Vacations to Chiang Mai, Thailand

The northern Thai city of Chiang Mai is a welcome breath of fresh air, especially if you’ve come from busy Bangkok. Although it’s Thailand’s second largest city, the pace is noticeably slower. Over the past few decades it has evolved into an upmarket metropolis. Excellent accommodation and dining options have come with the development but its traditional heart, and the charming people, beautiful temples and appealing culture that are behind Chiang Mai’s enduring popularity aren’t hard to find. 

The old city is surrounded by a 700-year-old moat and a cluster of significant temples are found within. More beauty can be discovered along the banks of the Mae Ping River which are lined with centuries-old buildings and pretty architecture. Skill-up and learn the art of Thai massage on a course in Chiang Mai – the practice is known for its restorative powers. Thai cookery lessons are popular in the city too, but be prepared for a queue of dinner party guests waiting for you on your return.

Arguably, Chiang Mai has the best crafts shopping in the country. Woodwork is prevalent here, along with lacquerware and silverwork. Try the shopping village of Baan Tawai to see the skilled woodworkers and other craftspeople in action. There’s a popular night bazaar that sells the usual tourist trinkets, but if you go beyond the street sellers and into the Night Bazaar Building you’ll find fascinating stalls selling curious antiques and handicrafts.

Don’t miss Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and its eagle’s-nest temple, a glistening example of traditional Thai architecture. Climb the long, steep staircase lined with serpents to be rewarded with incredible views over to Chiang Mai and beyond. Conveniently, there’s a lift so no one has to miss out on the vista.

You don’t have to travel far outside of the city to happen upon rural Thailand in all its glory. There’s the scenic Huay Tung Tao Lake, the beautiful Mae Kompong valley and the Ob Khan National Park as well as little villages with charming souvenir markets. Chiang Mai’s cooler climes combined with its bountiful landscape have made it popular with energetic types looking for rafting, trekking and mountain biking. Although further afield, the pretty Tham Lod Cave deserves a visit. Filled with swifts and bats, it has an ethereal quality about it with the freshwater Nam Lang River flowing through the extended cave chambers. You'll explore partway on foot and hop aboard a raft. The cave is set in serene countryside and is one of the truly unforgettable sights of the region that you’ll gush about for days.


  • Excellent markets and shopping

  • Beautiful temples to explore

  • Rural Thailand is within easy reach

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Chaing Mai trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas that include Chaing Mai. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 020 3510 5777

Places to stay in Chiang Mai

Here are some of our favorite accommodation options in Chiang Mai. Need help deciding where to stay during your trip? Call our Travel Designers now and they’ll help you pick the best hotels suited to your needs: 020 3510 5777

Things to do in Chiang Mai

Here are some of the things you can do in Chiang Mai. When you've chosen your favorite experiences, just give our Travel Designers a call and they'll put a trip together for you. If you need help choosing an experience, or if you want to learn more about it, our Travel Designers will be more than happy to talk to you. Just call them on: 020 3510 5777

Map of Chiang Mai

When to go to Chiang Mai

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