Chiang Mai is located in Northern Thailand and a short 1 hour 15 minute flight from Bangkok. It’s a small laid back city compared to bustling Bangkok and offers things to do in the city as well as day trips.
On my third visit to Thailand I experience Chiang Mai and the nearby Elephant Nature Park. The food, sites and late night markets are great and stumbling upon cool spots to have snacks, drinks and people watch happen easily around the old party of the city.
Rati Lanna $$$: Beautiful hotel and spa outside of the old city along a small river. We enjoyed all the amenities from the spa, fitness room and pool to the private breakfast cruise along the river. Not walking distance to much but a nice little oasis and place to relax after exploring the night markets.
- The Glass House $$ (Asian, Thai, Veggie Friendly)
- Street Pizza $$ (Italian, Veggie Friendly)
- The House (Asian, Thai, Veggie Friendly)
- Deck 1 $$$ (Asian, Thai, Veggie Friendly)
- Elephant Nature Park: Day trip/Overnight/Week long volunteer project. Elephant Nature Park was my favorite moment visiting Chiang Mai. It’s less than 1 hour and 30 minutes by car from Chiang Mai. I opted for the single day visit but would love to return and volunteer for longer. During the visit you feed and wash the elephants, have lunch, watch them swim and learn about elephants and their history in Thailand. Each has a unique story of life before the sanctuary and to see them thriving at the nature park is a wonderful experience not to be missed.
- Doi Suthep: About 1 hour by car outside of Chiang Mai city. On the far side of the temple visitors can enjoy great views of the city. To get to the Buddhist temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep you can climb the 309 steps to the top or take a tram. It’s a stunning example of architecture and includes pagodas, statues, bells, a museum, and shrines.
- Chiang Mai Night Market: Many of the same items you can get in Bangkok with lower prices.
- Doi Inthanon National Park: Located on the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon National Park offers visitors a variety of sites and activities like Chedis , trails, caves, visiting local hill tribes and waterfalls. It’s a day trip and almost 2 hours by car outside of Chiang Mai. To get there hire a taxi, arrange a driver through hotel or rent a car. Since the elevation is high, the temperatures are cooler than the city so you may want to bring a warming layer.