Top 10 Things to Do When In Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai! Where is that!? 🤔
…Vaguely aware of what the Northern capital of Thailand had to offer I decided to venture out to Chiang Mai (CM) for 5 days during my 1 month trip to South East Asia. Known to be one of Thailand’s cultural havens there was no surprise to the enjoyment I experienced during my short and jam packed time out there. From the day activities to the bustling night markets there was actually no time at all for boredom in Chiang Mai.
I completely recommend spending a few days here! …It’s cheap, the local dishes are actually amazing (especially if you like a bit of spice aka flavour lol) and here’s 10 things to do during your visit:
Jump on a Songthaew
These little (well not so little) windowless trucks are pretty hard to miss when in CM! You’ll see them cruising around the city and all you have to do is give one a wave to express your interest – even if there are already passengers sitting in the truck (it’s a bit like Uber pool without the complicated mobile app logistics lol). Once you’ve waved one down, tell the driver your destination and you’ll get a yes/no depending on the distance of your destination.
The flat fee is 20 THB (less than £0.50 pence/$0.40 cents!) but you may have to chip in a little more if you are heading out of the old city/downtown area. I’ve been told locals don’t even ask for the price before they hop in… I however always asked and haggled until I made it to 20 THB mark lol.
*A quick currency conversion… £1 is around 40 Thai Baht (THB) and $1 = 34 THB.*
Do a Thai Cooking Class!
Need I say more!? Lol… there are tons of cooking classes on offer in CM. Don’t threat! You can book them up to a day in advance from one of the thousands of tourist agencies located around the city (pretty much like any day excursion/activity in Thailand).
I did a half day evening course with Smile Organic Farm Cooking School in their local family farm and it was the cutest (delicious too)! The cooking classes range from 700 – 1200 THB depending on the length of the course and of course don’t forget to haggle with the agent to get the best price! (I paid 700 THB and the original price was apparently 900 THB).
Take Yourself to a Night Market
CM is known for it’s various Night Markets that offer tasty food, arts & crafts, souvenirs/gifts, clothes and other things that you really do not need.
…Remember my number 1 rule: don’t forget to haggle!
I recommend heading to the Night Bazaar Market which is on every night from about 5pm to midnight downtown. If you happen to be in CM during the weekend you have to head to the Saturday and Sunday Night Markets, and unsurprisingly, it’s held on a Saturday and Sunday!
Explore the tons of Temples
With many stunning temples situated in the Old City area it’s hard to miss the culture and Thai tradition that CM impressively treasures. My favourite temples were Wat Chedi Luang and Was Phra Sing but I guarantee that you will also stumble across the numerous temples scattered around the buzzing city.
A little out of the city but one to definitely visit is the infamous Wat Phra That Doi Sethep which has spectacular views of the city.
Rent a Scooter and Just Wander…
If you are comfortable of course, renting a scooter (for around 200 THB a day) is such a great way to see the city and the surrounding areas. I did feel like an idiot a few times walking around in 36 degrees heat because literally EVERYONE goes around in a scooter to avoid spending too much time in the scorching heat.
Get a Thai Massage!
When in Thailand you will certainly become familiar with the cute Thai ladies offering you Thai massages and I promise it is completely worth giving in to their demands!
CM sits as my number one city in Thailand for the best quality massage. For only 200 THB I was blessed with a 1 hour massage and I will seriously be going back to the lady located beside the Night Bazaar Street Pizza Hut (sorry I do not know the address of the spa lol).
Elephant Care > Elephant Riding
My time in Thailand really opened my eyes to the mistreatment many animals face mostly in the name of “tourism”. I decided to take myself to an elephant rescue and care camp Elephant Jungle Sanctuary where visitors get the chance to feed, bathe and get an elephant education. I recommend heading to one of the care and rehabilitation centres where you get a chance to be with nature and care for these gentle animals.
Many of the care camps are situated away from the city but the tours arrange pick up (& drop off) directly to your place of stay!
My favourite part… things to eat!
Do Not Fear the Street-food
Seriously, you will not regret the midnight eats from the local Pad Thai man! Be adventurous and if locals are queuing up the food is more than likely to be very tasty and very cheap!
Eat Khao Soi…
I repeat, eat Khao Soi! This was my favourite food discovery during my 1 month trip in SE Asia. Made with red curry, coconut, chicken, egg noodles and crunchy noodles on the top it’s one of the regions traditional delicacies.
I had my first (& best) taste of traditional Khao Soi at the Sunday Night Market for only 50 THB!
Treat Yourself to Mango Sticky for Dessert!
This dish definitely caught me off guard and I was honestly reluctant to try it out – especially as a dessert lol. Smothered with coconut milk, the classic Thai sticky rice was actually a treat… and when the freshly peeled mango hits your taste buds they’ll be a party in your mouth!
I hope you enjoyed this post and took some notes!? Don’t forget to share, share and share the post!…But most importantly take yourself to Chiang Mai!
FYI, I’ve finally moved from a “wordpress.com” account to my self-hosted website, Wohooo! This is definitely an achievement in my travel blogging journey and I’m grateful for all your support and reads so far!