The gorgeous city of Chiang Mai might very well be the perfect combination of big city vibes and a more local, rustic charm. Located in northern Thailand, you’ll be close to both Laos and Myanmar and it’s not even that far from China and Vietnam, although given how much fun you can have in Chiang Mai, you’ll probably want to stay here for at least a few days in order to see and do as much as you possibly can.
Old temples, local markets, shopping, and delicious food – it’s all here, so are you ready for 3 amazing days in Chiang Mai? Good, so are we!
Start your first day with a visit to some of the remarkable temples: the Wat Chiang Man is the oldest Buddhist temple in the area and consists of a maze of beautiful gold-topped, ornate buildings, elephant sculptures and there’s even a temple pond.
For even more local culture, at Chiang Mai National Museum you can see art, statues and wooden objects, all while learning a lot about the culture and ancient traditions of the area.
Yes, you can find shopping malls but the markets, the markets are where it’s at. Many are open until late at night and are filled with local arts and handicrafts – sometimes you can even see the items being made and have a go yourself. Markets are also a perfect opportunity to try some delicious, mouth-watering street food.
Doi Inthanon National Park is not only home to the highest mountain in Thailand, but it also has some of the most spectacular views of the green, leafy landscape as well as its dazzling waterfalls. There are daily tours with local tribe guides which will allow you to see and hike through the most interesting and beautiful places, but here’s a pro tip: make sure to pick the right season.
You have to make sure you’ll visit at least one elephant sanctuary while you’re in Chiang Mai. There are tours to take with information both about elephants in general and the personal stories of the individuals, and you’ll see the majestic animals play in the mud and take a bath; if you’re lucky you might even get to help to feed them. Dumbo moments are improbable, unfortunately.
*Please never partake in the riding of elephants, unethical treatment of animals, or paying to have your photo taken with a mistreated animal – by supporting this financially, you are allowing their abuse to continue.
Seeing as your first couple of days were packed with activities, wouldn’t it be nice to have a whole day dedicated to relaxation and tasty food? If so, a visit to one of the many spas might be just what you need. Chiang Mai is also home to a bunch of yoga studios, to complete your state of tranquility.
When in Chiang Mai, eat as the locals eat: healthy food is popular and at Ohkajhu Farm you can practically taste the love that the gorgeous, fresh dishes are made with.
If you’re a bit tired of white rice, at Meena you can try it in every color of the rainbow – dyed with natural dyes, of course. Having a long, sit-down dinner while watching the sunset is the perfect ending to your stay in Chiang Mai.
You know, if you really miss the fantastic nature, the delicious food, and your new elephant friends, you can always come back to this amazingly fun city – and maybe add something yourself to our list of incredible things to do in Chiang Mai. Or perhaps you have some favorite places already? If so, please comment because we’d love to know!