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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for 16 Unique Things to Do in Chiang Mai – Authentic Chiang Mai Activities
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16 Unique Things to Do in Chiang Mai – Authentic Chiang Mai Activities

The fourth-largest city in Thailand, Chiang Mai is rich with lush mountains and temples posing an important cultural bearing. If you are visiting the city, here's a list of things to do while touring.


Have a chat with a monk

The city is filled with orange-clad Buddhist monks, and you can have a chat with them if you wish to. They are very affable, and you could talk to them about religion, their daily life, and their view on contemporary matters. They'd be happy to oblige.


Chiang Mai Markets

The local markets are where you can buy things at unbelievably low prices. Every corner is bursting with clothes, souvenirs, crafts, fresh fruits, vegetables, and so on.


Get a massage

Rather than going for a massage parlour; you could choose to get a massage from a prison inmate. Women at the correctional facility serve time for minor offences and are given the opportunity to learn a skill hence the massage centre.


Visit Doi Suthep Temple

If you'd like your trip to be a complete one, you must visit Doi Suthep temple. This is one of the most significant religious sites in the city which renders it to be a must-visit.


Release a sky lantern

If you happen to be in Chiang Mai during the month of November, you are in for a treat – this is the month of Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals, though the date is determined by the workings of the lunar calendar. Also, during the festival time, every corner of the city is filled with locals and tourists, and finding accommodation isn't easy. To avoid having to sleep in the streets, sort out your lodgings in advance – to this end, there are Chiang Mai residences offered by the likes of Anantara Chiang Mai Serviced Suites.


Rock climbing

This is frequently done in Chiang Mai. If you want your trip to be a bit adventurous, you can go for rock climbing.



Hiking is another activity the city is famous for. The jungle expanse surrounding the city gives leeway for the sport. There's also a hiking club you can join if you'd rather hike with a group.


Learn to cook

Taking a cooking class is a favourite activity among tourists. If you love Thai food, here's your chance to make a few dishes.


Eat street food

Like every other Asian city, Chiang Mai too is famous for its dosage of street food; the markets and streets are lined with roadside vendors, and you can choose your pick from the wide range that is available.


Go for a yoga session

If you are worn out after your long journey, the best way to revitalise your energy is to attend a yoga class. There is a number of yoga studios you can choose from.


Explore the malls

There is a fair number of shopping malls in Chiang Mai. You can shop for clothes, souvenirs and lifestyle items all the while enjoying the perk of free Wi-Fi.


Have a drink at a rooftop bar

Chiang Mai is famous for its fair share of rooftop bars. Visitors can enjoy drinks while taking in the lovely surroundings.


Enjoy the cuisine

Chiang Mai boasts a myriad of restaurants, especially aimed at tourists. From the local dishes to international dishes, you can enjoy any dish you fancy.



This is a popular sport in the city. You can zip-line through the jungle, and there are many enterprises that enable the activity.


Enjoy a cabaret show

Cabaret shows are the quintessential Thai feature. The live performances are extremely delightful, and you'll be privy to incredibly talented dancers.


See the elephants

This is invariably on everyone's bucket list if visiting Thailand. There are elephant sanctuaries all over the city; however, what the term sanctuary implies isn't exactly upheld at these places. It is said that these animals are mistreated at most places, so if you happen to encounter such an incident, you should speak up.