There’s an abundance of remarkable discoveries to be made nearby U Chiang Mai. Here’s a pick of our favourite spots to enjoy the local culture and to discover some new, exciting experiences.

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Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep is a constant part of life in Chiang Mai. A Thai saying goes, "If you haven't tasted Khao Soi or seen the view from Doi Suthep, you haven't been to Chiang Mai." This regal mountain overlooks the city from the northwest, providing commanding views from its summit. Aside from its dominating presence on the horizon, Doi Suthep is the home of some of the most deeply loved symbols in the Kingdom. n 1981 Doi Suthep, Doi Pui and Doi Buakha, along with the 161 square kilometres (62 square miles) of forest in which they are located, became Thailand's 24th national park. A year later a 100 square kilometre (38 square mile) annex was added, bringing the park's total area up to 261 square kilometres (100 square miles). Dense forests hang from the mountain's shoulders like a cloak; deciduous at lower elevations and evergreen near the peaks of the mountains.

The highest peak in the park is Doi Pui which tops off at 1,685 meters (5,528 feet), making it the eighth largest mountain in Thailand. Flowing from these heights are some of the most highly enjoyable and accessible waterfalls in the Kingdom's northern reaches. Mae Sa Falls, Huay Kaew Falls and Monthathan Falls are among the most popular sights of the park and are easily reached from the main road. The forest is also home to a variety of wildlife, including many small mammals and birds as well as the rare Crocodile Salamander, which is only found in four places in Thailand.

Wat Phra Sing

Wat Phra Sing in Chiang Mai

Located on Sam Lan Road, Wat Phra Sing’s Wihan Lai Kham is home to Phra Phutthasihing, Chiang Mai’s most sacred, Chiang sean-style Buddha image. During the Songkran festival, every April 13-15, Phra Phutthasihing is carried in a parade procession around town so locals can bath the image with scented water, which brings good luck according to a traditional belief.One of the temple's halls features a gilt-covered statue of Luang Poh Cham and this busy hall also contains statues of Luang Poh Chuang and Luang Poh Gleum, all ex-abbots of the temple.

  • Operating time : 08:00 – 17:00 Daily
  • Location : Sam Lan Road, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai

Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai

Wat Chedi Luang's massive chedi (pagoda) was built sometime between 1385 and 1402, during the reign of King Saen Muang Ma, 7th ruler of the Mengrai dynasty and is a distinctive feature of the Chiang Mai skyline. At its peak, the chedi measured 60 metres across at the square base and 80 metres tall and was once the home of the Emerald Buddha, Thailand's most sacred religious relic.

Damaged during an earthquake in 1545, the chedi’s height is reduced to nearly half of its original size yet it is still an impressive structure. In 1992, the Fine Arts Department finished restoration work around the chedi, bringing back the naga (water serpent) staircase on each of its faces and wonderful statues of elephants adorning the base. The actual work on the chedi itself, however, was never quite complete, leaving it in its present state.

  • Opening Hours: 06:00-17:00
  • Address: Phrapokklao Road
  • Tel: +66 (0) 53 24 8604

Warorot Market

Warorot Market in Chiang Mai

Warorot Market (or Kad Luang) is a must-visit for food lovers as it offers a wide range of ready-to-eat meals, local snacks and all kinds of fresh produce. A large section of the market features inexpensive goods, such as clothing, fashion accessories and personal care products.

Targeting mostly Thais, Warorot Market is a great place to get a feel for the local way of life. The three-storey building is close to the riverside and easy to find, just at the end of Chang Moi Road, east of the moat and north of Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.

Most people head to Warorot Market to browse its tantalising selection of food. Holidaymakers from Bangkok are particularly fond of the grilled northern-style sausage (sai oua), red and green chili dip (nam prik ong/nam prik noom) and crispy pork skin (cap moo) here. Grilled meats and ready-to-eat curries are also popular.

Besides picking up savoury treats, the food section is quite a feast for the other senses as well. Stroll around and watch the action as it unfolds. Vendors chop up meat, stuff sausages, then arrange them on the grill. Or smell wafts of spice and all kinds of wonderful aromas as you wander from a giant caldron of sweet curries (kaeng hangle) to khao soi noodles to fried chili dips. The entire basement and part of the first floor are like huge open kitchens where you can see everything skillfully whipped up from scratch.

  • Opening Hours: 6:00-19:00
  • Location: Chang Moi Road, close to the River Ping, north of Chiang Mai

Sunday Walking Street Chiang Mai

Sunday Walking Street Chiang Mai

The Sunday Weekend Walking Street is easily the most popular shopping experience in Chiang Mai. A vibrant spectrum of art, crafts, music and food – with handmade quality goods and souvenirs that echo the spirit of Northern Thailand. 

