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Visit Chiang Mai: Top 10 things to do & see

Chiang Mai is one of the gems of Thailand’s north and it is a attraction for those spending any time in the country. It is a must-visit to explore its historical temples, picturesque mountains, breathtaking views and take part in some special activities.

Moreover, Thailand consistently ranks among the nations with the world’s richest cuisines. Thai food is a masterful combination of the four basic flavors of salty, sour, sweet, and spicy. We’ll also expose you to the Chiang Mai dishes that are must-try foods in this article.

Get in touch with Hanoi Voyages immediately for itinerary guidance and have great experiences at the most reasonable prices.

So without further ado, let’s get started on the perfect Chiang Mai itinerary!

Visit Chiang Mai: Top 10 things to do & see

Things to do in Chiang Mai

  • Chiang Mai Old Town
  • Wat Chedi Luang
  • Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
  • Chiang Mai Night Market
  • Elephant Sanctuaries
  • Doi Inthanon
  • Chiang Mai festivals and celebrations
  • Muay Thai fight
  • Traditional Thai Massage
  • Zipline Adventure

How to get in Chiang Mai

  • Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai
  • Travel around Chiang Mai

The best weather to visit Chiang Mai
The most popular hotels in Chiang Mai
The best of Chiang Mai street food
The best of Chiang Mai restaurant

Things to do in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Old Town

If you’re wondering what to do in Chiang Mai’s Old Town, take a tour through the old town of Chiang Mai first because it has a fascinating history. Over the years, this was a unique location for learning about Buddhism and culture. A best place is Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple in Chiang Mai erected between 1296 and 97. The temple is particularly well-known for housing historical artifacts and an inscription that chronicles the histories of the temple. Each temple has its own unique beauty and they are all close to one another so it is simple to travel without spending a lot of time.

Chiang Mai's Old City Wall

Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang is located on the outskirts of Chiang Mai city, in Northern Thailand and is one of the four most famous ancient temples in Chiang Mai and is also very sacred, so it attracts many Buddhists, indigenous people and visitors. When visiting Wat Chedi Luang, visitors will be impressed with the beautiful surrounding landscape that brings a strange sense of peace and relaxation, along with the ancient temple architecture with sculptural lines. The details show the talents and aesthetics of the ancient Thai people, Wat Chedi Luang is also a sacred temple. If the tourists have the opportunity to travel to Thailand and set foot in the beautiful city of Chiang Mai, do not forget to visit Wat Chedi Luang to pray for peace, as well as have the opportunity to learn and discover the mysteries in Thailand. 

Doi Suthep-Pui National Park

Tourists visit Doi Suthep-Pui National Park not only want to view the temple, but it’s also a stunning natural setting with several hiking paths that weave through the forest and past multiple waterfalls. This is an excellent place to see nature because it is home to more than 2,000 varieties of ferns and flowers as well as 300 different bird species. Numerous excursions combine a trip to the well-known temple with a variety of other activities carried out inside the park. Some typical activities such as biking, visiting hill tribes, hiking to waterfalls, taking meditation lessons, or taking Phu Ping Palace tour enjoying the panoramic view of the old city and Chiang is a nice vantage point Mai.

Mork fa waterfall of Doi Suthep Pui National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Chiang Mai Night Market

The experience in the Chiang Mai night markets is a wonderful chance to shop for less money, enjoy the cuisine in the area, and learn about the unique cultural background. There can be no other night market in Chiang Mai that comes before the Night Bazaar on the list of those. Various handicrafts, traditional hand embroidery, handmade goods, superb wood and silver carvings are all sold at these stalls. You should go there to buy gifts for friends and family as well. Additionally, the market hosts art acts on its grounds, which adds to the market’s lively ambiance.

People in an open air restaurant at night time

Elephant Sanctuaries

You may already know that the elephant is the symbol of Thailand, so the Thai government built this elephant sanctuary to preserve them.
In Asia, Elephant Nature Park and Elephant Haven are the two largest elephant care and rehabilitation facilities.
Elephant Nature Park: This facility treats elephants that have been injured or abused by their owners before moving them to a nursing area in Haven once they have recovered.
Elephant Haven: is a large resort area for elephants with an area of up to 800 hectares, many tourists visited this area, here you will see first-hand the animals.
Elephants are incredibly friendly and adorable; you can feed them, bathe them, etc. This is what attracts tourists the most. However we have a small note for you that prices will be around 1800 Bahts for half a day and can reach 2500 Bahts for a full day.

