Things to do in Chiang Mai

Wat Phra Singh


Buddhas left, right and centre. Wat Phra Singh is Chiang Mai’s holiest temple. Its gabled chapels shelter all manner of Buddha statues. Chief amongst them is Phra Singh (lion Buddha), a highly revered figurine who sits cross-legged and serene. During the Songkran Water Festival, it’s paraded around the city on a flowery dais, as locals sprinkle it with water for good luck.

Accommodation near Wat Phra Singh
  • 2 Sam Lan Road, Phra Singh, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:00-17:00
Chedi Luang Temple


Babble with Buddhist monks! At this temple, marigold-robed monks invite visitors to chat about Buddhism, monastic life and much more. Chedi Luang is a perfect setting for profound conversation, too. The centrepiece is a huge 15th-century “chedi” (stupa). Its stained stone and half-crumbled tower conjure ancient images of mediaeval meditation and inner peace.

Accommodation near Chedi Luang Temple
  • 103 Prapokkloa Road, Phra Singh, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:00-17:00
Saturday Walking Street

Shopping areas

A kilometre of commerce. This weekly market is one elongated opportunity to fill your suitcase with souvenirs. It was once the home of the country’s finest silversmiths, and now brims with local crafts. It’s also tip-top for street food – nibble on a twisted helix of seasoned potato on a stick, chomp on a juicy dumpling or crunch into a deep-fried grasshopper!

Accommodation near Saturday Walking Street
  • Wualai Road, Hai Ya, Muang, Chiang Mai 50100
  • Open Saturday 16:00-23:00
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Shopping areas

A bazaar of the bizarre, the orthodox, the tasty and the counterfeit. In the warm glow of countless lanterns, this after-dark market throngs with souvenir shoppers. On offer is a smorgasbord of carved-teak jewellery, miniature silken elephants, knock-off watches, “muay thai” boxing shorts and designer shirts of dubious provenance.

Accommodation near Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
  • Chang Khlan Road, Muang, Chiang Mai 50100
  • Open Monday-Sunday 19:00-24:00
Warorot Market

Shopping areas

The locals’ local market. For Chiang Mai residents, Warorot is the go-to shopping spot for pretty much any item. This three-storey building dazzles with a dizzying floor-plan and equally dizzying array of goods. Stalls are squashed side-by-side, and alleyways shoot off in unfathomable directions. Go with the flow and lose yourself among the spices, fabrics and miscellanea.

Accommodation near Warorot Market
Chiang Mai Zoo


What is it about pandas that makes them so adored? Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui are definitely this zoo’s star attraction, mesmerising kids and adults alike. Once you’ve had your fill of panda cuteness, explore the rest of the animal kingdom in the zoo’s geographic-themed zones. Then glide along on the cable car to survey nature’s rich tapestry from on high.

Accommodation near Chiang Mai Zoo
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep


This golden temple sits on the mountainside, surrounded by a sea of foliage. Its gleaming stupa peeps out of the leafy canopy like a gilded finger pointing at the sky. As you climb the long staircase, the metallic sound of prayer bells grows ever louder. At the summit, you are greeted by a paradise of glowing holy statues, sweet incense and stunning panoramas.

Accommodation near Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
  • Huay Kaew Road, Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai, 50000
  • Open Monday-Sunday 06:00-18:00
Chiang Mai Night Safari


Parlay with porcupines! Banter with bears! At Chiang Mai Night Safari, you can get up close and personal with these animals… and much more. Pick up a packet of food at reception, then hop on the safari tram and pootle past giraffes and zebras, who lope up to be fed. It’s not just doe-eyed herbivores here – watch white tigers hunt their prey by night in the Night Predators show.

Accommodation near Chiang Mai Night Safari
Bo Sang

Shopping areas

Come rain or shine, umbrellas are always a handy accessory. At Bo Sang, there are plenty of umbrellas to choose from. This village is dedicated to the manufacture of artisanal umbrellas out of bamboo and “saa” mulberry paper. Follow the process, honed over the centuries, from bamboo stick to finished article. You can even get one personalised by the on-site craftsmen.

Accommodation near Bo Sang
  • 228/1 Moo 3 Bo Sang - Doi Saket Road, Ton Pao, San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:30-17:00
Mae Sa Elephant Camp


He shoots, he scores! He trumpets in celebration! At this elephant sanctuary, athletic pachyderms take to the field to play footy for cheering visitors. After the final whistle, they wheel out a series of easels and paintbrushes, and these talented creatures only go and paint landscape canvasses! Don’t miss the chance to meet Mae Sa’s troop of true polymaths.

