Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand, after Bangkok, of course. It is also one of the most popular cities in Asia, particularly for backpackers and digital nomads.
Located in the north of Thailand, the city is known for its stunning nature and wildlife.
Due to its northern location, Chiang Mai has always been somewhat isolated, making it a unique city with its own culture, dialect, festivals, and traditions.
If you are traveling to Thailand on a budget, you will love it here.
The prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is relaxed, and there are numerous things to see and do. You can easily spend a month here without getting bored!
Sightseeing Doi Inthanon with Karen & Hmong Tribes One Day TripFrom: 1,695 ฿
Chiang Rai One Day Trip – 3 Temples & Golden TriangleFrom: 1,995 ฿
Doi Suthep & Phuping Palace half day tour from Chiang MaiFrom: 1,295 ฿
Doi Suthep & Hmong Hill tribe half day from Chiang MaiFrom: 1,495 ฿
Day Tour Chiang Rai: White Temple, Black House & Blue TempleFrom: 1,795 ฿
Half-Day Elephant Care – Doi InthanonFrom: 1,695 ฿
Things to see in Chiang Mai
In and around Chiang Mai you can find over 300 temples.
The most famous one being Wat Pratat Doi Sutep, which is one of the most amongst things to see in Chiang Mai. This Buddhist temple is located 15 kilometers outside the city on a mountain.
Every day the temple receives many visitors and pilgrims from around the world. It was built in 1383 and from the top of the mountain it’s another 300 steps or cable car ride to the temple itself. The views over Chiang Mai from here are stunning and it’s surely worth a visit!
Wat Chedi Luang is located in the old city of Chiang Mai and is worth a visit as well. By bicycle tour or private tuk-tuk for example. The unique shape of this temple is very different from other temples in Thailand. Other temples worth a visit are Wat Chiang Man and Wat Phra Singh. If you don’t feel like temples or you have seen a lot already, consider having a look at destinations around Chiang Mai.
The national park of Doi Inthanon houses the largest mountain peak in Thailand. Here you can find indigenous hill tribes, of which the Karen are the most famous. On the mountain you can find several large waterfalls, gardens for the royal family and amazing viewpoints over Chiang Mai and its surroundings.
Another popular destination is Chiang Rai and the Golden triangle. This northern most city is located close to the borders of Myanmar and Laos and has a few beautiful temples, of which the white temple is the most famous thing to see. This stunning ‘Gaudi-like’ temple was designed by a Thai artist and took decades to complete, even after it was rebuilt following an earthquake.
From Chiang Rai you can also easily visit the Golden Triangle. This is the area around the 3 borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. You’ll get a unique insight in 3 different cultures and languages that easily seem to mingle here.
Things to do in and around Chiang Mai
Besides sightseeing, there are a lot of activities you can do in and around Chiang Mai. What do you think of an ATV or Quad experience? We have half day, full day and even multiday ATV trips available for those who would like to enjoy the nature around Chiang Mai by motorized vehicle. The trips take you through small rural villages, dense jungle and past waterfalls and rivers. A cool experience for groups of friends, families or singles: just join a tour and make new friends!
Another cool activity is White water rafting. An hour north of Chiang Mai you can find the Mae Tang river. This river is exceptionally suitable for rafting. You will find class 2-4 rapids here, and rafting is particularly good and intense after the rainy season (June -August). Slide down the river with our experienced guides and get a taste for intense rafting. We provide all the equipment and transfers, you just have to jump on board and paddle down. An amazing adventure in Chiang Mai.
Ziplining is the next adventure you can do in Chiang Mai. Suitable for all ages and for persons up to 120kg, you are welcome in different ziplining parks around Chiang Mai. The flight of the Gibbon is the most famous and longest zipline in Chiang Mai. Others that are part of zipline and ropes parks are the Phoenix Adventure park and Eagle track. Slide down the ziplines though the canopy or overcome obstacles in the high ropes park in Chiang Mai.
For nature lovers we recommend doing a trek around Mae Wang area. Here you can enjoy an easy trek of a day or even multiple days. Our park rangers take you through dense forests, up hills to secret viewpoints and past villages where locals seem to live their lives without change for centuries. Visit the famous hill or long neck tribes, see their colorful clothes and the foods they buy and sell on local markets. It’s a unique experience for everyone.
Chiang Mai is particularly fond of their elephants. The animals are treated way better than a decade ago and you will find elephant care parks scattered around the city. The ones we like the most are Toto’s elephant sanctuary and the Elephant retirement park. These parks are not set up to have tourists drive around on a seat on an elephant’s back, but provide you a unique opportunity to see the animals in their own surroundings. Play with them, feed them, sometimes ride them bare back (without seats, just like the ancient mahouts do) and bathe with them. All for one purpose: giving the elephants the life they deserve. Most of the animals were freed from a circus or the timber industry and the elephant parks provide a stress free environment you can enjoy as a visitor to Chiang Mai.
Thai cooking classes
Chiang Mai is famous for its own food tradition. You may have seen it at the night market in the city center, where you can enjoy all kinds of local foods from street vendors and market stalls. But what if you could learn how to cook it yourself? You can by booking a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai! We particularly like the one at Smile organic cooking class. The more people are interested in health and lifestyle, the more important it is to eat organic food. Smile organic cooking class offers just that. Learn to cook the traditional Northern Thai dishes with organic produce from their own garden and visit a market to learn about the ingredients. Top class and you’ll even learn a skill while in Chiang Mai!