, art and craft, and more. It is one of the best places for shopping and haggling in Chiang Mai. The market starts at around 4:00 pm and stays till midnight.
14. Wat Umong
The temple has a special place among all other Buddhist Temples of Chiang Mai because of its unique location and system of tunnels. The “Tunnel Temple” is located in the forest near the mountain of Doi Suthep. The location is peaceful, secluded, and surrounded by nature’s beauty. There is nowhere else where you’ll find divinity and natural beauty in a perfect blend like in here.
15. Art in Paradise
If you love things that are fun, unique, and artistic, Chiang Mai has the right place that will get you all excited. Art in Paradise is an art museum that has a collection of cool things. This includes about 130 different 3D images of illusions. The six different zones of the museum are dedicated to the underwater world, classical art, wildlife, surreal art, dinosaurs, and ancient Egypt.
16. San Kamphaeng Hot Springs
If you have had your fill of party and shopping there is no better place to relax than where you get fresh air and warm water. San Kamphaeng Hot Springs at Tambon Ban Sa Ha Khon is an open-air spa. You would love to dip your toes 105-degrees Celsius water and enjoy the colorful natural surroundings. The place is quiet and you can spend a couple of lazy hours here rejuvenating your spirits.
17. Bo Sang Umbrella Village
The village is located east of Chiang Mai. the quaint village is a fair site and is popular for making hand-made umbrellas out of bamboos. This has been a tradition in the village since long and the people of the village are extremely proud of their heritage. There is an interesting story that revolves around this tradition that peaks the interest of all tourists who visit the place. You can visit the umbrella making center in Bo Sang and witness first hand how much hard work is required for making each umbrella.
18. Huay Kaew Waterfalls
The scenic waterfall is the nearest to the Chiang Mai city. The waterfall is at the end of Huay Kaew Road. The place is free to visit and safe for both adults and kids. One can climb the mountain where the waterfall is. The top has small water pools. December and January are the coldest months in Thailand. The water here is extremely cold during this time. Rest of the year the temperature of the place remains fine and is a great place to escape the tropical heat.
19. Grand Canyon
The place used to be a canyon that got filled with monsoon water. It is now one of the most famous water parks in Chiang Mai. A waterpark is a great place for swimming, wakeboarding, small zip line, and other water sports. The tickets should cost around 450 Baht and an additional 150 Baht for lockers. The water park has restaurants and coffee shops for you to have a quick snack.
20. Wat Chaing Man
One of the oldest temples and dates back to the foundation of the city. The design of the temple is intricate and detailed. Those who have an interest in knowing more about Thai culture and tradition this place is ideal for you. The temple is on the north-eastern side of the oldest part of Chiang Mai. The temple remains open for tourists and worshipers from 6 am to 5 pm.