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What travelers to Chiang Mai are saying

The people in Chiang Mai are genuinely friendly - not just the shopkeepers. Places we visited and the streets that we walked along were very clean. We loved the Thai cuisine. We also enjoyed the sunday night market on Ratchadamnoen Road. There...
Benjamin L. 6 Jun 2015
Have visited Chiang Mai many times,We love the people in general, the laid back atmosphere. The feeling of being safe, we are women travelling alone. Plenty to see & plenty to do, heaps of restuarants, heaps of shopping, meeting people from all...
Bev W. 19 Jul 2015

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Set along the Ping River, the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai is home to more than 300 Buddhist temples, stunning landscapes and the bargain shopper’s paradise in the form of the Night Bazaar. A hefty dose of colourful festivals and fetes add to the city’s traditional allure and Chiang Mai’s recent growth and development has boutique hotels and hip hang-outs popping up left, right and centre.

To the west lies the Doi Suthep Mountain, a lush eruption of life that is often referred to as ‘Chiang Mai’s lungs’. In the bowels of the region you’ll discover the Chiang Dao Caves, both ancient and spiritual. It has to be said, however, that if the caves are Chiang Mai’s bowels and Doi Suthep is its lungs, development and modernisation is a nasty smoking habit that could put both organs in danger. While the increased development has brought many positive changes and an updated identity to the city, it has also increased pollution and traffic to an alarming extent.

If conservation is your thing (or if you ever watched Dumbo as a child), the Patara Elephant Farm is a must-see. With a focus on replenishing the fading Thai elephant population and establishing a sustainable tourist model, this is where you can bathe, feed and play with baby elephants. You won’t want to leave.

Chiang Mai offers a similar buzz to Bangkok but with a much more authentic feel (and far fewer lady-boys), so it’s no surprise that it is shooting to the top of the itinerary for many travellers heading to Thailand.

Chiang Mai Top 10:

10. Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre Learn about the city’s history and culture at this interactive centre.

5. Wat Phra Singh Dating back to the 1300s, this is just one of the intricate and architecturally amazing temples in the city.

9. Mae Ram Orchid and Butterfly Farm Due to forestation, many orchid species are becoming extinct and this farm’s goal is to protect the ones that are left. Come and discover some of the world’s rarest orchids.

4. Night Safari Jump on a tram and discover what the animals get up to at night. Definitely take your camera with you for this one.

8. Chiang Mai Zoo Set on attractive grounds, this zoo takes pride in the fact that animals are relaxed in their natural habitat rather than cooped up in tiny enclosures.

3. Chiang Mai National Museum Highlighting the history of the area, this is a must if you want to give your exploration some historical context.

7. Chiang Dao Caves Go on a lantern-lit journey through these ancient and culturally significant caves.

2. Night Bazaar Known worldwide, this night market has everything on offer and more.

6. Baanchang Elephant Park This peaceful elephant sanctuary allows visitors to interact with elephants and is against the abuse of elephants (a big issue in Thailand).

1. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep The city’s most famous temple happens to be one of the most beautiful. A must-see.

Chiang Mai History

  • Wat Chedi Luang – This 600-year-old temple is one of the most stunning in all of Chiang Mai.
  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – This hillside temple features a large staircase.
  • Wat Umong – This temple is located near Chiang Mai and was built in the 14th century.
  • Wat Suan Dok – Built in the 14th century on the garden of a monarch.
  • Phu Phing Ratchanivej Palace – This palace features one of the most beautiful flower gardens in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai Art & Culture

  • Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution – Offering a unique massage experience.
  • Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre – Offering a night of food and traditional dancing in Chiang Mai.
  • Wat Chet Yot – This 15th-century Chiang Mai temple features the Temple of the Seven Spires.
  • Tha Phae Gate – This part of the ancient wall of Chiang Mai is a great place to hang out.
  • Wiang Kum Kam – This ancient capital predates Chiang Mai and makes for a great day trip.

Chiang Mai Shopping

  • Central Airport Plaza – This ultra-modern shopping mall has everything from designer products to local handicrafts.
  • Sankampaeng Craft Street – The best place in Chiang Mai to purchase authentic Thai silk.
  • Ban Tawai – If you are looking for wooden furniture in Chiang Mai, this is the best place to go.
  • Chiang Mai Night Bazaar – Mostly catering to Chiang Mai tourists.
  • JJ Market – This open-air market combines the traditional and contemporary.

