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.
- Thai baht (฿)
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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
We were the only 2 people going on this day, which was a great surprise! The guide, Mr. Kam, was patient with us, and explained everything we needed to know. He had a vast knowledge of the jungle, buddhism and thai culture. The hike was extremely beautiful and the lush green forest was stunning to walk in. The view from Doi Suthep should not be missed, if you are in Chiang Mai! For lunch we were served a really good padthai. After lunch we went to a waterfall nearby. There were no other people at the waterfall - not a single soul besides us. It was so nice! And great to get away from the hordes of chinese at Doi Suthep. We dont have a single bad thing to say about the trip. We highly recomend!
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.
Unforgettable experience with elephants in their natural environment. Mr Tee (our guide) was smily, pleasant, friendly, helpful and he gave us a lot of information about Thai culture and religion. Each one of us had an elephant to feed, clean and associate with. Also in the beginning, they reached us a lot about elephants. Mr Pan(our driver) and Mr Tee were very flexible with the time spending in the activities and they volunteered to drive us to extra activities. MUST TRY IT!
Even thought this was a long ride it was worth every minute of it. The temples were beautiful and a once in a lifetime opportunity for us in which we enjoyed. If you’re looking for an all day event this is a must do!