Thailand is a country famous for its upbeat and lively atmosphere with tourists from all around the world flocking to this place. However, those who are looking for a little calmness amidst the noise should explore the places to visit in Chiang Mai. This city is the epitome of serenity and aesthetic beauty that would put you in a trance. It’s time to set your sights on this underrated yet gorgeous city, which is ideal for a peaceful retreat. Immerse yourself in the culture and history of this country as you stroll around the magnificent attractions this destination has in store for you.
Best Places to Visit in Chiang Mai: Open the Doorway to Wonderland
The magical land of Chiang Mai, one of the top tourist attractions in Thailand is a must-visit destination because of its historical and cultural beauty. This hidden gem in Thailand is known as the spiritual capital of the country and it was also the capital of Lanna Kingdom once. With gorgeous attractions to explore and sightseeing locations, you’re going to have a memorable trip here.
Here’s a list of beautiful places in Chiang Mai for you to visit
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
- Doi Inthanon National Park
- Bo Sang Umbrella Village
- Elephant Conservation Center
- Turtle Island
- Wat Chedi Luang
- The Old City
- Sunday Walking Street
1. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: A Sacred Religious Site for Thais
Thanks to the magnificent architecture, the beauty of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is awe-inspiring. From the 306 stairs lined with seven headed snake statues to the gallery adorned by Buddha statues in Sukhothai and Chiang Mai styles, they all play a role in making this attraction famous among tourists. Since this temple is situated at the top of the Doi Suthep mountain, the picturesque views from the top are a sight to behold. The legend behind this temple is that a traveling monk took a piece of bone to Lanna, but it broke into two near the mountain’s base. So, one piece was preserved in Wat Suan Dok while the other was placed on an elephant and sent into the wild. The elephant came to a stop at Doi Suthep, trumped three times and then died. It was then decided by King Keu Naone that the temple would be constructed here.
Best time to visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: Morning or nighttime
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep timings: 6 A.M to 8 P.M
Nearby attractions in Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai Zoo, Bhubing Palace
How to reach Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: You can hire a taxi or cab and travel via the Huai Kaew-Chiang Mai University-Chiang Mai Zoo Road. This temple is around 16 km away from Chiang Mai.
2. Doi Inthanon National Park: The Roof of Thailand
When it comes to national park, it’s considered the tallest mountain in Thailand, and is therefore, called the roof of the country. Located at an altitude of 2,565 m, this place offers mesmerizing views and is home to approximately 365 bird species. There are several attractions beautifying this place, including waterfalls, lush greenery, a hill tribe village, two pagodas, and much more. This is one of the famous Chiang Mai tourist attractions with several adventure activities to indulge in. You can hike the mountain, trek, go on a nature walk, and much more. If you’re traveling here during January or December months, then you can also witness the Siamese Sakura flowers blooming here, adding another layer of charm to this place.
Best time to visit Doi Inthanon National Park: November to January
Doi Inthanon National Park timings: 5:30 A.M to 6:30 P.M
Nearby attractions in Doi Inthanon National Park: Wachirathan Waterfall, Mae Klang Luang Village, Twin Royal Pagodas, Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail
How to reach Doi Inthanon National Park: The best way to reach this park is to take a songthaew, which is a shared taxi. You could drive there on your own via a car or sooty, but it’s not a convenient option.
3. Bo Sang Umbrella Village: One of the Famous Places to Visit in Chiang Mai
As is clear from its name, this village is famous for its multi-colored umbrellas and other handcrafted products. The gorgeously painted umbrellas and fans decorate the entire village, adding a vibrant and lively atmosphere. The natural beauty surrounding this area enhances the beauty of this place manifolds. So, sit under the shade of these colorful umbrellas, click aesthetic pictures and buy some unique handcrafted items from the shops lining the village. It’s the perfect recipe for a romantic honeymoon in Thailand. These shops are perfect for buying souvenirs in the form of bamboo umbrellas, hand fans, and a lot more.
Best time to visit Bo Sang Umbrella Village: January, during the Bo Sang Umbrella Festival
Bo Sang Umbrella Village timings: 8:30 A.M to 5 P.M
Nearby attractions in Bo Sang Umbrella Village: Wat Phra Singh, Wat Phra That Doi Kham, Wat Chedi Luang, The Phae Gate
How to reach Bo Sang Umbrella Village: You can either take a public transport from Waworot Market or take a songthaew from a spot beside the Ping River, which will drop you off opposite the Umbrella Making Center. You can also travel via car.
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4. Elephant Conservation Center: Engage in a Playful Time with Elephants
A trip to Chiang Mai must include visiting the Elephant Conservation Center because it holds the essence of Thailand’s ideologies towards animals. This conservation center is the only one owned by the government, where elephants are kept in a safe and protected environment. You can spend some time with these giant babies, play with them, feed and bathe them to experience the feeling of unconditional love. There are over 50 elephants in this camp that are looked after by mahouts and even trained to play music, paint, and much more. Shows are held here where you can see them flaunt these skills of theirs. Visiting this place is one of the most wholesome things to do in Chiang Mai.
Elephant Conservation Center timings: 8:30 A.M to 4:30 P.M
Nearby attractions in Elephant Conservation Center: Thung Kwian Market, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, The Old City
Other elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai: Elephant Nature Park, Elephant Freedom Project, Into the Wild Elephant Camp
How to reach Elephant Conservation Center: It’s better to hire a taxi or cab and head towards Lampang-Chiang Mai Highway.
