The Best Chiang Mai Tourist Spots For Any Travelers

chiang mai attraction spots

Updated: 29th October 2023

Chiang Mai, a province in northern Thailand is best known for its warm hospitality and stunning mountain landscapes. Whether you’re a nature lover or cultural enthusiast, visiting Chiang Mai tourist spots provides a great experience.

Chiang Mai tourist attractions cater to all type of travelers, enhancing your vacation with its rich cultural heritage and a blend of outdoor adventure to dive in.

If you’re looking for vacation places, checking out best vacation spots for couples or even searching for a fun filled family-friendly holiday, here’s our top travel guide for your next trip.

chiang mai tourist spots for Couples

For a Romantic Escape

Doi Suthep at sunset: A visit to Doi Suthep at sunset provide couples with a breathtaking view and a truly romantic experience.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most iconic Chiang Mai temples located near Huai Kaew Road, Suthep Sub-district of Chiang Mai.

Explore the exquisite details of this Buddhist temple’s structures, including the main chedi (stupa), the surrounding shrines and the ornate Naga staircases leading to the temple’s entrance.

Learn about the annual festivals celebrated at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, such as Visakha Bucha Day, Loy Krathong, and Songkran, which provide unique cultural experiences and vibrant displays of Thai traditions.

For Couples Who Love Culture

Chiang Mai Museum which was built in 1969 to showcase the finest Lanna and Buddhist relics in the region, has always been one of Chiang Mai top tourist attraction places with unique collections of art, distributed across 16 rooms.

The lighting in the property fit to rival top museums in the world including 3D imaging. The museum provides comprehensive display information on the beautiful architectural treasures and ancient Buddha casts.

The largest Buddha Head to be seen in the Lanna Kingdom: Phra Saen Swae, which was totally cast in bronze in the fourteenth century, continues to be one of the must-see things for visitors.

  • Entrance fee for foreign tourist: 100 baht
  • Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday (9am – 4pm)

Temple Hopping and Traditional Festival

Wat Chedi Luang: Strolling around the old city in Chiang Mai, you’ll notice a high density of beautiful temples. I would highly recommend if you’re going to do at least one temple, it should be Wat Chedi Luang.

Originally constructed in the 14th or 15th century, this temple is both fascinating and majestic. It is situated in the downtown area and is a popular site for tourists.

There’s like this very dramatic reveal of it and it’s very special. This is my favorite temple because of its super huge courtyard with comfortable benches to relax and let your thoughts wander.

The Buddhist Manuscript Library and Museum which is nearby offers detailed information about Wat Chedi Luang.

Wat Phra Singh: Uncover the fascinating history of Wat Phra Singh which dates back to the 14th century. From the exquisite Lai Kam assembly hall to the glittering golden chedi, each structure showcases a blend of Lanna and Burmese architectural styles.

Learn about the legends surrounding this sacred statue, believed to contain relics of the Buddha, and how it became a revered object of worship for Buddhists across Thailand.

The atmosphere of Wat Phra Singh is pretty serene and calm, which attracts visitors seeking spiritual experience and tranquility. Learn about the meditation programs and divine retreats offered within the temple grounds.

Wat Phra That is one of the popular Chiang Mai tourist spots on Doi Kham Hill near the city. This sacred site holds religious and cultural significance and is a hidden gem that captivate visitors with its beauty.

Climb up to the top of Doi Kham Hill and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of Chiang Mai city and its surrounding mountain landscapes.

You may also want to participate in the meditation session to reset your body and mind, witness the soulful chanting of the monks, or engage in the act of making merit.

chiang mai tourist spots

Loi Krathong Festival: If Chiang Mai festivals and events are your favorite attractions while on vacation, you might want to consider this iconic Loi Krathong festival which starts from 31st Oct every year.

This is truly a beautiful event and it is well worth to experience thousands of rice paper floating lanterns go up into the sky all at once. You can also participate in this heart-warming event.

Not only it’s just visually stunning, but Chiang Mai at night truly comes alive during this time with warm golden glow filling the night sky. Try sending up a lantern with your thoughts and prayers for someone back home.

