What to do in Chiang Mai

Activities, attractions and tours
Chiang Mai which includes fashion and performance art as well as a small group of people

Chiang Mai Attractions

Thailand’s fourth largest city, the ‘rose of the north’ is a popular destination for travellers and over recent years has seen an influx of people moving here from the capital Bangkok. This ancient city, a one-time capital of the Lanna kingdom, lies in the rolling foothills of the Himalayas and up until the mid-20th century, could only be reached on foot. These days things are a little different but Chiang Mai still maintains its historical charm. The old walled city contains the remains of dozens of temples, many decorated with beautiful wood carvings, and the city’s growing number of tourist attractions have put it firmly on the map.

Areas & Neighbourhoods in Chiang Mai

Old Town - This historic part of town is where you’ll find the majority of the stunning temples and sites. Surrounded by the remains of the city walls and gates, there’s also a moat running around the square and it’s small enough to explore on foot.

Night Bazaar - The area around the Night Bazaar is where you can find much of the mid-range accommodation, with plenty of bars and restaurants close by too.

Riverside - Along the banks of the Ping River you can discover some of Chiang Mai’s most upmarket hotels and restaurants.

Nimmanhaemin Road - Discover fashionable boutiques and lots of bars and cafes clustered around the Nimmanhaemin Road to the northwest of the old town. This is where the city’s young and hip crowd hangs out.

Things to See in Chiang Mai

Visit the Elephant Nature Park, a charity organisation that rescues and cares for poorly treated elephants. Go on trips, learn about caring for these amazing animals and watch them bathe in the river. Another must see is the Night Bazaar, where sellors try and hawk you everything you could imagine, and there is some excellent street food on offer too. The Wararot and Muang Mai markets are also well worth a visit. Escape the city and head to Doi Suthep, a mountain to the north where you can visit the majestic Wat Phra That temple.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

Visit over New Year (April in Thailand) and experience the biggest party in the calendar. Thai people go all out for Songkran. It’s basically a full on water fight that lasts a whole week. This bizarre tradition originated here and it’s great fun if you’re visiting during this period. The Loy Krathong festival is another big party in the year. Hot air balloons and fireworks are released into the sky, creating a unique spectacle. Of course, throughout the year, the incredible collection of temples and stunning landscape around the city offer plenty for visitors to see and explore. It’s definitely worth hiking out to the waterfalls at Doi Suthep where you can cool off from the tropical heat that dominates the region.

You can also book top Chiang Mai hotels and great Chiang Mai holidays right here on Expedia.co.uk.

Explore thousands of activities with free cancellation and no added fees.

Design your experience with airport transfers, excursions, day tours & more.

Get an insider's look in what to book before you travel.

Most fun & popular experiences in Chiang Mai

Popular places to visit in Chiang Mai

Explore areas of Chiang Mai

Day trip destinations from Chiang Mai