The Top 50 Things To Do and See in Chiang Mai, Thailand - Underrated Local Spots, Weekend Getaways and More to Checkout in Chiang Mai City

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Chiang Mai is my absolute favourite city in the entire World for so many reasons. So, today I thought it might be helpful to share with you my top must-do's/things to do when visiting or in Chiang Mai city! You will notice there is no shortage of things to do and there is always something happening. I mean...there's a reason it scores extremely high on every list out there. Whether it's for retiring, for best places to live to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle, for an all around great quality of life, for best travel locations or best for digital nomads or expats, Chiang Mai is an incredible place. It has something for everyone! I've personally never met a person who hasn't loved it here. Everyone who goes, loves it and usually tries to figure out a way to get back there or, as many do (I've met countless of individuals who've done this), just simply, stay.

Here are 50 things to do and see while in Chiang Mai:

Chiang Mai, Thailand is my favourite city in the whole wide World for SO many reasons. Back a couple years ago we visited Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festival and were supposed to stay 2 weeks, but we ended up staying 5 months. Then, the year after, we went back for another half year. Currently, while writing this blog post, I’m here for another 6 months for the 3rd year in a row! This city is a real life paradise and just doesn’t get old! There’s always new and exciting things and even more hidden gems I’m discovering daily while being here but these are the top 50 things I’ve discovered thus far to do and see (I’ll come back in and edit more in if I feel they deserve a spot or replace some things and so on)!

Anyways…in as few words as possible: it’s my soul city. Everyone is called to different places and has their place that they love or many! The best part about loving places is that you don’t have to have just one. Having said that, there’s tons of places in the World I adore, but Chiang Mai is my personal fav and takes the cake for a plethora of reasons.

Now, for me personally, I’ve travelled to around 25 countries and around 160 cities/places in my lifetime (thus far) across 4 continents…so hopefully that’s saying something.

Instead of me boring you here though, scroll down and see the hotspots that I think you MUST checkout when in Chiang Mai! They speak for themselves when you go and are experiencing them, honestly. And remember, with any sort of travel,
“don’t listen to what they say…go see for yourself .”

Now, if you don’t know my background or if you don’t follow me on instagram and you just landed on this Blog by searching up Chiang Mai, you may not know this, but I’ve spent around half the year in Chiang Mai or around SE Asia for the past 3 years and the other half in Western Canada (at the time of writing this blog post). So, I’ve spent a good sum of time in Chiang Mai and I’ve scouted out the absolute best things to do whether it’s your first time visiting or you live in Chiang Mai, have retired here or you’ve been there multiple times! I can guarantee you’ll find something on the list below that you will love to checkout or maybe haven’t been to yet.

All photos shown below are my personal photos from these areas in and around Chiang Mai city unless credited otherwise. This post is NOT sponsored. All opinions are my own and I’m putting this here to help other travellers out who visit Chiang Mai :). I’ve also added some spots that are on my list where I personally haven’t been yet that are supposed to be awesome, too!

I’ve added google search links to ALL spots talked about right under my mini-scoop review for each which will take you straight to the google search landing page so you can see more photos, the location and other posts about them!

Alright, let’s get started!

These are in no particular order:


1. day trip to DOI INTHANON MOUNTAIN

Doi Inthanon is a have-to-do-it type visit when in Chiang Mai. It’s around a 3 hour drive from the city and is the highest mountain in Thailand. You can hire a driver or take a tour straight up to the highest point in all of Thailand! Doi Inthanon mountain is full of waterfalls, nature walks/trails, views, the twin pagodas, gardens and so much more! It is even home to the largest telescope in all of SE Asia! I recommend anyone visiting Northern Thailand to do a full 8-12 hour day of Doi Inthanon. The best way to do it is to find a Grab driver or a driver/local Thai guide or person you hit it off with and pay them to do an entire day tour or trip there :). I find it better than taking a group tour as it’s much more customizable, too. By the way…not many people know this but Doi Inthanon is part of the Himalayan mountain range!

Link to Google, TripAdvisor + more

2. VISIT allll the temples

In case you didn’t know it yet, Chiang Mai is the temple city! Asking someone to meet you at “the temple” in Chiang Mai is like asking someone to meet you at the “Starbucks” in Seattle, Washington. There’s just so many! All the temples in Chiang Mai offer something different, unique and so special. It goes almost without saying that the temples are extremely photogenic, too. Just please of course be respectful and dress appropriately :). They are a MUST when in Chiang Mai and extremely hard to miss.

