You will never run out of things to do in Chiang Mai. With over 300 temples to explore, this northern Thai cultural hub has so much to offer; the temples are just a taste. Don’t forget that there are plenty of other things to keep you busy in this city, from museums to markets, and the nature immediately surrounding the city is of abundant natural beauty. If you need extra inspiration, here’s our list of Chiang Mai‘s top 3 attractions.
1. Wat Phra That Doi Kham
The first of the Chiang Mai attractions on our list of the top 10 things to do in this city is still a temple. Wat Phra That Doi Kham is particularly known for the representation of Buddha it houses. This Buddha is over 16 meters tall, which makes it so impressive. The temple is located on a hill just outside the city of Chiang Mai and was built during the 7th century.
Its oldest building is the chedi, or pagoda, which was built in 687. The chedi is similar to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a much better-known temple, but not as peaceful to visit as the temple Wat Phra That Doi Kham. In addition to the reduced number of visitors to this temple, making it more enjoyable to visit, there is also a lot to see.
You can admire the snakes (nāgas) that guard the steps of the pagoda or stroll around the splendid green pillars that are the courtyard of the temple. While you are in the courtyard, you might have the opportunity to ring one of the large bells or one of the gongs. This is a very fun part of a temple visit. There is no doubt that Wat Phra That Doi Kham is one of the finest of all Chiang Mai attractions.
2. Warorot Market (Kad Luang)
We’ve featured one market before in our list of the best things to do in Chiang Mai, but this one is a must for any foodie. The market is also extremely popular among locals, so it’s a great place to go if you want to try out some representative examples of the Thai lifestyle. You will be able to see what the Warorot market is so popular for; there is a whole range of small ready-to-eat things, as well as many fresh products.
Food isn’t the only thing you can buy in this market, but that’s the attraction for tourists. As we mentioned, this market is very popular with Chiang Mai locals and hosts a large portion of them. It is for this reason that the other things on sale are mainly everyday items and not souvenirs for tourists. You have two reasons to visit the Warorot market: to discover the delicious food that is offered there and to spend time with the local population.
3. Walking Street Saturday Night Market
After you’ve spent some time exploring Chiang Mai’s temples and museums, you could visit the Saturday Night Market on Walking Street — Wua Lai Road to experience something a little different. It’s a fun experience, starting late in the afternoon and going until 10:30 p.m. in the evening. The market isn’t too crowded, which is nice.
The busiest time of day is usually around sunset, so avoid that time if you want more room to hang out. You can buy many traditional handicrafts, and of course, a host of less traditional souvenirs are also sold here. You will also likely be tempted by all the little things to eat that you can choose and taste.
Eating a few of these will give you enough energy to keep walking around and exploring the stalls that are available to you. If you want to visit this market, you can quickly be dropped off by a tuk-tuk since its location is close to the old city walls. Wandering around this market should only take you an hour or two, but you can stay as long as you like, soaking up the atmosphere.
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