For a Relaxing Retreat

Arrange a couple’s spa day at a renowned wellness center, enabling couples to unwind and rejuvenate. Organize a trip to Chiang Mai’s renowned hot springs, a soothing experience for just the two of you seeking relaxation or simply chill-out in the beautiful scenery.

Learn about northern Thailand’s history and culture by signing up for a cooking class. There are plenty of cooking schools in Chiang Mai to choose with varying prices and different kinds of ethnicity philosophies, but it’s the authentic ones that you should join.

So I would recommend doing a little bit of research on popular northern Thailand dishes such as Gaeng Hung Lay or Khao Soi before enrolling in a cooking workshop. 

chiang mai tourist Places for Family

For An Adventurous Family Vacation

doi inthanon chiang mai

One of the top tourist places in Chiang Mai is Doi Inthanon National Park, the highest peak (2,565m) in Thailand approximately around 70km from the city.

This beautiful mountain park in Chiang Mai provide visitors with stunning viewpoints, captivating sunrise and sunset, tribal villages and much more. There are clear path for those who wish to hike as well.

Hike to the beautiful Sirithan Waterfalls and Mae Ya Waterfalls, which offers tranquil spots to relax or trek on Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail along Doi Inthanon’s garden of Eden.

Engaging a local driver/guide is a great way to explore this picturesque part of the Himalayan mountain range. Before you start your hike, it’s compulsory to engage a local Hmong guide to enter the park.

Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary pretty much stands as a ray of hope if you are looking for ethical elephant experience and responsible wildlife tourism in Thailand.

At the elephant retirement park in Chiang Mai, you can immerse yourself in a truly ethical elephant encounter like walking alongside these gentle giants, feed them and even bathe them.

Visitors actually leave with a profound understanding of the importance of protecting wildlife and supporting ethical practices while being close to these elephants and their mahouts.

Pai in Mae Hong Son province lies 146km northwest of Chiang Mai, and around 4 hours drive up the winding mountainous road. There’re tons of beautiful viewpoints and some pretty nice vacation spots just hours away.

I highly recommend that if you’re visiting Chiang Mai, perhaps, you can give up a few nights to go over to Pai. The trip up there is full of loops and sharp turns. It’s not for the faint of heart. But when you get up there, it’s totally pristine and the air is super fresh too. 

Take an idyllic ride or arrange with your local guide (in Chiang Mai city) to visit Wat Phra That Mae located on a hill 2km from Pai town.

It offers a breathtaking 360* view of Pai, with a magnificent sunset as a backdrop. Totally perfect for Instagram-able photo shots.

So, basically it’s like a replica of a mountain village with incredible views all around. Also, a good place to just be inspired by nature and the beauty of Mae Hong Son with the rice hill terraces and valleys.

It’s totally worth it, and you can have lunch at an ethnic-minority Chinese Yunnan village along the route as well. 

For Outdoor Family Fun

Sticky Waterfalls: Chiang Mai outdoor tourist attraction spots are the most sort after. The must-do thing is to visit Bua Tong Sticky waterfall in Mae Taeng National Park.

Surprisingly, there is no entrance fee to visit this natural wonder. You can climb the waterfall’s entire 3 levels without slipping, thanks to the unique limestone formations.

The Sticky Waterfall cascade down year-round due to the water’s natural spring, but sometimes it may flow lesser from the water source.

For Indoor Family Exploration

Chiang Mai Aquarium: One of the latest Chiang Mai family-friendly attractions is the sprawling Fish Aquarium, featuring a wide glass underwater tunnel separating the aquarium from the rest of the Chiang Mai zoo.

The freshwater tunnel is 66.5 meters long and the sea tunnel is at the same length, making it the world’s longest. There are more than 20,000 aquatic species from all over Asia and the Amazon.

  • Admission is free
  • Open Daily from 10.00am – 4.00pm
  • Freshwater feeding show 10.30am – 3.30pm
  • Marine feeding show 11.30am – 2.30pm 

chiang mai tourist Places for Small Group

Chiang Mai Night Market: The one that I’m recommending is the widely famous Sunday Walking Street. This is the ultimate all-in-one night bazaar in Chiang Mai old town.

The street closes by 4pm, and you can find everything that is available from all the other bazaars combine. All the attractions and activities runs all the way from Pae Gate in the old town to Ratchadamnoen Road.

