Chiang Mai, located in northern Thailand, was still considered an unusual and exotic vacation up until a few years ago. No wonder, given that not only the islands but also Bangkok is a significant distance away from it, making it impossible to visit for a brief period of time. In spite of its less-than-ideal location, the city has, over the course of time, developed into an increasingly attractive destination—and with good reason! The city, which is also known as the “Rose of the North,” has a lot to offer, and you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience it all.

Things to do in Chiang Mai: Doi Suthep

Chiang Mai is the city in Thailand that is home to the most temples, and each and every one of them is breathtaking. But there is one that stands out as a must-see: the temple of Wat Phra Doi Suthep, which can be found to the north of the city. Doi Suthep was the name that everyone referred to him by for a short period of time, despite the fact that this term technically solely relates to the mountain that the temple is situated.

In order to reach the actual temple, you must first ascend 300 steps and make your way past some golden nagas. However, once you reach the peak, you won’t have to wait long to reap the benefits of your laborious climb!

You can read more here if you’re interested in learning more about the rituals and daily life in the temple.

Where to find directions: Just continue heading north on Huay Kaew Road, and you will reach the top of the hill after passing the institution. A nominal fee is required to be paid in order to park the motorcycle at the top.

Included is the Song Theow: Songtheows may be seen all around town, ready to take passengers to the top of Doi Suthep. The fare for the drive might range anywhere from 40 to 150 baht, depending on the number of passengers and the time of year. Typically, “your ” Songtheow will be waiting for you upstairs to transport you back to the city after you have finished your business.

Things to do in Chiang Mai: Elephants in the wild

It’s likely that the city’s elephants were one of the primary attractions that brought the first tourists to Chiang Mai. There are a number of hiking paths and options within close proximity to the city to spend a day in the bush with elephants.

It is strongly suggested that you spend the day working as a mahoud at an elephant camp. The following day, you spend the day caring for “your ” elephant by feeding, riding, and bathing it. When making reservations, you should be sure to ask detailed questions about the care and riding of the elephants because there are still variations: Fortuitously, saddles are still the method of transportation of choice in some places. Even worse are presentations in which elephants engage in activities such as drawing or playing soccer. By not buying these trips, you are helping to promote ecotourism and animal welfare in the travel industry.

Things to do in Chiang Mai: Food

Some people believe that the cuisine in Chiang Mai is the best in all of Thailand. The price-to-quality ratio is excellent, and the cuisine is not only varied and extensive but also very tasty.

There are high-end restaurants that create Thai cuisine at a Michelin star level, and there are also restaurants that provide amazing international cuisine. Food booths offer both local and all Thai delicacies, and there are also restaurants that serve impressive worldwide cuisine.

We also recommend the food courts located within the shopping complexes Airport Plaza and Kad Suan Kaew since they offer a wide variety of cuisines at affordable costs.

When you visit Chiang Mai, you should definitely set aside some time to learn about the local cuisine and the culture surrounding the food in the area. My eBook, “The Top 5 Restaurants in Chiang Mai,” is available for free download if you would like to get additional knowledge and stay away from making blunders when selecting a food stall.

Things to do in Chiang Mai: Attend a Cooking Class

This point is very closely connected to the one that was discussed previously. If you are a fan of good Thai food like I am, then Chiang Mai is the ideal location for you to learn the art of Thai cuisine preparation. To begin, this is the place to go if you want to learn how to make traditional northern Thai meals like Khao Soy or Hinlay Curry. The second reason is that the settings of the courses are still somewhat intimate and unstructured. The majority of them take place on fields outside of the city, where customers can still choose their own fruits and vegetables. Some people begin their day by going to the market in their town.

The Eagle House cooking class, which can be taken for either a full or a half day, has become my favourite activity there.

Things to do in Chiang Mai: Lights at River Ping

It is possible that you will be in Chiang Mai during the month of November, which will allow you to take part in the amazing Loi Krathong Lights Festival. Or perhaps not, but even if that’s the case, you can still take advantage of the opportunity to dine at one of the establishments located along the River Ping.

Every night around dusk, guests of the River Market restaurant have the chance to set their own lanterns afloat in the garden of the establishment.

Things to do in Chiang Mai: Shopping

I’m sure that going shopping is everyone’s favourite thing to do in Thailand, right?

In this respect, Chiang Mai also provides a diverse selection: The Night Market is open every day, and on Saturdays there is a significant walking street on Wualai Road. On Sundays, you may get your shopping excursion started at Tapae Gate, which is located on the Sunday Walking Street.

Large shopping malls, comparable to those found in Bangkok, have been operating in Chiang Mai over the past two to three years. These include the Central Festival, the Promenada, and the Maya Chiang Mai. My go-to shopping destination is Airport Plaza, which is not only one of the city’s oldest malls but also one of the most historic. You will find more than the major well-known brands in the basement, where there are still several little Thai shops stocked with unique clothes. And let’s not forget the food court…!

Things to do in Chiang Mai: The Samoeng Loop

If you are looking for a way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city but yet maintaining a sense of security while riding a motorcycle, the Samoeng Loop provides a fantastic opportunity to feel unrestricted and discover the countryside that surrounds the city. Because there are certain points of interest along the route, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens or Tiger Kingdom, you can easily undertake this journey on your own and pick and choose which “stations” you want to visit along the way.

You won’t have any trouble finding your way around because there are maps available pretty much everywhere in the city…

Things to do in Chiang Mai: Jungle Feeling

Given that mountains encircle the city, hiking is a popular activity in the Chiang Mai area and it makes for a fantastic experience. The accessways are rather quick, and many of the trails offer breathtaking vistas. It is actually required that hikers take a dip in the cascade at some point.

You shouldn’t go on a hike of this nature by yourself; instead, you should always have a guide with you. First, there is no chance that you will become disoriented, and second, you will be safe in the event that you have an injury. It is important to pay attention to the weather while making reservations because the pathways can be slick at times, particularly during the wetter months.

Things to do in Chiang Mai: The White Temple

You are likely familiar with the concept of the White Temple, aren’t you? Chiang Mai is also the ideal location from which to embark on your journey; hence, you will have no trouble proclaiming, “going to Chiang Rai to the white temple!” after only one day.

You can take a guided tour of the temple, but if you don’t feel like it, you can also rent a car and go to the temple on your own. However, because the route is too long to complete on a motorbike in a single day, you will need to get accommodations in Chiang Rai for the night.

Things to do in Chiang Mai: Creative

Chiang Mai is figuratively bursting at the seams with creative energy, which you won’t fail to notice if you pay a visit to the Walking Streets at the very least. The community of independent young artists is very large.

There are a great many creative activities that may be done while on vacation, like visiting galleries; however, there are many more possibilities available.

You can insert yourself into the pictures at the 3D hands-on museum Art in Paradise, which is located on Chang Klan Road. The museum is called Art in Paradise.

You may even get creative at the Elephant Parade, which is further down the same route, and paint your own porcelain elephant under the direction of an expert. So that you can take something unique away with you right away. Even if you don’t want to paint yourself, it’s still worth taking the short detour there; who knows, maybe you’ll find a finished elephant that will always remind you of the most amazing trip you’ve ever been on?

Liam Lee

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