10 Awesome Things to Do in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, the liveliest city of northern Thailand, offers lots of things for you to explore; you cannot explore full of this bustling city even in a month. With the best café and restaurant, perfect nightlife, a strong Buddhist presence, and enough activities to fill a calendar year, you will never get bored in Chiang Mai. There is no doubt that it is the cultural capital of Thailand, and you will surely fall in love with it. Most importantly, it is very affordable compared to the south of the country.
Here is the list of ten things you can do on your visit to Chiang Mai.
Visit Elephant Nature Park
Source: Crawford Creations
Thailand has a history of abusing animals to boost their tourism economy. But, in Chiang Mai, there is a single sanctuary whose main objective is to prevent this type of abuse. Elephant Nature Park is a rescue center for elephants that have been abused by the tourism industry over the decades. Here, you can see elephants in their natural habitat or also volunteer to help around the sanctuary. The sanctuary prohibits riding elephants and focuses on treating and protecting these gentle giants.
Tour the City on a Tuk Tuk
Source: Laos Tours, Laos Holidays
Touring the city of Chiang Mai on tuk-tuk is the best way of exploring the city. You can also customize the trip with doing and “off-the-beaten-path” tour. You can visit some of the hidden places on tuk tuk, visit an eco-agricultural village, and many more. One of the best place to visit in Baan Tong Luaan that is home to eight different types of Hill tribes. On your visit, you will get to see their lifestyle and daily rituals. You will also get to experience their way of life and enjoy some delicious authentic Thai dishes.
Ride the Mae Hong Son Loop
This isn’t exactly in Chiang Mai, but your trip to northern Thailand would be incomplete without renting a motorbike or scooter and riding this incredible four-day loop. Beginning from Chiang Mai, you will be completing a circuit, spending nights in Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son and spending time in Pai, before returning to the city. It is one of the best motorbike loops in Southeast Asia. There are lots of things to see and do along the way, with lots of mountainous sceneries. There are also lots of cool detours that will take you to some unique hill tribes. The hill tribes are very friendly, and as a respect to them, wear modest clothes. If the temperature gets more than you can handle, you can always visit many waterfalls throughout the way, and take a quick dip.
Trek to the hill tribe villages
Most of the people visiting Thailand begin their trip with a visit to the southern islands. Southern Thailand is beautiful; there is no doubt about it, but lacks authenticity and culture. this is the reason people visiting Chiang Mai mostly craves to learn about the history and ethnic development of the country. The province also has great forests and is a trekker’s paradise, filled with waterfalls, valleys, mountains, and, perhaps more interestingly, various hill tribes. On your trip to northern Thailand, don’t forget to trek in the beautiful forests of the region and visit a few hill tribe villages where you will get to see their daily lifestyle. The hill tribes are some of the most welcoming people you will ever meet.
Wander around the Sunday walking street markets
Source: Backpackers Wanderlust
Every Sunday night, the center of the Old City closes to traffic, and artisans, artists, and food vendors fill the street with their unique and inexpensive products. The night street markets of Chiang Mai are among the most popular in Thailand. While wandering around the markets, you will get to taste some delicious authentic Thai food, interact with locals, and meet many fellow tourists. You will also get some great souvenirs at a great price in these markets. Even if you are not planning to buy anything, these street markets are great to wander around and see the hustle and bustle, and buyers haggling price with vendors.
Involve in a meditation course at Wat Doi Suthep
Chiang Mai is a great place where you will get to touch with your inner self, but the most famous one might be the Doi Suthep Vipassana Meditation Centre. This temple lies on top of Suthep Mountain and receives thousands of visitors every day. The temple also offers 3-28 days of courses for those who want to stay longer.
Enjoy a massage at the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution
Source: Chiang Mai - Bangkok
You might think it’s ridiculous to get a massage at the women’s prison, but it is important to realize that it is actually a wonderful and hugely beneficial enterprise. The women in this facility are all arrested for minor offenses and serving short sentences and are a great way for them to learn a new skill to aid them to migrate back into society. The massage and spa facilities are also very reasonably priced.
Watch a Muay Thai Match
Source: Slumber Party Hostels
Consider watching Muay Thai Match on your trip to Chiang Mai. This match will surely give you some thrill. Known as the National Sport of Thailand, watching it is easy and is best when you need a bit of testosterone and adventure. You will see many people giving flyers around the street for a match in the evening. There will be lots of places where you can watch this match.
Explore the Buddhist Temples
Source: Siam and Beyond
Chiang Mai contains lots of incredible Buddhist temples, known as ‘wats’ and most of them are open to visitors. The Wat Doi Suthem might be the most beautiful one in Chiang Mai, but you should not miss the ones in the city either. On your trip to Chiang Mai, don’t forget to visit Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Pan Tao, and Wat Umong. Also, attend a monk chat, which is one of the real, exclusive things to do in Chiang Mai. You can visit the temples and talk to monks about Buddhism, life in temples, or anything you can think of. The monks will also be pleased to practice their English, so don’t hold back.
Attend a Cooking School
Source: Adventure Travel Blog And Private Tours Travel
The cooking school is also very famous in Chiang Mai. Joining a cooking class in Chiang Mai means you can learn about the techniques of preparing one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. From Pad Thai to Thai Red Curry, there are loads of recipes to try and dishes to eat. Chiang Mai has lots of cooking schools where you can learn and practice your culinary skills.