Accommodation near Mae Sa Elephant Camp

Reviews of Chiang Mai



21 October 2016

I went purposefully to spend time with rescued elephants, was great to see that there are places to walk with and care for elephants rather than riding them or circuses etc PLEASE DO NOT EVER RIDE AN ELEPHANT!! The temples and night markets are great and the people very frie ... Show more ndly. Show less
United Kingdom
1 review

Very good

20 October 2016

Chiang Mai is a town where one can stay may be for two or three weeks leisurely spending their time going to the temples, malls and markets. Things are cheap and tranport is also less expensive. People are nice. The weather in Sept was little hot and dry.
12 reviews


21 October 2016

Little traffic,, slow casual pace, friendly & kind people. Very pleasant city. I would definitely return back again. There is nothing I dislike about Chiang Mai.
2 reviews

Very good

21 October 2016

Plenty of interesting places to visit we have been to the city before but there is always something new to find/do.
United Kingdom
25 reviews

Very good

21 October 2016

very good value . great spas.interesting tours.wonderful food.lovely people.
3 reviews


20 October 2016

Plenty to do, The night market was the usual fair , plenty of places to eat, Very easy to get around
United Kingdom
9 reviews

Very good

21 October 2016

Touristic, but not overwelving. Enough to do and see for a couple of days.
3 reviews


21 October 2016

Great feel with cafes and art. Loved the local markets and the relaxed feel of the city.
New Zealand
14 reviews

Accommodation and hotels in Chiang Mai

The Grand Napat

8.6 Fabulous

Score from 714 reviews


Average price per night
  • 70/1 Muendamprakot Rd, Changphuank, Muang, Chang Phueak, Chiang Mai
BB Mantra Boutique and Budget

8.4 Very good

Score from 515 reviews


Average price per night
  • 11 Soi 7, Moon Muang Rd, Sriphum, A.Muang, Chiang Mai Old Town, Chiang Mai
Banthai Village

8.2 Very good

Score from 693 reviews


Average price per night
  • 19 Tapae Soi 3, Tapae Road, Changklan, Chang Khlan, Chiang Mai
Buri Gallery House

7.9 Good

Score from 731 reviews


Average price per night
  • 102 Rachadamnoen Rd., Sripoom, Muang, Chiang Mai Old Town, Chiang Mai
Centara Khum Phaya Resort & Spa, Centara Boutique Collection

8 Very good

Score from 416 reviews


Average price per night
  • 137 Moo.5, T. Nong Pa Klang,A.Muang, Chiang Mai
Vieng Mantra Hotel

8.3 Very good

Score from 620 reviews


Average price per night
  • 9 Ratchadamneon Rd., Soi 1, Chiang Mai Old Town, Chiang Mai
Le Meridien Chiang Mai

8.5 Very good

Score from 808 reviews


Average price per night
  • 108 Chang Klan Road, Tambol Chang Klan, Amphur Muang,, Chang Khlan, Chiang Mai
Bodhi Serene, Chiang Mai

8.5 Very good

Score from 618 reviews


Average price per night
  • 110 Ratchaphakhinai Road, Tambol Phra Singh, Chiang Mai Old Town, Chiang Mai
Sirilanna Hotel

8.5 Very good

Score from 364 reviews


Average price per night
  • 89/3 Ratchapakinai Road, T.Phrasing, Muang, Chiang Mai Old Town, Chiang Mai
Discover Chiang Mai

Popular neighbourhoods in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Old Town

335 properties

Vestiges of the past abound in Old Town. Remnants of the mediaeval city walls are dotted with grand gates. All around, temples waft incense onto the street. Inside, stupas, statues hark back to the glory days of the Lanna Kingdom. Grab some old-school fodder at Huen Phen, before zooming back to the 21st century at Zoe in Yellow Nightclub.

Chang Khlan

149 properties

Busy busy! Chang Khlan’s streets buzz with mopeds all day long, and tourists mill round Wat Chai Mongkol’s rows of sitting Buddhas. Head to Art in Paradise for extra-funky holiday snaps – this optical-illusion museum’s distorted wall paintings place you in various amusing scenes. Finish your day with a seafood feast at Anusarn Market.

Chang Phueak

139 properties

Work your body! This residential district is a favourite of sporty locals. Lanna Golf Course is a 27-hole sports extravaganza, with tennis courts and a pool to keep non-golfers entertained. Join the joggers in the 700 Years Stadium, or practise your breathing exercises in Wat Jed Yot, one of Chiang Mai’s most underrated temples.


