10 Best Things to do in Chiang Mai (Travel Guide)

Last updated on June 16th, 2020 at 07:19 pm

things to do in Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai travel guide

We spent a week to visit Chiang Mai in the middle of our one month Thailand trip. Chiang Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand and the capital of the Province of Chiang Mai. We really loved the city and there are things to do in Chiang Mai. From meeting people, nightlife, local food, day trips outside the city, visiting temples and exploring the night market. The internet connection worked well in Chiang Mai and we decided to do some work online before we headed off to the Thailand beaches for more island and relax time. Keep reading below our Chiang Mai travel guide.

Read here if you want to know more about the best cooking class in Chiang Mai!

Chiang Mai Travel Guide

How to get to Chiang Mai

By Train

things to do in Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai travel guide, getting to Chiang Mai by train

We got to Chiang Mai from Ayutthaya by train which is the same train line coming from Bangkok. It’s a long way, that’s why we recommend to get a night train. In this way, you will save time and money. You will avoid paying for accommodation and next day, first thing in the morning you will be able to enjoy the city.

We chose the cheapest ticket this time to try how is traveling by train, third class in Thailand. And? Great experience! The ticket was very cheap 240 Baths ($8). And we were sleeping very comfortable even stretching our legs. It´s not always possible to travel so comfortable with third class. It depends how full the train is. But in our first time, we had beginners luck!

By Plane

There are cheap flights from Bangkok, and other cities in Thailand. As Chiang Mai is a popular destination, you will find international flights going there with affordable prices.

Click here to book your private transportation from the airport to Chiang Mai!

By Bus

If you want to go by bus to Chiang Mai, there are buses running from Bangkok, at vaarious hours of the day. Like with the train, we recommend a night bus. Bring a blanket with you, the air conditioning is so high and you can get cold while sleeping.

By Hitchhiking

Don´t forget guys, hitchhiking works really well in Thailand. I tried hitchhiking in Thailand alone and with Rachel and the experience were both great! It´s the cheapest way and you will meet many people on the way. For this trip we didn’t hitchhike.

Transportation Around Chiang Mai

There are different ways of transportation in Chiang Mai. Since the shared taxi, prices around 40 baths per person to go the city center. Grab and Uber can be cheaper if you travel two people or more and if you want more comfort.

The best that we can recommend is walking around the city. When you visit Chiang Mai, you will realize than distances aren´t very big. It will not take more than an hour to go from one point to a different point inside the city. There are always temples and food to eat on the way to amenize the walk.

Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai

The weather in Thailand is both pleasant and predictable, making it a year-round destination from travelers all over the world. However, there are still ideal months and some periods to avoid if you want to make the most out of your stay in the country.

If you’re traveling to Chiang Mai you might want to avoid the summer months of March to May. If the heat doesn’t bother you, just always make sure to stay hydrated, bring sunscreen and to wear light clothing during your travels.

For those thinking of going from June to September, this is Thailand’s rainy season. Sightseeing may not be as enjoyable during these months. So, the best time to visit Chiang Mai would be around November to February, when the rain has lifted but the cool weather remains.

Click here to know more about the weather in Chiang Mai!

Daily Budget Travel in Chiang Mai

If you’re traveling to a foreign country, one of your primary concerns would be how much you’d have to spend in a day. This daily budget covers expenses for things like food, transportation, entrance fees and accommodations in the city. Prices are very affordable in Thailand. There are meals in local restaurants that go for as low as 30 to 50 TBH.

Some accommodations only cost less than 500 THB–that’s a room for below $15 USD! You can also get an Airbnb for $15 USD in Chiang Mai. Click here to get $30 USD free credit when you sign up for your first booking!

There are many mid-budget rooms in Chiang Mai for $20-50 USD and you can find luxury rooms starting from $80 USD. Click here to get the best hotel deals in Chiang Mai with Booking and Agoda!

As we previously mentioned, transportation is also cheap in Chiang Mai. So you won’t have any problem going around the temples and other sites. Entrance fees can take 100 to 500 TBH from your budget, depending on which places you visit in Chiang Mai.

A floating market tour goes for less than 700 TBH. Also, like we said, it only takes $5 USD to rent a bike and move around Chiang Mai. We still think this is the perfect way to move around the city!

