30 best things to do in Chang Mai [cooking classes, boxing, safaris and more ]


Chiang Mai is among the top tourist attraction sites in northern Thailand thanks to the lush mountains and historic temples. The city offers travelers a unique combination of culture, adventure, food, nature, history and modern comforts thus making it one of the best cities in the world.

If you’ve been planning to visit Thailand, this article is for you as we are going to cover a list of fun activities to do in Chiang Mai. And this is not going to be any list that you’re going to find in other guidebooks or sites.

Having spent several weeks in Chiang Mai, we can assure you that we know the city well. As we walked around the city, we discovered great things that you can do alone or with your loved ones to have an experience of a lifetime. Once you get used to this city, you’ll never think of leaving it. The locals are some of the warmest and nicest people you’ll meet in this part of the world. Here are thirty best things to do in Chiang Mai today.

Table of Contents

Best things to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

  1. Chiang Mai night safari

If you’ve never explored wildlife at night, this is the best time to do so. Combining the darkness of the night and wildlife exploration will create an experience that you’ll live to remember. The night safari in this city offers an amazing opportunity to see some of the rare beasts in their natural habitats. The night safari tour is made up of three zones namely Jaguar Trail, Savannah Safari and Predator Prowl.

You can choose between walking through these zones or enjoying your safari on a tram ride. Some of the animals that you should expect to see are tigers, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, lions, jaguars, and pumas. The park has more features such as a laser light show and a dancing fountain to elevate your experience.

2. Visit the elephant jungle sanctuary in Chang Mai

If you’ve never had the opportunity to see elephants closely or even play with them, Chiang Main offers you this opportunity of a lifetime. The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary takes you into the world of elephants where you’ll spend enough time and have fun with elephants. You can feed and bathe them during your stay.

A guide will accompany and educate you about the history of the place and elephants. If you enjoy your time, you can decide to spend the night here. This project is regulated by eco-tourism and ethical norms. Therefore, no animal is mistreated by anyone on the premises.

3. Embrace your adventure at Doi Inthanon National Park in Chang Mai

Visiting the Doi Inthanon National Park will become the best part of the Chiang Mai trip. You’ll be happy to discover that Doi Inthanon is among the most sought after national parks not only in Thailand but also in the world. You are going to see several waterfalls in the forest, remote villages and beautiful hills. The climate is pleasant all year.

If you love hiking, camping or just spending time with nature, this is the best spot for you. Thanks to the beautiful hills, forests, and waterfalls, photographers are going to love this place.

4. Rafting on Mae Taeng river

Rafting on Mae Taeng river will be one of the most thrilling experiences you should expect on your to-do -list in this amazing city. First, you’ll be taught on the safety instructions by an instructor who speaks English fluently. Next, you’ll enter the river water with a guide who’ll ensure that you’ll have the best rafting experience in your life.

As you pass through the rapids, your heartbeat will go wild and you’ll get the opportunity to see the untouched wilderness that surrounds you. The best time to visit this site is between July and March because of the volatile waters.

5. Sunday walking street market in Chang Mai

One of the essential things you can do in Chiang Mai is exploring the Sunday Walking Street Market. This area has a lively atmosphere that brings in thousands of tourists every Sunday to come and share their ecstatic feelings with other shoppers.

This large market offers a wide range of clothes, handbags, street food and massages. It is one of the best places in the city to buy unique Thai art. The market is usually open till midnight. Therefore, you’ll get the chance to enjoy this city’s nightlife.

6. Visit the Wat Phra That Doi Temple

A couple of hours at this temple will help you explore and understand Thai culture because it is considered as one of the most sacred temples in the city. The temple was established back in 1383 by King Naone who treasured the Buddha.

Since the temple is located high up the mountain, you’ll need to climb around 300 steps to reach it. You’ll get to enjoy the architecture, serenity and the collection of statues. The view from the top is just stunning.

7. Attend the Loi Krathong Festival

If you’d like to explore Thai culture, you should attend the Loi Krathong Festival also known as the Festival of Light. Although the dates of this festival change annually, it usually falls in November and goes for three days.

The activities on each day are different and so is the experience. You’ll get the chance to see the beautiful temples illuminated and feel the warmth of the locals.

8. Chang Mai Gibbon Zip Line

As an adventurer, your ultimate experience will be the zip line also known as the Flight of the Gibbon. It’s one of the activities that will make your trip exciting. The Flight of Gibbon is one of the best zip line operators in Thailand. It will help you explore the dense rainforest as your adrenaline level hits the peak.

This is the only place in the city that allows you to zipline while enjoying nature trails, the sky bridge, and abseils.

9. Visit the art and craft Bor umbrella village

If you want to know more about the handicrafts of Chiang Mai and invest in some amazing products, the Bor Umbrella Village is one of the best places to visit. It is only 9 kilometers away from the city and it is best known for beautifully crafted umbrellas. The umbrellas are made out of the bark of mulberry trees.

10. Visit the Tiger Kingdom in Chang Mai

One of the best things to do Chiang Mai is to visit the Tiger Kingdom. As its name suggests, this facility is home to adult tigers. Nothing will be as exciting as interacting with the Tigers and getting to know their environment. You can take pictures with these amazing animals to keep your experiences alive.

