Chiang Mai means “New City,” and was named so after it was founded and became the capital of Lan Na in 1296.
From it’s rich history to the incredibly built temples, Chiang Mai is a Thai city where there is something for everyone. If you’re looking for leisure, adventure, nightlife, food, or culture – you can find it all here. Because of this Chiang Mai, Thailand has become a major travel hotspot.
Where To Eat
The Riverside is a tourist favorite because of its amazing views, large menu, and live music. Located next to the River Ping, The Riverside offers its guest everything from Thai staples to western food, while also offering a very lively bar. This place is definitely worth checking out.
Pictured above, Huen Phen is famous for their Khao Soi noodle soup. This dish is a traditional Northern Thailand dish, and Huen Phen has some of the best that you can get. Along with their Khao Soi, Huen Phen also serves other North Thailand traditional dishes like jackfruit salad and Aeb Pla, a type of fish that is cooked with sweet basil.
Because of all this delicious food, there is often a wait during peak lunch hours so try and get there early!
David’s Kitchen is a renowned French-Thai fusion restaurant. If you’re looking for a high-end experience, from food to service, this restaurant delivers. Make sure you make a reservation in advance because it is one of the most popular places in Chiang Mai, and rightfully so with its delicious seasonal menu and their attention to near-perfect service.
Housed in a gorgeous wood building that was built in 1892, The Gallery draws their guests in by mixing art and cuisine. When you enter, you are greeted with an eclectic selection of art and interesting decorative pieces. As soon as you sit down to eat, you are treated with great service and an excellent menu, all while overlooking the Ping River. The chefs are especially good at making their dishes the right amount of spicy, according to your personal preferences.
The River Market
A stunning, open-air restaurant – the River Market should definitely be on your Chiang Mai bucket list. This is another restaurant located on the Ping River and has quite an extensive menu. This is a great place to grab a table and enjoy the sunset, accompanied by delicious food.
Elephant Nature Park
Since Thailand has become such a popular travel destination, several places have adopted practices that might appeal to tourists, like riding elephants. This practice is actually quite harmful to the elephants, however, it sadly continues today.
The Elephant Nature Park rescues elephants that have been abused by the tourism industry; they are committed to the rehabilitation of elephants and educating tourists. Here you can see the elephants in their natural habitat and know that you are supporting a humane cause. You can even volunteer at the Elephant Nautre Park, and truly enjoy seeing these Elephants in all their wild glory.
Visit Wat Doi Suthep
A stunning Buddhist temple located about 9 miles, or 15 kilometers, away from the city center, is an absolute must for anyone visiting Chiang Mai. The temple was built in 1383, and has expanded in size and beauty since then.
Today you can go visit and see awe-inspiring statues and shrines. While there you can to speak to Buddhist monks about their life, beliefs, or anything else that might interest you.
Dive Off Cliffs at Hang Dong Rock Quarry
If you’re looking for a little adventure, the Hang Dong Rock Quarry is for you. This was once a limestone quarry, but has since filled with water that shines a bright blue.
Here you can jump off of 40 foot, or 12 meter, cliffs into the water. For those who aren’t as daring, there are several places that you can wade in to enjoy the cool water instead of taking the leap.
Where To Stay
Ruen Come In
This traditional wooden, Lanna style Thai hotel is a serene hotel to stay at. It is surrounded by lush greenery and is only a short bike ride away from the Old City’s center.
A family home turned hotel, the Ruen Come In hosts yoga retreats as well as cooking classes with food grown in their own organic farm. This hotel also offers a quaint pool to take a dip in on the hottest days.
The Veranda Chiangmai is a stunning hotel that can be found in the rice and tea fields located right outside of Chiang Mai, close to the Doi Suthep Pui National Park. It’s proximity to the national park offers hikers a luxurious stay before they enter the wild.
This hotel offers a 5-star experience with its impeccable service, its two sprawling pool, relaxing spa, and two delicious restaurants.
S*Trips The Poshtel
For those who are traveling on a budget, this “Poshtel” is a great option without sacrificing quality.
A 5-minute walk from the Old City center, this hostel offers both shared and private rooms, free breakfast, and a friendly staff. Definitely worth checking out!
1. The food across Thailand is typically quite spicy, so if you can’t handle the heat make sure you learn the phrase “mai pet,” which means “no spicy.”
2. In Chiang Mai, like most of Thailand, most things take cash, not card – so make sure you are carrying enough around with you at all times
3. Make sure you dress modestly, specifically when visiting the many temples that Chiang Mai has to offer
4. Chiang Mai is not a huge city, so you can walk to most places. There are tuk-tuks and Songthaews all around if you chose not walk.
5. Explore the local markets in the Chiang Mai markets, but do not be afraid to bargain. Most of the time you can get the item you want for a significantly lower price.
6. If you run into any major problems, call the tourist police: 1155