5 of the best things to do in Chiang Mai

  • Ross Edlin
  • 1st Apr 2019

Chiang Mai is a wonderful destination, when I first arrived here I was immediately hooked.
Within my first hour of being in the great city of Chiang Mai, I fell in love with the place.
A vibrant city, low cost of living and an amazing community of Digital Nomads, Expats and Locals.

Chiang Mai has many great sights to see and seeing as I ended up spending a year of my life here, I have learned a thing or two about what's good and what's not so good.

So here it is, 5 of the best things to do in Chiang Mai in 2019.

#1 - Doi Suthep (Temple / Viewpoint)

Without a doubt the most obvious choice when in Chiang Mai, Doi Suthep, a huge mountain that you can see from the entire city.

Getting up there takes about an hour from the centre and by far the best way is by bike (although a bit dangerous).
The ride to Doi Suthep is quite a thrill but I must warn you, people do get hurt riding up so please, PLEASE be careful!

You can also get a songthaew (Red Bus) from Chiang Mai Zoo, this costs about 60-80 baht ($2~) and will take you to the temple.
Just expect the driver to pack that bus so tight that people are hanging off of the back of the bus (no joke).

Another 60-80 baht return.

#2 - Doi Suthep–Pui National Park (Campsite)

Imagine spending a night camping in the mountains, 1600 metres above sea level and 10c colder than the main city.

Yes it can get quite cold at night, but that's the point.

Camping in the mountains is an incredible experience, and with everything in Chiang Mai, it's dirt cheap.
400-500 baht per night, per tent.
Each tent can fit 2 people comfortably or 3 at a squeeze.

Waking up to the sound of birds, seeing the wonderful view of Chiang Mai and the mountains in the morning. The smell of the beautiful air, the clean fresh air that can only be experienced in the wilderness.

Just a little heads up, bring your own food, the only restaurant there is not the best.
I'd advise bringing a disposable fire and food.

#3 - Grand Canyon (Water Park)

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon

Chiang Mai's Grand Canyon is my personal favourite.

Yes, you are looking at a water park in a natural canyon in Chiang Mai, I can not do it justice with words, this is something that you can only experience in person.

Just imagine those game shows like "Wipe Out" and you get the idea.

It's a total of 550 baht ($15) and you can spend the entire day here having the most incredible time with friends.

#4 - Jungle Elephant Sanctuary

The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is an experience you can not miss while in Chiang Mai, a NO riding day out with elephants that have been rescued from a terrible life in tourism.

One thing you must know about elephants in Asia, some places abuse them for their own personal gain.
If you see someone riding them or offering you the experience of riding them, walk away...

Just watch this video about why you should not promote any sort of tourism (riding) of elephants!

That's why I will always promote the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary as the choice to go.
They actually care about the wellbeing of these wonderful elephants, they make sure they have a happy life and are treated with compassion, love and respect.

You get to spend the day walking around, learning, feeding, swimming and bathing these special creatures.

#5 - Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon is the highest spot in Thailand, at 2,565 metres above sea level, with that you get incredible views, chilly temperatures and one hell of a ride.

Best experienced using a bike, a proper bike.

You'll set off from Chiang Mai and head south-west past grand canyon (we talked about before).
After about an hour you'll start to climb the mountain with many, many turns with some incredible stopping points on the way!

Wachirathan Waterfall

If you head towards Doi Inthanon, Wachirathan Waterfall is a must do especially since it's on route.

At the top of Doi Inthanon

Once you get to the top of Doi Inthanon, you'll definitely notice the temperature drop, especially in the winter, it can get so cold up there snow will form, no joke.

The best thing about Doi Inthanon is you get to experience not just amazing views, but temples, great food, fresh air and my personal favourite, riding to the top!


If you like it, please let me know by leaving a comment and if you have any suggestions or questions, also, leave a comment!