There are a ton of things to do here, but this event in particular brings out the entire Thai community. Stroll through this famous market for local handicrafts, street food and live performances.

The best part is that all the popular and top Chiang Mai hotels near night bazaars are conveniently located a few steps away.

I highly recommend planning your trip around the weekends, and while talking about timing, ensure that when you’re here, include a Saturday in your itinerary.

The most sensational places to visit in Chiang Mai at night is to check out the super huge night markets. They basically shut down most part of the central streets in the old city.

You might also be confused by “Bazaars and Night Markets” because there are a few of them at different locations.

Like for example, Kad Manee Night Market is open daily from 5pm to 10.30pm and has beautiful sitting areas around a water fountain, and best for having dinner and beers.

This is really the place to enjoy delicious cheap local delicacies compare to other eating spots here in Chiang Mai. 

chiang mai tourist attractions

Local Thai Food: Central Shopping Chiang Mai Airport offer an unparalleled shopping experience as well as one of the favorite places to eat in Chiang Mai, with tons of local food kiosks lining up at the basement of the complex.

You can sample signature dishes like Khao Soi and Sai Oua from rows and rows of food kiosks. Central Shopping Chiang Mai Airport is your ultimate destination for the best eating therapy and a sortment of local snacks.

Pub Crawl: There’re ton of tourist spots in Chiang Mai old city to have a good time, but I would recommend branching out to a chic neighborhood. Nimman Road is a place where most of the younger crowds hang out.

There are plenty of awesome restaurants and bars, and lots of little cafes for you to slip into. If you’re looking for a place to stay on long-term basis, you can find some nice apartments on AirBNB at this locale.

There’re cool boutiques and small malls with venues that provide lots of entertainment. Most of the buildings have really good internet service, and international cuisine for you to hang out.

Chiang Mai attractions

Quirky Attraction: The Black Canyon upside-down hotel offer a quirky experience and the only one in Chiang Mai. With unconventional designs, this offbeat hotel is somewhat refreshing for those seeking something out of the ordinary. You might just want to stay for a night.

It’s a great place for a pit stop while you are on a tour towards Chiang Dao. You can’t miss it, since where else can you find an entire A330 airbus parked on the side of the road.

Before boarding the plane, you need to fork out 120 baht for admittance including a free drink/dessert at a “terminal”. It’s not much different from a regular airliner, except for the presence of a standard table in front of rows of seats.

Formerly known as Air Diamond Café & Hotel,  but recently taken over by Black Canyon Ltd in 1st quarter of 2023. (at this point of writing)

Open (weekday) 9:00am – 6.00pm
Open (weekend) 9:00am – 6:00pm

  • Seats in Plane – 200
  • Parking – Free
  • Alfresco Area – Free Seating

Planning Tours To Tourist Attraction Spots In Chiang Mai

Doi Inthanon Trekking Expedition: Organize a challenging trek to Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand, offering a thrilling adventure for outdoor enthusiasts.
 
Sticky Waterfalls Adventure: Plan an exciting day trip to Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls, where the you can climb the unique limestone waterfall formations and visit a secret temple.
 
For History and Culture Buffs: Delve into the rich history and culture of northern Thailand as you visit ancient temples, including the famous White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), and learn about the fascinating heritage of the Golden Triangle.
 
For Family-Friendly Adventure: Opt for a family-friendly Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle Day Tour, catering to all ages. Engage the kids with the interactive elements of the tour, such as visiting the Hill Tribe Museum and exploring the wonders of the region together. 
 
For Nature Lovers:
  • Doi Inthanon National Park Day Tour: Arrange a day trip to Doi Inthanon National Park, exploring the stunning scenery, waterfalls, and the highest pagoda in Thailand.

For Outdoor Enthusiasts

  • Doi Inthanon and Hill Tribe Village Tour: Design a tour that includes a visit to Doi Inthanon along with a trip to a local Hill Tribe Village, allowing a deeper cultural experience.
  • Sticky Waterfalls and Local Village Exploration: Integrate a trip to the Sticky Waterfalls with an exploration of nearby local villages, providing insights into the region’s culture.

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