My personal favs are:
Wat Chiang Man
Wat Umong
Wat Doi Suthep
Wat Chedi Luang
& Wat Suan Dok

Of course, the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai is stunning too and worth checking out for a day or weekend trip. It also has the blue temple, some beautiful pagodas and the black house which is pretty neat, as well!

Also, the twin pagodas up at Doi Inthanon are amaaazing as mentioned and shown above.

Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

3. BE IN AWE OF THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS

If you can’t make it to Japan for cherry blossom season, Chiang Mai’s got your back! The cherry blossoms on top of Doi Suthep mountain are not to be missed in January/February! Check when they bloom this year for yourself but they’re so beautiful. The name for where you want to go is: Khun Chang Khian and I highly recommend hiring a skilled driver as the road up is quite narrow and rugged.

Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

4. GO TO BHUBING PALACE

Bhubing Palace is a very beautiful famous scenic area to checkout and you can couple it with Huay Kaew Waterfall and Wat Doi Suthep too as they are all on Suthep mountain! I recommend hiring a driver for a half day or full day or you can take a red bus up from the Huay Kaew Waterfall area as well.

Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

Photo credit:  Google.

Photo credit: Google.

5. CHECKOUT ONE NIMMAN & the nimman area

One Nimman is a super cool spot to checkout! It’s filled with boutiques, shops, cafes, restaurants and a wonderful tower and square. It also hosts tons of pop-up festivals and markets throughout the year. It’s in the Nimman area and I recommend everyone to visit when in Chiang Mai. Nimman itself (long form: Nimmanhaemin road area) is a very trendy area and is famous for shopping, cafes, boutiques and more.

Link to One Nimman Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

Link to Nimman Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

6. go SEE THE STREET ART & explore OLD CITY

There is so much street art in Chiang Mai and most of it is located in or around old city. Old city itself is a stunning area full of alleyways/walking paths, old roads, the ping river, lots of temples, history and so many hidden gems. It’s also where the sacred Tha Phae Gate is (which is a historical landmark) and the Three Kings Monument is. I highly recommend walking around old city, it’s bursting with history, culture and character!

Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

7. checkout a pop up festival or event

There are sooo many pop up festivals, markets and events that come up in Chiang Mai! You can search them up online or on Facebook but there’s usually something (or multiple things) going on at all times, especially during high season (winter season from November to February). So, if you’re in Chiang Mai, see if you can check one out!

Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

8. visit nong BUAK HARD PUBLIC PARK

This is a gorgeous park in the middle of the city! I love it to chill, take pics, read a book or just pass through. It’s especially stunning during the Flower Festival which happens usually the first weekend of every February in Chiang Mai. Photos shown below were taken during the 2018 Flower Festival.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

9. go to the sacred Tha Phae Gate

As mentioned above under street art and old city, Tha Phae Gate is a sacred gate that protects the city of Chiang Mai. It’s a historical landmark and is always filled with tourists! It’s a beautiful area to stroll around at any time of day, too. It’s also right smack in the center of old city where you can walk to Three Kings Monument and so many other hotspots in old city as well. I love this gate so so much. Loads of pigeons hangout here, too.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

10. spend time at BAAN KANG WAT

Baan Kang Wat is probably my all time fav spot in Chiang Mai to chill, sip, eat, explore, relax, work and get away from the city. It is a bit out of the city but is on your way to Wat Umong (one of my fav old temples with amazing underground tunnels that are awesome to capture a photo in as well) and is near some other wonderful temples and the freeative art space, which is pretty dang photogenic too (which the restaurant, Pure Vegan Heaven is within). Phew! That was a mouthful. If you’d like to see the top 30 restaurants in Chiang Mai (vegan+veg friendly & just in general, the top 30, then click here)!

Back to Baan. I think everybody who visits Chiang Mai should spend time here. I could spend hours and hours on end here and not notice that time has gone by. Baan is such an eclectic, artistic, artisanal spot with lots of boutiques, handmade items, artwork, cafes, restaurants and market pop-ups (on the weekends). On weekdays, it still has so much to offer! You’ll find Chiang Mai is an extremely artistic city and Baan is one of the most fun spots to be to appreciate the art culture. Also, it’s verrrry instragrammable, too! Plus, it also has the cutest outdoor library with the BEST cold brewed tea’s annnnd…churros right outside the corner)! It also has Obchoei which is a cute cafe/bakery, too!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

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It's a wonderful life 💫 #weekending

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11. create unforgettable memories at the lantern & river festivals..Loy krathong & Yi peng

OF COURSE, if you’re in Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong and Yi Peng (November) then there are some incredible experiences ahead for you! I hope that everyone gets to experience the magic of these festivals at least once in their lifetime. I personally love being in Chiang Mai in November & December because the city is so festive and there’s so much going on! Loy Krathong & Yi Peng are breathtakingly beautiful to experience and will leave you with priceless memories.

