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Updated by Fritzjames Stephen on Mar 02, 2015
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Chiang Mai tourist attractions - Must-See Highlights in Chiang Mai

As one of Thailand's most popular tourist hubs Chiang Mai is littered with diverse points of interest to suit every type of traveller. Here are some of its must-visit highlights for first time visitors.

1

Wat Prathat Doi Suithep

As one of the most iconic temples in all of Thailand Wat Prathat Doi Suithep is a not-to-miss highlight in Chiang Mai. Occupying a cloud gracing height surrounded by mountains the venue dates back to 1386. Housing an elaborate marble courtyard and an ornate chedi the temple is reached via a flight of 300 steps up the mountain. On the way visitors will pass the Monthathal Falls.

2

Chiang Mai Zoo

Reached via tram ride or monorail the Chiang Mai Zoo is an expansive wildlife enclosure at the base of Doi Suithep. Perfect for nature lovers the venue's large animal enclosures mimic the natural habitats of the creatures contained within. One of its chief highlights is of course its two giant pandas from China and their cubs. Home to a famed snow dome the venue also houses aquarium as well as inhabitants including penguins and Asian bears.

3

Wat Chedi Luang

Located at the highest point of Chiang Mai Wat Chedi Luang is another iconic temple and pagoda in Lanna. Dating back to 1441, the venue is synonymous with 91m tall pagoda the Wat Chedi Luang's pagoda's height diminished to half its height due to an earthquake during the end of the 16th century. Lined with Ubosots as well as Viharns the iconic Emerald Buddha in Bangkok was once housed in this sacred temple.

4

Phuping Palace and National Park

Occupying a vast expanse 6km from the base of a mountain the Phuping Palace and National Park is best known as a royal resort hub that served as the home of the Thai royal family during the winter season. With the Baan Doi Pui tribal village located nearby visitors can experience the breathtaking beauty of the terrain and the panoramic views from the mountain's summit.

5

Wiang Kum Kam

Also known as the former Chiang Mai town centre the Wiang Kum Kam was excavated and discovered in the early 1980's. Originally constructed by King Mengrai the area yielded countless structures and relics dating back to the period before the Ping River flooded the ancient capital. Littered with more than 20 temple spaces visitors can explore the Atlantis of Chiang Mai in its entirety in half a day.

6

Chiang Mai Aquarium

Home to the biggest aquarium in all of Southeast Asia the Chiang Mai Aquarium opened its doors to the public in 2008. Home to more than 8000 species of marine creatures including 250 varieties of fresh water fish the locale's inhabitants are contained within an 8000 cubic litre container.

7

Wat Chiang Man

As the oldest religious institution in Chiang Mai, Wat Chiang Man was built soon after the city was established back in 1296. A prominent historic site in the town the venue is one of the most photographed sights in all of Chiang Mai. Home to two Buddha sculptures that dates back nearly 2000 years the locale showcases traditional Lanna architectural features.

8

Chiang Mai National Museum

Located a stone's throw away from Wat Jet Yot the Chiang Mai National Museum showcases the area's heritage with an extensive collection of relics ranging from Buddha statues, Lanna art work and ancient weaponry. Visitors staying in Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa will have easy access to the venue. Ranked among the top things to do in Chiang Mai, a visit to the city would be incomplete without a stopover at the illustrious museum.