15 Best Things To Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

by Revati Tamboli Updated on 16 Oct 2018

Chiang Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand and reposes amidst some of the highest mountains in the country. This is the main reason why points of interest in Chiang Mai are mostly situated over hilly terrains. Visiting the divine and folk museums and getting a taste of the delectable local cuisines are some of the most essential things to do in Chiang Mai. If you are a history buff, there are many Chiang Mai attractions that will satiate you. The city has derived its antiquity from it’s close vicinity to the Ping River. There are a variety of places to visit in Chiang Mai but the religious sites are the most attractive and unique ones. Listed below are top tourist attractions in Chiang Mai to be listed on your itinerary.

Let's explore the 15 best things to do in Chiang Mai:

1. Pray at the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep - ImageImage Source: pixabay.com

Located at just 15 km from the city of Chiang Mai, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a sacred site for many Thai people. The gold gilded chedi glistens in the daylight emitting positivity all around. You can also get a stunning view of the city from this hill. Visit this holy shrine and learn a lot about Lord Buddha. You can rent a scooter or taxi to reach this place from the city. The long stairway to the shrine is often preached as the ‘stairway to heaven’, because it literally leads to heaven!

2. Doi Suthep

Get lost in the grandeur of evergreen forests hovering over the twin peaks situated just 15 km from Chiang Mai City centre. The lush greenery is serene and peaceful. The Doi Suthep comes under the area of a National Park and is a part of it. A hike to this place will be a memorable experience.

3. Shop till you drop at the Chiang Mai Night Bazar

Chiang Mai Night Bazar - ImageImage Source: flickr.com

Chiang Mai Night Bazar is one of the most popular attractions in Chiang Main, the reason being it’s lively atmosphere. Located at east of the city moat on the Chang Khlan Road, this night market is incredibly huge and widespread. Shop and eat to your content without burning a hole to your pocket. You can put your bargaining skills to use at this place filled with fun and music. A shopping spree at the Chiang Mai Night Bazar should mandatorily be on your things to do in Chiang Mai list.

4.  Wat Suan Dok

Wat Suan Dok is a Royal Temple of the third class. The 48 meter tall bell-shaped Chedi, Sala Kan Prian, Phra Krubra Srivichai, Balusters decorated with seven-headed nagas are some sights to behold. The ‘Monk chat’ with monks at the temple will enlighten you about life and Buddhism. The royal reliquaries from the descendants of King Rama V are beautiful.

5. The Phae Gate

Must see in Chiang Mai - ImageImage Source: flickr.com

This is one place where you can click some likes worthy pictures. Located at the brink of a lively street, the City Gate has been guarding the city since ancient times. If you visit the place during the weekend, you will get to experience some out of the world performances. The Sunday marketplace along the adjacent street is a vibrant and happening place to do some shopping. 

6. Take a stroll at the Bhubing Palace

Must see in chiang maiImage Source: flickr.com

Located at just 10 min from the Doi Suthep Temple, the Bhubing Palace is a unique blend of flamboyance and peace. This royal residence does not only give you an insight into the lives of the royals but also offers you a picturesque view of the mountains surrounding the city. The Bhubing Palace is not at all remote and you can easily reach there by catching a songtaew.

The rose gardens in this Palace are the main point of attraction.

7. Jungle Flight

Jungle Flight is one of the newest additions to the places to visit in Chiang Mai. Get the adrenaline within you pumping with this 6 km long zip line located at a height of 50 m from the mountains. Visit this adventure sight situated atop Thailand’s one of the highest mountains and satisfy the adventure junkie within you. There are 34 platforms and activity stations here to serve you.

8. Hmong Village

Chiang Mai attractions - ImageImage Source: flickr.com

Get the taste of delectable local delicacies at this local hill tribal village. You can splurge here on the amazing souvenirs and other local [products the stores offer. Experience the true character of Thailand by visiting the sample traditional houses and interacting with the locales. The Hmong Village is a must amongst the places to visit in Chiang Mai.

9. Click pictures at the Huay Keaw Waterfall

Must see places in chiang maiImage Source: flickr.com

The magnificent Huay Kaew Waterfall is located at a walking distance from the main road. This is a multilevel waterfall and hence you can drench yourself in this divinity pool as per your choice of force and current. This makes it enjoyable for kids and senior citizens too. Not many are aware that, the Huay Kaew Waterfall is a perfect place to watch the sun rise over the horizons of Chiang Mai.

10. Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden

Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden - ImageImage Source: wikimedia.org

The Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden houses 12 greenhouses and has pledged to maintain the biodiversity and promote environmental conservation. It is just a 30 min drive away from Chiang Mai. You can have a peaceful time here by taking the canopy walk or by just sitting and getting lost in the lush greenery surrounding you. This place comes on top Chiang Mai’s point of interests.

11. Wat Phra Singh

Top tourist destinations in chiang maiImage Source: wikimedia.org

Wat Phra Singh is a bewitching historical site having many attractions. The Buddha statue named Wat Phra Singh is the namesake of this place. There are 2 more Buddha statues which add to the serenity of the whole place. Wihan Wang, Wihan Lai Kham, Ho Trai, Phrathatluang, Kulai Chedi are other attractions here worth visiting and clicking. The Ubosat in this site is a very famous spot in Thailand.

12. Have fun at Art in Paradise

Top tourist attractions in chiang maiImage Source: flickr.com

This one of its kind interactive gallery is a nice destination to spend a lazy afternoon and escape the scorching heat. The 3D murals here are updated with AR facilities and are very imaginative and creative. If you are looking for some quirky pictures to put up on your social media accounts, Art in Paradise is a perfect place.

13. Elephant Nature Park

What to see in chiang maiImage Source: pxhere.com

Get a chance to feed and bathe elephants at the Elephant Nature Park. Apart from being a nature park, it is also an elephant rescue and rehabilitation camp. Located at a one hour drive from Chiang Mai, the Elephant Nature Park is a heaven for Elephants as well as animal lovers.

14. Splurge at the Nimmanhaemin Road

It is the trendiest of all the places to visit in Chiang Mai. You can spend almost a whole day here shopping. There are several luxury restaurants and themed cafes to chill in the afternoon after getting tired of your shopping spree. It is a long stretched area and is one of the crowdest places in Chiang Mai.

15. The Cat Cafe

This unusual and idiosyncratically themed cafe is popular across China and Japan as well. Get a glimpse of pictures of spaceships and cats on UFOs adorned to the wall as you experience the hustle bustle of these purry creatures. Cats roaming around freely while you have your coffee is a common scene in this cafe and is a paradise for all the cat lovers.

Author: Revati Tamboli
Raised in an unconventional and feminist family, Revati believes in hope and love more than anything else in the world. She was still waiting for her Hogwarts letter or a spider to bite her while pursuing engineering, so that she could become a wizar...

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Must see places in Chiang Mai ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of Chiang Mai tourist attractions & points of interest.

  1. # 1 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 4412 times in trip plans
    Elephant Nature Park

    Tags: Park, View Point

    Address: 209/2 Sridom Chai Road, Chiang Mai 50100

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Set in a natural valley, bordered by a river, and surrounded by forested mountains is the Elephant natural park which serves as a home to rescued and rehabilitated elephants from all over the country....Read more

  2. # 2 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 3746 times in trip plans
    Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

    Tags: Religious Site, Temple, View Point, Statue

    Address: Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

    Timings: 07:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    A must see, on any visit to Chiang Mai, is the wondrous and holy temple of Wat Phra That which is located near the top of Doi Suthep (Mount Suthep). Built as a Buddhist monastery in 1383 it is still a...Read more

  3. # 3 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 3793 times in trip plans
    Wat Chedi Luang

    Tags: Religious Site, Monument, Architecture , Archaeological Site

    Address: 103 Road King Prajadhipok Phra Singh, Muang District, Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand

    Timings: 06:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    Sponsored by the UNESCO for restoration, the Wat Chedi Luang is one place where you have to be when visiting Chiang Mai. The Ruined Lanna-style Chedi dates back to the 15th century and houses a Jade B...Read more

  4. # 4 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 3755 times in trip plans
    Chiang Mai Zoo

    Tags: Zoo

    Address: 100 Huai Kaeo Rd, 50200, Thailand

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    At the foot of Doi Suthep, the Chiang Mai Zoo occupies a lush park setting and boasts a fairly comprehensive assortment of animals plus two special attractions (pandas and an aquarium) that require se...Read more

  5. # 5 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 4021 times in trip plans
    Wat Phra Singh