12. visit ELEPHANT NATURE PARK (elephant rescue site & sanctuary)

Elephant Nature Park is a elephant rescue sanctuary that saves elephants from logging, tourism, entertainment and more. They also have more animals too that they rescue (not just elephants). It’s a beautiful place filled with beautiful souls. I like to go at least once a year, but make sure you book in advance! It’s a day you will cherish forever.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

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It was so lovely being back at the @elephantnaturepark 💓 It was amazing to see how big the little ones have gotten even just after 1 year! 😭 #timeflies We didn't even plan to visit around the same time but we ended up going within 2 days of when we went last year, too & got the same guide, Top who's the beeeessst. Thanks Top! Amazing seeing you again 💫 These incredible, beautiful, intelligent, strong & majestic creatures eat around 3.5 tonnes of food per day and it takes 70 people every single day to prepare the food for them! It takes a village guys! Lek, the founder has dedicated her entire life to rescuing the elephants amongst many other animals. 🙏🏽 As of right now, they have rescued 100 elephants, 100 buffalo, 200 cats, 400 dogs + some horses and goats. It starts with one person & one vision. Thank you Lek to you and your entire team for your altruism, compassion, constant dedication and love in this integral cause. It takes around $300,000+ CAD to keep this sanctuary going each year just in food. So, if you're ever in Northern Thailand🇹🇭, support this sanctuary. I guarantee it will leave a lasting imprint on your heart. Each one has their story and their past. It breaks my heart knowing the horrific things these animals have gone through. It's unfathomable. But, it brings solace and peace seeing these select few, genuinely happy and thriving for maybe, the first time in their lives. And, although, the fight still goes on to respect, love & protect all animals Worldwide, my heart can rest just a little bit because of places like these 💖 Please do your part and do not support elephant tourism, trekking, entertainment, zoo's and so on. It's not okay. They are not here for us. This goes for all animals. P.S. Make sure you do your research before going to any ol' animal sanctuary or elephant rescue when travelling so you can ensure it's legit. This one is a real gem that's sole priority is animal welfare. #elephantnatureparkchiangmai #elephantsanctuary #willtherealelephantsanctuarypleasestandup #elephantnaturepark #animalsanctuaries #animalrescue #loveforallanimals #doyourpart #chiangmai #thailand

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13. shop til’ you drop…literally

The shopping scene is unreal in Chiang Mai! From huge shopping malls, to boutiques, to local markets all the way to outlet stores, there's something for everyone! Honestly, I love all the areas of Chiang Mai for shopping because there is such a huge range and variety you get from one end of the city to the other. Old city is filled with its own kind of shops and boutiques while the Nimman area has its own unique shops and boutiques. One Nimman is a shopping district that surrounds a beautiful square and tower. Of course, there is also Central Festival and Maya which are 2 huge shopping malls. Maya is also right by Think Park (another cool shopping area) and that is right across One Nimman. Last but definitely not least…the markets!! I won't go into too much detail on them as I have them covered in this post, here. I adore the local markets, weekend markets, pop-up markets and festivals that come up.

Top 12 markets in Chiang Mai blog post here.

14. visit ASTROPARK & the largest telescope in se asia

Astropark is a really cool Astronomy museum area and public telescope viewing area! The grand opening is sometime in November but last year they did public viewing nights through telescopes on Saturday nights. I’m not sure if this is still happening but I am really looking forward to the grand opening! Also, the largest telescope in all of SE Asia is located on Doi Inthanon mountain around 3 hours away from Chiang Mai city. Doi Inthanon is a must-see while in Chiang Mai and I would allow an entire day (early morning to night) to do it as listed above. Swipe to see the largest telescope in SE Asia located on Doi Inthanon mountain below.

