10 Best Things to do in Chiang Mai

That Thailand is more than just the boisterous tumult of Bangkok is a known fact. Although the capital does grab your attention, Thailand’s charm lies in its lesser known cities and dainty towns like Chiang Mai. Perched on Thailand’s northern islands, Chang Mai was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, and it still retains evidences of being the seat of culture and religion of the kingdom. Exploring the allure of Chang Mai will definitely make your Thailand experience all the more wholesome and fulfilling. Here are some things you can try out in Chang Mai:

  1. Boat Trip on Mai Ping River: The Mai Ping is a charming river surrounded by some breathtaking scenery of rural Thailand. Have a glimpse at the jasmine rice fields, the distant haunting mountains, and cozy teak houses as you take a boat down the gentle river waters. Boat trips also include a stop at local farms for lunch that only accentuates this laidback, yet bewitching experience.
  2. Doi Ithanon National Park: An extension to the Shan Hills and home to Thailand’s highest peak, the Doi Ithanon Park stretches over 48,240 hectares, and is rife with the most number of bird species in Thailand. While the visuals of this park are impossibly charming, be prepared to feel the chill too, as temperatures around the peak can go as low as -8 degree Celsius.
  3. Taste the Khao Soi: For someone familiar with Thai cuisine, the Khao Soi will be no stranger. However, Chaing Mai outdoes itself with the kind of delectable twists it puts on Thailand’s most famous dish, leaving tourists raving about the coconutty soup of yellow egg noodles and chicken, topped with chopped red onions and pickled mustard. You simply cannot slip up on getting a taste of this.
  4. Doi Suthep: Almost as famous as the Khao Soi is the Doi Suthep Mountain that overlooks the entire city of Chiang Mai. Complete with a 13th century temple and a replica of the Emerald Buddha, Doi Suthep also offers a glimpse into the lives of the Meo Hill Tribe and the people in the Hmong Hill Tribe Village.
  5. Stay at the Elephant Retirement Park: People seem to equate Thailand with Elephant rides way more than they should. Not only are elephant rides not healthy for the gentle giants, one might wonder why you’d want to ride them when you can spend a day making friends with them. The Elephant Retirement Park is a sanctuary for rescued elephants where visitors are educated on why riding elephants isn’t the most advisable thing, and are then allowed to observe them in their natural habitat.
  6. Shop at the Warotot Market: Most markets in the city open at night, and stay open till dawn. However, the Warotot Market opens at sunrise and stays open all day long before closing for the night. Apart from the convenient hours, the prices her are extremely low and affordable. As always, the market is rich in varieties of all products, and shopping here is a true delight.
  7. Celebrate the Loi Krathong Festival: The Siamese festival of self-purification, of letting go of past negativities and earning the blessings of the water gods, the Loi Krathong is celebrated in Chiang Mai with more reverence and gusto than anywhere else in Thailand. The locals get together to place their krathongs in the moat surrounding Chiang Mai, while also releasing traditional lanterns into the night sky. The festival is celebrated over a considerable number of days, and the city is packed with tourists and locals alike.
  8. Visit the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs: Mother Nature certainly has been very kind to Chiang Mai. Its bountiful wildlife, charming mountain scenery, and of course, the gorgeous Mai Ping River are a blessing in themselves. And just when you thought it couldn’t get more perfect, you come across the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs. Replete with a beautiful surrounding landscape, and traditional mineral water baths that possess curative powers, the hot springs wash away whatever stress you may have brought with you to the city of Chiang Mai.
  9. Traditional Thai Massage at The Women’s Prison: Thailand is undoubtedly famous for its unmatchable massages, but Chiang Mai takes it to a different level with Women Prison Massage Center. Soon-to-be-released women prisoners are taught some handy life skills that will get them on their feet to live a normal life again after their prison sentence. The center is quite a unique experience, and the massages definitely live up to the high Thai massage standards.
  10. Go on the Chiang Mai Night Safari: Home to over 500 animals right from Tigers, Kangaroos, Rhinos, Crocodiles and African Hunting Dogs, and a multitude of birds, the Chiang Mai Night Safari is split into two sections that get you up close and personal with these creatures of the wild enjoying their nightlife. The safari is followed by a light show and casual music, helping you wind down.