Top Things to do in Chiang Mai

Located in the countryside of Thailand, north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is one of the best places to visit in Thailand to enjoy all kind of  tours to explore the stunning natural surroundings.

Apart from exploring the beautiful scenery surrounding the city, Chiang Mai is truly a city of many religious temples, and there is, in fact, well over 200 Buddhist temples that you can visit, though Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Chiang Man (pictured) are three of the most beautifully decorated ones.
Top Things to do in Chiang Mai
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Other popular things to do in Chiang Mai include visiting popular tourist sights like Chiang Mai old town, doing some shopping at the Night Market and exploring the vibrant nightlife. Below are other things you can do during your vacation in Chiang Mai:


Exploring the outdoors is definitely one of the top things to do in Chiang Mai and the good news is that you don’t have to venture far out from Chiang Mai city center to do this.

In fact, if you love the outdoors and would like to enjoy some hiking, but don’t fancy doing a trekking tour or hiking excursion into the interior of northern Thailand, Doi Suthep National Park is the next best place to experience the natural scenery.

Doi Suthep National Park is just 30 minutes drive west of Chiang Mai old town and offers many hiking trails which lead to other attractions such as Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Buddhist temple and Chiang Mai zoo.


Shopping is, undoubtedly, one of the top things to do in Chiang Mai not only because of the shopping experience, but also the people.

Chiang Mai markets offer a great opportunity to mingle and soak in traditional Thai culture by watching and interacting with people there.

There are many markets in Chaing Mai but the ones located around Chaing Mai old town such as Ton Payom market, Thanin market, Muang Mai market and Ton Lamyai market are some of the best markets to find real bargains.

The Night Market or Night Bazaar is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chiang Mai and probable the best place in Chiang Mai to enjoy the ultimate traditional Thai shopping experience.

The Night Market is a great place to meet other tourists and the market boasts hundreds of stalls selling anything you can think of.

The Night Market is located outside of Chiang Mai old town, though it’s a short 20 minute walk east of Wat Chedi Luang temple.

Fun Attractions

Chiang Mai Night Safari

If you’re looking for things to do in Chiang Mai with kids and teenagers, you can’t miss a visit to the Night Safari.

If you’ve been to Singapore Zoo night safari, Chiang Mai night safari is twice its size and has many more areas and habitats where you can see white tigers, rhinos, etc.

Tiger Kingdom

Tiger Kingdom is another cool attraction the whole family can do, and being located right outside of Chiang Mai center, it makes for a great day trip.

If you love tigers, you’ll see all kinds of Tigers, small and big, and you will have the opportunity to hug a baby tiger, which is a an experience you’ll never forget!

Trekking Excursions

Chiang Mai is the gateway to Northern Thailand’s mountains so it’s one of the best places to base to enjoy trekking excursions, which often include river rafting tours and elephant rides.

Fun Tours

Chiang Mai moat is also one of the best preserved moats in Asia and one of the longest. The moat surrounds Chiang Mai old town and exploring its fronts on a tuk tuk (motor-cab) ride is one of the top things to do in Chiang Mai.

You can enjoy tours of Chiang Mai temples with a guide, though Wat Chiang Man and Wat Phra Singh are two of the oldest Buddhist temples in the city boasting a rich and interesting history.

You can also enjoy fun bike tours from Chiang Mai to Wiang Kum Kham to explore the ruins, as well as the villages, the wonderful Thai countryside and its people along the way.

Regarding tours, you can enjoy self-guided tours if you wish to, but if you’re traveling to Chiang Mai for the first time, it’s best to go with a tour operator since they’ll know the area.

You can easily book tours and arrange them with your hotel concierge or wherever guest-house you’ll be staying at.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Exploring the nightlife is another of the top things to do in Chiang Mai, and you’ll be surprised to learn how laid-back Chiang Mai really is with a welcoming and relaxed gay scene.

Chiang Mai does draw a mixture of straight, families and gay couples with many European and American expats living in the city as well.

There are all kinds of bars and discos from traditional Thai establishments and International bars to gay bars, go go bars, Karaoke bars and gay discos which are found along Loi Kroh Road, near the Night Market.

Entertainment-wise, you can check out traditional Thai dancing and music at the Galare Centre, where you’ll find more bars and popular international fast food joints.

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