Located among green hills and mountains, Chiang Mai is a favourite Northern Thailand destination for travellers. The “Rose of the North” is well-known for extraordinary handicraft, delicious food and rich history. It is home to more than 300 temples in Lanna and Burmese styles, some of them are just as old as the city. It’s no surprise that expats from all over the world flock to Chiang Mai for that ideal blend of rustic appeal and modern amenities.
Best of Chiang Mai
1. Hmong Village
The unique Hmong people may be found in many ASEAN regions, but at the peaks of Doi Pui is where you’ll find Chiang Mai’s own Hmong village. The hill tribe still follows their traditional lifestyle, languages and customs that date back more than 500 years.
2. Thapae Walking Street – Sunday Market
Every Sunday from 4pm to 11pm, come to Ratchadamnoen Road for handicrafts, local foods and street performances. Be sure to try out some of the best Northern Thai street food while you’re there!
3. Mae Taeng Elephant Park
Feel, smell, touch and ride the elephants in the most exquisite wildlife experience ever! Watch the elephants sketch and play football, and even give the gentle giants a mud bath by the river!
4. Wat Chedi Luang
It no longer houses the famous Emerald Buddha, but the 600-year old structure is still a sight to behold. Don’t forget to spare some time and talk to the young monks–they will be more than happy to have the chance to practice their English with you.
5. Karen Village
One does not simply come to Chiang Mai and not visit Karen Village, home to the Long Neck tribe. The beauty of the Padong women is shown in the number of neck rings. See the harmonious village up close and their fascinating way of life, traditions and customs.
6. Pai Town
Never underestimate tiny towns, especially one like Pai Town. Fresh air, countryside sceneries and a hot spot for many tourists, it’s no wonder that the hippie inspired town is popular for a few days’ getaway.
7. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
After climbing the steep Naga (serpent) staircase comprising 304 steps, you will reach Chiang Mai’s most famous temple on the flank of Suthep Mountain. Thousands of tourists and Buddhist pilgrims worldwide flock to the famous landmark every year.
8. Cooking Class
Want to impress your friends back home with your cooking skill? There are several schools in Chiang Mai which offer excellent day-courses on Thai cuisine. All you have to do is show up and follow the lesson because everything has been prepared for you.
It takes just about an hour and a half to get you from Chiang Mai to Lampang by bus, car or train. Here, you can witness many types of Lanna architecture throughout the old shops and homes. Also known as Horse Carriage City, this town is the only province in Thailand that still maintains its appeal in horse-drawn carriages. It is also the epicentre of Northern Thai ceramics and is home to tourist hotspots such as Wat Phra That Lampang Luang and the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre. Read more about Lampang here.