11. Take Thai Cooking Classes

Once you start eating Thai food, you’ll naturally want to try cooking it at home. And the only way to make this possible is by taking Thai cooking classes. You’ll discover their ingredients, recipes, and dishes. Plus, you’ll be given a chance to prepare your dish by the professionals.

12. Immerse yourself in the Songkran Festival

To have an exhilarating experience in Chiang Mai, you should attend the festivities during the Songkran Festival. This celebration usually goes for three days starting from 13th to 15th April every year. This festival involves a wide range of traditional activities which include the water fight.

13. Learn history through the Ruins of Wat Chedi Luang

If you love exploring the culture and studying history, Chiang Mai is an ideal destination for you. Through the Ruins of Wat Chedi Luang, you are going to learn a lot about this city and its environs. This structure was built back in 1441 and it was later destroyed by an earthquake.

14. The night bicycle tour in Chang Mai

You are going to experience the magnificence of Chiang Mai without the traffic by going for a night bicycle tour. As you pedal through the streets, you are going to get soaked in not only the natural beauty but also the architectural marvels.

15. The Karen Hill Tribe culture

You’ve probably heard of reading about the tribals with long necks thanks to the brass rings on their necks. An interactive session with the people of this tribe will offer you an opportunity to learn about their history and custom.

16. Witness the Wat Phra Singh Temple

This is the most respected Buddhist temple in the city. If you love studying culture, this is the ideal destination for you. It’s a heritage site that was established back in 1345 by the Mangrai Dynasty. You are going to love the structures and designs.

17. Enjoy Thai Massage from ex-prisoners

Among the most popular things that tourists do in Chiang Mai is to get a traditional massage from ex-prisoners. It sounds peculiar but these prisoners understand the art of muscle relaxation through traditional therapies, yoga postures, and other rare techniques.

18. Enjoy a Thai Boxing Match

One of the uniqueness that represents the Thai culture is the Muay Thai which is the national sport of the nation. If you are into martial arts, the kickboxing fight will thrill you to the core. The city has several arenas that will enable you to see and even meet with professional boxers.

19. Get a Sak Yant tattoo

Since this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity, you should consider getting a Sak Yant tattoo. Unlike the usual tattooing styles, Sak Yant tattooing is considered a spiritual act in the area. The locals use bamboo rods and sharp metals.

20. Visit the Paradise 3D museum in Chang Mai

Thailand is full of creative people. You are going to notice this upon seeing the impressive 3D collection paintings in the Art in Paradise 3D Museum. This museum is divided into six different zones. And they are going to be fun for you and your loved ones.

21. Visit the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs

While taking a break from the sightseeing experience, you should head to San Kamphaeng hot springs to relax with your friends. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful nature and cool people. You can dip your feet or swim.

22. Enjoy the unique flavor of Thai Iced Coffee

Chiang Mai has thousands of food and drink flavors. After your sightseeing experience, you may want to relax at the café with your loved ones. Drinking this coffee will tickle your taste buds and uplift your mood.

23. The sticky rice and mango dessert

If you are craving for natural dessert from the region, the sticky rice mango dessert will come in handy. It is popular in the city and loved by most tourists thanks to its taste and price.

24. Mae Ping Boat Trip River

Among the most sought out activities are boating tours in the city. You are going to enjoy the boating tours because you’ll cross several hotels, restaurants, and bars situated on the shore. You’ll also enjoy the charming lush forests and the beautiful hills.

25. Coffee with Cats

The Catmosphere Café is going to make your day as it is home to several adorable cats. It is an ideal destination for people who want a therapeutic company.

26. The Grand Canyon Cliff in Chang Mai

This was once a limestone quarry that got transformed into a park. It offers several stimulating activities for both locals and tourists. You’ll never forget this attraction site in your life.

27. The Museum of Insects and Wonders

The Museum of Insects is truly a natural wonder. It offers a unique collection of insects and bugs. It is home to a collection of more than 10,000 species.

28. Shop at the Kalare Chang Mai Market

Whether you want to tickle your taste buds or shop to fulfill your hearts’ desires, the Kalare Night Market is the perfect place for you. While this market attracts thousands of people, it is quiet and filled with the finest products.

29. Enjoy the Pyongyang Jungle Coaster

This nerve-racking activity will lighten up your day. Since you’ll be doing it in the middle of a lush forest, it’s going to be memorable. You should expect some turns, dips, and twists.

30. Climb to the Doi Prat Bet

As an art and architecture admirer or a culture vulture, climbing 800 steps to this destination will be one of the most exciting and memorable things you’ll do in this city. You’ll not only enjoy the view but also the tranquil ambiance.

If you’re planning to visit Chiang Mai, now is the time to act. It’s important to do your research first before landing on this city. Planning your activities will help you manage your time effectively and enhance your experience. With these sites in mind, your work should be easier now.

Tiffany Harper is a UK based essay writer who consults at assignment help UK. She loves sharing her traveling experiences and lessons with her friends and followers. During her leisure time, she helps and mentors students to help them achieve their life goals.

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!