Doi Inthanon

One of the top must-visit places when coming to Thailand is definitely Doi Inthanon – the highest mountain in Thailand. Coming to this place, you will admire the natural scenery with magnificent waterfalls, watch the indigenous people weave cloth, and enjoy the ethnic performances. Visit Wachirathan Falls, the second largest waterfall in Doi Inthanon, and marvel at the wide cascades that cascade from 60–80 meters down to rocky peaks. Take a look at the twin stupas, built in honor of the King and the Queen and celebrate the 60th birthday of them. Everyone will be immersed in the serene and natural beauty of Doi Inthanon on this exciting nature exploration.

Scenery of Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai, Thailand


  • The temperature varies considerably on the top of the mountain. I highly recommend to bring clothes according to the forecast weather conditions.
  • It is recommended to bring umbrellas, raincoats, insect repellent and sunscreen when traveling during the rainy season in the area.
  • There is currently no public transport from Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon, so the best solution is to rent a motorbike or a car. The average price for motorbikes is 200 baht / vehicle / day, and for cars is about 800 baht / vehicle / day (prices can be adjusted from time to time). A special pricing will be given to you if you get in touch with Hanoi Voyages right now.


Chiang Mai festivals and celebrations

Festivals are always the most anticipated event, so what are you waiting for, let’s find out about the 3 biggest festivals in Thailand.
The Songkran: Prior to the Thai New Year, the Songkran festival is held in April. It is special that people will spray water on everyone to mark the occasion which lasts for an entire week. You need to choose your weapon wisely from bottles, buckets, cans, or water pistols. Take advantage of the opportunity to have fun in a vibrant environment with the locals.
Loi Krathong: also known as the “lantern festival,” which sees several thousand lanterns floating down rivers and over the sky. It occurs in November.
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival: during the first weekend of February every year. The event will include dance performances, float parades, and outdoor concerts.

sky floating lanterns in Chiang Mai

Muay Thai Fight

Have you ever seen a Muay Thai match on television or in person? If you ever get the chance to visit Thailand, do not pass up the opportunity to witness some Muay Thai in Chiang Mai. This sport is incredibly well-liked by spectators both domestically and overseas. Famous traditional Thai martial art known as Muay Thai. If you visit Chiang Mai, take advantage of the chance to see a Muay Thai bout in Chiang Mai. You will experience a truly professional match and gain a deeper understanding of a facet of Thai culture.
In Chiang Mai, there are three stadiums where spectators may watch Muay Thai matches: Kalare Stadium, Thapae Boxing Stadium, and Loi Kroh Stadium.

Traditional Thai Massage

After having an interesting tour in the land of golden pagodas; it is great to experience Thai traditional massage services to regain health. Traditional Thai massage is quite distinct from other forms of massage used in other nations since it incorporates yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, and acupuncture sites used in traditional Chinese medicine. This allows Thai massage to be used therapeutically. Staff will ask about your health in order to recommend and select the most appropriate and healthy massage technique for you. A one-hour foot massage costs around 250 Baht, while a full-body massage costs about 500 Baht. If you have a trip to Thailand on any occasion, do not forget to experience the traditional Thai Massage service.

Orchid Cruise Spa Lan Ha Bay Aromatherapy body massage

Zip-line adventure

If you are someone who always wants to challenge yourself and love adventure activities, the zipline experience is all you want to experience in Chiang Mai. With a steel cable linking the tree trunks and flying stations above the ground at a height of between 40 and 70 meters, players may traverse the forest, cross the mountain, soar over the old trees, and experience the freedom of floating in the air in the heart of the jungle. The Flight of the Gibbon park is a must-see if you’re traveling with kids to Chiang Mai. It will allow your children to enjoy something else than temples or city visits. Don’t be concerned about the risk because there is safety equipment here to keep players safe.

