Best Places to Visit in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai is the largest city in the northern part of Thailand. It’s one of the places that people come by and visit.  A massive of digital nomads start their journey on their business here. A lot of co-working space everywhere. Coffee shops scattered on the streets.  Exotic and different cuisines to satisfy the needs of foodies.  With more than a hundred temples situated elsewhere.

Apart from its numerous temples surrounding the city, there are places that are best to visit in Chiang Mai. Here’s the list suggested from amazing travel bloggers.

 

Here's the exact location of Chiang Mai Thailand from Google Map

Recommend by Ben Reeve of The Sabbatical Guide

Wat Sri Suphan is nearly 1,500 years old but it has only become famous since 2008 when the process of covering the entire temple in silver was completed, and it became known by the (quite obvious!) name ‘The Silver Temple’. It is located just outside the main city of Chiang Mai, about a ten-minute walk from the south gate. It is truly a spectacular sight, with the outer wall reflecting the light of the sun, and intricate carvings covering the walls. The inside is very unusual, with metal covering every beam, floorboard, and wall. It has an odd ambiance, and any sound is echoed back off of the hard surface. Unfortunately, as with a lot of Buddhist temple, women are not allowed to enter, however, the grounds are accessible to all. On three of four evenings a week there is also the opportunity to chat with monks from the temple for a few hours in the evening, which helps them with their English and gives the tourist a deeper understanding of the Buddhist faith.

Follow The Sabbatical Guide on Facebook and Instagram

Silver Temple, Chiang Mai - TheSabbaticalGuide.com
Silver Temple Chiang Mai Photo from Ben Reeve of The Sabbatical Guide

Recommend by Suzy Whittle of SuzyStories.com

When you think of Chiang Mai you don’t typically think of immersive, illusory art experiences, but that’s exactly what you can do at Art in Paradise! Located on Changklan Rd southeast of the city walls, this huge complex of rooms filled with interactive and mind-bending installations is the best place to go to escape the heat, on a rainy day, or just to enjoy something besides temples and markets!

You can step inside famous paintings, travel through iconic landmarks and discover all sorts of wacky works of art that cover the walls, floors, and ceilings. It’s a big kid’s playground where each room gives you tips on capturing the best photos, so you’ll come away with hundreds of souvenirs of your visit! It’s safe to say that art really comes to life in these 3D murals, it’s definitely the most entertaining gallery I’ve ever visited!

Follow SuzyStories on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Art in Paradise Chiang Mai Thailand
Art in Paradise Chiang Mai Thailand. Photo from Suzy Whittle of SuzyStories

Recommended by Gina of Jet Set and Forget

One of the best things to do in Chiang Mai is to take a hike up the Monk’s Trail. Tucked away at the bottom of the Doi Suthep Mountain is a 45-minute hike up an old trail that the monk’s used to take to get to Wat Pha Lat. This wat (or temple) is one of the most serene mountainside temples you will ever see.

The trail is marked by orange cloths tied around trees. Wear sturdy shoes as the first 15 minutes of the trail is covered in large rocks. You will definitely work up a sweat on this hike, but the view up to will be totally worth it. Make sure you bring water as there is nowhere to stop along the trail to buy any.

Take a red bus or drive your scooter to the Wat Pha Lat Hike found in google maps, aka the Monks Trail.

Follow Jet Set and Forget on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

Monks Trail in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Gina of JetSetandForget.com
Monks Trail in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Gina of JetSetandForget.com

Recommended by Cerise Roth-Vinson of Enchanted Vagabond

Exploring Chiang Mai and snapping pics is great, but to bring home a real memory of your trip, learn how to carve fruit and vegetables to gain a new skill you can take back home. On a recent trip to the gem of northern Thailand, my two kids and I spent a few hours learning how to turn ordinary fruits and vegetables into works of art.

Classes are offered at Chiang Mai Boom Travel by the lovely owner who provides all the supplies you need. Facing the popular Chiang Mai old wall and moat, you can enjoy a relaxing workshop perfecting your carving skills. The grand finale is a huge watermelon carved into a gorgeous flower. Boom Fruit Carving is located at Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai and can also be found on Facebook. On your next visit to Chiang Mai., book a fun experience perfect for the whole family and gain a new skill that will always remind you of your trip to Thailand!