100 properties

Cool cats prowl in “Nimman”. This trendy district is a hit with hipsters, who nonchalantly flick their iPads in 9th Street Café and sip rare brews in House of Beers. Coffee connoisseurs should seek out Ristr8to for its array of caffeine-infused treats. When the sun goes down, Warm Up Café is where bright, young things come to let their hair down.

Wat Ket

54 properties

Riverside living. Wat Ket follows the Ping River as it winds south. The best way to see the area is by boat. Set a course for Wat Sri Khong pier and cast off. Cure your sea legs with a “salapao” (steamed bun) from Wikun Panich. Then cap it off with sunset-soaked dinner at riverfront restaurant Good View, which more than lives up to its name.

Chang Moi

48 properties

Buy buy buy! Chang Moi is a market wonderland. Locals pick up all and sundry at Warorot Market, a baffling four-storey labyrinth of stalls, while floral fanatics browse Ton Lamyai Market for a bouquet. Kasem Store is a local favourite – this family-run joint that has stocked waffles, muffins and rare Western groceries for over half a century.


26 properties

Thapae follows the ancient road into town. Once upon a time, oxcarts rumbled along this thoroughfare, as the thick city walls of Chiang Mai hove into view. Follow this well-trodden path, and stop off at Wat Bupparam temple, whose crazy gables gleam in gold and orange. Then duck into Slamong Osot and knock back a bracing medicinal tea.

Local tips for Chiang Mai

North Gate Jazz Co-Op
Wawa by Wawa

Music graduate, Wawa always keeps an eye out for when her favourite musicians are in town.

This unique venue plays host to jazz bands each evening. Make sure you get there early to grab a good spot and an ice-cold drink from the bar, which sells blends from various breweries.

  • 91/1-2, Si Phum Road, Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 17:00-23:30
Doi Inthanon National Park
Ruamyot by Ruamyot

Friends often refer to him as a walking encyclopedia, Ruamyot is a connoisseur of Thai history.

Doi Inthanon National Park is one of Thailand's treasures. Known as the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon has plenty of natural wonders, from waterfalls to nature trail. Despite the location of the park, it's totally worth the effort once you reach the top of the mountain.

  • 119 Ban-Luang, Chom Thong, Chiang Mai 50160
  • Open Monday-Sunday 06:00-18:00
Mon Jam
Pratthana by Pratthana

A former flight attendant, Pratthana has an impressive collection of stamps in her passports.

Located on the hillside, Mon Jam is famous for its unparalleled scenery of lush green, sunset and sunrise. While people come here for the amazing view, the highlight of Mon Jam is actually the restaurant. Visitors can enjoy Thai dishes made with fresh vegetables from the on-site farm.

Art in Paradise
Pailin by Pailin

Always on the latest trend, Pailin loves shopping for stylish accessories, as well as long brunches.

Don't always believe what you see. At Art in Paradise, your 20/20 will be tested by over 130 optical illusion wall paintings. Visitors can interact with each one of them and take creative photos. It is a great place to go with friends and let your imagination run wild!

Huay Kaew Waterfall
Ampon by Ampon

Green-fingered Ampon spends much of his time on the internet looking for exotic plants.

Huay Kaew Waterfall is 6 km from the city centre. There is a 6-km trekking trail awaiting nature lovers to witness the diversity of flora and fauna on the way up to Pha Ngerb. This area is one of the locals’ favourite picnic spots. Snacks can be purchased on the way up to the waterfall.

  • Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:00-17:00
The Giant Chiang Mai
Phon by Phon

An outdoor enthusiast by nature, Phon captures wonderful photos and publishes them on Instagram.

The Giant is a tree house for adults. Built into a gigantic banyan tree, you have to walk across a small suspension bridge to get to the café. You can enjoy a cup of coffee with spectacular views of luscious green forest. It only accommodates 20 guests a day so a reservation is a must.

  • Moo 1, Baan Pok, Huay Kaew, Mae On, Chiang Mai 50130
  • Open Tuesday-Sunday 11:00-15:00
Wat Lok Molee
Nichapat by Nichapat

Part-time graduate student Nichapat is fond of travelling and experiencing new cultures.

Perhaps the most overlooked temple in Chiang Mai, Wat Lok Molee is one of the oldest temples in the city. This hidden gem was built 500 years ago in a traditional Lanna style, which is a rare sight these days. As soon as you go in, you can feel the calmness and the temple's rich history.