Gay & Lesbian Chiang Mai

  • Soho Bar and Guesthouse – This Chiang Mai gay bar has a large garden bar and trendy environment.
  • Caesar Club and Disco – This late-night Chiang Mai hotspot is known for its dance floor.
  • Playhouse Entertainment Complex – Featuring gay and ladyboy cabaret, this has become a favourite spot for tourists.
  • Long Yang Club – A social club in Chiang Mai that holds regular events for gays and lesbians.
  • Lotus Garden bar – An open-air bamboo hut in Chiang Mai open to all.

Chiang Mai Outdoor

  • Mae Rim Bungee Jumping – For those who want to feel a rush on their holiday in Chiang Mai.
  • Thai Army Calvary – A great place for experienced horse riders to take a ride.
  • Mae Sa Elephant Camp – For those who want to jump aboard an elephant.
  • Chiang Mai Speedway – A 600m racetrack for all ages.
  • Thapae Gate – For those interested in biking while in Chiang Mai, this area features a nightly gathering of bike enthusiasts.

Chiang Mai Sport

  • Play a round at one of Chiang Mai's best clubs, the Gymkhana Golf Club.
  • Beat your lowest score at The Royal Chiang Mai Golf Club.
  • Watch some of the best boxers in the world at the Chiang Mai Provincial Boxing Stadium.
  • Work out in Chiang Mai's premier sports complex, the Sport for Health and Physical Fitness Center.
  • Relax in the spa at the Imperial Chiang Mai Sport Club.

Chiang Mai Local

Tha Phae Gate

Also known as the Old City, this is often touted as one of the most interesting areas of Chiang Mai because of its history. The narrow, temple-strewn walkways are juxtaposed with high-end boutiques, restaurants and bars taking pride of place along the main streets. Close by, you’ll find the famous Night Bazaar, a night market filled with everything from souvenirs to clothing. Put your haggling hat on and resist the temptation to buy a taser. Trust us, it always ends in tears.

Doi Inthanon National Park

With mountains, parks, waterfalls and spectacular views just outside the city, it’s hardly surprising this is a popular attraction. Doi Inthanon National Park is home to the highest mountain in Thailand (Doi Inthanon – 2565 metres), as well as gorgeous flora, waterfalls and native wildlife. Here’s the place to get your adrenaline pumping with elephant treks, rafting and free weekly hikes organised by the Chiang Mai Hiking Group. A gaggle of great restaurants and luxe resorts inhabit the area as well, so when you’re ready to hang up the hiking shoes and wash the nature off your face, relaxation awaits.

Bo Sang & San Kamphaeng

Get ready to stock up on souvenirs in Chiang Mai’s satellite villages. You’ll find hand-painted silk and cotton umbrellas, silverware, ceramics, embroidery and a bunch of other crafty bits and bobs at next to nothing at the various markets and stores in the area. The San Kamphaeng Road (also known as ‘handicrafts highway’) is lined with vendors selling hand-woven treasures and Thai antiques. The Cotton and Silk Weaving Village is the place for handmade shawls and scarves made from the finest silks at cheap-as-chips prices. After you’ve bought up big, hit the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs for some natural relaxation.

Chiang Mai Eat & Drink

Anusarn Market This market gets crazy-busy and is packed with food stalls serving up cheap and mouth-watering Thai treats.

Spicy Trashy and fun. Show the locals some of your moves on the dance floor and wake up to a nasty hangover. Mueang

The Fillmore East If you want a fix of Western food (i.e. big steaks and burgers), this is the place to be. Juicy Black Angus beef served alongside a frosty beer. Kind of tacky considering you’re in Thailand, but still… Mmm… Loi Kroa Road

Galae Gardens This upscale outdoor dining venue will see you eating fine Thai cuisine amongst beds of colourful flowers. Suthep Road

Arcobaleno This place happily welcomes the masses of Italian food lovers beating down their doors. Keaw Nawarat Road

Funky Dog Café This is a chilled little café with a casual, friendly vibe and yummy food on the menu. Don’t let the name put you off – there are no canine items on the menu! Soi 6

Huen Phen Hugely popular with locals and tourists alike for its comfortable, homey atmosphere and fab northern Thai cuisine. Rachamankha Road

Warm-Up The cool kids dress to impress at this club. Grab a cocktail and sit outside to people-watch, or head in and dance into the wee hours. Mueang

Gekko Garden Get a hefty meat fix at this place. Their burgers are famous and cheap as chips – as are their chips. Kamphangdin Road

Khum Khantoke Dinner and a show! This elegant venue plates up Thai delicacies and entertains patrons with various cultural shows. Mueang

Chiang Mai Events

Exotic flora and lush greenery are the highlights of the Chiang Mai Flower Festival every February. A lengthy procession showcases the incredible talents of Thailand’s big flower-biz names. Expect floats made from masses of flowers as well as other growing art. This festival is sure to please the eyes and the nose.

