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Chiang Mai is considered to be one of the cultural capitals in Thailand and the many temples and ruins that are scattered throughout the region stand testament to this.
When you visit Thailand for a holiday, it would be a shame not to pay a visit to the northern jewel of Chiang Mai. But what is it about this place that makes it so special? The list is long. For starters, Chiang Mai is a truly marvellous natural wonder to behold. While there are no beaches in view, the rolling green mountains and spectacular natural landscape surely makes up for it – and don't panic, all of the top hotels in Chiang Mai have swimming pools so you can enjoy a nice dip when the stunning tropical weather calls for it.
A colourful city with a rich cultural tapestry
For many, Chiang Mai is a relaxing alternative to Bangkok. If you want to experience a large Thai city but you don't relish the thought of being caught in the hectic streets of the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, then this charming destination would make a great spot for you to take your next holiday.
Chiang Mai is a historical gem with a vibrant cultural tapestry that spans back for almost a thousand years. Rich in symbolism and cultural heritage, Chiang Mai is the perfect spot for those who want to experience something very different from the usual beach-resort holiday.
Enjoy a fashionable hotel in Chiang Mai with views of the mountains and truly find your escape from the troubles of everyday life.
There are so many unmissable experiences to be had in Chiang Mai
Besides soaking up the magnificent tropical climate and the boundless beauty of Chiang Mai's natural surroundings, there is so much to see and do here. From unbeatable day trips, soothing spas, Golden temples, a delectable variety of northern Thai cuisine, boundless street-stalls and markets with a charming hipster vibe, or simply lazing the days away sunbathing by the pool in your luxury hotel in Chiang Mai, this lovely tourist destination has something for everyone. Here are some of the most unmissable experiences:
- Visit Chiang Mai Old Town – clearly marked by the ancient and beautiful city walls that are still standing in some places, but impossible to miss regardless, the Old Town is a must visit for anyone who comes to Chiang Mai. The number of attractions and things to see and do in the Old Town make it one of the highlights of the city. Make sure you check out Tapae Gate on the Eastern wall, built to approximate what the original would have looked like, and enjoy the moat and views from there.
- Explore the top temples in Chiang Mai (Wat Phra Sing, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Inthakhin Saduemang, Wat Chiang Man, Wat Saen Fang, Wat Bupparam, Wat Mahawan, and Wat Si Suphan) – Wat Phra Sing is located in the Old Town and one of the most popular temples to visit in Chiang Mai. Others are located in different areas, and some are outside the city, and up in the mountains themselves. The views from here as well as the temple make it a trip worth taking.
- Explore Doi Suthep National Park – named for the two mountains here, and containing plenty of wildlife that is rarely seen in many places, the National Park is a lovely addition to any trip. Between the temple, waterfall, viewpoints, and trails, you are sure to see sights you won't soon forget.
- Take a Thai Cooking Class – the food in Northern Thailand can differ from that in the South, and even in the middle of the country. Taking a cooking class is a wonderful way to experience local food, markets, and get talking to a local as well. Plus, getting to eat the tasty food afterwards is an added bonus.
- Visit Lake Huay Tung Tao – ideal for swimming, having a picnic, or just taking in the views, this idyllic spot is a perfect escape from the crowded and bustling streets of any city.
- Head over to Chiang Rai (some 3-hour drive away) – another reason many people love Chiang Mai is its proximity to Chiang Rai, and, further out, Pai. You can jump on a bus or drive and get to experience these smaller northern towns as a nice change to Chiang Mai, before heading back to the city.
- Shop at the Chiang Mai Markets – Chiang Mai has some exceptional markets, with the night markets feeling particularly magical as they come alive after dark. You can wander around, look, haggle, and buy almost anything here, and the very act of shopping is an experience in itself.
- Marvel at the many museums – there are a number of museums covering everything from modern art to antiquities and folk life meaning that there should be something for everyone to discover and enjoy.
- Spend a day at the Elephant Sanctuary
- Zip-Line adventures
- Mountain biking
- Drive an ATV through the hills
- Hiking and view finding
- Chiang Mai Zoo
- Watch a Muay Thai Fight (Thai kickboxing)
- Relax with a traditional Thai massage
- Soak it up in the Hot Springs
- See the Bua Thong Waterfall
These are just a handful of the exciting things you can see and do in Chiang Mai. For those who love a hectic nightlife, Chiang Mai may not have exactly what you are looking for. While there are plenty of awesome pubs, bars, and restaurants in Chiang Mai, the general rule is that the majority of places are closed by around midnight. But don't let that put you off; Chiang Mai has so much to offer and when you've spent the day sightseeing, hiking, swimming, shopping, and eating the amazing local cuisine you'll find yourself amply distracted.
If you are interested in exploring northern Thailand, finding stunning Chiang Mai hotels is really easy.
Whether you want to stay in the best 5-star hotel in Chiang Mai, or you are travelling with children and want to look at some more affordable family hotels in Chiang Mai, we have something to accommodate all tastes and budget requirements.