The Kingdom of Thailand is one of the favorite tourist destinations and attracts travelers from all over the world to its exotic sandy beaches, lush jungles, Buddhist temples, archeological sites, and water sports, Muay Thai boxing, nightlife, night markets, tattoos, world-famous Thai cuisine and of course the traditional Thai massage.
People generally flock to Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, and Krabi. However, lesser-known destinations such as Chiang Mai with its various tourist attractions do not fall behind.
Surrounded by mountains and lush greenery, Chiang Mai, is cheaper in terms of cost of living, accommodation, transport, food and is safer compared to other tourist centers. It is an ideal place to visit with family and gives more friendly vibes than other cities.
Here are the 15 reasons to visit Chiang Mai. Don’t think twice. Book now!!
1. Pleasant Climate:
Located in the north of Thailand and at a higher altitude than many other cities, Chiang Mai has a pleasant climate all through the year. The place is cooler and less humid than Bangkok or Pattaya.
The best time to visit the Chiang Mai tourist places is from November to February when the weather is dry and cool with temperatures hovering between 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainy season starts from May to October bringing in lush greenery. Even though it rains heavily, the sun smiles on you and can enjoy your vacation peacefully.
2. Smiley People:
Thailand, known as the “Land of Smiles”, true to its meaning the Thais are always smiling.
Known for their hospitality and friendly nature, the people of Chiang Mai are always kind to tourists. Whether you are amidst the urban or the tribals, the people make you feel very comfortable and l ensure that you have a pleasant stay in Chiang Mai. The Chiang Mai tourist places are filled with friendly smiling local guides.
You will be warned by some to beware of Thais trying to cheat you, but the majority of the locals are friendly and very helpful.
3. Affordable prices:
Away from the hustle and bustle of other cities, Chiang Mai, a lesser-known city is a good tourist destination for travelers of all budgets. The budget-friendly accommodations draw tourists to visit the popular Chiang Mai attractions.
Prices in Chiang Mai are unbelievably low. Hostels to luxury hotels, transportation fares, food, and many more are available at a cheaper rate since the cost of living is lower in this area. Many places can be visited for free such as some temples in the old city, green spaces that are available in plenty, or the 800-year-old moat. Hence, Chiang Mai is the most budget-friendly destination in Thailand.
4. Easy to travel:
The historic old city of Chiang Mai is only 1.5 sq km in size and all the popular Chiang Mai tourist attractions are within walking distance from each other.
Chiang Mai is well connected by road, rail, and air. You can travel to all the popular attractions by taxis, tuk-tuks, or songthaew (truck with two benches). You can also rent a motorbike or bicycle for a day. The traffic is not heavy and you can travel easily from one Chiang Mai attractions to another by renting a motorbike or a bicycle for a day at a cheap price.
5. Coffee Caffeine:
For coffee lovers, Chiang Mai offers the best coffee in the whole of Thailand.
You will find coffee cafes at every nook and corner of Chiang Mai. The cafes buy fresh coffee beans directly from the farmers or the tribals from villages. By purchasing the beans directly from the tribals, the coffee shops double up as a source of living for the village tribes. The freshly brewed coffee in the cafes is delicious and one of Chiang Mai’s attractions.
6. Yummy Thai Food:
When a person travels to a different country the first thought that comes to their mind is food. But not so when you are visiting Thailand.
Thai food can either be spicy or bitter and sour. The food in Chiang Mai is a blend of different cuisines from neighboring Burma, China along with Thai. The variety of foods on offer is the world-famous pad Thai, Khao soi ( mix of chicken, curry broth, soft egg noodles, and spicy coconut milk) different curries, Thai roti, seafood, soups, Sausage, salads, and noodles to suit all palettes. The food street is one of the Chiang Mai tourist places you should not miss.
8. Vegetarian food:
For vegetarians, Chiang Mai is a city that has a whole lot of restaurants serving only vegetarian dishes. Going vegan is becoming fashionable and one of Chiang Mai attractions is to eat in these vegan restaurants.
The Aum Vegetarian, Dada Kafe, Taste From Heaven, and Reform Kafe are some restaurants that serve vegetarian dishes at affordable prices. Free Bird Cafe is a vegan cafe that plays a dual role of being a restaurant as well as a place that supports the Thai Freedom House. Delicious tofu and soya bean dishes are served and the cost is very less.
The historic city of Chiang Mai has over 300 temples and the most popular among them are the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Chiang Man. There are a lot of temples in Chiang Mai, you should never miss it during your trip!
