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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.