Top 10 Things to do in Chiang Mai


Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand. It is the capital of Chiang Mai Province and was a former capital of the kingdom of Lan Na (1296–1768). Since Chiang Mai has long been the capital of the Kingdom of Thailand, it still retains many precious historical and cultural relics. Besides historical attractions, with a cool climate and an average altitude of 300 meters, Chiang Mai is a famous tourism city with a beautiful environment. Meanwhile, Chiang Mai's silk and textiles are also renowned all over the world. Every year, a large number of silk and textile are exported worldwide. Getting excited? Here are 10 things for you to explore the one and only Chiang Mai!


1. Doi Suthep 

Doi Suthep (ดอยสุเทพ), is a mountain ("doi") west of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is 1,676 metres (5,499 ft) in elevation and is one of the twin peaks of a granite mountain. The temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is on top of the mountain. The temple is often referred to as "Doi Suthep" as well although this is actually the name of the mountain where it's located. Doi Suthep is the most famous attraction in Chiang Mai, it is like Big Ben to London, and the Empire State Building to New York. It is a sacred site to many Thai people. The temple is 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Chiang Mai city centre. From the temple, impressive views of downtown Chiang Mai can be seen.


2. Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park (Thai: อุทยานแห่งชาติดอยอินทนนท์), nicknamed "the roof of Thailand", is a true jewel of natural beauty. Established in 1972, it is 482 square kilometres (186 sq mi) in size, the park has beautiful sceneries, lush trees, blooming flowers and a cool climate. It is the most prestigious national park in Thailand with jungles and various apes, elephants and a wide variety of other species. Approximately 362 different species of bird make their home in Doi Inthanon National Park, many of which are not found anywhere else in Thailand. It is really a great place for outings.


3. Chiang Mai Night Safari 

There are only two zoos open at night on the planet, one is in Singapore and the other is in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai Night Safari is twice as large as Singapore. Chiang Mai Night Safari provides you close encounters with animals around the globe at night, where you can see them much more active. It is especially suitable for children. It will cultivate children to care for the environment and cherish animals. If you happen to be in Chiang Mai and have no plan at night, don't miss out the chance to explore Chiang Mai Night Safari. Admissions and tickets is THB 800 for adults, THB 400 for children.


4. Elephant Nature Park 

The connection between Thailand and elephants are far-reaching. In the past, Thailand was called the 'Country of Elephant'. Elephants used to be a symbol of power, glory and strength in Thailand. Somehow elephants have gradually faded out of the history in Thailand, and have lost their original status. Nowadays many of them are begging on the streets, or being cruelly tortured at "performance camps." They work until they bleed, then die painfully. Luckily, Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Chiang Mai where you can volunteer and visit to help. The park has been involved in dozens of rescues which have created the thriving elephant herd. The park provides a natural environment for elephants, dogs, cats, buffaloes and many other animals under the care. Volunteers and visitors contribute to the healing while learning about their lives past and present. Human beings are supposed to be more compassionate, it will definitely be one of the most meaningful things to do in Chiang Mai. For more information about how to arrange a visit, please go to


5. Chiang Mai Old City 

Build in 1296, Chiang Mai Old City is literally a living museum surrounded by the city walls and a moat. The narrow streets are lined with beautiful temples, old shop houses and historical buildings. When you step in the narrow alleys of Chiang Mai Old City, you will find that it is quite small, so you can easily get around on foot without tiring yourself out, allowing you to enjoy the city's relaxed atmosphere and interesting scenery. If you are tired, feel free to enjoy an authentic Thai massage or go to the café to daze a little bit.


6. Wiang Kum Kam, the Underground Ancient City  

Wiang Kum Kam (Thai: เวียงกุมกาม) is an historic settlement and archaeological site along the Ping River, which was built by King Mangrai the Great as his capital before he moved it to Chiang Mai.  Wiang Kum Kam is about 5 kilometers of southern Chiang Mai Old City, and the journey takes about 15-20 minutes. It is long enough to visit all the ruins that have been excavated throughout Wiang Kum Kam, and the scenery along the road is beautiful, especially suitable for a leisure travel. It will make you travel back in time. You can ride a bicycle, take a touring car or rent a horse-drawn carriage in here.


7.  Karen Long Neck Village   

Karen Long Neck Village is actually in Chiang Rai, and Chiang Rai is only 3 and a half drive from Chiang Mai. Karen Long Neck Village came to Thailand from Burma when escaping war and violence in their country. They are world-famous for their women who wear golden rings around their necks. From the age of 5 until they are 25, each year one copper ring is added to their necks. According to Karen people, the longer the neck is, the more beautiful the woman is. The longest neck is up to 70 cm. At the end, their necks get so long that these women are often called “dragon ladies”, or just “long necks”. When taking a bath, they can only put the straw into the copper ring and difficultly scrub it. In the past, they get long necks because of superstition and customs; today in order to live, they put on this heavy shackle and show the cruel beauty to the world. Please show your greatest respect to them and spread love and smile to them.


8. Bo Sang Handicraft Village (Umbrella Village) 

Bo Sang Handicraft Village is a small artistic village located in the eastern outskirts of Chiang Mai, about 9 kilometers from Chiang Mai. The umbrella industry in Bo Sang Handicraft Village has a history more than 200 years. It is famous for its handmade umbrella. The umbrella artists use the most common silk, cotton, and mulberry paper to make the most beautiful and delicate umbrellas of various colors and styles. It will be the best souvenir ever! You can watch the making process at a close distance. You will definitely be amazed at the creativity and skill of the umbrella artists there!


9. Eat Chiang Mai Street Food 

The best way to get in touch with the local culture is to live as a local person. When the sky gets dark at night, it is easy to spot a street food with a row of carts full of food. BBQ, Thai noodles with gravy, delicious curries, dumplings, and so on and so forth. Name it, you may find it! What impress you the most may not be the food or their ridiculously cheap price, but the whole atmosphere. People nicely share about their work, study, and life after a long hard day. You may wonder what happiness is. Surely, you will find the answer here. 


10. Enjoy Thai Massage 

Ready to let your body unwind after a long tired flight? Thai massage welcomes you! The price varies, but the qualities are near. The only difference is the environment. It will suit you no matter you are in a tight budget or not. I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience.


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