Chiang Mai

Places to Visit in Chiang Mai in 2024

Discover the charm of the enchanting city with our guide to the top places to visit in Chiang Mai. From the historic Old City with its ancient temples to the vibrant Night Bazaar, explore the cultural richness and natural beauty of northern Thailand’s gem. Uncover hidden gems like Doi Suthep-Pui National Park and the serene Wat Umong, or immerse yourself in the local culture at the bustling Warorot Market.

Whether you seek adventure in the lush countryside or tranquillity in a traditional Thai spa, Chiang Mai offers a diverse array of experiences for every traveller. Explore the sights, sounds, and flavours of this captivating city and create memories to last a lifetime.

Have you ever experienced an instant connection to a place? A feeling of belonging washes over you when you arrive as if you’ve finally found your home away from home. That’s exactly how I felt when I landed in Chiang Mai. From the breathtaking landscapes to the awe-inspiring temples, the enchanting elephant camps, and the warm-hearted people, I fell head over heels for this vibrant city. Join me as I take you through a journey of discovery, highlighting all the must-visit destinations in Chiang Mai.

Chai Lai Orchid

PIN for later reference – Places to Visit in Chiang Mai

PIN for later reference - Places to visit in Chiang Mai
PIN for later reference – Places to visit in Chiang Mai

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About Chiang Mai

Formerly the capital of the independent Lanna kingdom, Chiang Mai resides in the northern region of Thailand. Established in 1296, this city boasts a rich history steeped in ancient temples and stunning landscapes. Renowned for its tranquil ambience and low crime rates, Chiang Mai stands as a haven for solo travellers seeking safety and serenity amidst their adventures.

Places to visit in Chiang Mai

Visitor Information

The optimal time to experience Chiang Mai’s charm is from October to April, when the weather is pleasantly cool. However, this period also marks peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds. January stands out as the coldest month in Chiang Mai.

Plan for at least 3 to 4 days to fully immerse yourself in the city’s offerings. With many activities within and around Chiang Mai, there’s something to suit every traveller’s preferences. For those with extended time to spare, consider a comprehensive two-week itinerary in Chiang Mai that you can use to maximise your time at Chiang Mai.

If you are looking for a place to stay near Chiang Mai, consider Chai Lai Orchid Eco Lodge and Cafe, an Elephant Camp.

Consider purchasing the TAGTHAi one-day or three-day pass to maximise your exploration. This economical option allows access to numerous sights across Chiang Mai, ensuring you can see and do more during your visit.

Places to Visit in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai offers a myriad of activities catering to diverse interests. From exploring bustling local markets and savouring authentic cuisine to marvelling at magnificent ancient temples, this city has something for every type of traveller. With approximately 24 Buddhist temples scattered throughout Chiang Mai, there’s no shortage of cultural and spiritual experiences to discover.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

While leisurely exploring Chiang Mai city, my friend and I had an unexpected encounter with a taxi driver named Mon. Mon introduced us to the captivating Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, proclaiming it as the must-visit highlight of Chiang Mai.

Perched atop Doi Suthep mountain, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a revered Buddhist temple steeped in history, tracing its origins back to 1383. Regarded as one of Thailand’s most sacred temples, it demands respectful attire and shoe removal before entering its hallowed grounds.

The temple exudes magnificence and grandeur, adorned with gilded domes that gleam in the sunlight. Its expansive complex is adorned with various Buddha statues and ornate structures, each intricately depicting tales of Buddha’s journey.

Located at an elevation of 1,676 meters, reaching the temple’s base necessitates transportation. From the ticketing office, visitors have two options:

  • Ascend approximately 309 steps on foot.
  • Opt for a cable car ride (priced at around 50 Thai Baht per person for a round trip).

Both routes promise an enchanting journey to this sacred sanctuary, offering breathtaking views.


Legend has it that a monk named Sumanathera received a divine message in a dream, instructing him to journey to Pang Cha in search of a sacred relic. Following the dream’s guidance, he discovered a bone believed to be the shoulder bone of Gautama Buddha, emitting a mystical glow and exhibiting extraordinary powers.

Presenting the relic to King Dharmaraja of Sukhothai, Sumanathera hoped to showcase its miraculous abilities. However, to the king’s dismay, the relic remained inert, casting doubt on its authenticity. Granting Sumanathera permission to retain possession of the relic, King Dharmaraja urged caution.

With the king’s consent, Sumanathera ventured to Lan Na and presented the relic to King Nu Naone. During the journey, the relic inexplicably split into two fragments. One portion was enshrined at Wat Suan Dok, while the other was placed atop a revered white elephant, destined for return to the forest.

