Surrounded by national parks on all sides and home to hundreds of temples, Chiang Mai offers a wonderful blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.
Chiang Mai's religious monuments are among the most popular places to visit in Thailand. The golden-domed Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is believed to house a Buddha relic, making it one of the most revered temples in the country. For an architecturally rich experience, you can head to the 13th-century Wat Phra Singh temple, which is a fine example of Lanna style of construction. The Old City area is home to ancient temples too, like Chedi Luang Temple and Wat Chiang Man.
The cuisine of Chiang Mai is multifaceted and draws inspiration from the communities that have lived here through the ages – Burmese, Chinese and Laotian. You’ll easily find quintessential Northern Thai dishes at street food stalls and night markets across the city. Khao soi (coconut curry noodle soup) and grilled sai oua (a fragrant Chiang Mai sausage) are popular dishes to try here. For a traditional experience, you can indulge in kantoke dinner – an authentic meal served on low tables accompanied by cultural performances.
Shopping is an informal affair in Chiang Mai, where you can bargain hard for local products. The city's Night Bazaar is well-known across Thailand for its handicraft and artwork stalls. You'll find tables full of handmade products and colourful knick-knacks at Tha Pae Sunday Walking Street, which can serve as excellent souvenirs of your Chiang Mai trip.