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Chiang Mai - Places to visit

Chiang Mai is always on the top list of the best destinations to visit in Thailand. Let’s figure out the top 10 places to visit in Chiang Mai, somewhere you can’t find out in other regions all over the world.

Chiang Mai, the fifth biggest city in Thailand, is an area where both the past and present merge together with luxury buildings and venerable temples. Once coming here, travellers will have a chance to contemplate the colorful hill tribes, misty mountains as well as discover typical Thai culture. A trip to Chiang Mai can broaden your horizons about this beautiful country a lot. Now, let’s follow us to find out the top 10 places you should not skip when visiting Chiang Mai.

1. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, also known as “Doi Suthep”, is a Theravada Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai Province. Thai people said that if you had not seen the view from Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, you had not been to Chiang Mai. It is because from Doi Suthep, you can see all the impressive views of downtown Chiang Mai. In addition, near this temple, there is a National Park integrated with Mae Sa Valley. The complex brings a veritable buffet of sights and activities for visitors. In the north, the Mok Fa area welcomes people with a stunning cave, waterfall and nature trail.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, also known as “Doi Suthep”, is a Theravada Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai Province

2. Wat Phra Singh

One of the most appealing old temples in Chiang Mai is Wat Phra Singh, dating back to the 14th century when Chiang Mai used to be the capital of Lanna Kingdom. This “Temple of the Lion Buddha” is active with a lot of monks and novices living together here. Coming to Wat Phra Singh, you will have an opportunity to see a wide range of classic buildings under Lanna Kingdom. The oldest structure is the main chedi. which was constructed in 1345 in a circular shape with a square base.

One of the most typical examples of Lanna architecture is the beautiful Viharn Lai Kham. At first, it was named Wat Li Chiang Phra but in 1367, it was renamed to its recent name due to the bringing of the Phra Singh Buddha image to the temple. In the Songkran festival on April 13th, you will see many local people sprinkling water over the temple with an aim to honor the image.

Wat Phra Singh is one of the most appealing old temples in Chiang Mai is Wat Phra Singh

3. Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang was constructed between 1385 and 1402 under the reign of the Mengrai dynasty. Its premise includes a lot of great structures like the city pillar and the giant gum tree. According to beliefs of the ancient Lanna, the city pillar was built at the city’s epicentre in order to mark Lanna Kingdom, which was known as the centre of the universe. To protect the city, ancient people grew a gum tree at the entrance of the temple. They believed that if the tree fell, a great catastrophe would follow.

If you visit the temple during the Buddhist holidays, you will see so many worshippers convening here in the evening for the candle procession. There, you can leave prayers and offerings atop the chedi at any time of the day. The temple is among the tallest structures in Chiang Mai and is situated on a very easy place on Phra Pok Klao Road so you can totally find it without any difficulties.

Wat Chedi Luang premise includes a lot of great structures like the city pillar and the giant gum tree

4. Wat Phra That Doi Kham

In the southwest of Chiang Mai, there is a Golden Temple named Wat Phra That Doi Tham. It is situated at the top of the hill so from the summit of it, you can see both the rolling mountains and the beautiful city. However, this temple is mainly visited by the local people who come to honor the gold Buddha image. If you want to get to the temple, you will have to walk over 300 steps. Remember to arrive between 6 am and 5 pm everyday or else, the temple grounds will close after that.

From Wat Phra That Doi Kham, you can see both the rolling mountains and the beautiful city

5. Wat U Mong

Located against the Doi Suthep mountains, this 700-year-old Buddhist temple offers a peaceful setting along with a small zoo behind. Wat U Mong Temple has a wide range of tunnels. On the grounds, there are lots of monks chanting. It is truly a great place for meditation because it is surrounded by forests and a natural lake nearby. Therefore, you can attend the Dhamma talks or meditation classes if you want.

U Mong offers a peaceful setting along with a small zoo behind

6. Chiang Mai National Museum

If you want to learn about Chiang Mai’s history, you should not miss this National Museum. It preserves culture and art from Northern Thailand. It is a significant educational center in Chiang Mai because it shows visitors many exhibitions of how this city had changed in the past.

If you want to learn about Chiang Mai’s history, you should not miss this National Museum

7. Art in Paradise

Opened in July 2013, Art in Paradise is a place to create fun memories with your family and friends. It is considered as the biggest 3D art museum in the world. Coming here, you will have a chance to contemplate 130 3D paintings spread across 8 zones like Lanna, Zoo, Dinosaur, Egyptian, Aqua, Thai, Classic Art and Surrealism. Therefore, it is not hard to capture stunning pictures with these  creatively designed paintings. Both adults and childrens are suitable for the museum. So, don’t forget to visit with your partner!