Link to Astropark Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

15. be flower happy at ROYAL PARK RAJAPRUEK

Royal Park Rajapruek is a popular destination filled with flowers galore! It’s also home to a commemorative chapel and has stunning landscaping that surrounds it.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

Photo credit:  Google.

Photo credit: Google.

16. CHECKOUT allll THE amazing MARKETS

This one kind of goes without saying…when in Chiang Mai you have no shortage of markets to checkout and I won’t go too much into detail as I’ve covered the best and top markets, here.

Top 12 markets in Chiang Mai blog post here.

17. visit doi suthep mountain

This is one of the MOST popular areas in all of Chiang Mai. Doi Suthep mountain is filled with beautiful sights and things to checkout. The most famous among them all being Wat Doi Suthep (which a lot of locals esteem as their favourite temple). I’ve heard lots of locals say that you haven’t seen Chiang Mai until you’ve seen Wat Doi Suthep. Wat Doi Suthep is a temple on Doi Suthep mountain. You have gorgeous views of the city from here, too! Doi Suthep mountain also has places like Bhubing Palace, Huay Kaew Waterfall and Khun Chang Khian. I highly recommend you do this and make a day out of it!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

18. learn how to speak thai

Why not learn the language? The Thai language is a very melodic language and yes of course you can get by with just a few words and most locals know English as Chiang Mai has become a major hub for expats, nomads, retirees and so on but it’s always fun to learn a new language! There are loads of resources and places you can take classes to learn all the way from taking a course at CMU (Chiang Mai University) to drop in classes around town. Just google it and you’ll find out more :).

19. Catch a SUNRISe & watch a sunset

The sunrises and sunsets are absolutely breathtaking in Chiang Mai and in Thailand in general. Thailand is known as the golden land and land of the smiles for a reason. Sunsets are usually very golden, indeed! I won’t go too much into detail here as I’ve covered the best sunset spots in Chiang Mai (and a little detail onto sunrises, too), here.

Best sunset spots in Chiang Mai blog post here

20. CAFE HOPPING. period.

The cafe and coffee shop scene is HUGE in Chiang Mai. Like I’m talking, massive. I think Chiang Mai may have the most coffee shops/cafes per square mile than any other place I’ve ever been too (and temples too probably). I heard a local say that you can go to a new coffee shop and temple everyday for a YEAR in Chiang Mai and I don’t doubt it one bit. Just look up the hashtags #cnxcafehopping or #cafehoppingcnx and you’ll see what I mean. Since I’ve covered the top coffee shops and cafes in this blog post, here, I won’t go way into it other than you have to check out the cafe culture! It’s fabulous. Some of the best architecture, designs, drinks, desserts and more I’ve ever experienced.

Best coffee shops and cafes in Chiang Mai blog post here

21. BUDDHIST ALMs & the monk’s trail

Taking the monk’s trail one early morning up to Doi Suthep and engaging in the Buddhist Alms is a truly beautiful experience I think everyone should experience. You can learn more by googling it as well :).

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Wat Phra Singh ✨ #chiangmai

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22. go on hikes and get out in nature

There are lots of wonderful hikes in the CM area and being surrounded by nature is not hard to do while in Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand. Some hikes I love is the monk’s trail, the huay kaew short hike at the huay kaew waterfall (which overlooks the city), the 3 hour nature trail/trek at Doi Inthanon mountain to the most amazing viewpoint ever and the walkway at ang kaew reservoir. I’m sure there’s loads of others within and nearby too :).

23. take a thai cooking class

Taking a Thai cooking class is definitely a really fun and delicious way to spend your day! I loved the cooking class my partner & I took at Thai Farm Cooking School. We made lots of dishes and it was a very educational experience that came with a small cooking book afterwards so you didn’t have to remember every single thing you learned by sheer memory! They customize the cooking class to your preference of vegetarian or vegan as well. There are loads of cooking classes in Chiang Mai to take so pick one that you think you’ll enjoy but I’m almost certain they’re all awesome!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

24. TAKE A TRIP TO PAI

Pai is my favourite little weekend getaway! I have been over 7 or 8 times already at the time of writing this post. It’s a small village in the Mae Hong Soon area and is around a 3 hour journey from Chiang Mai. In short, their hotspots are the Pai Walking Street, Pai Canyon, the Bamboo Bridge, their White Buddha and Temple as well as Pam Bok Waterfall, Yun Lai Viewpoint and The Land Split.

