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Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand is a tourist epicentre best known for its lush mountains, colourful hill tribes, ancient temples, elephants and artisan markets. However, the area has increasingly become a drawcard for contemporary arts and galleries, night bazaars, boutique hotels and has a buzzing culinary scene and cooking schools. For history and culture buffs, the ancient fortified Chiang Mai Old City will delight with its over 300 beautiful Buddhist temples, museums, street bazaars and its overall laid back atmosphere.
The 16th century Wat Sri Suphan or Silver Temple in the old city has solid silver stupas that twinkle in the daylight. Also located right in the Old City, is Wat Chedi Luang with its enormous crumbling main monument standing 80 metres tall. The temple complex dates back to 1385 and was once the home to the most cherished Emerald Buddha, which is now on display in the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
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Wat U Mong
Also known as Wat Umong Suan Puthatham, Wat U Mong is a forest temple in Thailand, located south of Suthep Road near the Doi Suthep mountains. This temple houses a replica of the Ashok Pillar with 4 lions and a wheel at the base with a larger wheel on top, like an umbrella for the lions.
The wat is known for its large chedi and ancient tunnels with Buddhist images below the chedi. Behind the wat is a small open zoo where fish, pigeons, deer, turtles can be fed. There is a Buddha field of broken sculpture, one of a fasting Bodhisativa, a spiritual theatre of painting and reproductions of ancient Buddhist sculptures of India and a library-cum- museum containing books on Buddhism (and other philosophies), and a collection of historic objects and Buddhist art.
Wat U Mon is easy to find and interesting to visit. Opening hours are 6 am – 4 pm daily. The entrance is free.
Chiang Mai National Museum
The Chiang Mai National Museum is a regional museum in the district. Built with the traditional Lanna architecture, displayed especially in its splendid multi-tiered roof. Opened in 1973 by the King of Thailand, this museum is dedicated to the conservation of the arts and culture of Chiang Mai and the Lanna (upper north), housing a range of exhibitions on Chiang Mai’s history and that of the Lanna Kingdom too. Chiang Mai was the last capital, after Chiang Rai, of the Lanna Kingdom that previously reigned in northern Thailand before it merged with the kingdom of Siam in 1775. There is still a common perception among Chiang Mai people though, that they are Lanna first, then Thai.
The museum is open from Wednesdays to Sundays at 09:00 to 17:00 with an entrance fee of 30 Baht. Five minutes away by car is the Tribal Museum with the same opening hours. A trip to these two museums is a memorable must-visit when you tour this part of Thailand.
Located just outside of the Old City walls to the east of Chiang Mai on the south side of Tha Phae Road, this is the site where, in 1797, the northern warlord Chao Kavila performed a ritual circumambulation of the city to reoccupy it after a prolonged period of Burmese rule. Thus the 200-year Burmese rule ended. (Circumambulation, moving around a sacred object is integral to Hindu and Buddhist devotional practices, and also present in Christianity, Judaism and Islam).
The original buildings in this complex date as early as perhaps 1497, with most buildings reconstructed in the 19th century and later. It has a Burmese style chedi that was rebuilt in 1958 and a Lanna style ordination hall made from teak and glass inlay mosaic built in 1819 – often the focus of photographs of the temple. This temple is most known for its prominent Buddha image of white teak made in the 1600s.
Wat Buppharam, another must-visit during a northern Thailand tour, is open daily from 6 am – 5 pm with free admission.
The Highland People Discovery Museum
This venue in Mueang Chiang Mai District is dedicated to chronicling the history of northern Thailand’s hill tribes.
Wat Chiang Man
The oldest of the area’s temples was built in the 13th century. It contains two famous Buddha statues: Phra Sae Tang Khamani and Phra Sila
Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden
Located in the Mae Rim District, the QSBG spans 6,500 rai housing 12 greenhouses, the largest such complex of its kind in the nation.
