Known as Thailand’s “Rose of the North,” Chiang Mai is a beautiful city steeped in culture and history. The city attracts millions of visitors each year, and it provides a much welcome respite from the concrete jungle of the Thai capital, Bangkok. Read on to find out about five amazing things you can do during a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand.
- Go Temple-Hopping
The old city of Chiang Mai, which is located in the confines of the city’s moat, is packed with some truly stupendous Thai Buddhist temples that are well worth checking out. Visit Wat Phra Singh with its Phra Buddha Singh statue before making your way to Wat Chedi Luang to see the reconstructed stupa.
A casual stroll around the city will reward you with many different temples that you are free to wander inside. You’ll likely find that stumbling upon the city’s less touristy temples provides you with a quieter, more peaceful experience of Thai Buddhism.
- Take a Cooking Class
Thai cuisine is famous for its vibrant combination of four quintessential flavors—sweet, sour, salty, and hot. Impress your friends and family by learning how to cook Thai food at one of several cooking schools in Chiang Mai. You’ll learn how to make famous Thai dishes, including Pad Thai, papaya salad, and green curry.
Most classes last a half-day and they involve an early morning trip to one of the exciting local food markets where you’ll pick up some fresh produce for your cooking class.
- Pet a Tiger at Tiger Kingdom
Tiger Kingdom is a tiger center situated just a 25-minute drive outside of the city in Chiang Mai. The center itself focuses on the safety of both the tigers and visitors to Tiger Kingdom, which makes it a pleasant and safe experience for people of all ages. You’ll learn about tigers, have an opportunity to pet them, and you can even get your photo taken with an adult tiger.
- Visit Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
Spanning two mountains, Doi Suthep and Doi Pui, this national park in Chiang Mai is full of attractions worth visiting, including several waterfalls, a glorious mountaintop temple, and a hill-tribe village. One of the reasons Chiang Mai is such a popular Thai destination is that it is regarded as a nature lover’s paradise, and a trip to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park quickly proves that to be true.
The hill-tribe village is home to the Hmong people; one of Thailand’s major tribal groups. There is a fascinating museum in the village that teaches you about the way of life of the Hmong people, and it is well worth checking out.
- Shop at the Sunday Market
The famous Sunday market in Chiang Mai is a shopping lover’s dream. Every Sunday afternoon, the city’s Rachadamnoen Road closes to traffic and hundreds of vendors line the road. Items for sale include t-shirts, quirky Thai souvenirs, and cheap Thai street food. Expect the market to be extremely busy and hot, and prepare to embrace the chaos. Don’t miss the cultural spectacle of the entire market stopping in its tracks at 6 p.m. to observe the Thai national anthem, which belts out from speakers positioned along the length of the road.