The Top Most Photo-Worthy, Instagrammable Spots in Chiang Mai City: Must See’s & Best Places to Checkout!

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Chiang Mai is one of the most instagrammable places, I think on Earth. It has so much character, history and beauty to it! With trendy more modern districts like Nimman to the old city where there are temples, street art and Tha Phae Gate, there are many hidden gems to be found! And, with that, tons of photo-ops & instagrammable/insta-worthy shots to be taken. I think since having been in Chiang Mai around a year total at the time of writing this, I've probably taken over 5000 photos...it's not hard to find photo-worthy things in this magical place. Below I've narrowed it down to the top 10 most insta-worthy and picturesque places in all of Chiang Mai (and honestly, just cool places to visit and checkout that I think are must-do's)!

Blog post updated September 6th 2019.

11 most instagrammable spots in CNX
(and just all around awesome spots to checkout and visit):


Chiang Mai, Thailand is my favourite city in the whole wide World for SO many reasons and the temples, little hidden gems and gorgeous nature that surrounds it definitely add to why I love it so so much. I’ve personally travelled to around 25 countries and around 160 cities/places in my lifetime (thus far) across 4 continents…so hopefully that’s saying something.

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 2 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 top 10 best most instagram-able gorgeous spots for photos (and just awesome areas to chill, too).

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 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. DOI INTHANON

Doi Inthanon is a MUST 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.

Link to Google, TripAdvisor + more

2. 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. Tons of tourists take shots and photos at the temples as there’s so many beautiful areas even around the temples to take pictures at. Of course, dress appropriately and please be respectful!

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. Chiang Rai has some gorgeous pagodas. It also has the blue temple 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. 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. HUAY KAEW WATERFALL

Huay Kaew is one of the best kept secrets in Chiang Mai. Loads of tourists go to the larger falls or the sticky falls around Chiang Mai but Huay Kaew is a great local spot. It’s on the way up to Doi Suthep Temple as well as the Bhubing Palace, too! This waterfall has a beautiful quick hike/trail up overlooking Chiang Mai which only takes around 20-30 min up and 15 min (ish) down. It’s also right by the Huay Kaew Arboretum which is gorgeous, too!

Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

5. ONE NIMMAN + NIMMAN AREA + CAFES

Nimman is probably the newest most trendy spot in Chiang Mai. Some of it is Japanese inspired (like Maya Shopping Mall) and One Nimman is an awesome area for pics, too! Nimman is loaded with cafes, boutiques, shops and cool places for sure.

Checkout the top 20 cafes in Chiang Mai here, which also make some great photo-ops, too!

One Nimman: Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more
Nimman area:
Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

6. STREET ART + OLD CITY

There is so much street art in Chiang Mai and most of it is located in old city. Old city itself is a stunning area full of alleyways/walking paths, old roads, the ping river, temples, history and so many hidden gems. Old city is also even more lit up and extra special during Loy Krathong & Yi Peng, which are definite musts at least once in your life to experience! This coming year (at the time of writing this blog post) will be my 3rd time spending Loy Krathong & Yi Peng in Chiang Mai and it’s phenomenal. There’s lots of street are in the alleys near Reform Kafe and in old city in general.


Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

7. tha phae gate

The sacred Tha Phae Gate is one of Chiang Mai’s biggest touristy spots to take photos. It’s also a historical landmark. At almost any point in the day and at any time, there will be people snapping pics and for good reason! It’s not surprising that so much history, meaning and beauty makes for a gorgeous backdrop.

Link to Google reviews, TripAdvisor + more

8. BUAK HARD PUBLIC PARK

This is a gorgeous park in the 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 shared below were taken at the annual Flower Festival in Chiang Mai in February 2018.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

9. KEEP IN TOUCH

This spot is an absolute gem in Chiang Mai, you guys. A hidden, beautiful gem. This is a spot I think EVERYBODY needs to go to when in Chiang Mai. It is a seriously stunning experience in the most gorgeous setting! I can’t say enough good things about this place. It’s so picturesque and just so artisanal down to the environment, little touches, decor, ambience, food, drinks…all of it! During brunch time, you eat in the brunch cafe building that serves the most beautiful desserts and waffles with tropical fruits. It is set with floral arrangements everywhere and there’s instagrammers, tourists and locals alike who love to take photos here! And, for a good reason for sure. It’s gorgeous!! It also doubles as a little floral cafe and in the evening, you dine in the dinner building that is lit up looking like a fairytale magic-land. I recommend having both a day time brunch experience and a dinner fine-dining experience here. The owners are such sweethearts, too! Amazing for photos.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

10. BAAN KANG WAT

Baan Kang Wat is probably my 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)! One of the best spots for photos amongst all the other things I mentioned above, too.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

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It's a wonderful life 💫 #weekending

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11. ang kaew reservoir

Ang Kaew Reservoir is in the Chiang Mai University campus area and is stunning. There’s so much nature around, the reservoir and a super cute bridge. Lots of people do photoshoots here because of the serene beauty! I recommend going for a stroll here, regardless of photos or not as it’s so peaceful and beautiful.

Link to Google, location, TripAdvisor + more

SOME LAST USEFUL TIPS & INSIGHTS

OF COURSE, if you’re in Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong and Yi Peng (November) then there’s some amaaaazing photo opportunities as well! I personally love being in Chiang Mai in November & December because the city is so festive and there’s so much going on! The above listed are 10 spots that I wanted to include for everyone regardless if they’re in Chiang Mai for festivals or not, though :).

One bonus spot that is just all in all a spectacular experience is the Elephant Nature Park. It’s a beautiful place filled with beautiful souls and it’s definitely got some amazing photo-ops, too! I like to go at least once a year, but make sure you book in advance!

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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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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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