Click here to get a discount booking your activities in Chiang Mai with Klook!

Things to do in Chiang Mai

There are many activities to do around Chiang Mai. For this day tour trip we teamed up with Travel Hub Chiang Mai. We traveled in a group with a guide. The transportation was a minivan and we spent an amazing day doing different activities.

We liked our guide and we learnt many new things that we didn´t know before about religion, food and Thailand. We totally recommend this tour. You can check the activities and pictures with more details below:

1. Visit Waterfalls

Visit Chiang Mai: Wachiritharn Waterfall

We visited Wachirathan Waterfall, it’s located one hour driving South of Chiang Mai. We went first thing in the morning and the place was really quiet, which is very useful for taking great pictures. These waterfalls aren´t for swimming.

2. Visit Local Market in the mountains

things to do in Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai travel guide

We love visiting local markets and we really loved the market in the mountains where sellers buy fruits and dry fruits. All the fruits tasted super yummy and we discover a new one: egg fruit. We tasted almonds, nuts, strawberries. When you travel, it is great to bring dry fruits on your luggage since you can eat at any moment and it takes very little space.

Egg fruit when visit Chiang Mai

3. Trekking around the jungle

Visit Chiang Mai: Waterfalls, things to do in Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai travel guide

We spent a couple of hours walking around the jungle. The hike was easy and very fun. We stopped for swimming in the waterfalls. OMG water was really cold! We also crossed bamboo bridges, we could see strawberry plantations in the mountain and we had great views of rice fields.

Click here to get a discount booking a trekking in Chiang Mai with Klook!

4. Having coffee in a village

Having coffee when visit Chiang Mai

All of us know that food is delicious in Thailand. But most of the people don’t know how tasty the coffee is in Thailand. We had the opportunity to meet locals and have coffee with them. We saw coffee can be harvested from plants, and how they get prepared from grinding to drinking!

5. Visit Pagodas Chedi’s of the King & Queen

Vit Pagodas when visit Chiang Mai, things to do in Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai travel guide

We visited The Pagodas of The Chedi Kingdom. The location was great on the top of the stairs and surrounded of beautiful gardens to walk around. We love the views from the gardens to the Himalaya Mountains. We could see a lot of Thai people and also foreigners visiting the Pagodas.

Click here to get a discount booking your activities in Chiang Mai with Klook!

More Things to do in Chiang Mai

6. Visit Doi Inthanon National Park

The highest point in Chiang Mai, things to do in Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai travel guide

Did you know that the highest point in Thailand is located in Chiang Mai? We have to say that we stay hiking around and we could get nice views in the mountains. One more interesting thing it’s cold there. As you can see in the picture below, it wasn’t exactly 6º degrees at that time. But in the morning, it is really cold like in the photo. It was 11º degrees which is very cold for Thai weather.

Click here to get a discount booking the tour to visit Doi Inthanon National Park with Klook!

7. Visit Temples when visit Chiang Mai

Temples when visit Chiang Mai

We loved walking around Chiang Mai for two reasons: it was very quiet not like the crazy Bangkok. And we can have temple sightseeing just while going around. In less than 5 minutes walking you will see temples and more temples. Both of us love the Buddhist culture and it’s very interesting for us.

We like the structure from outside with the ornamental decorations. And inside you can see the Buddha with the offerings from people and someone praying. Remember when you visit temples, you have to dress properly and respect their rules and culture!

8. Eating Local Food

Visit Chiang Mai: Mango Sticky Rice

One of our reasons why we love Thailand is the variety and quality of food. Here are some of our favorite dishes that we tried in Chiang Mai. We will add the prices in the local currency. At that time $1=35 Baths.

Mango Sticky Rice is our favorite dessert. As you can see in the picture, you have the mangoes with sweet, sticky rice with coconut sauce on the side. Price is around 80-90 Baths.

Visit Chiang Mai: Noodle Soup

Noodle soup for dinner is a great option in Thailand. There are many places to try it. Just check the best one and visit everyday! Prices: 40-50 Baths for a noodle soup.

Fried chicken is Rachel´s favorite dish in Thailand. Here you can see different local dishes like papaya salad, chicken with vegetables with local beers.

