Top attractions in Chiang Mai
Top 10 things to do 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.
1. Wat Chedi Luang
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!
2. Wat Umong
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.
3. Elephant Nature Park
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!
4. Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
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.
5. Wat Prathat Doi Suthep
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.
6. Chiang Mai Zoo
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.
7. Wat Chiang Man
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.
8. Wat Suan Dorg
Otherwise known as Wat Suan Dok, the 14th-century temple is a favorite among visitors for its English-language meditation retreats and talkative monks!
9. Doi Inthanon
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!
10. Chiang Mai Night Safari
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.
Planning Your Visit
When to visit?
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.
How many days?
Chiang Mai is cheap to visit and boasts plenty to do. You'll want to spend at least four or five full days there.
Good to know
- Thai baht (฿)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+07:00)
- Country Code
- 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.
Other Sightseeing Options in Chiang Mai
Want to discover all there is to do in Chiang Mai? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Chiang Mai
We ended up having a private lesson because it was the early days of coronavirus and all other tourists had canceled their trip. Rachel was a great guide. Funny, fun, informative, great conversation while instructing. We loved getting to learn about the fresh ingredients and what purpose they served in recipes.
Long van ride but very beautiful spots. The guide was great and spoke English well. The van was quite comfortable. The waterfalls were stunning and the hike was peaceful. Not too difficult. Worth it for a day trip!
Lots of fun and very well taught. We learned how to cook authentic Thai. The teacher was very knowledgeable and entertaining. beautiful location in nature. loved every part of it!
Eager, keen, and always passionate to guide us around. Very attentively coordinated and timely pick up. Enjoyed this trip very much.
Fantastic experience. Joy was so informative and the morning was so well planned. Thoroughly recommended