Early April welcomes Chiang Mai Fest, a fiesta of culture and entertainment. Enjoy the dance and music performances, art exhibits and talent shows scattered at different venues around the city.

Songkran is a water festival lasting four days during the month of April, and marks the official start of the Thai New Year. Expect costumes, music, beauty contests, dancing, markets and, of course, plenty of water. If you’re in the city, expect to be doused by hoses, water guns and water balloons. Seriously, total strangers will have no qualms about attacking you with water, so leave your fancy pants at home and join in the fun!

The Loi Krathong Festival in November sees thousands of people gather by the water’s edge to release handmade floats made from banana leaves and flowers that carry candles and incense. Fireworks follow this beautiful tradition honouring the Goddess of Water.

When To Go

It’s pretty hot and humid all year round but to bypass the extreme heat, avoid visiting from March to May, when temps rise to nearly 40°C (104°F).

If you’re not a fan of rain, skip out on visiting during August and September, when the city sees a helluva lot of water.

Late November to January is very warm but pleasant, averaging around 27°C (81°F).

What To Miss

Tap water should be avoided unless you’re into bacterial viruses. Keep to the bottled variety unless you want to include giardia in your list of carry-on items on the way home.

While a lot of tuk-tuk drivers are wonderful ambassadors for Chiang Mai, others can be a real pain in the… tuk. The shifty ones will try to scam you and may offer to take you for a ‘sightseeing tour’ for a certain amount of baht that will almost certainly come to a close at a shop his brother owns. It’s a good idea to refuse their offers as they can become pushy if you don’t then buy something from their brother/cousin/uncle. If they make you really uncomfortable, simply get off.

Getting Around

Hire a scooter or bike to explore on your own, but remember that you may not be as good as you think you are. Remember those battered and bruised Aussies you saw at the airport? Ten to one has it their scars are the result of an over-inflated estimation of their scooter-riding abilities. Be careful!

Jump on one of the many songthaews and tuk-tuks zooming up and down the streets and marvel at their ability to weave in and out of traffic without batting an eyelid.

General Information

As one of the most culturally relevant destinations in Southeast Asia, let alone Thailand, Chiang Mai offers superlative tourist value to those in search of a break from the occasionally oppressive crush of Bangkok. With ancient temples, wildlife preserves and splendid natural vistas, the city with a metro population of just under one million people is a rich holiday target.

Cultural festivals and attractions comprise a healthy portion of Chiang Mai’s allure, even in comparison to vast Bangkok. A famous night bazaar offers some of the best street food and traditional crafts in the country, in addition to wonderful local charm. With over 300 Buddhist temples and shrines, the city is awash with tremendous spiritual attractions. Accessible and affordable tours of hillside villages serve as unique treks outside the urban heart of Chiang Mai and display for visitors a slice of traditional Thai life in purely authentic and unadultered environs.

Attractions & Activities


  • Patara Elephant Farm
  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
  • Night Bazaar
  • Sunday Market
  • Chiang Dao Cave


  • Siam River Adventures
  • AKA Spa
  • Thai Elephant Day
  • Songkarn Festival
  • Chiang Mai Food Festival

Restaurants & Nightlife


  • Galare Food Court
  • Kitchen Hush
  • Whole Earth
  • The Antique House
  • Moxie
  • Heuan Phen
  • Peppermint Coffee House
  • Mai Place


  • Mix Bar
  • Bubbles
  • Spicy
  • Horizon Club
  • Rasta Bar
  • THC Rooftop Bar
  • Warm Up


The weather in Chiang Mai is rather predictable, with a dry and wet season that bring steady temperatures variation. June to late October is the period for heavy rains and occasional monsoon storms, while March to May heralds intense humidity and heat. As a whole, the temperature seldom dips below 13°C and peaks 30°C (or in the case of March, April and May, 35°C) on average throughout the year.