Follow Enchanted Vagabond on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest

Fruit Carving in Chiang Mai Thailand
Fruit Carving in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo by Cerise Roth-Vinson of Enchanted Vagabond

Recommend by Michelle C. of Intentional Travelers

Sticky Falls is one of our favorite day trips from Chiang Mai (about 1.5 hours North by scooter). What makes it so unique is that the porous rocks that make up the falls create a natural traction for your feet so you don’t slip. With the help of ropes, you can easily walk up and down the middle of the falls. It’s a lot of fun! Entrance to the park is free. There are also some walking paths around the park. And just down the road is Wat Tham Buatong, a quiet cave temple perched at the top of a dragon staircase.

Follow Intentional Travelers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Trover

Sticky Falls Chiang Mai Thailand
Sticky Falls Chiang Mai Thailand. Photo from Michelle C. of Intentional Traveler

Recommend by Allan & Ros of Frequent Traveller

The Anusarn Market situated on Chang Clang Road near the Night Bazaar is a major attraction for tourists visiting Chiang Mai. With a covered area that houses hundreds of small stalls selling everything from Thai handicrafts, electrical goods, clothing and mouth-watering street food.

 The markets come alive nightly from 6:00 PM till late. Surrounding the small stalls are restaurants with a variety of cuisines from around the world on offer. You can relax with a massage in one of the many outdoor message stalls or try a fish spa. There is no way to describe the sensation of tiny fish nibbling at your skin, but it is a lot of fun.

 For a break from shopping head to one of the many entertainment venues within the markets and relax while enjoying live music from local and international acts that regularly play at these venues.

 For those looking for something a little more risqué, a visit to the ladyboy show should not be missed. The costumes and live night act will leave you breathless and is a great way to round off a visit to the Anusarn Market.

Follow Frequent Traveller on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

Anusarn-Market-Chiang-Mai
Anusarn-Market-Chiang-Mai Photo from Allan&Ros of Frequent Travellers

Recommend by Gabor Kovacs of Surfing the Planet

There’s no doubt that visiting sacred temples is one of the main highlights of a trip to Thailand. Chiang Mai, the major city of Northern Thailand is especially filled with beautiful temples, and our favorite amongst them is the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep situated on top of a mountain on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. Popular legend says that the construction of this temple was carried out to hold a piece of bone that came from the Buddha’s shoulder. We can’t know if the legend is true, but it’s one of the most adored sites by local Buddhists, and many of them often climb the 306-step wonderful staircase to a terrace where the temple complex is found. The temple is divided into inner and outer terraces and in the center, you will find a giant golden chedi. Apart from the temple itself, the views from the temple terrace are also absolutely amazing. The best way to get there is to rent a motorbike and enjoy the ride on the curvy road.

Follow Surfing the Planet on Facebook and Twitter

Golden stupa in Doi Suthep Temple, Thailand
Golden stupa in Doi Suthep Temple near Chiang Mai in Thailand Photo from Gabor Krovacs of Surfing the Planet

Recommend by Cat Smith of Walk My World

Before arriving in Chiang Mai, we’d explored hundreds of temples but never got the chance to really hear about Buddhism first hand. This is what made Monk Chat so fascinating.

In this one on one cultural exchange with a Buddhist Monk, you can ask anything you want. We asked about how literally they take the teachings of the Buddha about possessions (having seen many monks with mobile phones and cameras), and what a day in the life of a monk looks like. However, we found that the monks were just as interested in asking us questions. Upon finding out we were English – he was very keen to ask us all about football!

Whatever you want to get from the experience, Monk Chat in Chiang Mai will be a rare opportunity to understand first hand more about the religion that is the centre of Thai life. It’s also a great way to get away from the tourist circuit and interact with a local in a unique environment.

Follow Walk My World on Facebook and Pinterest

Monk Chat Chiang Mai Thailand
Monk Chat Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Cat Smith of Walk my World

Recommend by Tasha Amy of Backpackers Wanderlust

One of the best places to visit in Chiang Mai is no doubt the Chiang Mai Sunday Markets. This is the place to be on a Sunday evening for both tourists and locals alike.