How to get in Chiang Mai

Bangkok To Chiang Mai

By Train
Train is one of the preferred ways to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai because of its cheap price and good quality. The carriages are designed with modern luxury to bring comfort and convenience to visitors. To get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, you start from Hua Lamphong station. I believe that it will bring comfort to everyone who experienced it.
By Airplane
The plane is a great option for people who don’t have much time and want to go quickly because the flight is only 700 miles. There are several flights available every day with a variety of departure times. The flight takes between 75 and 90 minutes to go from Bangkok to Chiang Mai but compared to alternative options, the fare will be more costly.
By bus
Bus is a cheap means of transportation that is also very popular. You can find some cars with reclining seats and sleepers for 500-700 baht. Some bus companies you can refer to are: Nakhorn Air, Siam First Tour, Sombat Tour,… However, there will be no fixed price because the price depends on the time and number of passengers.
By Private car
If you want to explore on your own and it’s convenient for you to move around, you can rent your own car. The advantage is that everyone can freely schedule their travel and stop where they want. However, if you want to drive yourself, you must have a driver’s license in Thailand.

Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

By Bus
For buses, visitors should choose high-class bus lines. Although this is a popular means of transportation, old cars will not be fully equipped like modern cars. With the current high-class bus line, you have full facilities such as wifi, restrooms, air conditioning, soft seats, …. This is the perfect transportation option that everyone can consider when moving from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai.
By Taxi
Taxis are available everywhere and at any time, so this is the easiest way to get from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. You can choose the type and size of the car depending on the number of people and luggage to move comfortably. Taxis also take less time than buses, but the cost will be higher. If you do not worry about the price, the option of moving from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai is not a bad choice at all.

Travel around Chiang Mai

There are many options for you to move around places when in Chiang Mai such as Songthaew, tuktuk, large and small buses, trains, motorbikes and technology cars booked through apps. However, I recommend for when you come to Chiang Mai, you should travel by tuk tuk, technology car or rented motorbike. There are a few things to keep in mind:

    • – For tuk tuk, You remember to negotiate the price before getting in the car.
    • – You can call grab to go around the city very cheap, under 100 baht/trip.
    • – If you want to rent a motorbike by yourself, the price is about 150-200 baht. To rent a motorbike, you need to prepare a photocopy of your passport and a deposit in advance.

The best weather to visit Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai has a topography of high mountains, cool and foggy weather, the average annual temperature is about 18 degrees Celsius. At this time, the weather in Chiang Mai is cool, with little rain and people often organize some big festivals. However, this is the peak tourist season of Chiang Mai, so the price of services will increase. Visitors should note that they should not go to Chiang Mai in the rainy season from June to October, especially in August and September every year to avoid heavy rain, which is obstructive and dangerous for your journey.
For some specific places like Doi Inthanon, depending on the purpose, you can choose the appropriate time to arrive. If you like to see the waterfalls, you should choose the rainy season, around May – November, to witness a more beautiful and spectacular waterfall scene. Or you can come here around March to May for bird watching. If you want to trek through the forest, you should consider the dry season from December to April for more convenient travel.


For couples who want to enjoy their honeymoon or hold a wedding here, they can refer to the suggestions below.
Honeymoon: Winter is a great time for couples to honeymoon while visiting Chiang Mai. It is a time when the weather is cool and dry and couples can enjoy a romantic time at the Lantern Festival.
Wedding: The best time to organize a wedding in Chiang Mai is from mid-November to mid-February. That’s when there’s no heavy rain and it’s a great time for outdoor activities.
If your budget is tight, you should visit Chiang Mai from late April to late October because lodging and airfare are often less expensive then. Hopefully the above information can help you choose the ideal time for your trip to Chiang Mai.

The most popular hotels in Chiang Mai

Melia Hotels

Melia Chiang Mai is located in the city center and very close to places such as Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Warorot Market, Tha Pae Walking Street. It also provides facilities and services including a bar, swimming pool, relaxing spa, terrace and coffee shop. The transportation is also very convenient because it is only a 4-minute drive from Chiang Mai Station and an 18-minute drive to Chiang Mai International Airport. Meeting all the needs of customers, Melia Chiang Mai deserves to be one of the most attractive hotels in Chiang Mai.

Four Season Resort in Chiang Mai

Four Seasons is one of the largest hotel and tourism management groups in the world. Four Seasons Chiang Mai is their wonderful tropical resort in the North of Thailand. The place has geographical, climatic and cultural characteristics quite similar to that of South Vietnam. With a luxurious design but still with indigenous architectural features, Four Seasons brings a sense of antiquity, peace and relaxation. Besides, still fully meeting modern facilities for everyone, especially Four Seasons has Khao restaurant which was recently honored with the first Michelin star from Michelin Guide Thailand 2020.

