Chiang Mai stole my heart … What’s not to love about Chiang Mai?
There are many amazing things to do and see in and around Chiang Mai. Discover what to see in Chiang Mai, walk the streets of the old city and admire the ancient buildings and smell the scent of Thai food wafting through the streets. You can organize your tours easily, but if you prefer to rely on some guides, I suggest the one I get along with best is Get your guide.
In Chiang Mai the atmosphere is different, very different from the chaotic Bangkok. You can feel nature and seasonal scents, life is slower and more relaxed. The houses are more humble and you can breathe more tradition.
The locals are hospitable, some of them open their garden doors for lunch (price 1.50 /2.00 Euro) I happened to sit in their garden table and eat real Pad Thai cooked by Thais at their home. Unbelievable.
Visit Doi Suthep National Park
Doi Suthep means “angel mountain”.This temple glows in gold, making the views breathtaking, especially during sunset. You can choose to walk up 309 steps or take the electric streetcar (20 baht) to reach the glittering golden temple.
The view from the mountain is also something not to be forgotten. Don’t forget to bring something appropriate to cover your knees and shoulders, such as a scarf. There is a small entrance fee when visiting the temple. The park is ideal for hiking through numerous trails, as well as for cycling and camping.
Wat Chiang Man
Founded around 1296, Wat Chiang Man (also Wat Chiang Mun) is the city’s oldest temple and a must for anyone on your Chiang Mai itinerary. It is located on Ratchapakhinai Road within the walls of Chiang Mai’s Old City.
Wat Phra Singh
Also known as the Golden Temple, Wat Phra Singh is one of the famous sacred Buddhist temples within the walls of Chiang Mai’s Old City. The temple complex is huge and is built in several buildings that are decorated with beautiful golden nails.
Weekend night market
Chiang Mai has a daily night bazaar that opens on Chang Khlan Road. On weekends, you can explore the Sunday night market at Rachadamnoen Road or the Saturday night market at Wua Lai Road is really worth seeing, it is wonderful. Starting around 4 p.m., street food stalls around the night market start selling delicious hot meals and Thai street food.
Here I had the best phad thai in Thailand.
One of the most special things to do in Chiang Mai is to visit an ethical elephant sanctuary.
You will experience an incredible encounter with elephants. It is one of the experiences I carry in my heart. There are several centers you can choose from, there are centers where you can ride the elephant but it is also said that in these centers the animal is mistreated. The elephant moreover has a back that is definitely not made for someone to ride it since it is curved outward, and in the long run elephants that undergo this type of treatment have back problems and deformities.
I preferred a more ethical experience and went to a camp where elephants are kept free and staff take care of them. In this experience you walk with them, play with them, and feed them. Not only that! I bathed with the elephant. Plus the guys who take care of them talk to you about poaching issues and enrich you about their culture and elephant life.
Yi (or Yee) Peng Festival is a religious festival held annually in Chiang Mai to show respect for Buddha. The lantern festival is held annually on the full moon night of the 12th month of the Thai calendar, which usually coincides with November.
Face to face with the Tigers
Tiger Kingdom offers you the rare opportunity to interact with tigers, and you can pay extra to pet them and see these giant cats closer than you ever have before. Scary and exciting experience at the same time, tigers are not always tame, but absolutely I would do it again.
Take the Songthaew
Songthaew is the cheapest form of transportation that locals and tourists use. Songthaews are red trucks that serve as shared cabs. They go around the city and you stop one by raising your hand. You pay a little bit each way, it works as a kind of shared cab, since locals or other tourists can also board, depending on the route.
It is also possible to rent Songthaew privately depending on where you want to go, just ask and negotiate the price per round trip leg, we took advantage of this option twice and while I was doing my hiking he waited outside until we got back, more convenient than that.
Long neek village
I will be very honest. I felt a little cheated. This experience will not really take you to the village of the longhairs, but to a kind of market run by them. Of course they are decked out in traditional local clothes, wonderful.
It is definitely not a village, but an avenue of stalls with products that you also find in stalls in Chiang Mai city. Admission costs 500 Bath. They are wonderful to see the inhabitants but is it really worth it ?