Known as one of the biggest cities in Thailand, Chiang Mai stands to be a melting pot of culture. Located in the highest mountains of Thailand, this gorgeous city is one of the top tourist spots in Thailand. It is also considered to be one of the best destinations to visit worldwide.
One of the most famous places to visit in Chiang Mai would be Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. A temple located at the top of Doi Suthep, this famous place of worship is one of Thailand’s most sacred temples. After trekking up the Phra That, you will notice a staircase made of cement. This staircase is decorated by a Naga (Sanskrit word for deity) with seven heads. Once you get inside the temple, you will notice a chedi or stupa (Sanskrit word for an architectural structure that is in the shape of a mound). Containing Buddhist relics as well as cremated remains of Buddhist monks, the chedi is used by monks for meditation. Admire the beautiful design of the stupa which is covered with gold leaves. Once you are done going around the temple, take a breather and enjoy a view of the entire city from the temple. Because of its location, you will get a panoramic view of the city. If you can visit during the Tiew Kuen Doi Festival which is held annually the night before the Wisakha Bucha Day, you will be treated to a procession where monks and Buddhists from different groups will be carrying water and will be marching towards the temple. As it is believed that visiting the temple will bring success and protection, this is a must for tourists.
Another famous place that should be on your list would be the Phuping Palace. It is a Royal Residence built for the royal family when they visit this part of the country. It is also used as a guesthouse for foreign guests. Overlooking Chiang Mai, you will enjoy the cool mountain air. More famous for their gorgeous rose garden, have your fill of beautiful flora that cannot be found anywhere else in Thailand. Open to the public, have a peek into the royal life. Just make sure that you do not visit this place from January to March, as this is when the royal family visits Chiang Mai.
The Chiang Mai Night Safari is another must visit. Located around the Doi Suthep area, the zoo is divided into three sections. Enjoy walking around the Swan Lake via the Jaguar Trail. This trail will showcase about 400 animals from 50 species. After which, you will be seated on a tram that will drive around the Predator Prowl. Housing over 200 carnivorous animals, the part of the zoo is filled with all types of predators such as tigers, lions and the likes. The third portion of the zoo is the Savanna Safari. Exhibiting 320 herbivores, the portion will show you animals whose natural habitat would be the savannah such as rhinoceroses, cheetahs and the likes. After having your fill of the fauna, you can head over to the Fun Plaza which showcases a musical fountain. Then cap off your visit by heading over to the pavilions where you will find restaurants serving scrumptious Thai food. One tip for the Safari would be visiting it during the day as the tickets are cheaper during the day.
One of the best things to do in Chiang Mai would be to shop. They have night markets which showcase handmade products lovingly crafted by local indigenous tribes. Make sure to visit the Night Bazaar. You will find clothes of good quality being sold for a fraction of the price as compared to the malls. Souvenirs are plentiful. So make sure to choose among the many stalls before choosing one to bring home to your loved ones. Bargain away with the friendly sellers to get the best deal for your money. Once you are done with shopping, you can pass by a local Muay Thai stadium to watch a boxing match. A big part of the local culture, Muay Thai will add excitement to your trip. For the best street food in Chiang Mai, head over to the Chiang Mai Gate Market. Vendors set up their stalls every night and sell local Thai fare from pad kra pow (basil with spicy meat) to the popular sticky rice with coconut milk. Make sure to grab a smoothie from Mrs. Pa. She has a sign that says Pa’s Smoothies on her stand that is in front of 7-11. The best time to visit the market would be during weeknights as only a handful of the vendors set up during the weekends.
Featured and 1st image by ChatChai Somwat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
2nd image by worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
3rd image by Feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net