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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!
Frequently asked questions about Chiang Mai
What top attractions are a must-see in Chiang Mai?
The must-see attractions in Chiang Mai are:See all must-see sights in Chiang Mai
What are the top things to do in Chiang Mai this week?
The top things to do in Chiang Mai are:Explore the best things to do in Chiang Mai on GetYourGuide
Which tours in Chiang Mai are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?
These experiences in Chiang Mai are taking additional COVID-19 precautions:See all Chiang Mai tours on GetYourGuide
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
Amazing, challenging, breath taking and memorable. The Trailhead team are top notch. Great bikes, great guides, great route. They documented our entire journey and sent us photos and videos. It was a challenging ride and is more aptly described as cycling trip with visit to waterfalls and boat transfers than my previously imagined 30/30/30 split. It was about 10/80/10 boat/bike/waterfalls. I liked the team so much I inquired about doing other things with them: trekking, hiking, etc. highly recommend!!!
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.
Great, knowledgeable and funny tour guide. The tour is perfect for a beginner and nice escape from the city! Recommend it!
It was an awesome experience, i enjoyed every bit of it.