Your first time in Chiang Mai - What to do?

Ever thought about taking it slow, getting cozy with nature, and simply chilling out? Well, that's where Chiang Mai comes into your mind. Why hurry when you can kick back, relax, and soak in the incredible natural vibes? Here's a guide to help you make the most of your first time in Chiang Mai.

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Explore the Old City

Chiang Mai's historic center, the Old City, is a maze of narrow lanes and ancient temples enclosed within moat and city walls. Begin your journey here to soak in the city's rich heritage. Visit iconic temples like Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Phan Tao, where you can witness exquisite architecture and experience the tranquility of Buddhist traditions.

Experience the Night Bazaars

Night markets in Chiang Mai are more unique than those in Bangkok. There, handicraft souvenirs stand out and are more special than anywhere else in Thailand. If you visit, you will feel that it's more relaxed and experience the unique way of life of the people in Chiang Mai. Don't miss the famous Night Bazaar on Chang Klan Road, and the Sunday Walking Street on Ratchadamnoen Road, which turns into a pedestrian-only market every Sunday evening.

Visit Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep is popular among both Thai and foreign tourists because it is considered the quintessential temple of Chiang Mai. This location serves not only as a significant Buddhist religious site but also as a hub for Lanna art and breathtaking panoramic views of the entire city of Chiang Mai. You can hike up the 306-step Naga staircase which can be enjoyed from the viewpoint. The stunning golden chedi and intricate artwork make it a top attraction.If you find yourself in Chiang Mai and don't make a stop at Doi Suthep, it could mean you've missed out on a key experience there! 

Explore the Natural Wonders

Chiang Mai's surroundings are blessed with lush forests, waterfalls, and serene lakes. Take a day trip to places like Doi Inthanon National Park, the highest peak in Thailand, or visit the stunning Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls, where you can climb the unique limestone cascades.

Attend a Cooking Class

Thai cuisine is renowned worldwide, and what better place to learn to cook it than in Chiang Mai? Sign up for a cooking class and discover the secrets behind delicious dishes like green curry, pad Thai, and mango sticky rice. Many classes include a visit to a local market to buy fresh ingredients.

Interact with Elephants Responsibly

Chiang Mai offers opportunities to interact with elephants, but it's crucial to choose ethical and responsible elephant sanctuaries that prioritize the animals' well-being. These sanctuaries offer a chance to feed, bathe, and observe these gentle giants up close.

Attend a Thai Traditional Dance Show

Immerse yourself in Thai culture by attending a traditional dance performance. Venues like the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center offer a glimpse into the kingdom's rich artistic heritage, complete with mesmerizing costumes and graceful dances.

Relax with a Thai Massage

After days of exploration, treat yourself to a traditional Thai massage. Chiang Mai is renowned for its affordable and high-quality spa experiences. You'll find plenty of options to rejuvenate your body and mind.

Savor the Local Cuisine

If you think Thai food in Bangkok is too spicy for your taste, then Chiang Mai is the place to be. Up here in the north, our local cuisine is known for its delightful flavors without going overboard on the spicy taste. That's why you'll often see foreign tourists enjoying meals at Northern Thai restaurants without breaking a sweat. Don't miss the opportunity to savor khao soi, a northern Thai noodle soup, or explore the vibrant street food scene. Local markets, such as Warorot Market, are perfect for trying authentic Northern Thai dishes. 

Join a Monk Chat

Engage in a meaningful cultural exchange by participating in a Monk Chat. Many temples in Chiang Mai offer sessions where you can converse with monks to gain insights into Buddhism and daily life as a monk. Having a chat with local monks or checking out different spots can give you fresh insights into discovering peace. Plus, you might even run into foreign monks who've joined the community here. This might show you a way of looking at a way of life that's more relatable to you.

Your first visit to Chiang Mai promises unforgettable experiences and a deeper understanding of Thai culture. Embrace the city's vibrant traditions, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality, and you'll leave with cherished memories and a desire to return to this captivating destination.

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