The best things to do in Chiang Mai include visiting some of the city’s beautiful temples and unique sites. The historical capital of the old Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai is rich in culture. The Old City – an attraction in itself – hosts most of the best temples, museums and other interesting sites, with many more just outside the ancient city walls and moat. If you’re willing to travel a little further afield, you’ll find that Chiang Mai is ringed with outstanding, unique places to see and things to do. There’s Thailand’s tallest mountain nearby, as well as two different tribal villages and various national parks. Check out our pick of the best attractions in Chiang Mai to make sure that you don’t miss the most important sites and experiences in this outstanding part of Thailand.

 

 

1 – Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep Gleaming like a northern star from the heights of Doi Suthep (the regal mountain overlooking the city from the northwest) is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. It is one of the most historically and spiritually significant places in Thailand and is an impressive embodiment of the Lanna culture, with its origins dating back almost 700 years. As such, large numbers of Thais and foreigners come to experience the special magic of this holy place.

Opening Hours: 06:00 – 18:00

 

 

 

 

2 – Old City Temples

Chiang Mai Old City is practically a living museum. Its narrow streets are lined with beautiful temples, old shophouses and historical buildings, all surrounded by the crumbling ancient walls and the moat. It’s quite a small, compact place, so you can easily get around on foot without tiring yourself out, allowing you to enjoy the city’s relaxed atmosphere and interesting scenery. Naturally, the temples are the star attractions of the Old City. You should definitely check out Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh and Wat Phan Tao, but there are several more within easy reach.

 

 

 

3 – Chiang Mai Night Safari

Modeled after a similar attraction in Singapore, Chiang Mai Night Safari features three animal zones – Savanna Safari, Predator Prowl, Jaguar Trail – which you can tour via an open-sided tram or on foot. Enjoy a range of activities designed to keep you entertained throughout your visit, from hand-feeding wild animals and petting tiger cubs to a laser light show and ‘dancing’ fountain.
Opening Hours: 11:00 – 23:00
Location: Hangdong, southwest of Chiang Mai International Airport (about 12 km from the city)
How to get there: It’s best to hire a red songtaeow from the city centre. Negotiate the price before getting on one.

 

 

 

4 – Wiang Kum Kam, the Underground Ancient City

Located in attractive countryside about 5 km south of Chiang Mai along the Ping River, Wiang Kum Kam is an ancient city dating back to the eighth-century Haripunchai Kingdom. Expect to see many interesting items and structures such as stone tablets with Mon inscriptions, Buddhist sculptures and architecture, earthenware and pottery. Taking a horse-led carriage is a popular way to enjoy the ruins.
Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00
Location: About 5 km southeast of the Old City
Tel: +66 (0)53 277 322

 

 

 

5 – Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai

The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai was among the first of the new breed of elephant attractions in Thailand which prioritise the welfare of the animals. Often acting as retirement and care homes for elephants previously employed in the logging or tourism industries, they provide as natural an environment for them as possible. While you can still interact with the elephants (bathing them being an especially popular activity), riding on them is strictly out of the question.
Location: Office on Tha Phae Road
Tel: +66 (0)83 562 4263, +66 (0)53 273 415
Website: https://www.facebook.com/elephantjunglesanctuary
Price Range: From 1,700 baht per adult, 1,300 baht for under-10s

 

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