Are you planning a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand? You’re going to love it! In fact, Chiang Mai was recently voted among the top ten cities in the world. What makes this picturesque city in northern Thailand so appealing? The people, the setting, and the culture are definitely a draw. But one of the main reasons visitors flock to Chiang Mai is for the variety of amazing activities available. Want to bathe an elephant in a river? Zipline high above the treetops? Eat your way through the local markets? You can do all that and much more. Here’s our pick for the seven best things to do in Chiang Mai.
Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai
- Indulge in Luxurious Spa Treatments
An authentic Thai massage should be at the top of your list of things to do in Chiang Mai.
With origins dating back over 2,500 years, Thai massage has long been a source of physical and spiritual healing. Thai massage techniques include compression and stretching to relax and balance the body.
Spa treatments aren’t limited only to massage. At Chiang Mai’s best spas, you’ll find a wide array of skin, facial, and hair treatments using locally sourced ingredients.
And if luxury spas aren’t your thing, you can always enjoy a relaxing foot massage on the sidewalk while you watch the people go by.
- Go Hot Air Ballooning
Would you like a private, bird’s eye view of the jungle? Imagine floating high above the trees as the sun comes up over the mountains, the southernmost part of the Himalayas.
If you’ve always wanted to try hot air ballooning, Chiang Mai is the place. Whether you’re an avid photographer or you just want to relax and soak in the view, the best way to see Chiang Mai is from the air.
Are you planning a romantic proposal or celebrating your honeymoon or an anniversary? Hot air ballooning over Chiang Mai is the perfect setting to create that memory.
- Shop in the Markets and Take a Thai Cooking Class
Thailand is synonymous with good food. People come from all over the world to sample the exotic flavors and perfect balance of sweet, spicy, salty, and sour.
To be sure, you can find great street food in Chiang Mai, especially at the famous Sunday Night Market. But rather than merely sampling food prepared by others, why not learn to make a few dishes yourself?
A Thai cooking class is an experience you’ll never forget. Your teacher will take you to the local markets and educate you about the spices and herbs you’ll need. Then you’ll use those fresh ingredients to create some of the tastiest dishes you’ve ever tried.
- Visit an Elephant Park
One of the most popular things to do in Chiang Mai is get up close and personal with Asian elephants.
Chiang Mai has a reputation for high-quality, ethical elephant experiences. At these parks and sanctuaries, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with these gentle giants.
What might a typical day include? Depending on which program you choose, you may be able to feed, bathe, ride, or swim with your elephant.
For a more intensive experience, many elephant parks offer one-day (or longer) volunteer programs. In these programs, you’ll work closely with the mahouts and learn all aspects of caring for elephants.
- Zip-Line Through the Jungle
If you’ve ever dreamed of soaring through the jungle like a bird, zip-lining in Chiang Mai can turn that dream into a reality.
Chiang Mai’s beautiful rainforests are the perfect setting for a zip-line adventure. Most tours use a combination of zip-lining, abseiling, sky bridges, and nature walks to introduce you to the forest. If you’re really lucky, you may even get to see a wild gibbon!
Rainforest adventures aren’t limited to zip-lining. Adrenaline junkies can also choose from white-water rafting, rock climbing, kayaking, or ATV riding.
It’s also possible to arrange tours that incorporate several different activities in the same day.
- Challenge Yourself with Thai Boxing
Thai boxing (Muay Thai) is Thailand’s national sport. It’s also considered one of the most difficult martial arts to master.
Anytime you walk through the city, you’ll encounter men handing you flyers for nightly matches. Chiang Mai is home to many different stadiums, and going to see a match is one of the most popular activities to do.
For a real challenge, though, why not sign up for a Muay Thai class? Several schools in the city offer introductory classes for beginners. Your hotel can also arrange for an instructor to come out and give you a private lesson.
We won’t lie – Thai boxing is harder than your average kickboxing class at home. But it’s an incredible workout and an experience you definitely will never forget.
- Explore Nearby Tea Plantations
If Thai kickboxing sounds a little too intense, perhaps a trip into the countryside would be a better fit for you. For a unique and authentic cultural experience, plan a visit to one of the tea plantations surrounding Chiang Mai.
Not only are tea plantations beautiful to explore, but because of the higher elevation, it’s often much cooler than the city. Many plantations offer restaurants and markets where you can sample the local tea and produce.
In these outer regions, you’ll also come across orchid nurseries, strawberry farms, and lavender fields.
Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed Oolong tea while you sit back and watch the mist rise over the lush green hills. Welcome to paradise!
Choosing the Best Place to Stay in Chiang Mai
Now that you have a list of the best things to do in Chiang Mai, where are you going to stay?
Howie’s Homestay offers the unique opportunity to have a luxurious Thai villa all to yourself! When you book with us, you and your traveling companions will be the only ones at the entire resort.
We invite you to explore our beautiful private villa that we designed specifically with you, the guest, in mind.
If you have any questions or would like to make a booking, please contact us and we’ll get back to you shortly.