The best things to do in Chiang Mai, the city offers a multitude of activities, here are the main ones not to be missed during your stay in the North Rose of Thaïland.
It’s my favorite big Thai city, adapted for pedestrians and where the inhabitants are particularly welcoming.
For information about the city, see our article:
Chiang Mai: the complete guide to discovering the North rose
1. What to do in Chiang Mai: Temples
The beauty of the temples of Chiang Mai will not leave you indifferent, here are the most famous temples to discover in the city or surroundings.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
From the temple, there is an impressive view of the city and also of the pollution, unfortunately.
See article: on Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
Wat Chiang Man
Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai.
King Mengrai lived there when the city was being built.
It houses two significant and revered statues of, the Phra Sila (a marble Buddha) and the Phra Satang Man (a crystal Buddha).
Wat Phra Singh
It is located within the city walls, dating from 1345; this temple is an example of classical architecture from northern Thailand.
It houses the Buddha Phra Singh, a highly revered image transferred here several years ago from Chiang Rai.
It is entirely made of wood.
Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang (วัดเจดีย์หลวง), the temple of the great stupa, was founded in 1401.
It is dominated by a large chedi of the type Lanna, whose construction was spread over several years.
An earthquake damaged it in the 16th century, and only the lower two-thirds are still visible.
Initially, the complex consisted of three temples, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Ho Tham, and Wat Sukmin.
Wiang Kum Kam
Wiang Kum Kam is the site of an old town located on the southern outskirts of Chiang Mai.
King Mengrai lived there for ten years before the foundation of Chiang Mai.
The site has a large number of temples in ruins.
Wat U Mong
Wat U-Mong is a forest temple in a cave in the hills to the west of the city, near the University of Chiang Mai.
Wat U-Mong is known for its fasting Buddha image, and its hundreds of Buddhist proverbs in English and Thai displayed on trees on the site.
Wat Suan Dork
Wat Suan Dork is a 14th-century temple located just west of the city’s old walls.
It was built by King Lanna for a revered monk of Sukhothai as a residence during his retirement from the rainy season.
The name of the temple suan dork means “flower garden.”
It has several unique features, including the large ordination hall.
It is unusual not only for its size but also for the fact that it is open at the sides rather than entirely closed.
Another particularity of the temple is a large number of sheds housing the funeral ashes of the rulers of Chiang Mai.
This temple is also home to one of Thailand’s most important monastic universities, the Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya Buddhist University.
2. What to do in Chiang Mai: museums
The Museum of Traditional Thai Houses
For those who are passionate about architecture, this space allows you to see the different styles of wooden house construction in the Lanna culture.
See our article :
Museum of traditional Thai houses
The Tribal Museum
This ethnological museum located a little outside the city, in a magnificent park, allows us to discover the culture of the nine main mountain tribes of the North:
the Karen, the Hmong, the Yao, the Akha, the Lahu, the Lau, the Thin, and the Khamu., the
Open to the public every day from 9 am to 4 pm except on Saturdays, Sundays and during the holidays.
Tel: +66 (0) 53 21 08 72
Address: Lanna Rama 9 Park, Chotana Rd., Chiang-Mai 50300, Thailand
The Art in Paradise Museum
If you want to make the buzz on social networks, make fun pictures, you can go for a walk in this museum of illusion.
The kids will love it!
Address: 199/9 Chang khlan Rd. | Chang Khlan, Chiang Mai 50200
3. What to do in Chiang Mai: markets
The Warorot market
It is the largest market in the city; there are all kinds of products: food, crafts, clothing…
If you want hats, bags or clothing from mountain tribes, that’s where you have to buy them!
It is also an important flower market.
It is located on the banks of the Mae Ping River.
It is a market mainly intended for tourists; you can find beautiful objects but rarely at the best price!
On the other hand, there are many delicious streetfoods with local specialties, excellent restaurants and bars and sometimes entertainment (dances, Thai boxing…).
It is located in the city center on Chang Klan Road and is open daily from 6 pm to midnight.
The Sunday night market
You will find crafts, clothes, sculptures, perfumes, lots of things at attractive prices, that’s why it attracts many people.
As its name suggests, it takes place every Sunday evening, on Rajdamnoen Street near Tha Pae Gate, from 5 pm to 11 pm.
4.What to do in Chiang Mai: Festivals
If you are in the area on the first weekend of February don’t miss the Flower Festival:
5. The delicious cuisine of the north
The mixture of Thai, Chinese, Lao and Burmese cuisine, and if I had only one dish to recommend, it would be this one:
A delicious curry noodle soup is a specialty from northern Thailand.
See the recipe for Khao Soy
6. What to do in Chiang Mai: zoo
It is a zoological park with more than 7,000 species of animals in a large area that also includes an aquarium.
See our article: Chiang Mai Zoo
7. Nightlife in Chiang Mai
There is a shortage of places, between the bars and restaurants of the Night Bazar, the red-light district of Loy Khro, many discos…
But there is a place that attracts a lot of people:
Zoe In Yellow
It is the most famous place to celebrate, a whole series of bars, restaurants, discos, open until very late at night, where many food stands are added.
The atmosphere starts around 11 pm, and it is truly international.
The Yellow zone is located on the corner of Ratvithi and Ratchaphakhinai Street.
What to do in Chiang Mai: video
An excellent video to discover the best things to do in Chiang Mai:
Source: Photos: Le wat Chiang Man: Adam Carr : Adam Carr ; Wat Chedi Luang : Yves LC ; Street food : Steve Evans ; Umbels at the Sunday evening market : Steve Evans; Sunday evening market: Takeaway ; Wat Suan Dork : Francesca ; Temple of Doi Suthep : jpatokal ; Art in Paradise : Mariamichelle ; Wat Phra Singh : Kokunut555 ; Wiang Kum Kam : Mathew Schwartz : U Mong : Panupong Roopyai ; The tribal museum : FredTC ; The Warorot market : DTT ; Yellow bar : entrusttefl.com
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