Art in Paradise is a place to create fun memories with your family and friends

8. Night Bazaar

The Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai comprises numerous stalls selling anything you need such as wallets, clothes, CDs, DVDs, luggage, furniture, jewellery or silk along the street. Nevertheless, you should learn how to bargain to get the best price. And when you get hungry because of shopping, you can come over to some bars and restaurants in the vicinity.

The night Bazaar in Chiang Mai comprises numerous stalls selling anything you need

9. Sunday Night Market 

Another popular shopping experience you should not skip is the Sunday night market walking street. Besides a spectrum of music, art, food and crafts, it also offers tourists with different types of local events. The walking street will start at 4 pm every Sunday until midnight. During this time, the road is closed for people to enjoy the atmosphere.

Another popular shopping experience you should not skip is the Sunday night market walking street

10. Elephant Rescue Park

The last name in our list is the . Here, all the elephants are rescued from places like the logging industry, circuses, unfortunate accidents, hard working sites and mistreatment camps. Tourists can come to walk with them, feed them, play with them, hug them, bathe with them and even more. Throughout many activities with the elephants, tourists can know much more about these animals and what it takes to treat them with full respect.

Throughout many activities with the elephants, tourists can know much more about these animals

Overall, they are the top 10 places in Chiang Mai, Thailand that you should visit once coming to this city. There are a lot of temples and recreational entertainments. So, make a detailed plan and visit as many as you can. Good luck!

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  • Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
  • Chiang Mai Old City Temples
  • Chiang Mai Night Safari
  • Wiang Kum Kam
  • Elephant Rescue Park
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Karen Hill Tribe
  • Wat Phra Singh
  • Wat Chiang Man
  • Chiang Mai Old City Temples
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    Chiang Mai Old City Temples Chiang Mai Old City Temples
    • The list of millions of temples that beautiful and worth visit
    • Surrounded by majestic mountains and countless of romantic canals as in myths
    Best for: Photography enthusiasts
  • Karen Hill Tribe
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    Karen Hill Tribe Karen Hill Tribe
    • The Karen are considered as a tribal group of people who have historically lived in the hills Thai border
    • One of the most exotic experiences on the planet
    • The village near Chiang Mai and can be reached by taxi
    Best for: Cutural lovers, Group travel, Budget travelers
  • Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
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    Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
    • Play the role of the house for over one million inhabitants which made up of different ethnic demographics
    • The chedi’s sight, a 24 – meter high construction and safe - keeping the relic
    Best for: Backpackers, Nuclear families
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
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    Doi Inthanon National Park Doi Inthanon National Park
    • Part of the Himalayas and the highest peak in Thailand
    • An eco-tourism area famous for dozens of natural waterfalls, caves and old forests.
    • The park comprises various sections and 65 species of mammals
    Best for: Extended families, Young adults, Couples
  • Wat Phra Singh
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    Wat Phra Singh Wat Phra Singh
    • Has the prosperity of plaining to see from the lavish monastic buildings and trimmed grounds
    • The second most venerated temple in Chiang Mai
    Best for: Buddhism devotee, Seniors
  • Wat Chiang Man
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    Wat Chiang Man Wat Chiang Man
    • Chiang Mai’s oldest temple and covers some important Buddhist images
    • Worth visiting for its historical significance
    Best for: Seniors, Buddhism devotee
  • Elephant Rescue Park
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    Elephant Rescue Park Elephant Rescue Park
    • An area for injured or abused elephants
    • Where nurtures and acts as a sanctuary for elephants
    • Have endless fun while playing with these lovely animals
    Best for: Families with kids, Group of friends
  • Wiang Kum Kam
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    Wiang Kum Kam Wiang Kum Kam
    • An ancient settlement, submerged and abandoned for more than 700 years
    • The earliest historic settlement in Chiang Mai established by the Mon people
    • The artifacts unearthed here lasting from the 8th century
    Best for: History devotee, Culture lovers
  • Chiang Mai Night Safari
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    Chiang Mai Night Safari Chiang Mai Night Safari
    • A spectacular sight to enjoy for people of all ages
    • The most beautiful Night Safari in the world
    • The Savanna Safari Zone is well-known for being the house of over 300 animals
    • The nightly musical fountain and water screen Laser Light Show
    Best for: Families with kids, Group travel, Honeymoon
  • Wat Phra That Doi Kham
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    Wat Phra That Doi Kham Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Find perfect tours and activities in Chiang Mai