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The most visited site in Northern Thailand is the 14th century Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, located within Doi Suthep National Park. This most revered temple is crowned by a majestic glistening gold plated 24-metre towering monument. The drive to this site is scattered with mighty waterfalls and tropical rainforest making it a brilliant day out. Wat Umong is a 700-year-old bell-shaped stone pagoda complex and monastery in the forest of Doi Pui Mountain. This is a place of worship with many resident Buddhist monks and features mediation tunnels, old ruins, statues and fountains.
Things to do in Chiang Mai include daily sightseeing tours such as the elephant camps, the tiger kingdom, White Temple and Golden Triangle where the two rivers intersect creating a three-way border between Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Dao Cave and natural hot springs.
Chiang Mai attractions include temples, jungles, elephants, tigers (the tiger cubs will surely fascinate kids and adults alike), the Karen hill tribes (that deserve a tour more than a simple visit) and artisan markets. The Hill tribe villages feature a market where their traditional crafts are displayed for sale. The ancient fortified Chiang Mai Old City is popular for its temples, museums, night bazaar and overall laid back atmosphere and emerging contemporary art scene. The old city can be enjoyed on a one-day tour. Chiang Mai nightlife is increasingly popular full of hipster bars and food fare. Chiang Mai tours offer many day trips such as the elephant and tiger camps, the White Temple and Golden Triangle, Doi Inthanon National Park, The Flight of the Gibbon Zipline, Chiang Dao Cave with its caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites, and natural hot springs among others.
It’s considered safe compared to other tourist centres with less incidence of theft, harassment or violence. Tourist areas throughout Thailand will always attract local scammers, but if you are aware and take necessary precautions as you would in any foreign place, your stay should be hassle-free.
Northern Thai ancient heritage makes this place fascinating. Set in a mountainous region, its surroundings give rise to jungle temples and monasteries, elephant and tiger camps, and the Karen and other mountain tribes with their decorative golden neck rings. Alongside these experiences, travellers can enjoy artisan markets, a budding contemporary art scene, a smorgasbord of food fare and bars.
Traditionally Chiang Mai is best known for its mountains and hill tribes, 300 temples, elephants and artisan markets. However, the area has become increasingly popular for contemporary arts, night bazaars, boutique hotels and a buzzing culinary scene.
Chiang Mai accommodation is varied across distinct areas and at its heart is the beautiful fortified Old City with its surrounding moat and the bustling Chiang Mai Night Market. Then there’s the quaint Riverside full of old-world charm situated on the banks of the Mae Ping River and the modern Nimmanhaemin Road, laden with boutiques, art galleries and great dining choices.
Chiang Mai weather has three seasons, with October to April being the dry season with warm days but cool evenings. This is the most popular time to visit. The hottest months are April and May where temperatures surge and the heat becomes stifling. June to October marks the wet and humid season.
Located 700 km north of Bangkok in a verdigris valley on the banks of the Ping River.
The most popular time to visit is October to April during the dry season when there are warm days but cool pleasant evenings.
There are no beaches in or near Chiang Mai. However, there is a river running through the city. To get to the beach, you will have to fly to Phuket, Krabi, or Koh Samui or ride a 12-hour bus to Bangkok and then a number of hours from there to get to a coastline.
The general consensus ranges from 3-5 days, depending on what you want to see and do. Staying up to five days will give you enough time to do all the major things in Chiang Mai without feeling rushed. Of course, you can condense these activities and attractions into a shorter period of time.
During the dry season, after warm days the temperature can plummet down to 15 degrees in the evening, so be sure to pack a jacket if visiting from October to March. In April, the days are super hot with little relief in the evenings.When visiting during the colder season, one of the most famous attractions to explore are the beautiful temples, hot springs, and the natural wonders in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is cheaper than Bangkok and considerably cheaper than the islands of Phuket or Koh Samui. Street food costs less but it’s important to keep in mind that depending on your budget and tastes, Chaing Mai can be cheap or expensive as you wish to make it. There are Chiang Mai hotels to suit all budgets.