Pad Thai with shrimps or chicken is always delicious. One of the favorite choices for foreigners. Prices are around 50-60 Baths.

Local people loves Tom Yam! This soup is spicy with seafood and we liked eating with rice so we can handle better the spicy ha! Prices: 60-80 Baths.

Fried Rice: Visit Chiang Mai

Fried rice with vegetables in local places was one of our favorite choices as street food in Thailand. Prices: 40-50 baths.

Coconut soup when visit Chiang Mai

Coconut soup is really delicious, this time eating with fried chicken. Prices: 40-60 Baths for dish.

Eating Vegetables when visit Chiang Mai

And also healthy dishes like vegetables. Chicken with sweet sauce, cashew nuts and vegetables was very delicious! Prices: 60-80 Baths per dish.

9. Watch the Sunset in Chiang Mai

We are always chasing sunets, even when visiting Chiang Mai, we managed to find a good spot inside the city. This place was very close from the temples and it was a nice sunset.

10. Visit the night Market

The perfect place to walk around when the weather isn’t so hot! There are many plans to do in the night market. You can walk around, shop and well, shop more. You can enjoy a massage for your feet with the fishes. For us, the perfect time was always when having dinner, great conversation and going out for a beer. We loved having noodle soup for dinner and adding spices!

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Akyra Manor

Bathtub in the room at Akyra Manor, things to do in Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai travel guide,

There are a few places for staying in Chiang Mai, the most popular cheap accommodations are in city center near the night market. For this time, we chose to stay a little bit far from city center around 45 minutes, walking 15-20 minutes by local transportation. For our stay in the city we decided to team up with Akyra Manor. One of the best hotels in Chiang Mai, especially if you’re craving a luxury experience with the authentic Thai city vibes.

We enjoyed all the comfort and luxury of the hotel. Having our own bathtub in the room with a view. Modern style, comfortable bed and our espresso and cocktail machine. The hotel gives you cocktails and snacks in the afternoon. You have instructions and the ingredients to do by yourself a different one everyday.

Pool time!

Enjoying the pool when visit Chiang Mai, things to do in Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai travel guide

Our favorite place was the pool in Akyra Manor. We spent hours and hours there swimming and taking nice pictures. It was a very quiet place since the hotel isn´t very big, you can enjoy all the facilities without the crowd. Also we could enjoy sunset time!

Sunset when visit Chiang Mai

We enjoyed breakfast, one of our favorites so far at Italics Restaurant. Mixing Italian and Thai cuisine. We really loved the set up and the restaurant. Our favorite choices: egg benedict with salmon and crepes with ice cream. We tasted delicious fruits, fajitas, omelettes and dry fruits. Check them below:

Egg Benedict with Salmon

The location is great for nightlife with many local restaurants and places to go for a beer, supermarkets, and transportation. In only 5 minutes, you can find everything within walking distance  If you want to go walking to the city center, it will be around 45 minutes. And 15 minutes by taxi, grab or Uber!

Akyra Manor is a Boutique Hotel and the service is very luxury. You will find everything very clean. The rooms have luxury and comfort, the food is great and the staff is very friendly – well that’s what you would always expect with Thai people!

Click here to check prices and availability!

Some accommodations only cost less than 500 THB–that’s a room for below $15 USD! You can also get an Airbnb for $15 USD in Chiang Mai. Click here to get $30 USD free credit when you sign up for your first booking!

There are many mid-budget rooms in Chiang Mai for $20-50 USD and you can find luxury rooms starting from $80 USD. Click here to get the best hotel deals in Chiang Mai with Booking and Agoda!

Click here to get a discount booking your activities in Chiang Mai with Klook!

If you want to read more guides to travel around Thailand, check our travel guide to visit Ayutthaya. Or you can read how was our amazing experience in Kanchanaburi.

Hope you enjoyed our Chiang Mai travel guide, let us know which one are your favorite things to do in Chiang Mai in the comments below!

Feel free to use our links with discounts for Booking, Agoda, Airbnb and Klook. Using our links you will help us to continue with the maintenance of the website and it will not cost you anything. Thanks for the love guys

Happy Travels!

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. Now based in the Philippines!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.