20 Things to do in Chiang Mai

#1. Go up to Mount Doi Suthep, enjoy its Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, have a monk bless you and put on the white thread bracelet (one of those things you can’t leave Thailand without having done) and contemplate the wonderful views of the city.

To get there you can do it in the famous red furgos (songthaew) or renting a motorbike.

What to do in Chiang Mai, monk’s blessingWhat to do in Chiang Mai, monk’s blessing

#2. Get a good Thai massage and be as good as new! Or so they say, because they didn’t give us any that we liked so much as to recommend.

The most famous is the Fah Lanna Spa (and also the most expensive) we couldn’t wait to spend so much money, let’s see if we can indulge ourselves this year!

They also offer massages at the flea markets, where for about 2 Euro (80THB) you get a great 30 minute foot massage.

Or you can get a good massage and contribute to a good cause at Womens Correctional Institute, where women who are nearing the end of their sentence learn the art of Thai massage and then have a better time in the world of work.

#3. Visiting the Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai, nothing to do with the one in the USA, but it has a nice ring to it!

An old quarry converted into a sort of water park, we didn’t take a bath but spent an afternoon there. One of the less touristic things to do in Chiang Mai.

What to do in Chiang Mai, Grand CanyonWhat to do in Chiang Mai, Grand CanyonGrand Canyon, one of the less touristic things to do in Chiang Mai
#4. Try the Mango Sticky Rice, one of our favorite desserts in Thailand, just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

#5. Take a Thai food course. We did one but we didn’t like it very much, if you know a good place to do the course let us know in the comments, pleaseee!

DON’T MISS THE THAILAND ROUTE IN 15 DAYS WHERE WE COUNT EVERYTHING TO TRAVEL ON YOUR OWN!
What to do in Chiang Mai, thai cooking courseWhat to do in Chiang Mai, thai cooking courseThai cooking course, one of the things to do in Chiang Mai
#6. Visit the Royal Park Rajapruek, a huge park built to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the King of Thailand’s ascension to the throne and his 80th birthday. A beautiful show of flowers and color.

This is one of the things that we have yet to see in Chiang Mai and that we will not miss this time!

Updated! Not so cool… at least at the end of October when we went there were not too many flowers, if you have days or coincides with the flowering season well, but if not, there are cooler places to see in Chiang Mai.

#7. Get lost in the old town and enjoy its temples, one of the most important is the Wat Phra Singh temple, a must on your list of things to do in Chiang Mai.

Don’t miss the article with the Chiang Mai temple route, with map!

What to do in Chiang Mai, get lost in its templesWhat to do in Chiang Mai, get lost in its templesWat Phra Singh, one of the essential temples to see in Chiang Mai
#8. Visit the Elephant Nature Park, the only real elephant rescue center in Chiang Mai, don’t be confused! It is the only one that contemplates Faada as such.

Elephants mistreated from circuses or exploited for tourism are brought here mostly with serious injuries and wounds.

We advise you to book a day in advance because it is usually full weeks in advance.

Does anyone doubt that visiting the Elephant Nature Park is one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai?

Elephant Nature ParkElephant Nature ParkVisiting the Elephant Nature Park, one of the most special things to do in Chiang Mai
#9. Another thing to do in Chiang Mai is to learn to meditate.

There are several temples where they give courses, some of them of 24 hours, others where you can spend 7 days living and learning from the Buddhist monks. It must be quite an experience.

#10. Make an excursion to Sukhothai and enjoy a day touring the famous ruins, this point would mark it as a must in any visit to northern Thailand, if you can see it quietly and spend a night or two there much better!

We stay at the Old Town Boutique House Sukhothai, next to the ruins so we can tour them from early morning!

What to do in Chiang Mai, SukhothaiWhat to do in Chiang Mai, Sukhothai

#11. Have a coffee at one of the coolest coffee shops in town.

Nice coffee shops in Chiang Mai that you can’t miss.

What to do in Chiang MaiWhat to do in Chiang MaiCafés in Chiang Mai
#12. Taste the Khao Soi, the typical dish of Chiang Mai that is so good! Write it down and put it on your list of things to do in Chiang Mai!

#13. Make a small excursion to the Hui Tung Tao lake is another of the little known excursions to do in Chiang Mai, you will see few tourists and many locals, some say that is the beach of Chiang Mai and when we went there were people swimming, although the water was not very good color …

You can have a drink and enjoy a quiet and relaxed sunset in one of their bamboo huts.