    Tags: Art And Culture, Religious Site, Temple, Architecture

    Address: Woramahaviharn, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai

    Timings: 06:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This is undoubtedly Chiang Mai's most visited temple and owes its fame to the fact that it houses the city's most revered Buddha image, Phra Singh (Lion Buddha), and it has a fine collection of classi...Read more

  6. # 6 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 3245 times in trip plans
    Chiang Mai Night Safari

    Tags: Outdoors, Wildlife Safari

    Address: Hangdong, southwest of Chiang Mai International Airport (about 12km from the city)

    Timings: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm Details

    This attraction is open during the day but the real action happens at night during the Predator Prowl and 'Savannah Safari', when an open-sided tram transports visitors through the parkland. The night...Read more

  7. # 7 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 3436 times in trip plans
    Wat U Mong

    Tags: Religious Site, Temple, Hiking Trail

    Address: 135 Moo 10 Suthep, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Timings: 06:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    The difference between this wat and the rest is the exotic location of the temple. A small trek will take you this temple, set in secluded setting and perfect for mediation or a quality “alone-t...Read more

  8. # 8 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 2553 times in trip plans
    Doi Suthep-pui National Park

    Tags: Mountain, National Park, Monastery , Hill

    Address: Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

    Timings: 08:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    Looming over the city like guardian spirits and providing a sanctuary of forest and mountain cool air, Chiang Mai's sacred peaks, Doi Suthep (1676m) and Doi Pui (1685m) were used by the city's founder...Read more

  9. # 9 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 3742 times in trip plans
    Wat Chiang Man

    Tags: Religious Site, Temple

    Address: 204/5 Ratpakinai Road, Si Phum, Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand

    Timings: 06:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    Know as Chiang Mai's oldest temple, Wat Chiang Man used to be the residence of King Mengrai. It is located inside the walled city on Rachakinai Road. King Mangrai allegedly lived here while the new ci...Read more

  10. # 10 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 3725 times in trip plans
    Wat Suan Dok

    Tags: Religious Site, Forest, Off Beaten Path

    Address: Suan Dok Road, Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Timings: 06:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    The elaborate prayer hall or and the unusually sized chapel which is open on all the sides is enthralling has a charismatic effect. Directly west of the prayer hall are several large pagodas, called c...Read more

  11. # 11 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 4044 times in trip plans
    The Three Kings Monument

    Tags: Outdoors, Landmark, Historical Site, Monument

    Address: Three kings monument square, Chiang Mai, Thailand

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Proudly wearing 14th-century royal garb, the bronze Three Kings Monument commemorates the alliance forged between the three northern Thai-Lao kings (Phaya Ngam Meuang of Phayao, Phaya Mengrai of Chian...Read more

  12. # 12 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 3667 times in trip plans
    Wat Lok Molee

    Tags: Religious Site, Temple, Historical Site, Architecture

    Address: Manee nopparat Soi 2, Si Phum, Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand

    Timings: 06:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Wat Lok Moli is a Buddhist temple situated on the north side of the north moat surrounding the old part of the city, about 400 meters west of the Chang Phuak city gate. Built in the 16th century,...Read more

  13. # 13 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 2078 times in trip plans
    Wiang Kum Kam

    Tags: Archaeological Site

    Address: Saraphi district, Chiang Mai

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    An easy trip from the main city will take you to this picturesque-straight-out-of –the-book place. The ruins as well the little village is very charming. Considered to be the earliest settlement...Read more

  14. # 14 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 1917 times in trip plans
    Chiang Mai National Museum

    Tags: Museum, History Museum, Arts And Crafts

    Address: Near Chiang Mai university, main ring road, superhighway.

    Timings: 09:00 am - 04:00 pm Details

    Recently renovated, Chiang Mai's National Museum is well worth a visit. The museum has an up-to-date and modern showcase for the heritage of Lanna. The downstairs area shows the historical development...Read more

  15. # 15 of 419 Things To Do in Chiang Mai | Added 2651 times in trip plans
    Wat Chet

    Tags: Religious Site, Temple, Ancient Ruin, Historical Site

    Address: 11, Chang Phueak, Chiang Mai, 50300, Thailand

    Timings: 06:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Dedicated temple-spotters are the prime candidates for Wat Jet Yot. It was built to host the eighth World Buddhist Council in 1477, a momentous occasion for the Lanna capital. To the back of the templ...Read more

Activities And Tours

Explore these activities and tours for awesome experiences in Chiang Mai: