Top 25 Attractions in Chiang Mai (2024)

chiang mai

Stunning mist-covered mountains, fascinating hill tribes, and an incredible paradise for those that want to experience something different, Chiang Mai is for you. It might be small in size, but it’s big on things to do, see, taste, and experience. Founded in 1296, it was the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom. Now it is where you can find the past and present together with ancient temples tucked between modern buildings. With so much to explore, here are the top attractions in Chiang Mai that you should make time for.

1. Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh

This Buddhist temple is the oldest one in the country. This Chiang Mai attraction dates back to 1385. With fantastic décor, antique motifs in gold, and a chapel with the footmarks of Buddha, it’s got to be on your list of things to see. Additionally, the golden Pagoda is purely stunning.

2. Baan Pha Dang to Huay Kukap Trek

Baan Pha Dang to Huay Kukap Trek

The trekking tours that take you from Baan Pha Dang to Huay Kukap are among the best. They take you through 3 hours of trails that begin at the famed meditation cliffs and go on through the exotic mountains. With gently flowing stream and local villages along the way, it’s an incredible journey filled with many sights. Indeed, the best part of the trek is getting a close-up experience with the villagers’ lifestyles. Treks are suitable even for those who have never been, thanks to the expert guides.

3. Flight of the Gibbon

Flight of the Gibbon

This famed zip-line company now has an operation in Chiang Mai. Zip through the jungles from above on a series of zip-lines. With a devoted staff and top-notch safety ratings, this place is the perfect way to work in some thrills during your stay.

4. Thai Elephant Conservation Center

Thai Elephant Conservation Center

Want more elephants? Chiang Mai is the right place to visit for them! This conservation group was created in 1993 and has been a huge draw ever since. There are close to 50 elephants here. The elephants here can play musical instruments and paint, something incredible to see.

5. Kat Rin Kham Night Bazaar

Kat Rin Kham Night Bazaar

This lesser-known night market is ideal for getting away from the other tourists. You’ll find everything you want here though with plenty of tasty food stalls to fill you up, clothes, home décor, handicrafts, and more. The prices here are incredibly cheap though the vendors are usually agreeable to bargaining. If you want a great taste of Thai life and to get some cool things to bring back home, this Chiang Mai attraction is the place to visit. It’s also across from the university, which means it’s got a younger, hipper vibe.

6. Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park

If you love adventure, this Chiang Mai attraction where you must go. In this park, it connects to the Doi Inthanon mountains, which is part of the Himalayas. The views here are amazing. If you can get up early enough, sunrise here is a sublime experience that will make you happy to be alive. The waterfalls add to the magic as you walk along the trails. Check out the stupas of Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon, plus Brichinda Cave and the unique bird species are worth seeing too.

7. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is THE bazaar to visit. It’s the place everyone goes for all those splendid restaurants and shops. While others are great to see, you can’t miss this one. There’s a unique charm about it that’s unlike any other. It’s a fun place to shop and bargain for the best prices on anything you can imagine from electronics to accessories and everything in between. Plus, you’ll find some of the best street food in the city right here.

8. Kalare Night Market

Kalare Night Market

This is more of an undercover market that not many people know about outside of the locals. It’s a less hectic place where you’ll discover art studios and jewellery stores mixed in with gift shops. And yes, there’s plenty of food too. But one of the biggest draws is the Thai dance performances. A great thing to buy here is a customised sketch of yourself from the local artists.

9. Tiger Kingdom

Tiger Kingdom

Want to see more animals? This Chiang Mai attraction is where you can enjoy the preservation efforts for the Indochinese tigers. They have all been raised in captivity since birth so you can get a chance to get to know these gorgeous creatures. This place offers the opportunity to camp overnight if you’d like or you can simply make it a stop on your itinerary.

10. Elephant Nature Park

Elephant Nature Park

A unique project created in the 1990s, Elephant Nature Park serves as a sanctuary and rescue centre for elephants. Ever since its establishment, it has successfully rescued dozens of distressed elephants from all over Thailand. Not only that, it also serves as a sanctuary for other animals such as cats, dogs, buffaloes and more.

If you are looking for an ethical place to visit elephants, this Chiang Mai attraction should be at the top of your list. The founder, Sangdeaun Lek Chailert or commonly known as Lek, was named Time magazine’s 2005 Asian Hero of the Year.

11. Rantong Save and Rescue Elephant Centre

Rantong Save and Rescue Elephant Centre

This elephant conservatory works to help rescue elephants that were treated poorly. They provide them with a beautiful and loving place to stay and give them a new, better life. You can interact with the elephants either on a single-day program or for multiple days. One of the best experiences here is taking care of a baby elephant. And if you’re looking for more thrills, you can go white water rafting here too.

12. Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep is the most famous Chiang Mai attraction by far. This mountain gives you outstanding views, plus there’s a temple here called Wat Phra That Doi Suthep from the 13th century. It has a large white elephant shrine plus an Emerald Buddha replica. You really shouldn’t miss this while you’re in town.

