Chiang Mai stands out as the second most popular city in Thailand, with only Bangkok being more popular. In the past, it was Lanna Kingdom’s capital but now it is a huge draw for travellers and backpackers from around the world. Those that visit normally keep coming back or even end up staying for years. Chiang Mai features so much energy that is simply captivating, allowing you to enjoy a lot, from spiritual awakenings to trekking adventures.
Tourism in Chiang Mai is more evolved than ever. In the city you can enjoy many activities but when you move out of the boundaries, you will find simple natural perfection, unique communities and a world of adventure. If you are thinking about setting up your own personalized tours in Chiang Mai or you just want to find something to visit, be sure that you take the following attractions into account as they are rated as being the best right now by tourists.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
This is a stunning mountaintop temple that is basically a Chiang Mai must-see. The central shine is what you want to see with its seated Buddha as the number one attraction in the city. The temple can be reached by hiking, motorbike or through a songthaew ride. The entire trip is done in just 2 hours.
Vendors can be seen right at the base of the temple but you have to be ready for the climb since it is steep. As you reach the temple you will surely love the different ornaments, including detailed dragon statues and Buddha representations. If the day is clear, the entire city can be seen so you want to take some pictures.
Doi Pui is a rather small tourist-oriented Hmong village. You want to visit to get a glimpse of traditions from past generations. When you want to be even more touristy, try the ethnic garb and take some photographs. At many small stores you can buy handmade jewelry, hand-woven textiles and many other interesting goods. If in the village, be sure that you taste some authentic khao soi, a really famous dish in Chiang Mai.
Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s highest peak. It is surrounded by a national park filled with countless natural wonders. A lot of trekking is available and you can easily take some leisurely walks around the park. You can visit a beautiful hill tribe village and snap photos of several waterfalls. If you want to see everything alone, be sure that you consider renting a motorbike since it allows you to move faster and see more of what the park has to offer.
Wat Chedi Luang
There are countless ruins that are huge travel attractions in Thailand but Wat Chedi Luang has a specific appeal. It was built in 1401 and although it was damaged in 1545, it is still remarkable, especially because of the huge elephant carvings you can see. If in the area, be sure that you visit the Lak Muang little temple, which was built in the year 1940. Make sure that you visit it during the night since it all lights up and is particularly beautiful.
Chiang Mai Gate Market
If you are looking for street food, this is where the very best can be found. Every single night there are countless vendors that set their base at the Gate. They sell countless dishes, from mango sticky rice to pad kra pow. Check out Mrs Pa for a tasty smoothie and be sure to allow her to do it for you for a true surprise. Be sure that you visit during weeknights since more vendors will be present.
In Chiang Mai’s Old City you can find the Wat Prasingh temple, a place where countless travellers spend a lot of time. It is the wat that has the title of the largest in the entire city, with a history dating back from 1345. It was built by an ancient king and features impressive decadent structures. Make sure that you visit during Sundays to enjoy the best of what the temple has to offer. The most important shrine of Wat Prasingh is Phra Viharn Lai Kam, which is definitely what you want to see.