Perched high in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai feels worlds away from the buzz of big city Bangkok. The largest city in Northern Thailand, Chaing Mai is wonderfully atmospheric, with an endless line-up of temples, cafes and markets to explore. Spend your days wandering the laneways of the historic centre, or venture further afield to the lush green countryside.
Things to Do
In Chiang Mai, ancient wats are found on every corner. You can start your journey with a visit to Wat Chedi Luang, a Buddhist temple in the heart of the historic centre. Admire the gilded Buddhas and ancient manuscripts of Wat Phra Singh, and wander around the scenic grounds of Wat Chiang Man.
Surrounded by crumbling walls, Chiang Mai’s old city is a great place for a stroll. Start at the Tha Phae Gate, and work your way through the trendy cafes, colourful street stalls and handicraft boutiques.
Chiang Mai is famous for its cuisine, so why not sign up for a cooking class? When the sun goes down, the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is a great place to browse for bargains and sample tasty Thai street food.
After a day or two in Chiang Mai, most travellers venture out the city to explore the surrounding countryside. Elephant sanctuaries are always a favourite, as are white-water rafting trips and guided hill tribe treks.
The Old City is pedestrian friendly, which means walking is often the best way to explore Chiang Mai. Like the rest of Thailand, tuk-tuks are one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get from A to B. Chiang Mai is also serviced by local songthaews. Painted bright red, these long-bed trucks cruise throughout the city but can be a little difficult to navigate if you don’t know where you’re going.