13. Nimmanhaemin Road

Nimmanhaemin Road

Attractions in Chiang Mai are not all elephants and temples though. This road is the trendy spot in Chiang Mai. You’ll find upscale bars and restaurants plus a designer shopping mall and a multiplex cinema. If you’re in town for a while and feel a bit homesick for Western life, this would be the place to go, or if you want to catch a movie in Thai.

14. Mae Ping River

Mae Ping River

One wonderful way to spend a day in Chiang Mai is on a boat ride along the Mae Ping River. The scenery seemingly wafts by, like teak houses and lush greenery. Some tours will take you for lunch at a local farmer’s house where you get a taste of the rural Thai life and an incredibly relaxing time.

15. Catmosphere


Chiang Mai is a place for animal lovers. Between the elephants and tigers, and now, the Cat Café. It’s called Catmosphere and features a theme with cats and UFOs. But the main event here is seeing the cats and getting to pet them while you enjoy typical café offerings.

16. Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai

Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai

Despite its size, this Chiang Mai attraction isn’t very well-known yet. It was once a soil quarry that filled with water, but now it provides some magnificent views. The water comes from rainfall and is quite deep now. There’s not much to do here aside from seeing the views, but it’s undoubtedly worth the stop.

17. Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang

This Chiang Mai attraction is also called the Temple of the Big Stupa. This is where ruins of a once-magnificent temple from ancient times remain. It was the former home of the original Emerald Buddha. When an earthquake hit in 1545, the temple was damaged, but then the Burmese took over five years after that and destroyed it. Despite this, it’s still an active worship place.

18. Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm

Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm

The orchid serves as a symbol of Thailand. This peaceful place offers the chance to see blooming orchids and buy orchids dipped in gold for souvenirs. With a butterfly farm just next door, it’s a lovely place to visit in Chiang Mai.

19. Karen Long Neck Tribe (Padung Village)

Karen Long Neck Tribe (Padung Village)

The Karen tribal group originally comes from Myanmar, but they fled to Thailand and now live in small villages. The villages are an excellent way to get a glimpse into a simpler life. It’s best to do this with a tour guide so you can communicate with the locals and learn more about their daily lives and purchase their handicrafts.

20. Loi Krathong Festival (Nawarat Bridge)

Loi Krathong Festival (Nawarat Bridge)

If you’re in Chiang Mai during the Loi Krathong Festival, you’re in luck. This event is celebrated in the 12th lunar month. The festival involves taking baskets (called a “krathong”) that are shaped like lotuses and putting a candle inside of it. They leave them to float off in the moat, a sign of respect to Buddha. The sky is also filled with lanterns released into the air for good luck also known as the Yi Peng Festival (that is held concurrently), so it’s a brilliant and charming thing to be a part of.

21. Chiang Mai Night Safari

Chiang Mai Night Safari

This Chiang Mai attraction is nothing short of awesome. There’s a Savanna Night Safari where you’ll see kangaroos, white rhinos, and water buffalos from an open tram. The Predator Prowl Zone is where you’ll see crocodiles, lions, tigers, and wolves, again from a tram. It’s a fascinating place, plus, there’s a light show with music later in the evening that’s worth waiting for.

22. San Kamphaeng Hot Springs

San Kamphaeng Hot Springs

In a wooded area by the mountains, these hot springs are said to have healing powers due to the high sulfur content. It’s an interesting and relaxing experience for you can have a full Thai massage, and you can buy eggs to boil in the water with you, so you have a nice, healthy lunch.

23. Songkran Festival (Tha Pae Gate)

Songkran Festival (Tha Pae Gate)

Another festival to love if you happen to be in town in April (from the 13th through 15th) is this Thailand New Year celebration, though here in Chiang Mai, it tends to go on longer. The belief is that throwing water will cleanse away your sins so get ready to get soaked. Plus, it’s refreshing in the heat.

24. Wat Ratchamonthian

Wat Ratchamonthian

Do not be confused as this temple are referred to by many names. Wat Ratchamonthian or Wat Rajamontean is a hidden gem that is located just opposite of Wat Lok Molee. More modest in size and more tranquil in contrast to other temples in Chiang Mai, you can easily identify this place by the huge Buddha statue in the courtyard. The main hall is made out of wood and is home to a smaller Buddha that are heavily ornated in gold. This place is ideal for peaceful meditation, and it is more meaningful to be able to do so alongside praying monks.

25. Brand New Field Good

Brand New Field Good

Brand New Field Good is a popular cafe surrounded by paddy fields. A famous TV star owner originally built this place as their wedding venue but later converted this place to be a thematic cafe and restaurant. Surrounded by green, this place exudes a calming and relaxing vibe complemented by lighting and decoration that are made out of natural materials. They serve decent authentic Thai cuisines and good coffees as well, something you should try out when you are here.

With friendly locals, tons of markets, plenty of elephant encounters, delicious food, and even thrilling activities thrown in for good measure, it’s a Thailand destination that has something for everyone. Trying to visit Chiang Mai during the festivals is the best way to get to know the culture, though hotels fill up fast and there will be more tourists. Whenever you visit though, it shouldn’t be hard to have a fantastic time in one the many attractions in Chiang Mai!