The fifth biggest city of Thailand, Chiang Mai, is indisputably well-known for its lush green meadows, wonderful mountains, remarkable looking grasslands, nice architectures, and establishments. Located on an astounding plain with an altitude of 316 meters, this beautiful city is more peaceful and laid back compared to the country’s capital.

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There’s no doubt that Chiang Mai is definitely a must-visit place in Thailand, for obvious reason. More than a million visitors go to this city and many of them find themselves going back to have more of it.

Chiang Mai has the best of both worlds: a relaxing approach to life in conjunction with enough vigor and energy to allow for frantic building work, modern life, and a lively night scene.
night market Chiang Mai

Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai

The weather in Chiang May is the same as it is in Central Thailand, but the winter season is a bit longer and a lot colder particularly in the more mountainous part of the north – some evenings, you may experience zero temperature which happens during the months of November to February. But do not let this stop you as daytimes are mostly lovely and mild and the sun still shines all the time. This is also the best weather for those who are planning to do outdoor activities such as hiking, just make sure you have jackets and nice shoes with you. Another ideal time to go to Chiang Mai is during the festivals when you can see the city at its brightest days.


Top Things to Do in Chiang Mai

So, how can you make your Chiang Mai trip worth it? Actually, you can experience many different adventures you can experience in what is known as The Rose of the North that you will definitely love. Below are the top five things you shouldn’t miss when you plan to go to Chiang Mai.

Visit the Night Markets

One of the city’s main attractions is its night market. Usually, open from 5 in the afternoon to past midnight every night. The Night Bazaar in the city offers a lot of goods and your money will surely take you a long way. You will see a lot of vendors, selling different items like clothes, baggage, shoes, tribal products, and a lot more. Aside from the interesting products, you will also find many restaurants that will satisfy your craving. There are also many bars, clubs, as well as Muay Thai boxing shows.

Explore Chiang Dao Caves

This activity offers all-day fun and excitement for anyone. Approximately1 ½ hours north of the city, you will get to find caves in the mountains of Chiang Dao waiting to be explored. You will also find beautiful temples around the caves, which is why many tourists, both foreign and locals pay a visit to the place.

Chiang Dao Cave
Chiang Dao Cave

Be Mesmerized With the Beauty of the Temples

There are more than 300 Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, but one of the most beautiful that you shouldn’t miss is Doi Suthep. You are able to go up to the mountain to reach the temple via car. When you reach the top, you will find a big market full of different foods and other local products. There’s a tram that is able to take you to the top of the temple or if you want to do a little bit of exercise, you can climb up to the more than 300 stairs. By visiting this temple, you will have the bird’s eye view of the entire city.

Get Refreshed at Bua Tong Waterfalls

Bua Tong Waterfalls is an oasis that offers the best place to simply relax. Unlike many other waterfalls, you can climb up the face of the falls in Bua Tong. The unique feature of these waterfalls offers great fun for everyone and you have a delightful feeling of satisfaction after climbing 3 stories of calcite covered stones.

These might only be a few things that you can enjoy in Chiang Mai. These things are already enough reason for taking a trip to this beautiful city. But of course, there are more things you can experience here.

Where to Eat in Chiang Mai

While Bangkok has the throne for having the dining scene, probably in all Asia, its more laid back and earthy counterpart also has a lot to offer. With quite a number of night market bazaars, restaurants, and hole-in-the-wall dining spots, you will never run out of place to eat.

Chiang Mai offers many varieties and the most affordable dining options in the country. From traditional to contemporary, to local cuisine, to Burmese, European, American, Mexican, and others, you will have a lot to choose from. Some of the night markets include Nimmanhemin Road, Chang Phuak Market, Mae Ping River, and Night Bazaar.

If you are looking for a restaurant, some of our personal favourites include The Riverside, Palaad Tawanron, Farang Ses – Dhara Dhevi, and The Duke’s.

Where to stay in Chiang Mai

Whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, with your friends, or with family, choosing the right accommodation can be the factor that decides whether your trip will be fun or not. Most visitors choose to stay in the main central areas; these include the Night Bazaar Riverside, or Old City areas – each of which offers a unique atmosphere.

Another great alternative for accommodation in Chiang Mai is Airbnb, where private rooms start at $30 and offer a unique way to experience the city from a more local perspective.

Don’t have an Airbnb account yet? Sign up now and receive a discount to put towards your first Airbnb stay!


How to Get to Chiang Mai

There are lots of options for getting to Chiang Mai. International and domestic flights arrive daily to the Chiang Mai airport but another popular option is to take the overnight train or bus from Bangkok to Chang Mai. The bus and train network extends beyond the borders of Thailand into neighbouring Cambodia and Laos.

How Much Time Do You Need Chiang Mai

The right ideal number of days you should stay in Chiang Mai should depend on the things you want to do: to settle in, enjoy the major attractions, get a taste of the local life, and perhaps make a quick trip to the countryside. It is okay to spend only a couple of days, but don’t expect to see everything it has to offer.

To be honest, it drives me crazy when someone says they could, possibly, enjoy Chiang Mai in a day or two. Personally, I could spend a week of more there and still won’t have enough of it. However, we know that with all the commitments we have, staying there for a long time wouldn’t be possible for many. So, I would suggest that if you really want to experience the best of both worlds in Chiang Mai, spending at least 5 to 7 days would definitely ideal.

About the Author: Hi, I’m Alice: A travel blogger, world adventurer, and life lover. Traveling the world at slow phase to immerse myself into what this wonderful world has to offer. Join me in my daily adventures at  or on Twitter and learn tricks and tips for a cheaper, less hassle travel journey.


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What to do in Chiang Mai

Have you ever been to Chiang Mai? What tips and advice would you give to first-time visitors?


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2 thoughts on “Sunday City Guide: What to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand”

  1. There are lots of activities to do in Chiang Mai specially if you’re looking for a nature adventure.
    Anyways, I would also like to add the Roitawarabarn Baandhawalai. It’s a house that’s full of intricate arts. The admission is free and I usually go there whenever I’m in Chiang Mai because that house is so stunning plus you can also see the artist while they’re working on their masterpiece.

  2. Jane Dempster-Smith

    Great article as we are just about to travel to Chiang Mai. Very timely. I can’t wait to visit the Night Market and the temples. This is a very helpful guide. Thanks.

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