Chiang Mai is safe for tourists, if travellers abide by the general safety protocols for travelling, like being aware of one’s surroundings,There are scams important to be aware of: Tuk-tuk scam of overcharging passengers- Make sure that you have agreed on the price with the river before you get on. Motorbike scam – where renters are charged for “new damages” when they return the bike. Check the bike carefully before you get on it. Gem scams–when sellers insist their gems are valuable and insist they’re giving you a bargain.Be careful of card scammers (where your credit card information is stolen through ATMS) and pickpockets when in a crowded place.Solo travellers find Chiang Mai a popular destination and it is generally safe to travel alone to Chiang Mail. Some reminders and tips from locals, though:– When in a bar or anywhere taking a drink, watch your glass or bottle, as you would anywhere else. Don’t accept any drink offered unless it was made in front of you.– Don’t go around by yourself at night, stay in well-lit and populated areas.In this pandemic, take all the required travel vaccinations. For Thailand, get hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines as well as cholera, malaria and hepatitis B.
The city wall surrounding The Old City designates the area where it all began for this ancient kingdom’s capital. A day tour around this area is convenient. Many sights that Chiang Mai is famous for are situated here like museums and galleries and nowadays, restaurants and bars.Sights and attractions are quite near each other so a road tour can easily be done in the Old City to embark on these interesting activities.Chiang Mai National Museum. Located on the Northwest Highway next to Wat Jet Yod, this is open from Wednesday to Sunday 9 am to 4 pm.Wat Chedi Luang. Found on Phrapokklao Road and open from 6 am to 5 pmWat Bupparam. On Thapae Road, it is open from 6 am to 7 pm.Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre. On the Prapokklao Road between Rajdumnern Road and Rajwithee Road, open from 8 am to 5:30 pmWat Phan Tao. Diagonally adjacent to the Wat Chedi Luang on Phrapokklao Raod, open from 7 am to 5 pm.Wat Phra Sing. Found along Singharat Road and open from 7 am to 7 pm.Lanna Folklife Museum. Found on Phrapokkalo Road, open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 8:30 am to 5 pm.Chiang Mai Historical Centre. Found on Ratvithi Road next to the Arts and Culture Museum and the former City Hall.Suan Buak Hat Park. Located on the southwestern corner of the Old City walls and open from 8 am to 5 pm.Wat Chiang Man. A temple inside the Old City, located along Ratchaphakhinai Road and open from 9 am to 5 pm. The latest cost of an entrance ticket is $26.83. If you want a guided tour, it will cost you the same price.A: Currently, an entrance ticket to Wat Chiang Man costs USD 26.83. Guided Wat Chiang Man tours start around USD 26.83 per person.Sunday Walking Street. Chiang Mai’s famous Sunday market/weekend market only runs once a week. Many tourists visit night markets where there is a wide range of food stalls, handmade goods, souvenirs, and roadside massage parlors offering the best of traditional Thai massage.Thapae Boxing Stadium. Spend time watching the best muay Thai fights in Thailand for entrance fees ranging between 400 THB to 600 THB per person, depending on where you decide to sit.Thapae Gate. The Pae Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai. This landmark was once the fortress for the old city. This area boasts other markets selling fresh fish and classic Thai street food.Three Kings Monument. The Three Kinds Monument is a large open square featuring the three founded of Chiang Mai.Warorot Market. The Warorot Market is a great place for people who love food. Vendors offer ready-to-eat meals, local snacks, and fresh produce. The Thai name for Warorot Market is Kad Luang.Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall. Located in one of the city’s national parks, tourists visiting the sticky waterfall may find themselves climbing directly up the rocks even when the water is cascading down. Unlike other waterfalls, the mineral deposit at the Buo Tong Sticky Waterfall prevents tourists from slipping, making it the perfect canvas to climb up the waterfall.Khao Soi Khun Yai. Experience one of the best local Thai dishes in Khao Soi Khun Yai. The restaurant is best known for serving Khao Soi chicken, Ba Mee noodles, and a spicy Thai noodle soup.