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep stands on top of a mountain and is home to a replica of the Emerald Buddha. You can go up in a cable car and enjoy the scenic beauty as well. The temples are not only famous for the Buddha relics but also for the unique architecture and interesting stories attached to it. You can also see the monks meditating and leading their lives following the Buddha’s eightfold path of dharma.
9. Colorful Festivals:
The culture and tradition of a place are revealed by the festivals the people celebrate. Plan your visit to Chiang Mai in such a way that you can partake in the festivals and experience the beauty of the place.
The festivals and the festive atmosphere are some of the things to see in Chiang Mai and experience. Some of the popular festivals that are celebrated are Songkran (Water Festival), Chinese New Year (in January or February depending on the lunar calendar), Chiang Mai Flower Festival (in the first week of February), Loi Krathong (festival of light in November), Phi Ta Khon (Ghost Festival) and Yi Peng (Lantern Festival in mid-November).
10. Lush greeneries and Elephant Park:
Nature is always associated with romance. Chiang Mai is surrounded by mountainous terrain on all sides, which makes a lovely backdrop. From lush forests to man-made botanical parks, there are numerous places for tourists to enjoy the scenic beauty.
Some of the must-see Chiang Mai outdoor activities are the Doi Pui Tribal Village and National Park, Mae Sa Waterfall, Mark Fa Waterfall, Chi Jungle Man, and Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden. The Elephant sanctuary is the most visited place as you will get an opportunity to bathe and play with the elephant and know the history of the rehabilitated elephant.
11. Night Bazar experience:
For an amazing shopping experience visit the Chiang Mai Night Bazaars. One of Chiang Mai’s tourist places is the Night Bazar, a paradise for shopping. You can shop till you drop. Eat, drink, and relax in one of the bars or pubs which are on the sidewalks.
It consists of a row of stalls on the sidewalks and the vendors here sell everything from CDs, clothes, jewelry, furniture, shoes, handicrafts, souvenirs, Thai silk, silver, spices, and many more. The articles are reasonably priced. One of the main reasons for people to flock to Chiang Mai is the shopping experience.
12. Night safari:
For a truly exciting adventure, you can explore the world’s 3rd Nocturnal zoo by going on Chiang Mai Night Safari.
There are 3 animal zones – the Savanna Safari Zone where you can see giraffes, zebras, rhinos, elephants in an open tram, the predator prowl zone where you can see the fiercest predators like tigers, lions, pumas and many more in a tram and the Jaguar trail where you can see white tigers, jaguars, tortoises by walking around the lake.
One of Chiang Mai tourist attractions that is unforgettable and will be engraved in your memory for a long time.
13. Thai massages:
After a hectic day of sightseeing, you can relax at any one of the spas and parlor and get a massage to rejuvenate your body. One of the cheapest places to get a traditional Thai massage in Chiang Mai.
The spa and massage parlors are one of Chiang Mai attractions for all kinds of travelers. Some of the massages that are popular are traditional Thai massage, oil massage, foot scrub, fish massage, aloe vera massage, and many treatments to destress and pamper your body and soul.
14. Adventure activities:
Chiang Mai offers you a wide range of activities ranging from the mild to the extreme.
There are a number of things to see in Chiang Mai and to experience like the White water rafting, hiking, abseiling, trekking, rock climbing, kayaking and zip-lining, and mountain biking. You can even learn Muay Thai. Ziplining is where you will be hooked onto a cable that’s attached to high trees and/or towers above the jungle. This thrilling cable ride gives you a bird’s eye view of the lush jungles, scenic beaches, breathtaking secret waterfalls, and wildlife.
Don’t forget to take your cameras!!
15. Cabaret show:
For many tourists visiting Chiang Mai for the first time one of the things to see in Chiang Mai is the Ladyboy Cabaret Show.
Located in the Night Bazaar the show features some of Chiang Mai’s prettiest and liveliest ladyboys. The performers wear outrageous dresses with full makeup and sing, dance, and entertain the audience. The themes may be glamorous or hilarious and one of Chiang Mai tourist attractions that is suitable for couples as well as families.
Buy your ticket in advance and the early bird gets the best seat. You may even get an opportunity to dance with the ladyboys on stage.
Chiang Mai has nature in abundance. A laid back city which is not very populated and less polluted, it is gaining popularity nowadays. The mountains, natural parks, temples, museums, wildlife, cool weather, and friendly vibes are drawing visitors of late. The comparatively cheaper accommodation and cost of living make this city the choicest of destinations.