Starting at 4 pm onwards you will find hundreds of stalls set up over 1 kilometer on Ratchadamnoen Road, as well as the side streets and Tha Phae Gate.

Here is where you will find some of the best offerings in Chiang Mai. From souvenirs, delicious eats, sweet treats and unique art, you will constantly be in awe of the goods being sold. This is the perfect place to spend your Sunday night in Chiang Mai eating a delicious cheap dinner and having a foot massage on the street side.

Follow Backpackers Wanderlust on Instagram and Facebook

Sunday Night Market Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Tasha Amy of Backpackers Wanderlust
Sunday Night Market Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Tasha Amy of Backpackers Wanderlust

Recommend by Angelica of Things to Do and Eat

Hang Dong Canyon, or the Grand Canyon Chiang Mai, is one of the best places to visit in Chiang Mai!

It’s an old quarry filled with water and makes the perfect city getaway. You can play in the water, admire the gorgeous red cliffs, and even jump in from the top! I love it because I love being near water and because its natural beauty is so different from what you normally see in Chiang Mai.

To get there, you’ll need to rent a scooter, hop in a taxi, or join a tour because it’s about 18 km outside of the Old City.

Address: 202 ถนนเลียบคลองชลประทาน น้ำแพร่ หางดง Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50230, Thailand

Follow Angelica Things to do and Eat on Facebook and Pinterest

Grand Canyon or Hang Dong Canyon Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Angelica of ThingsToDoandEat
Grand Canyon or Hang Dong Canyon Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Angelica of ThingsToDoandEat

Recommend by Allan Wilson of Live Less Ordinary

I can’t remember a visit to Chiang Mai without a road trip, as it’s just so cheap (around 1,000 Baht per day) and it is simple to drive straight out from Chiang Mai airport. And to date we have covered all 9 northern provinces of the north, where the real standout road trip is undoubtedly the neighboring Meh Hong Son province, which takes around 9 hours in total. And it’s a bit like a rollercoaster of a road trip, and the first half along to Mae Hong Son town is said to have 1,864 turns through rainforests, mountains, and viewpoints. Along the way it passes must-see tourist destinations such as Pai, then there’s the scenic stop of Su Tong Pae Bridge, before reaching the main town of Mae Hong Son. The return loop then passes Namtok Mae Surin National Park, and I’d forever make time for a stop at Doi Inthanon and Thailand’s highest point. Before the return stretch to Chiang Mai.

Follow Live Life Ordinary on Facebook and Twitter 

Road Trips in Northern Thailand Photo by Allan Wilson
Road Trips in Northern Thailand Photo by Allan Wilson

Recommend by Nick Kembel of Spiritual Travels

There’s something very special, some even say magical or mystical, about Wat U Mong, a forest temple in the southwest corner of the Chiang Mai. First constructed in the 14th century, it was later abandoned and then reestablished in the 1960s. The forest surroundings and system of tunnels with prayer rooms inside make it completely unique among Chiang Mai’s many famous temples.

When we visited, we saw several enormous bugs, long-nosed Asian turtles in the pond, and a chicken sitting atop her eggs in a hollowed out tree stump right next to a walking trail. Nature and humankind are truly at one in this sacred place of worship. What’s more, if you continue past the temple on winding Soi U Mong you’ll find several artsy cafés and galleries, making the area an up-and-coming arts and culture district.

See here for more information on Wat U Mong and other incredible Chiang Mai’s temples.

Follow Nick Kembel on Facebook and Instagram

Wat U Mong in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo by Nick Kembel of Spiritual Travels
Wat U Mong in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo by Nick Kembel of Spiritual Travels

Recommend by Emily Lush of Wander-Lush

If you want to get an insight into local culture in Chiang Mai, go to where the locals’ shop. The city’s biggest marketplace, Warorot Market, isn’t necessarily geared towards tourists (although you can find some souvenirs), but it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about daily life in Chiang Mai.