5. Turtle Island: Marvel at the White Powdery Sandy Stretch
Koh Tao Island, locally called Turtle Island, is one of the mesmerizing islands in Thailand, which is famous for its white sand seashore. This tropical paradise has a laid-back vibe, where you can laze around under the sun, dip your toes in the azure waters, and enjoy a relaxing time. The reason this place got this nickname is its shape, which resembles a turtle’s nose diving in Koh Phangan. Being easily accessible has made it one of the most popular Chiang Mai tourist spots that you must visit. The coconut trees dotting the shore add a splash of green to the otherwise pristine white island, so revel in the playful color combination of this place and make your trip even more worthwhile.
Best time to visit Koh Tao Island: December to February
Nearby attractions in Turtle Island: Ao Tanot Bay, John Suwan Viewpoint, Shark Island, Sairee Beach
How to reach Koh Tao Island: You must fly from Chiang Mai International Airport to Koh Samui, then take a cab or taxi to Lomprayah Pralarn Pier. From there, board a ferry to reach this island.
Suggested Read: Phi Phi Islands: Explore the Adventure Land in Phuket
6. Wat Chedi Luang: Visit One of the Chiang Mai Top Attractions
Since, Chiang Mai and Thailand in general is quite rich historically and culturally, it’s not a surprise that such a stunning piece of religious symbol is located here. Featuring one of the largest Buddhist Chedi in the city, this place is a marvelous sight. There are three temples, in total including Wat Chedi Luang, namely Wat Ho Tham and Wat Sukmi. The Lama-style architecture of the Chedi or Pagoda is a sight to behold, and even though this temple bore the brunt of an earthquake in 1545, it still maintains its glory. Wat Chedi Luang, is without a doubt, among the best places to visit in Thailand, solely based on its religious and historical significance.
Best time to visit Wat Chedi Luang: Early morning
Wat Chedi Luang timings: 5 A.M to 10 P.M
Nearby attractions in Wat Chedi Luang: Wat Phra Singh, Wat Sri Suphan, Wat Phantao, The Phae Gate
How to reach Wat Chedi Luang: You can rely on a taxi or songthaew to drop you off at this temple, which is visible from a decent distance.
7. The Old City: Stroll Around the Charming Streets and Alleys
To indulge in a little Chiang Mai sightseeing, the Old City is the best location because it offers you the opportunity to explore all the temples, back streets, and other attractions. Walking around these gorgeous beauties with picturesque views ahead of you is a treat for the eyes. This place was founded in the 13th century and is bordered by water channels, making it resemble a mote. The old-world charm of the streets here adds an alluring layer to your vacation. When this place was declared the capital of Lanna Kingdom, this was the original location of the city. Now you know why exploring this area is quite an important part of the places to visit in Chiang Mai.
Best time to visit the Old City in Chiang Mai: November to February
Nearby attractions in Chiang Mai Old City: Chiang Mai Art and Cultural Center, Wat Phra Singh, Elephant Conservation Center, Wiang Kum Kam
How to reach the Old City in Chiang Mai: You can either board a train to Chiang Mai Station or hire a taxi to the old city.
8. Sunday Walking Street: Shop at One of the Chiang Mai Best Places to Visit
Shopping is among the most fun things to do in Thailand because of the wide variety of unique items at your disposal. Out of the several shopping markets in Chiang Mai, the Sunday Walking Street is the most vibrant and exciting one with tourists flocking to this place to buy souvenirs, handicrafts, ceramics, and much more. There are several street side food stalls as well, serving some of the most scrumptious dishes. You could also enter one of the elite restaurants located here for a more sophisticated dining experience. Looking at so many colorful items being sold here might be overwhelming at first, but you must unleash the shopaholic in you to enjoy this experience.
Sunday Walking Street timings: 4 P.M to 12 A.M
Other shopping places in Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Wua Lai Walking Street, San Kamphaeng
How to reach Sunday Walking Street: You can walk to the market, ride on a bicycle or take a songthaew to reach this market.
A trip to Thailand must include the places to visit in Chiang Mai; otherwise, your vacation isn’t complete. It’s important to see the culturally rich side of this country as well along with the fun and exciting aspects. After all, a holiday in Thailand is a wholesome affair where everything comes together in a beautiful mosaic for you to experience. Since Chiang Mai is a serene and peaceful city, it’s ideal for those looking for a break from the country’s dizzying pace. So, book our Thailand tour packages to indulge in this city’s breathtaking beauty.
Places to Visit in Chiang Mai - FAQs
Chiang Mai’s popular for its historical temples, religious sites, gorgeous views, picturesque attractions, and much more. It’s the most popular city in Thailand for these reasons.
There are several unique places in Chiang Mai for you to explore, such as:
- Elephant Conservation Center
- Bo Sang Umbrella Village
- Koh Tao Island
- Doi Inthanon National Park
November to February is the best time to visit Chiang Mai. It’s peak tourist season due to the pleasant weather and allows you to explore the city at your own pace.
4 to 5 days are sufficient in Chiang Mai. It’s easier to cover most of the attractions in this city while also enjoying some leisure time on your holiday.
Yes, the best part about Chiang Mai is that you can walk around the city and explore the attractions easily. You don’t require any mode of transport to travel from one place to another.
Chiang Mai is a family friendly city with several fun and beautiful places to explore. From the temples to the shopping places, you can travel this entire city with your family.
There are several ways to reach Chiang Mai from Bangkok. You can either take a bus from Mo Chit bus station in Bangkok to this city or you could take a flight from Don Mueang International Airport to Chiang Mai International Airport.
You must buy handicrafts, souvenirs, bamboo umbrellas, Thai silk, ceramics, and other such items. Chiang Mai is famous for many things that are available at almost all the shopping places in this city.