The Top 10 Things to do in Chiang Mai
Dec 29 , 2011
Located in northern Thailand, the extravagant city of Chiang Mai offers an endless array of opportunities for travelers. From riding elephants to praying in ancient temples, visitors will never run out of things to do in Chiang Mai.
1. Chiang Mai Zoo: For animal lovers -- both children and adults -- the Chiang Mai Zoo is a must-visit, located in the hills of Thailand. In 2003, China sent two giant pandas to the zoo as a gesture of amnesty. Today, visitors can enjoy that gift, as well as many other wonderful animals and the largest marine aquarium in Asia.
2. Patara Elephant Farm: If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with these massive mammals, here’s your chance. This sustainable elephant farm is an authentic view of these animals in their natural habitat. There’s no silly business -- you’ll be feeding and taking care of the elephants, pitching in on the hard work of keeping them happy and healthy. Of course, the trip wouldn’t be complete without an elephant ride to a nearby waterfall and a bit of splashing around. Though a visit to this site isn’t cheap, it’s well-worth the price for the unforgettable experience.
3. Doi Inthanan National Park: If you’re still on a high from your day at the elephant farm, you may want to explore more of Chiang Mai’s natural surroundings. This national park makes for a gorgeous place for hiking and seeking out flowing waterfalls. Keep an eye out for more than 400 species of birds and the elusive Asiatic black bear. Of all the things to do in Chiang Mai, this is one for the outdoors enthusiasts.
4. Tony’s Big Bikes: For a unique view of the city, jump on a motorbike and hit the streets. Tony’s Big Bikes rents motorcycles and bicycles at great prices. There are plenty of things to do in Chiang Mai -- why not get to them on your own spiffy set of wheels?
5. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: This Theravada Buddhist temple is considered a sacred site, drawing pilgrims from all over the world. Boasting an extravagant facade and stunning interior, this temple is situated on top of a mountain, providing sweeping views of Chiang Mai. Though it’s located a few miles outside of the city, it is well-worth the trip and the trek up to the top of the hill. Come early to beat the crowds.
6. Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School: If you’re a lover of Thai food, there’s no better place to learn how to make it yourself than in Thailand! This cooking school is the oldest of its kind in the city, with a well-trained, friendly staff to boot. Visitors -- or shall we say “cooks” -- pick several dishes to create, and then prepare each one from start to finish. The best part? Eating your creations at the end, of course!
7. Wat Sri Suphan: A visit to this temple is a must on your list of things to do in Chiang Mai. Located smack dab in a small village of silversmiths, the Wat Sri Suphan temple is an extraordinary sight. The temple acts as both a sacred mecca for Buddhists, as well as a school for silver workers, and is a great place to interact with local monks and experience a unique culture.
8. Anusan Night Bazaar: This nighttime Chiang Mai market is a perfect place for gift shopping -- but who are we kidding, you’ll want to pick up a few trinkets for yourself, too! When you tire of shopping, grab a bite to eat at the adjacent Anusan market.
9. Neck Women Tribes: These Burmese women live as refugees in Northern Thailand. They are known for wearing brass rings around their necks, which distort their collarbones and creating the appearance of a long neck. Though visiting these villages can be rather touristy, not to mention a little awkward to gawk at another human being, the women are stunning and it is certainly an interesting culture to explore.
10. Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures: Another pick for the active traveler, this instructional-based climbing tour takes visitors to the real mountainsides of Northern Thailand. With high-quality equipment, well-trained staff members, and views to die for, this adventure is not for the faint of heart, but a truly remarkable experience nonetheless. If you're looking for things to do in Chiang Mai, add this one to the list.
There are many temples in and around Chiang Mai. Use this guide to discover the most popular ones.