Things to do in Chiang Mai that are as unique as you and me

Explore both new and old parts of this ancient city with historic and adventurous activities for all.

Whether you interact with wild animals, tour the city’s grand temples, cook local dishes or roam through markets, one thing’s for certain – Chiang Mai is a city that won’t leave you bored.

Whether you’re visiting for relaxation, adventure, or a bit of both, Chiang Mai will keep you busy from morning until night with these top things to do.

Top things to do in Chiang Mai


Ooh and ahh at the elephant santuary

Explore an elephant park or sanctuary where the gentle animals roam freely.

Learn from the pros how to care for elephants and keep them happy. You’ll even get the chance to feed them some sweet treats and pet them.

There are full and half-day tours available.


Shop till you drop at the local markets

Chiang Mai is a lively city with markets every day of the week. The most popular is the Night Bazaar which sells everything from cheap electronics to clothes and tourist souvenirs.

There is also a section for food with live music.

The Sunday Market is perfect for authentic trinkets, Warorot Market is ideal for food lovers and JJ Market has the best handcrafted pieces.


Partake in a cooking class

Chiang Mai is one of the best places in Thailand to join a cooking class for a good reason, as some of the tastiest Thai dishes come from the north.

Join a cooking class and you can learn how to make some of your favourite Thai dishes such as pad thai, green curry and sweet mango with sticky rice, all with local ingredients fresh from the market.


Go on a night safari

Get up close to wildlife in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park on a night safari.

In the tour you can interact with gentle animals such as zebras and giraffes as they roam freely through the park with the option to feed them from the open tram.

Jungle predators can also be seen but from a safe distance.


Cycle, segway or drive around Old City

Discover Chiang Mai’s Old City by bike, segway, bike at night or air-conditioned transport.

The Old City is a walled section of Chiang Mai where most of the city’s temples and historic buildings are located.

It’s a small area filled with gold Buddhas, detailed architecture and fascinating history that you could spend days exploring.


Pay your respects inside an ornate temple

Chiang Mai is home to numerous temples, which are scattered throughout the city. Many boast beautiful, intricate details, kilograms of gold and historical significance.

A trip to Chiang Mai is incomplete without seeing the small, serene areas that these temples inhabit in the busy city.

Half and full-day tours are available.


Explore the jungle by zipline

Soar through the jungle on a zipline for a thrilling day of adventure.

Flight of the Gibbon has the longest zipline in Asia, with skybridges and descents through its ziplining course. One of the top attractions in the country, the Flight of the Gibbon gives you the chance to spot these native animals swinging from trees as you zip from tree to tree through their natural habitat.


Enjoy a traditional Thai massage

When in Thailand you need to experience a traditional Thai massage to understand what all the hype is about.

Massages can last from half an hour to two hours and include full body massages or just a simple foot massage.


Relax and rewind and take some time for yoga

Chiang Mai and Thailand in general is a magnet for yogis seeking retreats to escape from the everyday and upskill in their practice.

As yoga plays such a large role in Thai culture, you'll find there are more than a handful of yoga studios and retreats you can partake in throughout the city.

Some classes are in studios while others take place in quiet and peaceful gardens.


Tee off on the golfing green

The beautiful city of Chiang Mai is home to a number of golf courses which are suitable for every level.

The courses are up to international standards and offer incredible background scenery of flowers, tropical jungle and mountainous terrain.

Popular golf courses include North Hill Chiang Mai Golf, Summit Valley Chiang Mai Country Club and Chiang Mai Highlands Golf and Spa Club.

Check out the Thai nightlife

Chiang Mai may be a historical city by day but it really comes alive at night.

The Old City is packed with open-air bars and clubs. One of the most popular for dancing to put on your must-visit list is Zoe in Yellow.

If dancing is not your forte, you can also enjoy some nightly entertainment at The Chiang Mai Cabaret Show (pictured). It's a ladyboy show that's lauded the world over.

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Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at finder.com.au and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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