The Sunday Walking Street serves as a venue for all kinds of local events, from dance recitals to beauty pageants and the sois (lanes) on either side of the main road feature stages and performance spaces. It starts at ThaPae Gate and runs all along Ratchadamnoen Rd, for around one kilometre. As the name suggests it takes place every Sunday from 16:00 until around midnight. The road is closed to traffic during this time, and as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, it does get busy.

Take a stroll in the soft light of dusk while sipping on fresh fruit juice, browsing handicrafts and snacking on random delicacies to the lilting accompaniment of traditional Thai music being played by street buskers. While air-conditioned malls offer a pleasant escape from midday heat, the outdoor markets, the Sunday Walking Street near Tha Phae Gate will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip.

  • Opening Hours: Best time to go is after 17:00
  • Location: Tha Pae to Ratchadamneon Road

Wualai Walking Street

Wualai Walking Street in Chiang Mai

Wualai, the Saturday walking street, is a lively and fun night market that takes place in Chiang Mai just a short walk from the old city walls. It starts in the late afternoon and continues until around 22:30. We prefer the atmosphere here to the more famous Sunday night walking street, because even though it’s smaller, there aren’t the same crowds of people, so it makes for a much more leisurely stroll. Not only are there plenty of handicraft items and locally-made products, it’s also a good place to pick up some tasty snacks to provide sustenance as you wander around. Wualai Road links to Thipanet Road, near the south side of the old city walls, and around a ten to fifteen minute walk from Tha Pae Gate. It’s very easy to get dropped off by a tuk-tuk or public van (songtaew) near the far end. Don’t miss the magnificent Silver Temple in the grounds of Wat Sri Su Pan, roughly half way down Wua Lai Road.

  • Opening Hours: 17:00 until 23:00 (approximately), Saturday nights only
  • Location: Wualai Road, near the South moat of the old town

Chiang Mai National Museum

Chiang Mai National Museum

Located near the historic Wat Jet Yod, this is the main museum of northern Thailand and is under the patronage of Their Royal Majesties, the King and Queen. It was renovated in 1996 to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the founding of Chiang Mai and now features a larger and better organized exhibition. The museum is housed in a large, two storey traditional Lanna style house, complete with the signature roof design, reminiscent of a bird's spreading wings. Visitors to the museum pass through six sections of exhibits, which constitute a journey from Chiang Mai's prehistory to its present and future course.

The museum begins with the natural and cultural background of the region, including the ecology and geography of the north, as well as information on prehistoric settlements. From there the museum tells the history of the Lanna Kingdom from the founding of Chiang Mai in 1296 through its sacking by the Burmese in 1558 until it was again liberated with the aid of the King of Siam in 1769. The next section deals with the short period of time during between the city's liberation from the Burmese to its re-establishment in 1782, during which period the city was under control of the King of Siam. Ascending to the second floor, visitors will find an exhibit hall devoted to the trade and economy of the Lanna Kingdom until its integration with Thailand in 1939. The next section displays photographs and artefacts showing the modern life of Chiang Mai - its agriculture and industry, and its relation to the national and global community. The final exhibit focuses on the unique art style of the Lanna Kingdom, displaying numerous distinctive artefacts from the 13th century all the way up to contemporary pieces.

  • Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 09:00 to 16:00
  • Location: On the Highway (Northwest) next to Wat Jet Yod
  • Price Range: Admission is 30 Baht

Chiang Mai Night Safari

Chiang Mai Night Safari

Chiang Mai Night Safari park is part of the Thai government’s huge multi-million baht plan to increase Chiang Mai's attraction to tourists. The concept of the park is to provide visitors with a thrilling experience similar to being out in the wilderness at night.

Apart from touring the three animal zones – Savanna Safari, Predator Prowl, Jaguar Trail – via an open-sided tram or on foot, enjoy a range of activities designed to keep you entertained throughout your visit, from hand-feeding wild animals and petting tiger cubs to a laser light show and ‘dancing’ fountain.

  • Opening Hours: 11.00 – 23.00
  • Location: Hangdong, southwest of Chiang Mai International Airport (about 12km from the city)
  • How to get there: It’s best to hire a red songtaeow from the city centre. Negotiate the price before getting on one.

U Chiang Mai

U Chiang Mai

70 Ratchadamnoen Road, Sri-Poom
Muang District, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
Tel +66 53 327 000 Fax +66 53 327 096