Things to Do in Chiang Mai: Waterfalls, Temples, and Hidden Gems

Step into Chiang Mai, a vibrant city bursting with culture, adventure, and natural wonders. Tucked away in the verdant hills of northern Thailand, it beckons with a wealth of experiences awaiting exploration. Whether you’re drawn to nature’s embrace, captivated by history’s whispers, or yearning for respite from the urban clamour, this captivating city promises delights for all. Join us as we unravel the tapestry of activities in Chiang Mai, showcasing the myriad of things to do in Chiang Mai, from cascading waterfalls to tranquil temples and secret treasures tucked away from the crowds.

25 Things to Do in Chiang Mai

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

1. Explore Doi Inthanon National Park

Begin your Chiang Mai adventure by immersing yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Doi Inthanon National Park. Home to Thailand’s highest peak, this park boasts lush forests, stunning waterfalls, and unique flora and fauna.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

2. Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

No trip to Chiang Mai is complete without a visit to this iconic temple perched atop Doi Suthep mountain. Marvel at its golden chedi, intricate carvings, and panoramic views of the city below.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

3. Wander through the Old City

Step back in time as you wander through Chiang Mai’s Old City, surrounded by ancient walls and moats. Discover hidden alleys, traditional markets, and centuries-old temples around every corner.

4. Take a Thai cooking class

Delve into the vibrant flavours of Thai cuisine with a hands-on cooking class. Learn to whip up classic dishes like pad Thai, green curry, and mango sticky rice, using fresh ingredients from local markets.

5. Visit the Elephant Nature Park

Support ethical elephant tourism by visiting the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for rescued elephants. Spend a day feeding, bathing, and learning about these gentle giants in their natural habitat.

6. Discover the Bua Thong Waterfalls

Escape the heat by taking a refreshing dip in the Bua Thong Waterfalls, also known as the “Sticky Waterfalls” due to their limestone formations that create natural grip.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

7. Explore the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Indulge in a sensory overload at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, where you can shop for everything from handicrafts and souvenirs to delicious street food and exotic spices.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

8. Cycle through the countryside

Get off the beaten path and explore the serene countryside surrounding Chiang Mai by bike. Wind your way through rice paddies, fruit orchards, and quaint villages, soaking in the picturesque landscapes along the way.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

9. Marvel at the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)

Journey to the nearby city of Chiang Rai to witness the otherworldly beauty of the White Temple. Admire its intricate design, adorned with mirrored glass and sparkling white plaster.

10. Go zip-lining in the jungle

Get your adrenaline pumping with a thrilling zip-lining adventure through the dense jungles of Chiang Mai. Soar through the treetops and take in panoramic views of the lush canopy below.

11. Visit the Chiang Mai Zoo

Embark on a family-friendly outing to the Chiang Mai Zoo, home to a diverse array of animal species from around the world. Don’t miss the chance to see giant pandas, koalas, and snow leopards up close.

12. Relax at Huay Tung Tao Lake

Escape the crowds and unwind at Huay Tung Tao Lake, a tranquil oasis located just a short drive from the city centre. Rent a bamboo hut, enjoy a leisurely picnic, or try your hand at fishing.

13. Get lost in the Nimmanhaemin neighbourhood

Explore the trendy Nimmanhaemin neighbourhood, known for its hip cafes, boutique shops, and vibrant street art. Spend an afternoon sipping artisanal coffee and people-watching in this lively district.

14. Attend a traditional Thai massage

Treat yourself to a rejuvenating Thai massage and experience the ancient healing techniques passed down through generations. Relax your mind, body, and soul as skilled therapists work their magic.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

15. Trek to remote hill tribes

Embark on a trekking adventure through the rugged terrain surrounding Chiang Mai and visit remote hill tribe villages. Immerse yourself in traditional culture, sample local delicacies, and learn about age-old customs.

16. Explore the Chiang Mai Art in Paradise Museum

Step into a world of optical illusions and interactive art at the Chiang Mai Art in Paradise Museum. Let your imagination run wild as you pose for photos in whimsical settings.

17. Soak in the hot springs of San Kamphaeng

Indulge in a therapeutic soak at the hot springs of San Kamphaeng, known for their mineral-rich waters and healing properties. Relax your muscles and soak up the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside.

18. Visit the Chiang Mai University Art Center

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Chiang Mai at the Chiang Mai University Art Center. Browse contemporary exhibitions, attend workshops, and mingle with local artists.

19. Take a scenic train ride to Lamphun

Embark on a scenic train journey to the nearby town of Lamphun, known for its ancient temples and tranquil atmosphere. Explore historic sites like Wat Phra That Hariphunchai and soak in the laid-back charm of rural Thailand.

20. Indulge in street food at Warorot Market

Treat your taste buds to an array of mouth-watering street food delights at Warorot Market, a bustling bazaar located in the heart of Chiang Mai. Sample local favourites like khao soi, sai ua, and mango sticky rice.

21. Learn the art of traditional Thai crafts

Dive into the world of traditional Thai crafts with a hands-on workshop led by skilled artisans. Learn to weave intricate textiles, carve delicate woodwork, or create intricate pottery using age-old techniques.

22. Visit the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre

Gain insight into the rich history and heritage of Chiang Mai at the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre. Explore interactive exhibits, artefacts, and multimedia displays showcasing the city’s cultural legacy.

23. Embark on a river cruise along the Ping River

Set sail on a leisurely river cruise along the scenic Ping River and soak in panoramic views of Chiang Mai’s riverside landmarks. Enjoy a sunset dinner cruise or opt for a traditional longtail boat ride.

24. Attend a traditional Thai festival

Immerse yourself in the vibrant festivities of a traditional Thai festival, such as Songkran (Thai New Year) or Loy Krathong (Festival of Lights). Experience colourful parades, lively street celebrations, and cultural performances.

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

25. Explore the hidden gem of Mae Kampong

Venture off the beaten path and discover the hidden gem of Mae Kampong, a quaint village nestled in the mountains near Chiang Mai. Immerse yourself in the serene surroundings, sample local delicacies, and learn about traditional ways of life.


As you can see, the list of things to do in Chiang Mai is as diverse as it is captivating. Whether you’re exploring ancient temples, chasing waterfalls, or savouring street food delights, this enchanting city promises endless adventures at every turn. So pack your bags, lace up your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime in the cultural heart of northern Thailand. Don’t miss out on these unforgettable experiences and make sure to add these must-see attractions to your itinerary for an unforgettable trip to Chiang Mai.

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