If you know how to ride a scooter/motorcycle, it’s the best way to get around and super fun! However, of course go at your own risk IF you are a skilled driver. Pai is the only place where I will do this as it’s a small, slow enough town to ride around as a tourist and isn’t very busy. I wouldn’t recommend doing this in other cities where it’s busier unless you are very skilled and know the ins and outs and local ways or have been living in Thailand long enough. Most accidents result because of tourists so its best to stay off the roads if you are unsure of how to ride (best to not put yourself or locals who need to dodge around you in danger).

Back to Pai! You can easily take a mini van ride for around 200 baht per person. They go multiple times a day but note if you do get motion sickness to take something for your stomach as there’s 762 turns en route to Pai!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

25. TAKE A TRIP TO CHIANG RAI

Chiang Rai is also an awesome weekend trip and getaway! It’s even more north than Chiang Mai and is home to the gorgeous white temple (Wat Rong Khun). It's also home to the black house (Baandam Museum), the blue temple (Wat Rong Seur Ten) and Wat Huay Pla Kong (a gorgeous temple/pagoda area overlooking the entire valley).

You can easily take a bus ride to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai for around 200-300 baht per person as well (it’s around 3 hours of a ride).

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

26. go see huay tung tao lake & King Kong’s HAND VIEWPOINT

Huay Tung Tao Lake and King Kong’s Hand viewpoint are beautiful areas in Chiang Mai! Definitely worth checking out. Super cool.

Link to Huay Tung Tao Lake Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

Link to King Kong’s Hand Scenic Spot Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

27. take a trip to phuket or any of the islands

This kind of goes without saying since they’re extremely popular and usually most peoples’ first look at Thailand (that or usually Bangkok). Phuket is one of the top tourist destinations in all of Thailand, similarly, there’s Koh Samui and sooo many other gorgeous, serene islands to checkout. I love Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands and Phuket itself is filled with awesome things to do and see! If you’re in Phuket, in short, the hotspots I’d definitely checkout are Nai Harn Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, Kata Noi Beach, Promthep Cape, The Big Buddha and Karon Viewpoint. Of course, I would take a day trip to the Phi Phi Islands, too! There’s loads of tours you can take that take you to lots of different areas around Phuket too. Personally, I would avoid the Patong area as it’s insanely touristy and not as nice as other parts of Phuket. Remember, Phuket is a huge island so there’s many parts to it that are very different from one another. Taking a short flight to Phuket or one of the islands is always a fun getaway from the North, especially if you miss the beach!

Link to Phuket Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

28. take a trip to bangkok

As mentioned above, Bangkok or Phuket/the islands of Thailand are usually peoples’ first impression and landing point in Thailand. Of course, Bangkok is a must if you’re visiting Thailand (at least once). I’m sure there’s tons of blog posts on Bangkok itself and what to do/eat and see there so I’ll leave it at that! Taking a cheap flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is ultra cheap and another great idea for a weekend getaway or getaway in general to the big city.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

29. visit allll the waterfalls

Okay you guys. There are SO many waterfalls within the Chiang Mai area and in the North. Of course, my favourite local waterfall in Chiang Mai is Huay Kaew waterfall (and there’s a short hike at the falls up to a viewpoint overlooking the city you can take) and is only around a 5 to 10 minute walk to the Huay Kaew Arboretum which is a beautiful forested sanctuary within the city and in the area of Nimman/CM University. Some more well known, amazingly gorgeous waterfalls around the area worth going to are: Bua Tong waterfall (sticky waterfall), Mae Sa waterfall, Mae Ya waterfall and Wachirathan waterfall within Doi Inthanon National Park.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

30. visit the tribal and village areas + a cave temple

You can go check out the tribal people and long neck villages around the Chiang Mai area. A famous one is the Karen long neck tribe and it’s not too far from Chiang Dao cave which is a natural cave temple with stalactites! I’ve personally never done this but I’ve heard it’s a nice experience. Also, the hill tribes (local mountain people) and villages are beautiful as well.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

Photo credit:  Google.

Photo credit: Google.

