The best way to get around is on foot, although there are also a number of wonderful attractions within easy reach of the city.
Founded more than seven centuries ago as the capital of the Lanna kingdom, Chiang Mai is a significant centre for architecture, arts and culture. Home to some of the country’s most ornate structures and striking monuments, this serene city offers a wealth of attractions for visitors including a picturesque old city and several stunning temples.
Lying 15km outside the city, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is Chiang Mai’s most famous temple. Founded in 1383, the temple and its grounds are considered sacred and are known as an important pilgrimage destination during Buddhist holidays. With an elevated location on the slopes of Doi Suthep mountain, the temple also offers beautiful panoramic views over the city on a clear day.
Built around 600 years ago, Wat Chedi Luang enjoys a central location in the heart of the old city. The temple’s massive Lanna-style chedi (damaged in a 1545 earthquake, with two-thirds of it now remaining) is visible throughout the city and is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Once home to the Emerald Buddha, a sacred cultural treasure now in Bangkok, a jade replica sits in its place.
Located at the western end of Ratchadamnoen Road in the old city, Wat Phra Singh is the most visited of Chiang Mai’s Buddhist temples. Built by King Pha Yu in the 14th Century to enshrine the ashes of his father King Kam Fu, it houses the city’s most revered image of Buddha, Phra Singh Buddha.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Famed as the cultural capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai is home to a number of factories and shop outlets specialising in wonderful arts and crafts.
The Bor Sang Village-Sankampaeng and Baan Tawai neighbourhoods are often referred to as the ‘Handicraft Highway’. Here you’ll find factories and shop outlets specialising in pottery, stoneware, silverware, lacquerware, silk, wood products, arts and crafts.
Something of a city institution, the weekly Sunday market or Sunday Walking Street is open from late afternoon until 11pm at night every Sunday. Stretching from Tha Phae Gate along the Ratchadamnoen Road in the heart of the old city, the road, which is closed to traffic, is lined with stalls selling everything from handicrafts to food, while the road is full of musicians, dancers and artists.
Chiang Mai has a choice of picturesque golf courses, all offering top-class facilities and beautiful settings. Open daily, recommended courses include Chiangmai Highlands Golf and Spa Resort, Alpine Golf Resort, the Royal Chiangmai, Mae Jo Golf Club and Summit Green Valley.
ATV 4 Wheel Bikes
Experience the thrill of riding an ATV 4-wheel bike on a challenging dirt track or head out into the countryside on an off-road adventure. If you’re something of an adrenaline junkie, we can recommend several companies situated just outside the city that can organise guided trips or hire out bikes for dirt track adventures.
Located an hour from Chiang Mai, Zipline Chiangmai operates whitewater rafting trips throughout the year. Lasting from 1-3 hours with intensity ranging from comfortably placid to an exciting challenge, rafting trips take place on the Mae Taeng River. Open daily, trips are dependent on weather and river conditions, and are accompanied by an on-land support team who follow the raft.
One of the most enjoyable things to do when spending time in the Chiang Mai province is to visit an elephant camp. Founded to help protect local elephants that used to work in the now banned logging trade, these camps help provide income to the elephants’ handlers and provide funds to care for the elephants. Only an hour’s drive from the resort through the stunning countryside, Chiang Dao Elephant camp offers guests the chance to see elephants up close, and learn all about their protection and care.
Only an hour’s drive from the resort, Jungle Flight offers guests the chance to soar above the jungle canopy on zip-lines through the trees. Accompanied by Skyranger guides, this is a wonderful way to experience a bird’s eye view of the lush tropical forest of Northern Thailand.
Chiang Mai Night Safari
Situated on a 300-acre site on the outskirts of the city, the Chiang Mai Night Safari nature park is home to a number of animals including white rhinos, lions, cheetahs, giraffes, crocodiles and tigers. Open daily between 11am-11pm, the park offers day and evening visits as well as a spectacular musical fountain and laser light show.