Top attractions in Chiang Mai
Whether seeking adventure or something a little more spiritual, Thailand's second city is a great place to start. Chiang Mai means "new city," yet teems with historic, cultural, and natural monuments, each more breathtaking than the last! Here are a few.
This 15-century temple lasted barely 150 years before suffering serious earthquake damage. What survives provides a striking image, made all the more marvelous lit up at night!
There are two Wat Umong's in town. Be sure you're going to the one dedicated to the clairvoyant monk Thera Jan, in order to explore this iconic forest-temple's ancient tunnels.
Of Chiang Mai's many elephant camps this is by far the most humane. The animals have mostly been rescued from poor captivity conditions and visitors are encouraged to help feeding!
You'll likely find Chiang Mai's sacred peaks rather overcast, but it's precisely the cloudy conditions that have blessed Doi Suthep and Doi Pui with such rich plant- and bird-life.
Doi Suthep mountain boasts more than just flora and fauna. The elaborate temple's revered seated Buddha statue is a coveted sight for pilgrims and sightseers alike.
At the foot of Doi Suthep lies one of the city's best family attractions. If you're short on time, all the best enclosures are conveniently located towards the bottom of the hill.
Established by Chiang Mai's founder, Phaya Mengrai, towards the end of the 13th century, Chiang Man is the city's oldest temple and a sightseeing essential.
Otherwise known as Wat Suan Dok, the 14th-century temple is a favorite among visitors for its English-language meditation retreats and talkative monks!
Thailand's highest mountain is a resplendent natural park that counts waterfalls, pagodas, and tribal villages among its many draws. We recommend planning a whole day to explore!
Get up close to the animals at Chiang Mai Night Safari. Open both day and night, the zoo comes to life after dark. See all kinds of creatures, from big predators to more unusual animals.
March, April, and May are Chiang Mai's hottest months, with November to January seeing the city's coolest temperatures. May to September is the rainy season, but despite its threatening name, is considered by some to be the best time to visit. If you can handle the odd, refreshing shower, you'll be rewarded with smaller crowds, greener countryside, and more active wildlife.
Chiang Mai is cheap to visit and boasts plenty to do. You'll want to spend at least four or five full days there.
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- Best time to visit
- It depends how you feel about rain! If you don't mind a refreshing shower here and there, May to September is an absolutely wonderful time to visit Chiang Mai.
Things to Do in Chiang Mai
Top Attractions in Chiang Mai
Cities in Thailand
Other Sightseeing Options in Chiang Mai
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What people are saying about Chiang Mai
This was definitely the highlight of our trip to Thailand. It’s such a fun day! We started off by playing with the elephants. We then fed them and jumped in the river with them, giving them a mud bath and wash. We also made vitamin balls for them. We were very lucky as we were the only ones on the morning tour, so we had all 5 elephants to ourselves! Our guide (Mai) was superb at explaining everything and even arranged transport to our next activity! We brought a change of clothes but you don’t need this as full uniform is provided including shoes, you’ll only need a change of underwear as this will get wet and muddy in the river. Even soap is provided. The half day tour is just the right amount to fully enjoy and not get bored. This is a must do when in Thailand and I am glad I left this for last as it was certainly the highlight of our trip. This was probably our best tour ever!
Our family (kids 18 and 11) enjoyed every minute of this fantastic day. Our guide Jakkie was knowledgeable, kind, and took the initiative to take pictures for us so that we could enjoy the interactions with the elephants. This was our kids’ favorite experience. Feeding and bathing the elephants was the highlight. We enjoyed seeing them in a natural non-commercial/non circus-like setting where they are well cared for. Our driver Adull was terrific and got us safely up the mountain to Wat Doi Suthep—also a memorable and interesting experience.
This was an enjoyable experience & I would recommend it to anyone considering it. My guide, Mona & driver, Um (hope I am spelling correctly) were both very professional, friendly & helpful. Mona was very knowledgeable & was able to answer all my questions. She had a mastery of English that was better than any other guide I had during my 5 wks in Asia. I am especially grateful that she even went above & beyond by making the steep hike up & down the steps alongside the waterfall to take pictures for me twice.
Good bikes - already set up to my height and didn't have to adjust the seat. Our guide was Anh and she was terrific, giving full information on all the sights we were taken to. She also included an extra sight when one of our party of three requested it. Riding a bike in Chiang Mai might seem daunting but Anh guided us through it all and at no time did I feel in danger. Well worth doing at a very reasonable price.
This course has overfilled all our expactations!!! A very nice and lovely trainer, showed us very easy how to cook Thai food. Very good ingredience has been used and been showed to us before in the garden of the farm. The farm is very big and the kitchen was very well prepared. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed our meal outside. Hardly recommended!!!!