31. visit the chiang mai grand canyon & waterpark/activity park

The Chiang Mai Grand Canyon is a naturally occurring Canyon area that is now a waterpark/activity area with zip-lining and so on! If you like this kind of thing, it’s definitely worth a visit. Learn more below. Also, there’s a really good hotdog spot (they have veggie dogs too, yay!) close by that I highly recommend checking out.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

32. watch the coolest flower parade ever at the annual flower festival

The Chiang Mai flower festival is unlike any floral festival I’ve ever experienced. It’s an incredible celebration of floral art and design that ends with floral parade float competition all made of flowers. Last year, the opening ceremonies were held at Tha Phae Gate and Nong Buak Hard Public Park. If you’re in Chiang Mai in February, I’d definitely check it out. It’s a wonderful floral spectacle!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

33. walk the canopy walkway & checkout the queen sirikit botanic garden

The canopy walkway is in the Mae Rim area and is a beautiful walk! You can also couple this with the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden as it’s literally a 10 minute walk or a 2 minute drive away.

Link to Canopy Walkway Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

Link to Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

34. relax at the ang kaew reservoir

I love this reservoir to meditate, chill or go for a walk. It’s within Chiang Mai University and is a very relaxing place.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

35. take a trip to lampang and see “floating temples”

Lampang is a city 1.5 hrs away from Chiang Mai and has some incredible things to do within itself! The area is famous for the “floating temples” and is definitely worth a visit.

This is a helpful blog post I found on the area: https://thailand.tripcanvas.co/chiang-mai/things-to-do-in-lampang-lamphun/

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

36. checkout the cm university & area

The Chiang Mai University is a really nice campus and is cool to checkout. There’s basketball courts, areas to chill, electronic vehicles that take students (and tourists, sometimes) around the campus and more! It’s also where the Ang Kaew Reservoir is (mentioned above) and close to some wonderful cafes, like Wonderland Flora cafe.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

37. learn how to dance at one nimman

One Nimman has dance lessons multiple times a week for Ballroom, Salsa/Latin, Swing and more! It’s a fun place to go to in the evenings with a friend or your partner and get your groove on!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

38. take a trip to even more beautiful neighbouring northern areas

Mae Rim, Mae Sa, Mon Jam and Mae Hong Son areas are stunning areas to do day trips in or weekend trips and they all have something wonderful to offer! Learn more about them by googling them :).

39. Visit a hobbit house in a beautiful village + see even more waterfalls

Want to stay in a hobbit house? Well, now you can! There’s a really cool hobbit house in the Tharnthong Lodge near Chiang Mai around 1 hour away. It’s also close to some more beautiful waterfalls, too!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

40. TAKE A WATERCOLOUR CLASS AT BAAN KANG WAT

Learning to watercolour paint or brush up your skills (see what I did there??) at the Baan Kang Wat watercolour studio is such an incredible experience! They offer a 3 hour class or a week long intensive class.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

41. go to the umbrella village & umbrella festival - bo sang

Bo Sang Umbrella Village is a colourful umbrella area filled with local talent and artists who paint gorgeous umbrellas! Every year they also have an umbrella festival where the area comes even more to life!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

42. MUSEUM YOUR heart out

If you’re a museum buff, you will absolutely LOVE exploring the museums in Chiang Mai (and there’s no shortage might I add). I’ll leave the list of museums google search below for you :). Go museum yourself out and learn about the rich history, culture, art (even illusion art) and so much more in Chiang Mai!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

43. cool down with the water festival, songkran in april

Songkran is the famous water festival that happens every April! I’ve never personally been in Chiang Mai in April but I’ve heard it can be pretty dang fun and a great way to cool down in the heat. Learn more below.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

44. make lots of friends (locals, travellers and tourists)

You will find almost immediately in Thailand in general but especially up North and in Chiang Mai, there are no problems making friends. Chiang Mai is one of the least lonely places on Earth in my opinion and I think a lot of it has to do with the beauty of Buddhism. I’ve made traveller friends whom I have met later on in other places in the World and still keep in touch with even today and have made local friends who are very near and dear to my heart who I keep in contact with often, too!

Whether you’re a solo traveller or a couple or a group of people, you will make friends and have rich conversations almost anywhere you go. The local people are so genuinely and authentically friendly and warm (that goes without saying in the land of smiles)! This includes the taxi/grab drivers, to the waiters and waitresses at restaurants, business/cafe owners and so on. There’s also loads of nomad/expat and tourist meet-ups and places you can go to meet other travellers too. The locals though are truly some of the nicest, most awesome people you’ll ever meet. I highly recommend getting out there and meeting people because you may meet your new best friend, lover or appointed family member!

Also, a bit of a side note but I feel the safest and most sense of community here than anywhere else in the World. Regardless of language barrier, you won’t feel alone or lonely here, I can almost guarantee you that. People are so trusting and literally leave their shops and bikes unattended. Stealing and crime and petty crime is extremely low or nonexistent. This is something you will hear from almost anyone who’s been to Chiang Mai, too (and for good reason). It’s a verrrry safe place!