  • 298/1 Manee Nopparat Road, Si Phum, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:00-17:00
Royal Park Rajapruek
Thanutra by Thanutra

Smiley Thanutra likes to read novels and discover local food from different neighbourhoods.

The park was originally created for a short-term exposition. However, it was so popular that it is now open all year round. The highlight of the park is the international gardens where you can see traditional gardens from different countries like Kenya, Spain and China.

Flight of the Gibbon
Waranya by Waranya

Eternal optimist Waranya loves being outdoors, as well as checking out new cafés in town.

Take a day off to zip-line through the forest just like a real gibbon! Situated an hour's drive from the city, the adventure includes 5 km of zip-lines (with Asia's longest single 'flight' of 800 metres) and experts to help you spot all the wildlife in this gibbon conservation!

Baan Tawai
Keadkeow by Keadkeow

Diminutive Keadkeow loves eating deep-fried food, although you'd never know it.

If you are looking for souvenirs or unique handicrafts for your loved ones, then Baan Tawai is the place to go. The village offers a wide selection of handmade items such as wooden sculptures and teak furniture. With the right price and great quality, this place is a real bargain.

  • Moo 2, Khun Kong, Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230
  • Open Monday-Sunday 09:00-18:00
C.A.M.P - Creative and Meeting Place
Ilada by Ilada

Born and raised in Chiang Mai, Ilada enjoys golfing with her family on the weekends.

Can't sleep but you want to go out? Want to plan your next trip at 2 am? C.A.M.P is one of very few 24/7 cafés in Chiang Mai. Whether you're alone or with a group of friends, enjoy a cup of coffee, free WiFi and lounge around on the artificial grass and cushions at this funky café.

  • Level 5, MAYA Lifestyle Shopping Center, 55 Moo 5, Huay Kaew Road, Chang Phueak, Muang, Chiang Mai, 50300
  • Open every day.
Chiang Mai Grand Canyon
Warit by Warit

Warit’s passionate about the outdoors and dreams of travelling the world, accompanied by his cats.

After being abandoned for many years, the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon is now open to visitors. You have to see this amazing piece of landscape for yourself. You can rent rafts, or take a dip in its emerald-coloured waters.

  • 244 Moo3, Nam Prae, Hangdong, Chiang Mai
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:00-19:00
See what past visitors said

Recommendations for Chiang Mai

Low season is good to avoid the crowds. The weather is fairly good, a bit hotter than in winter but there's refreshing showers every day, which keep all the vegetation lush green and beat the dust down. Even in high season I wouldn't say that there are crowds in Chiang Mai, like you would see on Great China Wall in China. Only in the markets which is typical for any market in the world.

Chiang Mai is a perfect spot for anyone wanting adventure travel. We went to an elephant camp and did some trekking.

Visit one of the temples that are off the beaten track - like Wat Umong for a better spiritual experience.

I think the people are more easygoing than in Bangkok and in Pattaya.

The night bazar and walking market has anything you could need asked travellers...

Why would you recommend Chiang Mai for food?

Good diversity and lots of choice.

To be in Chiang Mai is relaxing.

Have lots of time and money.

Souvenir shopping


Chiang Mai transport

Air - Chiang Mai International Airport

To get into town from the airport, you can take a taxi or hop on a bus. The taxi ranks are on the first floor of the passenger terminal, just outside the arrivals section. There are fixed-price airport taxis (around THB 160 to the centre), and standard meter taxis, which are generally less reliable. It is always advisable to agree a price with the driver before getting in. The cheaper option is the red minibus, but you’ll have to walk to the main road to hail it.


For many people, exploration of Chiang Mai has to be on two wheels. Despite the lack of bike lanes and somewhat chaotic traffic, travelling by bike can be very rewarding. A certain amount of experience of road cycling is a must if you’re taking on Chiang Mai by bike. However, if you’re exploring the Old Town’s temples, it’s a great way to move around while experiencing the city in its authentic state.

Song Taew

Chiang Mai’s red modified pick-up cars (“song taew”) are something of a transport institution. They run 24 hours a day, but with no routes or schedules. You just have to hail them in the street and ask the driver if he’s headed towards your destination. It’s always best to negotiate the price before getting on. Prices range from THB 20-40 within the city centre to THB 60-100 for further-afield destinations.


Only for the brave. Car travel in Chiang Mai tends to be tricky for foreigners, as most street signs are in Thai, and the traffic can be pretty lawless. Many streets are very narrow, particularly in Old Town, and street parking is limited. It is recommended not to drive in Chiang Mai unless you’re planning to travel outside the city.


