Chiang Mai’s Top Ten Tourist Attractions
North Thailand’s premier tourist city, Chiang Mai is sure to be a highlight on your Thailand holiday itinerary. Here’s our top ten list of tourist attractions in Chiang Mai you shouldn’t miss.
Explore the moated old city
Wandering the narrow streets of Chiang Mai’s old city is a delight. Around every corner there is something to be found, including temples, markets and atmospheric cafes. A stroll along the grassed perimeter is also a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Wat Prah Singh
The largest wat in the city, this temple dates from 1345 and the ashes of the king who built it are still buried on the premises. Don’t miss the headless Phra Singh Buddha located in a little building called Phra Wiharn Lai Kam.
Wat Chedi Luang
This temple is famed for the size of its chedi which dominates the Chiang Mai cityscape. Constructed at the end of the 14th century but damaged by an earthquake in 1545, the current height of the chedi is half what it was when it was built, but it’s impressive nevertheless.
Visit the famous night market
You’ll need a lot of willpower to visit Chiang Mai and not visit its night bazaar. Originally the brainchild of a group of Chinese and Thai merchants, stalls now sprawl along several city blocks selling everything from Hmong textiles to knock-off DVDs. Be selective and prepare to be jostled by the crowds that flock here.
Eat street food
Street food in these parts is something not to be missed and the best place to taste the local cuisine is at the stalls that spring up for near the Chang Puak Gate or North Gate. From the noodle soup to barbecued pork and sticky rice, you’ll want several visits to sample the food, such is the variety.
Climb the stairway to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and you may as well have climbed the stairway to heaven itself, such is the beauty of the landscape which it overlooks. This iconic 14th century temple features a 24m tall gold plated chedi glorious enough to drag your attention away from the panoramic views.
Visit Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
Doi Pui is the highest peak in the area and famous for its pretty waterfalls. One of the most special is Montha Tan waterfall which features nine separate cascades flowing into Huay Kaew waterfall at the foot of Doi Suthep.
Flight of the Gibbon (Shameless self-promotion)
Asia’s original zip line is a must on any Chiang Mai itinerary. 5km of ziplines including an 800m stretch which has the distinction of being Asia’s longest single flight will leave you breathless as you whizz above the canopy and enjoy some of the best scenery and wildlife spotting in the area.
Take a boat trip down the Chiang Mai River
Scorpion-tailed boats were a common sight ferrying cargo along the river. These days, that cargo is tourists. Join them and take a pleasant journey which will reveal the history of some of the buildings and bridges that line the waterfront.
Chiang Mai Night Safari
This safari park promises to deliver an experience similar to being out in the wilderness at night. Visitors can opt to travel between three animal zones on foot or by tram and enjoy a range of activities including a chance to see wild predators up close and the spectacle of a laser light show and dancing fountains.