45. LISTEN TO AMAZING JAZZ AT local JAZZ CLUBS/spots

The jazz in Chiang Mai is simply put some of the best jazz I’ve ever heard or experienced in my entire LIFE and in the WORLD (and I’ve been to the famous jazz clubs in New York). I’m a major jazz buff and I gotta’ say…is there anything Thai people can’t do?!? It’s insane to me how much talent is within this city. Chiang Mai is a very artistic city from artisan handicrafts to music to jazz to art to street art to unreal culinary talents to food art/cafe and latte art and so on…the list truly just goes on and on and on! The jazz though, you must go to regardless if you like jazz! The artists and vocalists are some of the best in the World and they make it look so effortlessly easy, too.

My top 3 favourite jazz clubs are:
Moment’s Notice
Northgate Jazz
Thapae East

46. spa day…every day?? get thai massages and pamper yourself at the amazing spas

This one kind of goes without saying but…get a traditional Thai massage and spa yourself out!! There are sooo many spas and places to get massages in Chiang Mai and in Thailand in general. Literally, they are everywhere and there’s something for every price range and person. There’s loads of nail salons and facial spots, too. Even saunas and steams! Google and TripAdvisor are great resources but my personal favourites are Zira Spa in old city and Choeng Doi Massage in the Nimman area. For nails, I love Heavenly Nails!

47. eat ALLll THE DANG FOOD!

This one also goes without saying for sure…eat alllllllll the food! Chiang Mai is a foodie’s DREAM city and heaven so for real…eat everything!! From fine dining, to cafes to casual spots to street food..it’s all so dang good. Chiang Mai has the World’s best food in my opinion and I’m a MAJOR foodie. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just Thai food here. You will get every kind of cuisine you want and it will most likely be the best you’ve ever had. Believe me. Every cuisine. If you want to know my personal top 30 favourite restaurants in Chiang Mai, then click here! Google and TripAdvisor are awesome resources too, of course. But I can save you a lot of time and money if you click my blog post on the top eats (I’ve dined at and eaten at over probably 75-100 separate spots and these are my ride or die’s). They are all vegetarian and vegan friendly too as I lead a plant-based lifestyle, but vegetarian/vegan or not, these are hands down the top best restaurants in town and there’s something for everybody!

Some local Thai cuisine must-try’s while in Chiang Mai: Khao Soi, Pad Thai, Papaya Salad (Som Tam), Tom Kha and Tom Yum soup, Burmese Tea Leaf Salad…have a coconut, have all the fruit shakes and of course…mango sticky rice!!

Top restaurants in Chiang Mai blog post

48. immerse yourself in buddhism

Buddhism plays such a big role in Chiang Mai and immersing yourself in it and learning more about it is an invaluable experience. This happens naturally by just being in Chiang Mai and spending time at temples and so on, but you can also get more involved in learning/studying and practicing Buddhism and meditation as well.

49. try a muay thai boxing class and do lots of yoga

Muay Thai Boxing is very popular in Thailand and Chiang Mai offers some fun spots to do a drop in class or get more serious about it, for sure. Just Google it to find one you like! It also hosts loads of yoga and meditation retreats and has all the fitness classes you can imagine at the local gyms and fitness clubs.

Link to Muay Thai Boxing Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

Link to Yoga Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

50. checkout the night life

Last, but definitely not least…Chiang Mai has some pretty poppin’ night life, bars and clubs if that’s something you’re into! Just google it or click the link below to find some fun spots!

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

Phew…that was a BEAST of a blog post to create! I hope you enjoyed it and that it helped you out in your Chiang Mai adventures :)

~

I started adding travel and more lifestyle type/style blogs to my site because I get questions and dm’s alllll the time from people from all over asking me what my top recommendations are, what to go see, what to do, where to eat, tips, hacks etc etc so I thought instead of typing it out each and every dang time, I’d just post it on the blog to help even more people (and low-key so I can just send a link to those who ask :P). I hope this blog post helped you out! If you enjoyed it, definitely feel free to share it! XO




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Sending you BIG love today & always! 

My whole heart, ♡

 

Hi! I'm Pooja,

A multi-passionate entrepreneur, coach and unwavering optimist committed to helping you become your best self yet.

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