Many locals choose motorbikes as their preferred mode of transport. This is because they’re nippy, and you can zig-zag through Chiang Mai’s many traffic jams with relative ease. Parking is also a lot easier than with a car, with plenty of roadside parking spaces around the city. When renting a motorbike, make sure to ask about the company’s insurance policy, and don’t leave your passport with them. Also be sure to wear a helmet!


In Chiang Mai, taxis can’t be flagged down in the street. You need to arrange a pick-up by phone, or grab one at designated taxi ranks (at shopping centres and certain other popular areas). It’s important that you establish a price with the driver before getting in. You can also hire all-day taxis, if you’re on a whistlestop tour of the city. Prices range from THB 1500 to 3000, depending on the number of passengers and the distance required.

Cycle Rickshaw

If you’re after an authentic experience, you could do worse than hop on a rickshaw. These man-powered vehicles used to rule the roads in Chiang Mai, and they're still used by plenty of locals. They’re not very fast, and the drivers can’t manage very long trips, but for a quick journey near the Thapae Gate or Warorot Market, a rickshaw (“Sam lLor”) trip offers a great taste of old Chiang Mai.

Tuk Tuk

Tuk tuks are motorised rickshaws. They are popular among both tourists and locals, and there are always plenty around the most popular tourist attractions. They tend to be relatively pricy since they can take you straight to your destination. Prices usually start at around THB 50 per person. Always agree on a price before getting on.

Food in Chiang Mai

Top restaurants in Chiang Mai

Cheap 'n' tasty
The Birds Nest
High-end dining
Tajimaya Chiang Mai
  • 61/8 Intrawarorot Road, Sri Poom, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Tuesday-Sunday 11:00-14:00 and 18:00-22:00
  • 0066 53327321
High-end dining
Cheap 'n' tasty
Coconut Ice Cream
  • 39 Intrawarorot Road, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:00-16:00
  • 0066 894349955
Cheap 'n' tasty
Guay Jub Nam Kon
  • Opposite of Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre, Ratvithi Road, Sri Poom, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 07:00-15:00
  • 0066 869236378
Good value
Huen Phen
  • 112 Rachamanka Road, Pra Singh, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:30-16:00 and 17:00-22:00
  • 0066 53277103
Good value
Cheap 'n' tasty
Ong Thipparot
  • 179/3 Prapokkloa Road, Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 17:00-04:00
  • 0066 53212712
Good value
Into The Woods
Good value
The Glass House
  • 169 Ratchapakhinai Road, Si Phum, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-21:00
  • 0066 53418118
Good value
Girasole by La Gondola
  • 204/5 Ratchapakhinai Road, Sri Poom, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 11:00-22:00
  • 0066 53276388
Cheap 'n' tasty
Somphet Congee
  • 51 Sri Poom Road, Sri Poom, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open every day
  • 0066 53210649
Good value
Cafe de Nimman
  • Soi 13, Siri Mangkalajarn Road, Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 11:00-23:00
  • 0066 53218405
Cheap 'n' tasty
Kai Krata Lerd Rod
  • 37 Prapokkloa Road, Phra Sing, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Sunday 06:00-15:00
  • 0066 53277542
Cheap 'n' tasty
Koyi Hainanese Chicken Rice
  • Between Soi 11 and Soi 13, Siri Mangkalajarn Road, Suthep, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
  • Open Monday-Tuesday 07:00-15:00, Thursday-Sunday 07:00-15:00
  • 0066 826946711
Cheap 'n' tasty
Myeongdong Korean BBQ
Good value
The Salsa Kitchen
Good value
Dash Restaurant & Bar
Good value
Cat House
Good value
The Gigantea
  • 300 Chang Moi Road, Chang Moi, Muang, Chiang Mai 50300
  • Open Monday-Saturday 17:00-22:30
  • 0066 53233464
Good value
Huen Muan Jai
  • 24 Soi Ratchaphuek, Huay Kaew Road, Chang Phueak, Muang, Chiang Mai 50300
  • Open Monday-Tuesday 10:00-22:00, Thursday-Sunday 10:00-22:00
  • 0066 53404998
High-end dining
Chez Marco
Cheap 'n' tasty
Kua-Kai Nimman
Cheap 'n' tasty
Pad Thai Ha Rot
  • Soi 3, Chang Moi Road, Chang Moi, Muang, Chiang Mai 50300
  • Open Monday-Sunday 17:00-23:00
  • 0066 53234636
Good value
Rock Me Burgers & Bar
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