As the elephant traversed the terrain, it ascended Doi Suthep mountain, where it paused, trumpeted thrice, and passed away. Witnessing this miraculous event, King Nu Naone interpreted it as a divine sign and promptly ordered the construction of a temple on the site where the elephant drew its final breath. Thus, the legendary origins of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep were born.

Visitor Information

  • Located approximately 15 kilometres from Chiang Mai City, the journey to the temple typically spans about 30 minutes by road.
  • For transportation, our taxi driver, Mon, quoted a fare of 800 Thai Baht for a round trip to the temple.
  • The temple’s operating hours are from 6 AM to 8 PM daily.
  • Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of 30 Thai Baht upon arrival.
  • Additionally, for those opting for the cable car ride, there is an extra charge of 50 Thai Baht per person for a round trip.

Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham

Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham stands as one of Chiang Mai’s most ancient temples, boasting a history spanning over 700 years. Constructed under the reign of King Mangrai from the Lan Na dynasty, this Buddhist sanctuary is renowned for its historic tunnels and imposing chedi.

Nicknamed the “Tunnel Temple,” Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham offers visitors many attractions to explore. Among its highlights are the famed Talking Trees, adorned with words of wisdom in both Thai and English languages. Additionally, the temple houses a wealth of treasures, including intricate paintings, a library, and a museum, each contributing to the site’s cultural significance and allure.

Visitor Information

  • Situated approximately 6 kilometres from Chiang Mai City, the journey to the temple typically lasts just over 10 minutes by road.
  • The temple welcomes visitors daily from 5 AM to 8 PM.
  • Notably, no entrance fee is required for admittance to this revered site.

Wat Chedi Luang

Another venerable temple in Chiang Mai is Wat Chedi Luang, boasting a rich history spanning approximately 600 years. Initially commissioned by King Saen Muang Ma in the 14th century to enshrine his father’s ashes, construction of the temple commenced during this period. However, it wasn’t until the mid-15th century that Wat Chedi Luang was finally completed, showcasing the enduring legacy of its creators.

Visitor Information

  • The temple is conveniently located within Chiang Mai City, making it easily accessible on foot for those in the city centre.
  • Visiting hours for the temple are from 5 AM to 10 PM daily.
  • Upon entry, adults must pay an admission fee of 40 Thai Baht, while children are charged a reduced cost of 20 Thai Baht.

Local Market at Night Bazaar Road

Night Bazaar Road, in the heart of Chiang Mai’s city centre, is a vibrant hub renowned for hosting one of the city’s premier local markets. Here, visitors can indulge in diverse offerings, from authentic local souvenirs to tantalizing street food delights.

With its lively atmosphere and a plethora of choices, the Night Bazaar road market promises an unforgettable experience for tourists seeking to immerse themselves in Chiang Mai’s vibrant culture and flavours.

Visitor Information

  • The market operates daily from 5 PM to 11 PM, with the peak hours typically occurring around 7 PM.
  • Visitors are encouraged to haggle when negotiating prices to secure the best deals and maximise their shopping experience.
Night Bazaar Road - Chiang Mai

Chom Thong

Situated in the southern region of Chiang Mai province, Chom Thong offers a plethora of activities for visitors to enjoy, with one of the highlights being the renowned Doi Inthanon National Park.

Wachirathan Waterfall

Standing at an impressive height of 80 meters, Wachirathan Waterfall is a must-visit attraction in the Chom Thong district. Also referred to as Diamond Creek Falls, this stunning cascade ranks among Thailand’s most prominent and picturesque waterfalls.

Visitor Information
  • The waterfall welcomes visitors daily from 6 AM to 5 PM and is conveniently situated along the route to the summit of Doi Inthanon.
  • To access the national park, there is an entrance fee of approximately 50 Thai Baht per adult.
Wachirathan waterfall - Chiang Mai

Doi Inthanon National Park

Renowned for its breathtaking waterfalls, scenic trails, and panoramic viewpoints, Doi Inthanon National Park is a popular day trip destination from Chiang Mai. Often referred to as the “roof of Thailand,” the park is dominated by the majestic Doi Inthanon, the country’s highest mountain. Rising proudly to an elevation of 1,676 meters, Doi Inthanon offers adventurous visitors the opportunity to ascend its summit, accessible via 306 steps.

