While Bangkok is its bustling capital, the north is the heart of culture and creativity, and there are hundreds of things to do in Chiang Mai.
1. Chiang Mai Old Town
Here, you will find most of the main temples, street markets and museums. There are also several bars and restaurants. Bordered by moats and ancient ramparts, you can enter the town through four main gates located at each of the four cardinal directions. Inside the old town, you can enjoy a peaceful stroll and admire the traditional buildings. You will find temples almost everywhere in the old town. Most of them are free, and others are charging a very small entrance fee. It would be a shame to miss them! Here are our favorites temples in Chiang Mai: Wat Phra Sing, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Inthakhin Saduemang, and Wat Si Suphan, also called “the Silver Temple”
2. Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
It is located just outside the city and easily visit to the park in a day. The most visited site is in the park is the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a temple built on the top of a hill. From there, you can enjoy a 360° view of Chiang Mai and its surroundings. Here are the other places to visit in Doi Suthep – Pui national park: Bhubing Palace, Hmong Doi Pui Village, Mon Tha Than Waterfall, and Huay Kaew Waterfall.
3. Take a Thai cooking class
If you love to eat Thai foods, do not miss this activity. Several cooking schools can teach you
how to make delicious curries, tasty Pad Thai and Khao Soy, a northern specialty: curry soup with fried noodles and chicken. Classes usually last half a day. You will first visit the market to discover the different spices, herbs and vegetables used in traditional dishes. You will then go back to the school to cook the ingredients and at the end of the day, you will of course taste your creations!
4. Chiang Mai markets
A visit to Chiang Mai should also include a stroll through the city’s many markets. During the day, you should wander through the alleys of Talat Warorot market, the largest of the city. It has everything, from food stalls to clothing. Located east of the old town and next to Chinatown, this market is very popular among locals. On weekends, there are the Saturday or Sunday Night Market. There is a huge selection of handicrafts, souvenirs, clothes, figurines and the prices are reasonable.
5. Visit Elephant Sanctuary
Elephant sanctuaries take in abused or abandoned elephants to take care of them. You will
have the opportunity to help the staff feed and bathe the elephants in the river. Most of the shelters now observe certain ethical standards and try to recreate a natural environment as much as possible. Several agencies offer half-day or full day packages from Chiang Mai to visit a sanctuary and take care of the animals.
6. Explore Coffee shops and cafes
Chiang Mai is known as the coffee capital of Thailand. The Chiang Mai coffee is amazing
which perhaps tempted you. There are loads of cute cafes, some doubling up as stylish co-working spaces. Contributing to the hip vibes of Chiang Mai are the abundance of chic cafes and coffee shops. At every turn, there is another more creative and unique than the last.