 Known locally as Kat Luang (literally ‘big market’), Warorot is a huge indoor complex on Chang Moi Road in Chinatown, between Thapae Gate and the Ping River. The seven-day market gets started early (around 5 am) and stallholders stay until sunset. Warorot has three floors plus some split levels. It’s a maze of fabric, clothing, homewares, and everyday items. The market floor is perhaps the most interesting part of Warorot for tourists; this is where you can find spices, dried fruit, huge mounds of chili paste, pork belly, and Thai snacks wrapped in bamboo leaves. Climb the escalator to the second floor for a bird’s-eye view of the always-bustling produce section.

 Don’t stop there—Ton Lamyai Market, the flower market (open after dark) and the outdoor Hmong Market—which specializes in batik fabric and Hmong textiles and costumes—are all within walking distance of Warorot.

Follow Emily Lush on Instagram

Warorot Market in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Emily Lush of Wander-Lust.com
Warorot Market in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Emily Lush of Wander-Lust.com

Recommend by Kaila Yu

Known as “the little rice terraces”, these are wondrous in and of themselves due to their beauty. It is a bit of a lengthy commute at 3.5 hours from the Chiang Mai airport, but very worth it. They are located in the Doi Inthanon National Park, and there are guesthouses available from local innkeepers. I stayed in one and enjoyed a cup of coffee with the sunset.

You get to see local farmers doing their job, and the best time to go is during August-September. The fields are lush and green and will be an image you won’t soon forget.

You will need a motorcycle or car to get here-public transport does not extend.

Follow Kaila Yu on Instagram

Little Rice Terraces in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo by Kaila Yu
Little Rice Terraces in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Kaila Yu

Recommend by Maire Bonheim of Temples and Treehouses

The streets of Chiang Mai are lined with incredible Thai Buddhist temples — many of them historic and gleaming with towering golden spires. My favourite is Wat Phra Singh, probably the most famous temple located within Chiang Mai’s walled old town. The temple grounds cover quite a bit of space, with several smaller buildings and beautiful Buddha statues to explore. Part of the temple complex dates back to the 14th century. You’ll see wooden carvings, brightly-colored decorations, dragons guarding the main temple entrance, intricately painted murals and a giant golden chedi (a tall pointed Buddhist monument) with glinting gold elephants half-emerging from the base.

Wat Phra Singh is popular with tourists and can get crowded, but it’s definitely worth visiting this incredible temple when you’re in Chiang Mai!

 Follow Temples and Treehouses on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook
Wat Phra Singh Chiang Mai Photo from Maire Bonheim of Temples and Treehouses
Wat Phra Singh Chiang Mai Photo from Maire Bonheim of Temples and Treehouses

Recommend by Emma Walmsley of Small Footprints, Big Adventures

The Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park was such fun! It is very family-friendly but not aimed specifically at kids: anyone who is interested in making paper, or is keen to see how a huge waste product for Chiang Mai can be reused, would enjoy it. Staff are very professional and take visitors around the colorful park, explaining the whole process of converting elephant poo into paper. Guests can get involved in most of the steps, so it’s a great hands-on experience! The whole experience really interesting and fun, with plenty of poo jokes along the way, optional creating cards and other crafts at the end, and elephant poopoo cookies! And the “poo-tique” is full of wonderful products if you can’t get enough of the natural stationery and other gear to support their great work.

Follow Small Footprints, Big Adventures on Facebook and Instagram

Elephan Poo Poo Paper Park in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Emma Walmsley of Small Footprints, Big Adventures
Elephan Poo Poo Paper Park in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Emma Walmsley of Small Footprints, Big Adventures

Recommend by Noel Morata

There are so many wonderful experiences and places to visit in around Chiang Mai. One of the more unique things to do would be a visit to the Hill Tribes north of Chiang Mai. Immigrants from different ethnic tribes coming from Laos, China and neighboring Myanmar settled the hilly areas in Northern Thailand and have created their own communities as farmers, crafters and also working in the tourist trade. The main tribes where you can visit their villages are the Lisu, Hmong and Ahka tribes. Taking a tour with a guide is a better way to learn about the tribes and communicate directly with some of the elders or people within the community.
Most of the villages build with rudimentary materials and some are modernized with electricity and plumbing. But elders try to adhere and share their culture and lifestyle with the younger generation to educate and keep their traditions alive. Find out more by checking out my post on the Hill tribes of Northern Thailand for images and inspiration for visiting these wonderful communities open to your visits.

