Choose from 30 Fun Things to Do in Chiang Mai
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a must-visit for spiritual travelers and first-time visitors to Chiang Mai.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, and be prepared to do some climbing.
- The temple is accessible to wheelchair users (including the elevator and cable car to the top), but there are some steep ramps.
Thought to be the oldest wat in Chiang Mai, Wat Chiang Man is a typical northern Thai temple, with massive teak columns holding aloft the central sanctuary.
The wat has two important Buddha images; one on a marble bas relief, the other a crystal seated Buddha. They’re visible in a glass cabinet housed in a smaller sanctuary.
The walls of the wat feature red stenciled murals, depicting scenes from the life of Chiang Mai's founder, Phaya Mengrai.
Wat Chiang Man is in the northeastern section of the moated old city of Chiang Mai.
Aside from the structure itself, there is a Buddhist university at the site as well. Monks in training are often eager to share conversation and practice their English with visitors in informal "monk chats."
The temple consists of many buildings, but the most spectacular is the golden wihan that houses the Phra Singh. Look for classic Lanna architectural features like the three-tiered roof, white chedi with an octagonal base, and lion statues guarding the entrance. It is possible to go inside to see the Buddha statue, just remember to remove your shoes first.
Wat Phra Singh is an active temple and lucky visitors may see chanting monks or a blessing ceremony. Many novice monks study here and are happy to practice their English by sitting and chatting with tourists in the temple gardens.
The suggested donation is 20B
The Chiang Mai Aquarium opened in 2008 and is more modern than the zoo. More than 25,000 fish are on display including species native to Thailand like giant Mekong catfish, barracuda, moray eels, and jellyfish. Don't forget to take a walk through the aquarium's 133 meter underwater tunnel "“ officially the longest in the world "“ surrounded by sharks and stingrays.
The Chiang Mai Zoo & Aquarium grounds are quite expansive and you can save yourself a lot of walking by taking the zoo tram or monorail between the exhibits.
Wiang Kum Kam has been partly restored to its former glory and visitors can tour the ruins of ancient temples and see the carved stone tablets unearthed by archaeologists. Some of the sites have plaques with information in English and guides are available for hire.
To get there from Chiang Mai, go south along Highway 106 (also known as the Chiang Mai – Lamphun Highway) for about 3 kilometers then look for the directional sign to the ruins.