6 fun things to do in Chiang Mai
6 fun things to do in Chiang Mai: I’ve heard so many good things about Chiang Mai. One of my friends said, “I can totally live there for 3 months at least!” and the other friend said, “It’s a beautiful city! I loved it so much!” Chiang Mai seems like the apple of people’s eyes.
“What’s so special about Chiang Mai?” Hmm…… I was curious. As I walked with my backpack through Chiang Mai streets from Chiang Mai train station, I wasn’t sure Chiang Mai would be my heaven like other people said. The streets were full of sophisticated cafes, nice restaurants, and travel agencies. It was really nice but Chiang Mai was way more touristy than I thought. Maybe I feel that way because I just came from a beautiful quiet old city, Ayutthaya.
After staying in Chiang Mai for almost 2 weeks, this city revealed its charm in different ways and slowly made me addicted to it without even being noticed. The weather in Chiang Mai is cooler and the air is definitely cleaner than Bangkok. Chiang Mai old city is manageable compared to Bangkok. (Bangkok is just too big to deal with… maybe one day, I hope I’ll manage it.)
I hope my 6 fun things to do in Chiang Mai list will make you enjoy Chiang Mai even more.
1. Going to temples
- Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep (30 baht)
It’s a must-see temple located on Mt. Doi Suthep. It takes around 30 minutes to get there from the old city depending on your driver’s skill and the traffic.
How to get to Doi Suthep (Opening hours: 6 am – 6 pm): There are red tourist shuttle buses lined up on the street right in front of the Seven Eleven near Chang Phuak Gate (If you want to see Google Maps, click here.) It costs 50 baht for a single trip and 100 baht for a round trip. The driver gives you an hour and half to look around the temple. Then, you meet back at the appointed time and location.
- Wat Chedi Luang (Worawihan)
Wat Chedi Luang (Opening hours: 6 am – 6 pm) is located in the center of Chiang Mai’s old city. You have to pay 20 baht to get in Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan.
Aside from these must-see temples, there are still many Buddhist temples around the old city of Chiang Mai, so just follow your instinct (or Google Maps) and find your favorite temples!
2. Chat with Monks (free)
I happened to join a chat with a monk session at Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan one day. There’s a sign near the temple. It was very interesting to have a conversation with a Thai monk about his life, Buddhism and meditation. Don’t be afraid to talk to monks. They are willing to talk to you. (Ah, if you are a girl, then you’d better dress properly – it means that you should cover your legs and shoulders, and you shouldn’t touch monks! If you touch them, they have to go through a 3 days of intensive cleaning ritual!)
3.Take a Thai cooking class (starting from 800 baht)
If you are a Thai food lover, why don’t you learn how to cook Pad Thai and Mango sticky rice! There are so many different cooking classes in Chiang Mai.
I took a Thai cooking lesson at Asia Scenic cooking class (I don’t get a penny writing this so don’t get me wrong). I was lucky to meet a great cooking teacher, Ai. He was so funny that I couldn’t stop laughing. I had so much fun laughing and cooking. I made pad thai, spring roll, green curry paste, green curry, and mango sticky rice. You can also make different dishes in each category.
4. A sexy date with an elephant! (starting from 1,800 baht)
If you are fond of elephants, why don’t you have a sexy date with an elephant? Haha. The sexy date with elephants here means that you feed them their favorite food such as corn, pumpkins, and sugarcane, and then have a relaxing time by taking a bath together in the river.
When you google “Chiang Mai elephants”, you will get to see various programs. For me, I booked a full day course at Happy Elephant Home through my hostel. There are two courses – one is a half day course for 1,800 baht, the other is a full day course for 2,400 baht. It was quite pricey for a budget backpacker like me, but it was worth it!
5. Be spoiled by cheap, delicious Thai food at the local market
I fell in love with Thai food when I came to Thailand, I especially love eating street food. But I started to eat like the locals when I came to Chiang Mai. I stayed at the hostel near Chiang Mai gate which is near Chiang Mai Gate Morning Market. As soon as I woke up, I headed to the market, bought one or two 20 baht dishes with 5 baht of rice, warmed it up in the microwave oven and ate them! The only downside of having cheap but nice food every meal is probably putting on weight……
6. Shopping & eating at the Night Bazaar and weekend markets
I think markets are very similar to each other in Thailand, but going to the night markets and weekend markets still can be very fun things to do in Chiang Mai. You have an opportunity to buy hand-made crafts, Thai tribes’ traditional clothes and enjoy street food. You can walk for hours and lose the fat you gained from the Thai food!
There are many night markets, but I’ve been to three famous places.
1.Chiang Mai Night Bazaar (outside of the old city) – You can buy cheap fake brand watches to hand-made crafts. It usually starts from 6 pm and finishes around 10 pm. It’s on Thapae Rd Lane 1, and takes about 15 minutes (depending on how fast you walk) to get there from Tha Phae Gate. To see the location, click here.
2. Saturday night market – It’s located near Chiang Mai Gate which is on the south of the old city. You can visit between 6 pm and 10 pm. Click here to see the location.
3. Sunday night market (near Tha Phae Gate in the old city) – You can explore the market between 6 pm and 10 pm. If you want to know the location, click here.
Aside from these 6 fun things to do in Chiang Mai, I’d like to share one more thing with you.
Do you plan to stay near Chiang Mai Gate? Do you love local Thai food? Do you look for delicious food at a reasonable price?
Then, Chiang Mai Gate Food Market is the right place to go! As far as I remember, it opens nearly every night. You can get different kinds of noodles, stir-fried food, grilled skewers (pork, chicken, mushroom, vegetables, squid), rice with pig’s trotters, fresh fruits and juice. Just go and try whatever smells good, whatever looks good.
I loved almost everything about Chiang Mai and everything on this Top 6 fun things to do in Chiang Mai list like feeding &taking a bath together elephants, eating Chiang Mai street food, going to the fun Chiang Mai night markets, What makes you excited the most on Top 6 fun things to do in Chiang Mai list? Or Have you been to amazing Chiang Mai already (as a solo traveler)? How was your experience?
Please leave a comment and let’s share experiences and stories together! : )
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