Shangri-La Hotel in Chiang Mai

Shangri-La Chiang Mai is just 6.4 km from the airport, has a free water park and is only a 5-minute drive from Chiang Mai Night Market. Moreover, Shangri-La is known for offering some of the largest rooms available in many destinations. There is a full range of accommodation options, ranging from deluxe rooms, to luxurious suites. Other featured amenities at this luxury hotel include an outdoor pool, a complimentary kids club, and a poolside bar. Everything in the Shangri-La makes visitors feel at home.

The Best of Chiang Mai Street Food

Khao Soi

People believe that visiting Chiang Mai without trying Khao Soi is like not visiting Chiang Mai. Fried egg noodles, beef or chicken with chili sauce, sauerkraut, pepper, and lemon are all ingredients in this classic meal. The combination of the aforementioned components and tastes will undoubtedly produce a dish that visitors will remember. This is one of the best foods that visitors can only enjoy in Chiang Mai.

khao soi - a hand sliced rice noodle soup with clear chicken, beef or pork broth topped

Sai Oua: Ton Payom Market

At any food market you can smell the fragrance of Sai Oua. This unique Chiang Mai sausage is created with ground pork, ginger, lemongrass, and chili according to a very particular recipe. The taste of Sai Oua is not like the usual sausages, they are more fragrant and rich and especially very spicy.
* Price: 320 baht/kg

Sai Oua - a grilled pork sausage from northern Thailand

Suki Koka: Chang Phuak Gate

Hot pot dish is the result of a mixture of culinary cultures among the neighboring countries of the Golden Temple, creating a special unique flavor, combined with herbs and spicy dipping sauce. Suki is another version of Thai hot pot but has been influenced by Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Ingredients for a Suki hot pot include meat, seafood, noodles and vegetables dipped in a pot of broth made with Thai spices.
* Price: from 40 baht

mixture of seafood with napa cabbage, glass noodles, and an egg

Khanom Krok: Kanom Whan Baan Kaew

This is a street food that can be easily found on carts in the alleys or at markets in Chiang Mai, also known as coconut pudding. Khanom Krok is made from flour and coconut milk, beaten and then grilled on a hot pan or charcoal stove. People can add corn, sweet potatoes or shallots on top of the cakes to make them more eye-catching and taste better.

Khanam krok - a sweet coconut pudding

Miang Kham

Miang kham (or Mieng kham, Miang kam, Miang kum) is a traditional Thai dish and is sold a lot on the street. It is also a very strange dish that is not available everywhere, so if you have the opportunity, you should try it. This dish uses guise leaves and then packs ingredients according to your preferences such as pineapple, dried shrimp, peanuts, chili, onions, lemon, coconut then served with sweet and sour sauce. The attraction of the dish is the very rich sweet and sour sauce with a moderate taste that will make you remember forever. Miang Kham is always on the top of the street food in Chiang Mai that visitors should try when coming here.

The best restaurant in Chiang Mai

DK David's Kitchen 909

One of Chiang Mai’s most well-liked dining establishments, DK David’s Kitchen 909 offers some of the greatest European, Thai, and fusion cuisine in the city. The restaurant provides its customers with a superb dining experience by serving delicious food and paying close attention to every detail combining top-notch service. The eatery features a sizable wine list that pairs superbly with the ever-changing famous three-course dinners such as Pumpkin Soup, Pan Seared Tuna, Risotto, and Grilled Duck Breasts.

Khantoke Dinner at Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre

The Khantoke Dinner in the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center is one of Chiang Mai’s most traditional restaurants. Here, you may enjoy a complete eating and entertainment experience. The guest will share their food while sitting on bamboo mats on the floor and watching various Thai dance and drum acts. Khantoke Dinner includes dishes like sticky rice, pork curry cooked in the Burmese way, deep-fried pork skin, and vegetables with a hot chili dip. Additionally, beer, soft drinks, and whiskey are offered to guests.

Riverside Bar and Restaurant

One of the most popular restaurants in Chiang Mai, both for locals and visitors, is the Riverside Bar and Restaurant. This restaurant exudes romance and boasts a fantastic environment. It is situated next to the Mae Ping River. Additionally, you may take advantage of a night boat tour where you can taste mouth watering meals in addition to a river ride. The restaurant serves fantastic cuisine that includes pizza, burgers, Northern Thai meals, and fantastic mocktails that are always a hit. You may even stay at the venue after supper to take in the evening’s live entertainment.

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