Hotels in Chiang Mai

  • Hotels in Chiang Mai

Recommended hotels

From US$169

1 Anantara Chiang Mai Resort and Spa

5 stars
4.8 / 5 6 reviews

123 Charoen Prathet Road Map

Includes FREE Wi-Fi

With a unique atmosphere, special hospitality and convenient facilities, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort and Spa offers excellent accommodation that makes you to feel at home. GeneralAnantara Chiang... More

It is an unforgettable experience!
The location is convenience, the breakfast is very good! The pool is clean but little bit small.
4 Dec 2014
From US$76

2 Eastin Tan Hotel Chiang Mai

4 stars
4.0 / 5 1 reviews

165 Huay Kaew Road, Suthep Map

Stay 3 Nights & Save 60%

Eastin Tan Hotel Chiang Mai is a chic hotel with recreational and meeting facilities and provides convenient distance to must-visit tourist spots in this culture-rich northern Thailand city.... More

great stay
very central location, new hotel with excellent service
27 Apr 2015
From US$48

3 Dusit Princess Chiang Mai

4 stars
4.4 / 5 17 reviews

112 Chang Klan Road Map

Book Now & Save 20%

Royal Princess Chiang Mai Hotel provides elegant accommodations to discerning travellers for both business and leisure. It is located near the famed Night Bazaar as well the restored original... More

Good location in night bazaar.
Good location in night bazaar. The bedroom and bathroom are a bit old and in need of refurbishment.
17 Sep 2015
From US$76

4 Dusit D2 Chiang Mai

5 stars
3.9 / 5 7 reviews

100 Changklan Road Map

Whether you are on a relaxing holiday or travelling on business, this contemporary hotel, providing a serene base in the midst of downtown Chiang Mai, is the perfect place for you to reside. ... More

Bad hotel. Not elderly friendly.
Booked the Club Room. The hotel team put us in 8th floor (smoking floor). When we walk into the room, it was not all ready, small details were not put attention to - for example, laundry bag was...
4 Jun 2014
From US$90

5 Le Meridien Chiang Mai

5 stars
4.7 / 5 9 reviews

108 Chang Klan Road Map

Save 10% on your stay

Welcome to experience a new world of luxury and royal services at the Le Meridien Chiang Mai, where local and regional inspiration reflects both its European heritage and authentic northern Thai... More

Great hotel, value for money
Hotel's great. Near the night market but a 15-min walk to the old city. But overall we highly recommend the hotel.
22 Apr 2014
From US$288

6 137 Pillars House

5 stars
5.0 / 5 1 reviews

2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Road Map

Includes FREE Wi-Fi & In Room Soft Drink

Set amidst beautiful cultural gems like Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Umong and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, 137 Pillars House Hotel Chiang Mai makes for a convenient starting point for travellers looking to... More

Beatiful, friendly and clean
Hotel garden was well kept and beatiful, staff was smiling and friendly. We had great 5 days in 137 Pilars.
22 Jan 2015
From US$40

7 The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel

4 stars
4.4 / 5 24 reviews

153 Sridonchai Road, Chang Klan Map

Limited Time offer-Book Now & Save 5%

Welcome to experience the Chiang Mai City's panorama and the stunning view of Doi Suthep at the Imperial Mae Ping, the four-star hotel, offering excellent accommodation and ideal location for... More

Good trip
For a 4star hotel I expected better , I was disappointed with the room , toilet was noisy when flushed, air conditioner made a noise all night . I booked for 5nights you think they will give u a...
3 May 2015
From US$27

8 Furama Chiang Mai

4 stars
4.0 / 5 4 reviews

54 Huay Kaew Road , T.Chang Puek Map

Stay 3 Nights & Save 15%

Make your vacation a wonderful one by staying in Furama Chiang Mai Hotel, which presents modern facilities and comfort that offers intimate hospitality and friendly services for an unparalleled... More

Below average this time
I am a regular at Furama Chiang Mai & it waas a wonderful place all the time in the past. The last time I visited in Aug 2015, it was pathetic and didn't seem like it was that same my favorite...
6 Sep 2015
From US$24

9 The Small Hotel Chiang Mai

3 stars
4.0 / 5 8 reviews

148-150 Tha Phae Rd Map

Includes FREE Wi-Fi

The Small Hotel Chiang Mai offers comfortable accommodation and friendly service for both business and leisure travellers. Some of the city attractions include Chiang Mai Zoo, Phu Phing Ratchanivej... More

Just a staycation
Stayed for just 1 night before Songkran, Not much things along the road but there is a night market at about 200m distance. The room is normal, not that fantastic but worth the price I paid.
2 Jul 2015
From US$20

10 Maninarakorn Hotel Chiang Mai

4 stars
4.0 / 5 39 reviews

99 Sridonchai Road Map

Book Now & Save 15%

Exceptionally located and offering luxurious accommodation, the Maninarakorn Hotel is an ideal base of stay at Chiang Mai. GeneralThe hotel offers well-appointed meeting and conference facilities... More

Good hotel
Missed only bacon for the breakfast. The view World be better, if the Windows were cleaned sometimes.
10 Mar 2015
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