According to some traveller reviews, here are the best locations to stay in Chiang Mai, depending on budget and interests:For Budget Travellers. The hotels in the area of the Old City and nearby. It is interestingly an almost perfect square and surrounded by a moat. The area has most of what a traveller would need like temples and museums galore (like the Lanna Folklife Museum), a host of restaurants and cafes, and markets, places even children would find interesting.For nightlife. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is also in the centre of the town, very close to The Old City. The many upscale hotels in this area do not eclipse the presence of budget accommodations too, which makes the area attractive for people who just seek to party the night away.An alternative location is the Nimmanhaemin, also called Nimman or Nimman Road. Ideal for young people. Also known as “Coffee Street,” yes, numerous cafes and restaurants and trendy boutique shops. A lively area that has several accommodation options to cater to all budgets.For Families travelling with Children. The Riverside is the location ideal for a more relaxed area far from the city buzz, especially for family groups. Right next to the Ping River, a lovely vista meets your eye from your window.For Luxury Stay. Both The Old City (inside its walls) and the Nimman areas are recommended by traveller reviews to have wonderful luxury hotels.
As the capital of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Lanna, an overnight stay will not suffice to see and experience what there is in Chiang Mai. A four-nights-five-days trip is just about right to have the chance to explore and get the feel of Chiang Mai.
A trip to Chiang Mai is unforgettable, culturally and spiritually enriching and fun! Located in the northern part of Thailand, expect to see a landscape of mist-covered mountains. It is also a shoppers paradise with its famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. Adventurers are met with multiple options of tours to choose the Chiang Mai attraction or mountain to visit or climb. The city centre has coffee shops, restaurants to partake of tasty cuisine, Thai and international, Thai massage parlors and cooking courses, not to omit the varied hues and designs of handicrafts and antiques.700 km north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai lies in a verdant valley by the Ping River. It was established in the 13th century (1296) as the capital of the ancient Theravada Buddhist Lanna Kingdom. At present, the town presents a beautiful harmony of fusion of modern structures and revered temples.
The Elephant Nature Park is number is among the top 5 best-rated (most ethical) elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. 60 km from the city centre of Chiang Mai, the Elephant Nature Park is one of the most well-known sanctuaries in the whole of Thailand’s elephant attractions. It is both a sanctuary and rescue centre, with the twin objectives of rescuing and rehabilitating battered elephants.
There is no exact or rigid dress code in Chiang Mai, as in the rest of Thailand (city or countryside) — except in temples (inside or even within temple grounds) — shoulders and ankles must be covered, and shoes must be taken off. Specific attire to be avoided are sleeveless shirts, vests, short tops, see-through shirts, shorts, leggings, mini skirts.Other non-spoken dress codes, also in other parts of Thailand, would be:– In Chiang Mai, when visiting the Doi Suthep, wear a warm cover-up, like a sweater or sweatshirt so as not to freeze.– Wear a helmet when driving a motorbike or scooter on the road.– In this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, wear a mask, preferably the recommended surgical mask, and a face shield. Most countries impose penalties on those caught without at least a mask.For a Chiang Mai night or day trip, specifically, take warm clothing. Remember its location is in Northern Thailand so its temperature would be lower (read: cooler) than n Bangkok or Phuket or the islands.Doi Suthep (complete name – Wat PhraThat Doi Suthep) is one of Chiang Mai’s most popular tourist attractions. The Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a Buddhist temple situated 1050 metres above sea level, it is recommended to wear sneakers and long pants too. A hoodie if your trip is by motorbike.In the rainy season, you should wear (or pack) a: waterproof and windproof jacket, a waterproof poncho, quick-dry clothing (like leggings or linen pants or shirt), slip-proof footwear or running shoes.
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Pai are the three provinces in Northern Thailand. These areas are known for having the best trip available for adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts across the country. In Chiang Mai alone, tourists can veer off the main road and explore the wooded area beyond the city. People looking for a bit more challenge can also try trekking up the Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain and the highest peak in Chiang Mai.
Visit Chiang Mai today. If you’re looking to spend less money but still get the best trip and experience in Thailand at the same time, you can book early with Thailand Holiday Group. Call us or send us a message during our opening hours.
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