Visitor Information
  • The national park is situated approximately 70 kilometers from Chiang Mai city, with the journey by road typically lasting up to one hour and 30 minutes.
  • For added convenience, visitors can opt for a one-day tour from Chiang Mai, which generally costs around 600 Thai Baht.
  • At the summit of Doi Inthanon, a temple awaits exploration, accessible to visitors at no cost. However, it’s essential to adhere to dress codes by covering your head and wearing appropriate attire, avoiding shorts or revealing clothing.
  • Upon entering the temple, remove your footwear outside, as shoes or slippers are not permitted inside the sacred space.
Doi Inthanon National Park - Places to visit in Chiang Mai

Weekend Trip to Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple) in Chiang Rai

Renowned for its stunning and elaborate architecture, Wat Rong Khun is a privately owned art exhibit located in Chiang Rai. Often referred to as the White Temple, this immaculate structure is characterized by its pristine white color, symbolizing the purity of Buddha.

Visitor Information

  • The temple is approximately 175 kilometers from Chiang Mai city, with the journey by road typically taking up to 3 hours.
  • The temple’s operating hours are from 8 AM to 5 PM daily.
  • Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of 50 Thai Baht per adult upon arrival.
  • Given its status as a temple, you must dress modestly and wear appropriate clothing during your visit.
In front of Wat Rong Khun

You can also visit Chiang Dao which is North Thailand’s hidden gem. It is around 70 kilometres from Chiang Mai and makes a perfect weekend trip.

How to Get to Chiang Mai?

By Air

The distance from Bangkok to Chiang Mai spans approximately 700 kilometers. Opting for a flight offers the quickest route, with travel time taking just about 1 hour. Air Asia provides excellent connectivity between the cities, offering one-way tickets priced around USD 40 to 70.

If you have a transit stop in Bangkok and have very few hours in the city, then read how to spend a few hours in Bangkok so you can make the best use of your transit time.

By Public Transport

Chiang Mai is also accessible via trains and buses from Bangkok. Although these options entail a longer journey of around 10 to 11 hours, they are the most budget-friendly modes of travel, typically costing less than USD 20 for a one-way ticket.

Transportation within Chiang Mai

Rent a Bike

The most cost-effective means of transportation within Chiang Mai city is by renting a motorbike. Numerous rental outlets offer this service, and it’s essential to possess an international bike license to operate one within the city limits. The rental cost for a gearless two-wheeler is typically around 450 Thai Baht per day.

Mon, Taxi Driver’s Contact Details

It was serendipitous how my friend and I stumbled upon the exceptional taxi driver, Mon. During our three-hour journey with him, we found his fare to be quite reasonable. Not only is he amicable, but being a local, he possesses a wealth of knowledge about the area and shares fascinating insights into its history. I wholeheartedly recommend Mon, especially for solo travelers looking to explore Chiang Mai.

It was serendipitous how my friend and I stumbled upon the exceptional taxi driver, Mon. During our three-hour journey with him, we found his fare to be quite reasonable. Not only is he amicable, but being a local, he possesses a wealth of knowledge about the area and shares fascinating insights into its history. I wholeheartedly recommend Mon, especially for solo travelers looking to explore Chiang Mai.

If you’re interested in reaching out to Mon, you can contact him at 065-6949404. Don’t forget to mention my name when you get in touch!

Mon, my taxi driver in Chiang Mai
Mon, my taxi driver in Chiang Mai

Do Not Forget to Get the Famous Thai Massage

Review of Gold Hand Thai Massage

Who doesn’t appreciate the bliss of body massages, especially the renowned Thai massages? Pampering oneself is a universal pleasure, and I am no exception. During my time in Chiang Mai, I indulged in body massages nearly every day, eager to discover the perfect massage center with the ideal ambiance and skilled masseurs.

Among the places I explored, Gold Hand Thai Massage stood out as a gem. Conveniently located on Night Bazaar Road, this establishment offered an exceptional experience at an affordable price. The staff was exceptionally friendly, and the massage itself was incredibly relaxing. I wholeheartedly recommend Gold Hand Thai Massage for anyone seeking the ultimate massage experience in the city.

Is Chiang Mai Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Absolutely! Chiang Mai is incredibly safe for solo female travelers. While I explored the city with a friend, I can confidently affirm that Chiang Mai is welcoming and secure for all travelers. However, it’s always wise to exercise caution and stay aware of your surroundings, particularly at night, as you would in any city worldwide.

Chiang Mai elephant camp

Closing Notes

After exploring numerous cities in Thailand, I can confidently declare that Chiang Mai holds a special place in my heart as one of the most stunning destinations in the country. Its allure is timeless, and despite having visited before, I’m continuously drawn to return and uncover new treasures.

Have you had the chance to experience Chiang Mai? Share your favorite aspects of the city by writing to me at I’d love to hear about your adventures!

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Places to Visit in Chiang Mai in 2024
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    PIN for later reference – Places to Visit in Chiang Mai

    PIN for later reference - Places to visit in Chiang Mai
    PIN for later reference – Places to visit in Chiang Mai