Top Things to do in Chang Mai

By Ricky
Last Updated: 2022-08-26

There are so many amazing things to do in Chiang Mai, like learning to cook Thai food, visiting an elephant sanctuary or just simply watching the sunrise. Hopefully this blog will give you a few tips to help you enjoy your next luxury visit to Thailand.

Old City Gate

There is no doubt you will want to visit the old city to explore its temples. The Old City Wall is the gateway to the Old City and the Tha Phae Gate is the most famous landmark in Chiang Mai. This is the hub of Chain Mai where you can explore temples, the night market, and many lovely restaurants.

Chiang Mai Night Markets

Chiang Mai is well known for its night bazaar. When the sun sets, the markets come alive. Chang Klan Road is where you will find the night bazaar and it’s open every evening. On Sundays, you can experience the amazing Sunday night bazaar. The streets and gate on Ratchadamnoen Road close off to traffic and it’s filled with stalls selling absolutely everything. This is the must place to shop.

Night markets are very busy and crowded, so make sure you polish up your bargaining skills, it can be a lot of fun!

Explore the Temples

Chiang Mai is filled with temples, there are an astonishing 300 temples to see. Most temples are located within the Old City so you can stroll through the streets to see them but it’s always best to take a tour to explore and understand the temples of Chiang Mai. Here are a few favourites: 

Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang is one of the most eye-opening temples in Chiang Mai. It’s a Buddhist temple in the historic centre of Chiang Mai and is 82 meters high, making it the largest temple in the Lanna Kingdom. It was once home to the famous Emerald Buddha who is now at Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok’s Golden Palace. You certainly will not regret this visit.

Wat Suan Dok

Wat Suan Dok is another favourite attraction in Chiang Mai. The 14th-century architecture is beautifully unique. You can take a guided tour and see Chiang Mai’s most popular temples including Wat Suan Dok. The grounds also serve as a monk university, which holds daily monk chats and weekly meditation retreats which are all open to the public. 

Lantern Festivals of Loi Krathong and Yi Peng

Chiang Mai is very famous for its Lantern Festivals. Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festivals occur together in Chiang Mai and it is an amazing time to be in the city. They are held in November, and the festivals of Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are religious lantern festivals that attract tourists year after year.

In Chiang Mai, people release thousands of lit lanterns into the sky and make a wish during the Yi Peng Festival. Note: if you want to release lanterns from the stadium you need to book several weeks, months or even years in advance. If not go to the Mae Ping River to see the floating lanterns of the Loi Krathong festival. You can buy floating lanterns from vendors in the streets and along the shore. Please be area lanterns can be put together with metal. Be sure to use environmentally friendly bamboo lanterns. This is a fantastically authentic way to spend your time when on luxury Thailand holidays

Thai Cooking Class

Chiang Mai is famous for its food and northern Thai cuisine so try taking a Thai cooking class. It is the original and absolute best place in Thailand to take a cooking class and teaches you how to cook Northern Thailand’s most famous dish khao soi. Thai dishes around Chiang Mai are typically not spicy but are also known to be rich in dried spices. Thai Farm Cooking School has become one of the top places to take a cooking class in Chiang Mai.

Meditation Retreat

Why not try a 3-day meditation course with a cooking class included? It’s an amazing experience. Chiang Mai is the best place in Thailand to do a meditation retreat as it’s the spiritual centre of the country. 

You may be able to book through the place you are staying or at travel agents around town. A bonus is they are easy to find lining the streets. There are countless meditation retreats in Chiang Mai.

Thai Massage

Being the spiritual centre for well-being, a Thai Massage is an absolute must when visiting Chiang Mai. Traditional Thai massages can be booked anywhere in the city and they are cheap too. 

A Thai massage is a whole-body workout where the therapist stretches and bends your body as they gently apply pressure. You will feel amazing afterwards and do tell the therapist if you feel the pressure is too hard or you have sensitive areas due to injuries etc as they know how to give a massage!

Visit an Elephant Sanctuary

An elephant sanctuary is one of the top attractions in Chiang Mai. Sanctuaries have stopped putting elephants through pain and torture and instead give elephants a place to live out the rest of their lives in peace.

The Elephant Nature Park is one of the first sanctuaries for rescued elephants. It’s very popular so book in advance.

Be cautious of parks or agencies that claim to be elephant sanctuaries. If they allow you to ride elephants, they’re not protecting them as their spines are frail and not built to withstand the weight of an average human being.

Make sure elephants are roaming freely around the grounds. It is best to let the elephants roam free and watch from afar. Any performance carried out on elephants for a treat is a red flag.

The most well-known non-profit organization in the area is Save the Elephant Foundation and Elephant Nature Park.

Enjoy your luxury Thailand holiday in Chang Mai. There is so much to do you will want to return to this beautiful place again and again!