Most Amazing Things Chiang Mai Has To Offer That You Won’t See Anywhere Else In The World….With lush mountains and dotted with temples of cultural importance, Chiang Mai is the best hub for exploring northern Thailand. If you are planning a trip to Chiang Mai but unsure of what there is to do there, I’ve got you covered.
I have visited this beautiful city on a few occasions. I fell in love with the gorgeous place so much that it was a must to return with a friend to live there for 8 months while working online. We are constantly amazed by how many things there are to do in Chiang Mai.
I have put together a list of things to do that isn’t offered anywhere else in the world other than Chiang Mai. Hopefully, this will help plan the perfect trip a bit easier!
Swim In The Old Quarry lake
While in exploring the fourth biggest city in Thailand it is a must to stop at the old quarry lake. There is no better feeling than the one you get when swimming at Huay Teung Thao Lake.
This picture-perfect lake is situated around 12 kilometers of the city center at the base of Doi Suthep mountain. This is the perfect spot to take a refreshing swim or have a swing in a hammock.
If your stomach is growling of hunger, there are also restaurants nearby which have the most delicious food. I enjoy ordering my food as a takeaway and eat at a stilted hut on the water in the shade.
As you drive about thirty-minutes south-west of the old city, the view becomes a little less attractive. However, you can still admire the quarry which has quite a striking body of water with steep quarried sides. This is one of my favorite spots to take a swim in the cool water.
Around 30 kilometers east of the old city, you will reach San Kamphaeng. This is where you can visit the hot springs if you are not a big swimmer. Sitting in hot water may sound unappealing in such a hot climate but anyone who has tried it will tell you that it is a real soothing feeling of pleasure.
Get Personal With A Monk
You will be able to spot the iconic saffron robes everywhere you wander in Thailand, however, it is only in Chiang Mai where you can have the rare opportunity to get personal with a monk.
Many tourists spend hours asking the monks questions about daily life and anything else that may pop into their minds. You’ll be surprised how incredibly open and willing they are to talk.
If chatting with a monk is on your bucket list, I suggest putting thought about what you would like to ask them ahead of time. This will help prevent what happened to me. So many more questions came to mind on some of the hot topics in today’s society after I have left the city.
Here are some questions I wished I had asked:
- What is the purpose of the little shrines in practicers’ homes?
- Why is the offering of the orange important?
- Do Buddhists believe in an afterlife?
- What is Nirvana?
- Is the Dalai Lama the literal reincarnation of Buddha?
- What does it mean to be free?
Getting personal with a monk is an amazing experience. However, it is important to have respect when interacting with them. Make sure you wear appropriate clothing that covers your shoulders and everything above your knees. Also, don’t act in a manner which may offend the culture of the monks or may annoy them.
Release a Wish Lantern
If you visit Chiang Mai during November, you’ll be lucky enough to observe the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festivals which take place around the same time. One thing to keep in mind is that the dates change each year due to the lunar calendar, so be sure to do your research.
It is also a great idea to book your accommodation well in advance. This will prevent any disappointments. Due to poor planning, I spent one night without a bed because it seemed like the entire city had ‘no vacancy’ signs.
Releasing a wish lantern is something I wish to do again. It makes the top 10 of my recommendations on what to do in Chiang Mai. It is a shame that not many tourists participate in this activity.
See An Elephant Responsibility
If there is only one thing that you put on your bucket list, make sure it is this! Most tourists who visit Thailand aim to see an elephant in person, however, not everyone engages with the animals responsibly.
I have learned that it is not uncommon for elephants parks to call themselves ‘sanctuaries’ without truly being kind to the gentle giants. I encourage you to do some research in advance and choose a place that is treating the animals well.
If you do end up in a place that is not responsibly run, don’t be afraid to speak up! Inform the manager of any unethical acts done towards the elephants. If the manager doesn’t do anything about the situation, you can write a review online so that others can be aware and decide whether or not to support it.
On a more positive note, there are also elephant rescues and rehabilitation camps which give tourists an elephant education, as well as the opportunity to feed and bathe these majestic creatures. This was one of my most memorable experiences in life by far!