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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Best things to do in Chiang Mai – Escape into the Blissfully Calm Capital of Northern Thailand
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best things to do in Chiang Mai – Escape into the Blissfully Calm Capital of Northern Thailand

Thanks to its laid back atmosphere and its insane attractions, Chiang Mai continues to lure in throngs of tourists every year. We take a look at the best things to do in this ancient city.


Play With The Elephants

Thailand and elephants go hand in hand. If you are a fan of these huge lumbering yet majestic creatures, there is no better place to get up and close with them than Chiang Mai. I say Chiang Mai because while elephant tours can be found all over the country, it is here that you can find a couple that does not offer elephant rides. If you did not know, continued exposure to rides can permanently damage an elephant's spine. However, at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, you can have a much better time as they allow you to feed the beasts and even bathe them. With a location just a couple of hours away from the city, any hotel in Chiang Mai can help you arrange a tour.


Engage in temple hopping

While it is no secret that Thailand is home to a large number of temples, you would be surprised to know that Chiang Mai boasts more than two hundred of them. If you're looking for inner peace, there is no better place to find it. Known as 'wats' to the natives, some of the temples are hundreds of years old and they all feature a different design that sets them apart from the previous temple. Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple you can find in Chiang Mai while Wat Phan Tao deserves a visit too due to its unorthodox nature. Do not forget to keep in mind that these are religious locations and hence there is a need to dress modestly and behave in an appropriate manner.


Lose yourself in the endless night markets

While night markets can be found in many areas around the world, the night markets at Chiang Mai stand out for a number of reasons. These night markets are huge, way larger than the night markets a normal person might be accustomed to. This means you are treated to an array of items and services; be it cheap massages or the most creative souvenirs. The best of all night markets in the city is the Sunday Night Market. Taking up the entire old town, most of the streets are closed towards the evening in order to accommodate the market. Be it a hotel at the centre of the city or a hotel towards the Ping River, such as Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, there is sure to be a night market in close proximity to your hotel.


Learn the Thai cuisine

Thai cuisine is magical to say the least and what better way to learn the tricks of it than within the home country itself. While most Thai dishes seem intricate due to their blend of sweet, spicy, sour and salty in one meal, the dishes are actually easy to make. There are plenty of places that can teach you Thai cuisine and provide helpful recipes to get you started.