Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand located amidst a stunning natural backdrop of spectacular mountains, lush greenery, cascading streams and charming hill tribes.
An important cultural hub in Thailand, the city is full of historical temples, street markets and lovely restaurants serving delectable cuisine. Take a look at some of the best things to do in Chiang Mai.
Visit Historical Temples
Chiang Mai is home to numerous historical temples, which reflect ancient architecture and designs. Visit the revered Wat Pra Singh of the Lion Buddha fame and the tall Wat Chedi Luang that once housed the Emerald Buddha. Also visit the Doi Suthep located near the top of a mountain and the magnificent pure White Temple.
Chat With a Monk
Some temples or wats of Chiang Mai offer a unique experience – a ‘Monk Chat’ programme. One may chat with the monks and use this opportunity to learn about their lifestyle, beliefs or Buddhism. A couple of such temples are the Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Suan Dok.
Blessed with raw natural beauty, Chiang Mai has many places where wild animals can be seen at close quarters. Visit Chiang Mai Zoo to see penguins and pandas, Mae Sa Elephant Camp to see elephants doing circus acts in the vast lands and the night zoo Chiang Mai Night Safari.
Trek to Tribal Villages
Visit the village of Mae Klang Luang, which is a popular tourist attraction and provides an insight into local tribal life. Explore the lives of more exotic tribal communities by visiting the Hmong Tribal Village and the Padung Village. The latter is home to the ‘Long Neck Karen’ ethnic hill-tribe.
Hire Floating Houses
Spend a day or at least a night at the Eakachai Houseboat, or the floating houses, at Mae Ngat Dam. These are like small bungalow-shaped houseboats on water and can be reached only by long-tail boats. Relax on the deck or dive and swim in the dam waters – have a serene experience in the peaceful environs!
Visit the Local Markets
Chiang Mai has numerous bustling local markets offering a variety of essentials as well as knick-knacks and foot massages at reasonable prices. Some of these popular markets are Chiang Mai Gate Market, Sunday Walking Street or the Night Bazaar.
Learn Local Skills
Chiang Mai has a fantastic vacation learning scene for travellers – cooking classes, massage schools and even Thai language classes. There is a plethora of schools offering such short courses at reasonable rates to tourists here.