Chiang Mai has everything you’d want in your travels, bursting with history, culture, nature, adventures and mouth-watering food. With so much to do and see, it can be hard to know where to start. Below, we’ve narrowed down the best spots and activities for you to enjoy this lovely “Rose of the North”.
For an even more enriching and worry-free experience, consider exploring the city with locals. They’ll help you escape the crowds, answer all your curiosities and make you feel right at home.
So, if you’ve got your eyes on Chiang Mai, here are 6 things you simply can’t miss on your trip:
1. Enjoy some quality time with elephants
Taking care of the gentle giants is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in Chiang Mai. Instead of riding them, which is extremely harmful to their well-being, you can feed and bathe them at the elephant sanctuary. Be sure to have a local by your side to learn all about the fascinating animals. To wrap up your lovely day out, visit the nearby Karen mountain tribe, where you can learn to make their unique coffee.
2. Conquer Bua Tong sticky waterfalls
It’s not everyday nature helps you to be Spider-Man! If you’ve never climbed a waterfall before, here is the perfect place to start. The minerals on the limestones of the waterfalls make them rough and easy to grab. After your climb, cool down in the beautiful clear pool and take in the surrounding luscious greenery. Throw in a picnic and you’ve got the perfect day out! You can also visit the dreamy waterfalls on a private tour for the most ease getting there and navigating the waterfalls.
3. Be on top of Thailand at Doi Inthanon National Park
You simply can’t miss going to the highest point in all of Thailand! The mountain’s peak of Doi Inthanon measures at 2565 meters (8,415 feet). Once there, be enthralled by the stunning panoramic view of the vast mountains and forests. As if the gorgeous scenery isn’t enough, rising from the mountain top are two elegant pagodas dedicated to the late King Rama IX and the queen. Your fingers will just be itching to take photos!
4. Go bamboo rafting
Imagine the raised eyebrows of your friends and family when you tell them you went bamboo rafting! It’s a unique and fun way to marvel at the plentiful nature Chiang Mai is blessed with. Though your adrenaline may jump a little on the narrow bamboo raft, you’ll be in good hands with the local rower. You can also get a wider raft if you prefer. Make your experience here even richer by having a local with you who can tell you all about the local life and culture.
5. Cook delicious Northern Thai food with locals
While eating the local food anywhere you visit is a must, learning to cook it is another level of special. Here in Chiang Mai, you’ll receive the warmest welcome in the homes of these locals. Many have their own gardens rich with various fruit and vegetables. Pick out the ingredients you need fresh from there and get started! Whether you’re an amateur or skilled cook, you’ll love trying your hands at these new dishes. The memories and friends you make will make you feel right at home.
6. Temple-hop in the best way
We told you Chiang Mai has everything, including magnificent architecture. From stunning to unique temples, prepare your phone and camera memory to capture it all! But to fully appreciate their grandeur, learning about the history and symbolism behind them is a must. We highly recommend going with a local expert to get the most out of your trip. It’s also definitely worth heading to the historical city of Lamphun, which was the capital of the ancient Lanna kingdom. It’s also where you’ll find Northern Thailand’s oldest temple!