What to do in Chiang Mai, Lake Hui Tung TaoWhat to do in Chiang Mai, Lake Hui Tung TaoOther little known things to do in Chiang Mai
#14. Go to Chiang Rai and visit the famous White Temple

The city does not have much to see apart from the White Temple, the Black House and now we have read that there is also the Blue Temple, at this rate they make all the colors in temples!

We went and came back in the same day from Chiang Mai by bus, it’s a bit of a shock but there is plenty of time to see everything.

If you do not want to go to Chiang Rai, we leave you the tour of the temples of Chiang Mai, there are a few!

What to do in Chiang Mai, White Temple in Chiang RaiWhat to do in Chiang Mai, White Temple in Chiang Rai

#15. Go to one of their flea markets and buy yourself a lot of stuff! One of the must-do things in Chiang Mai.

The most famous one is the Sunday Night Market, on Sunday afternoons in Rachadamnoen road and all its adjacent ones.

#16. Living the Loy Krathong and Yee Peng festival in Chiang Mai is one of the most beautiful and special things to do in Chiang Mai, and something we believe every traveler should experience at least once.

During the celebration, thousands of lanterns are thrown into the sky to make wishes and good wishes, a very emotional night that we will always remember.

Also the krathongs are thrown downstream which are a kind of rafts decorated with flowers and incense and with them (besides worshipping Buddha) it is said that they symbolize the renunciation and overcoming of all the negative parts of each one letting them go downstream.

Its celebration changes every year since it depends on the lunar calendar, usually falls in late October or early November.

All the info you need to live the Loy Krathong and Yee Peng in Thailand in this post.

What to do in Chiang MaiWhat to do in Chiang MaiOne of the most beautiful things to do in Chiang Mai
#17. Make an excursion to Pai, they say that it is a small town a little hippy with much roll but that the road that arrives to him is a little scary, otherwise everything well!

#18. Visit the Wat Sri Suphan temple, also known as the silver temple. Not many people know it, and you can see it peacefully without crowds, as it’s a pity that we women can’t go inside…

Many more temples on our route through the temples of Chiang Mai

What to see in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Silver TempleWhat to see in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Silver Temple

#19. Chatting with a monk. In some temples there is an area called Monk Chat with tables and chairs where you can sit and chat quietly with one of the monks of the temple.

They improve their English and you can ask them your questions. We saw it in the Wat Chedi Luang temple, but we know that you can also do it in others.

Of all the things to do in Chiang Mai, you are sure you will never forget it.

#20. Eat something at the Night Out Market, at the doors of the Maya Mall in the Nimman area. There are lots of food stands and everything looks great!

#20+1 You can’t leave Chiang Mai without going to the Chiang Mai Night Market, full of little stalls and go to the “Ploen Ruedee Night Market” for dinner with live music every night. Coming here for dinner one night should be one of the must-do’s in Chiang Mai.

#20+2 If you are a nature and trekking lover, you have to take a trip to Doi Inthanon National Park, which is about 100km from Chiang Mai and is one of the most important parks in Thailand.

Map with all the things to see and do in Chiang Mai:

Recommended hotels in Chiang Mai:

We are staying in Chiang Mai in an Airbnb apartment (here you have 25 euro discount for your first Airbnb booking).

The Nimman area in Chiang Mai for us is the coolest, it’s a new area, with a lot of cafes and restaurants, in a moment (with the songthaew or with Grab) you plant yourself in the old area which is where all the temples are.

Hotel recommendations:

THE LOFT ROOM
DESIGN HOTEL CHIANG MAI
YANTARASRI RESORT
Recommendations of hotels in the old area:

DECHARME HOTEL
PINGVIMAN HOTEL
Move around Chiang Mai:

One thing we really like about Chiang Mai is that you can get anywhere in a moment, whether you rent a motorbike or use public transport (as we used to do) you will get to most places in a few minutes.

RED FURGOS OR SONGTHAEW. These shared furgos are everywhere and are very easy to use, you tell the driver where you are going and if he is going in the same direction you get on and when you arrive you pay him 3oTHB (per person).
GRAB, this application is very comfortable to move around Chiang Mai and we use it a lot of times.
Renting a motorbike is another way of getting around Chiang Mai, but be careful! There are many controls, don’t forget to bring your international driving license.
So much for our list of things to see and do in Chiang Mai!

I hope it helps you to organize your trip to Northern Thailand, now you know a lot of cool things to do in Chiang Mai! If you have any questions leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you soon!

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