Follow Noel Morata on Instagram and Facebook

Hill Tribe in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Noel Morata
Hill Tribe in Chiang Mai Thailand Photo from Noel Morata

That’s all for now. We hope that this list could give you an idea of where else should you visit in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

  • Have you been to CHIANG MAI in Thailand?
  • Do you have any place or things to suggest that might add to this list?
  • Does this article help you?

**Comment Below, I would love to hear

Want to SAVE this post? PIN IT!

Best Places to Visit in Chiang Mai Thailand

Author: Ferna Mae

Ferna is a spontaneous traveler from the Philippines who had a great experience traveling her own country first before she embarked to other countries. She thrives to be more independent in her own skin. Connect with her at everywherewithferna@gmail.com

12 thoughts on “Best Places to Visit in Chiang Mai, Thailand

  1. So many amazing things in Chiang Mai that I missed! I definitely need to go back now, fantastic tips 🙂

  2. Anusarn is a cool market Ferna Mae. I also dig the market on Lamphun road and also a big, authentic, tourist-free Thai market on the highway heading out of the city, not too far from the Big C on the super highway. Barely any farang there. Wonderful experience. Tweeted for you.

    Ryan

  3. We are so sorry we missed Chiang Mai when we visited Thailand. Our son was there when we were in Phuket and we loved the pics he sent. The Silver Temple looks amazing. It was so funny to see the LOVE sign in Chiang Mai. We have found these around the world. But not quite the mind-bending experience that must be in the rest of Art in Paradise. I would love to try the fruit carving class. Love how the watermelon is used as the base for the carvings. I love the look of the Sticky Falls but am not sure that even with a rope I want to walk up. As much as I love high viewpoints, I would think twice about climbing the 306 steps to the top of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. A stop at the Hang Dong Canyon would be a great way to finish off a trip to Chiang Mai. Thanks for showing me that Chiang Mai had so much to offer. Pinned this for future reference too!

  4. Chiang Mai has been on my radar for a while, so thanks for this great round-up. The Elephant Poo Poo Paper park made me laugh! I would love to make elephant poo paper – what a unique gift that would make. Would love to visit all the temples – they look so serene!

  5. What a great idea to enlist the travel bloggers that live in Chiang Mai. They should know the best places, after all. I passed on Chiang Mai and visited Chiang Rai because of the number of tourists, but on the next trip to Thailand maybe I’ll go.

  6. Chiang Mai is on our list but we never knew there is so much to explore there. We were under the impressions that 2-3 days are enough but it looks like a week thing. Silver temple, waterfall, Sunday market, fruit carving classes everything looks amazing.

  7. Didn’t know Chiang Mai has all these landmarks! I thought people went there just because it is cooler in climate than Bangkok. Would love to see the Sticky Falls and the Silver Temple.

  8. Loved Chiang Mai! The only temple I think I made it to was Doi Suthep where I got blessed by a Buddhist monk! It was a lovely experience. I’d love to try some of that fruit carving!

  9. Didn’t know that Chiang mai is the largest city of Northern Thailand. During my first travel to Thailand, I missed this part and with your great tips, I am sure to visit Thailand again and explore Chiang Mai specially Monk’s trail and Sunday night market. Would love to chat with monks also.

  10. Whoa that is good huge list of things to experience in Chiang Mai!
    Definitely even a week wouldn’t be sufficient to experience all these. I never knew monk chat was possible.

  11. I just returned from Chiang Mai and loved it . The rice terraces, those temples and the night markets – in fact even the Warorot market were just fun. I even recommend kayaking on Ping River and visiting the umbrella factory. Cheers to our love for the city

  12. So many people talk about Chiang Mai, and all of it has my curiosity peaked for a visit. That Silver Temple with all the detail work looks quite stunning, and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep’s golden chedi looks beautiful. We often visit art museums and galleries, and live the participative ones like ‘Art in Paradise.’
    When we go, I will hike the Monk’s Trail, Sticky Falls, Hang Dung Canyon (how clean is the water for swimming?), rice terraces, Wat U Mong. Thanks! Bookmarked for reference when we go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *