“The Rose of the North”

Located 700 km north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the biggest city of the North and Thailand’s second most important city. Chiang Mai, literally “new city”, is located on the banks of the Ping River and was chosen in 1292 by King Mengrai to replace Chiang Rai as the capital of his Lanna Kingdom. It was during this period and the subsequent reign of King Tilokharat that many fine temples (wats) were built within the walled city. In addition to the enormous amount of Buddhist temples and historic places, the city hosts colorful markets and beautiful handicrafts and ultramodern shopping malls. The atmosphere is relaxed and laid back.

Outside of the city of Chiang Mai you will soon come across bright green rice fields, glittering temples perched on high cliffs, and plenty of trails and rivers just waiting to be explored. Forested mountains, spectacular waterfalls, beautiful rice field terraces and valleys, and lovely rural villages make up the picturesque countryside here. The sacred, gilded Doi Suthep Temple overlooks the city from nearby Mt. Suthep.

Click and Zoom to see more of the map above.

Chiang Mai is easy to reach from Bangkok by night bus, night train or domestic flight. Chiang Mai has no official public transport, but due to the presence of enough songtaews (two bank taxis) and tuk-tuks, it is relatively easy to travel through Chiang Mai.

Today, visitors are drawn to Chiang Mai not only for its temples, but also for its excellent shopping and trekking facilities, excellent hospitality, and pleasant climate. Many tourist who has discovered the charm of this city decides to extend his visit for a few more days. We are therefore convinced that you will also experience a visit to this city, which has been nicknamed "Rose of the North", as a highlight of your Thailand trip. Partly because of the pleasant climate, the city is also one of the most important holiday destinations for the Thai themselves.

Destinations - Sights - Hotels

Inside the city walls

The main temples are in the atmospheric old walled part of the city. The moat around the old center and the city gates are still intact, but the walls were largely destroyed during the Second World War. During a city tour you can visit:

-Wat Chedi Luang, located in the center, and famous for its imposing pagoda.

-Wat Phra Sing, located in the western part and near the Suan Dok gate, the largest temple in Chiang Mai and with the most beautiful

Buddha statue of the city.

-Buak Hat Public Park, city park, located in the southwest corner and near the Suan Prung city gate

- Three Kings Monument and the adjacent Lanna Folk Museum and Chiang Mai Historical Center, located north of the Wat

Chedi Luang

-Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple in the city, located in the northeast corner.

-Of the 5 city gates, Tha Phae Gate (Eastern City Gate) and Suan Dok Gate (Western City Gate) are the best preserved. Especially around the Tha Pae gate and the canal are many bars, restaurants, and entertainment. Every Sunday there is an atmospheric market on the Sunday-Walkingstreet, starting at the Tha Pae gate and ending at the Wat Phra Singh.

Outside the city walls

-Ping River. East of the walled city. On the banks of the Ping River you will find many cozy dining and entertainment venues with a thriving music scene, especially in The Riverside and The Good View. We can recommend a Ping River cruise, starting in the heart of Chiang Mai and due to the beautiful rural character of the region north of Chiang Mai.

-Warorot, Kat Luang and Lam Yai markets, centrally located on the Ping River. Together they form the largest local market in Chiang Mai and provide the city with fresh vegetables, fruit, and flowers.

-Nightmarket (the night bazaar), located on Chang Klan Road, starting from Tha Pae Road

-Wat Sri Suphan, the 'silver temple', located south of the walled city 300 m from Chiang Mai Gate on Wua Lai Rd.

-Wat Suan Dok, located west of the walled city on Suthep Road. Known for the many chedis that contain the ashes of the former royal family of Chiang Mai.

-Wat U Mong, west of Wat Suan Dok on Canal Road, forest temple and known for the meditation courses taught here.

-Wat Chet Yot, north of the walled city on the first ring road. Known for its chedi (stupa) with seven spires.

Shopping Malls

-Maya Shopping Mall, Huay Kaew Rd. and intersection Super Highway on the west side of the city. Modern and trendy shopping center

-Central Festival Shopping Mall, located at the Super Highway on the east side of the city. Modern shopping center

-Central Airport Plaza. located on the south side of the city and near Chiang Mai International Airport. Modern shopping center

Outside the city

There are several interesting sights in the immediate vicinity of Chiang Mai

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

West of the city, past Chiang Mai Zoo, the Kruba Sriwichai Monument and Huay Kaew waterfall, an approximately 15 km long hairpin road meanders up the slopes of the Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park. At an altitude of 1054 m in the jungle lies this most famous and most revered temple of Chiang Mai. From the temple you have a magnificent view over the city of Chiang Mai and the valley. Further up, at 1300 m, is the Phuphing Palace with beautiful royal gardens. Near the top of the Doi Pui at 1600 m is a village of the Hmong hill tribe.

Mae Sa Valley

Northwest of Chiang Mai about 2o km in Mae Rim district is the beautiful Mae Sa Valley, a varied environment with high mountain walls and deep valleys with, among others, the Mae Sa and Tad Mok waterfalls and the beautiful Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens.

Doi Saket

Northeast of Chiang Mai at about 15 km on the Doi Saket road on a hill is the Wat Doi Saket and a few km further the large Mae Kuang water reservoir

Bo Sang & Sankamphaeng

East of Chiang Mai, about 9 km away, is the village of Bo Sang, known for the ornamental umbrellas that are made here. San Kamphaeng is located near Bo Sang. This small village with its old wooden buildings and narrow streets is known for its silk and crafts, including celadon. East of San Kamhaeng are the caves of Muang On and the geysers and hot springs of the San Kamphaeng hotspings

Chiang Mai Night Safari

Southwest of Chiang Mai in the Hang Dong district is the famous Chiang Mai Night Safari located west of Royal Park Rajapruek

National Parks

South of Chiang Mai, following main road 108, are beautiful national parks, including Mae Wang National Park, known especially for the Pha Chor Cliff, Doi Inthanon National Park, the highest mountain in Thailand and beautiful waterfalls and Ob Luang National Park, with the imposing Ob Luang canyon. (See next chapter Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand.)

Other activities

Monk Chat: Many temples also serve as meditation centers where you can talk to Buddhist monks (monk chat). In addition, at dawn you will see many monks in saffron-colored robes with their begging bowls on the street during their so-called alms round.

Bicycle tours: The countryside and the beautiful nature around Chiang Mai also invite you to take relaxing and varied bicycle tours and are a good introduction to the local population, its culture, traditions, faith, and historical past.

Kanthoke dinner: Chiang Mai is also known for its Kanthoke dinners where, accompanied by traditional Northern Thai Lanna style music, dance and drama, typical Northern Thai dishes are served.

Thai cooking class: A fun authentic and culinary experience is Thai cooking class - shopping with the chef at the market and then learning to make traditional Thai dishes.

Active and adventurous: Chiang Mai is an excellent starting point for one- or multi-day active excursions in the jungle and the mountains:

-ziplines - jungle flights from platforms between the trees

-bamboo rafting on calm rivers

-trekking - trekking through the jungle with lodging with hill tribes

Elephant Sanctuaries: Get to know the symbol of Thailand and visit an animal-friendly elephant sanctuary where you can help care for and feed the animals.

Golf: is extremely popular in Thailand and in Chiang Mai you can play on fabulously beautiful golf courses.

Flower Festival: Chiang Mai is known as the "Rose of the North". On the first weekend of February, the Flower Festival is held in Suan Buak Haad Public Park. The highlight is the Flower Festival Parade.


Inside the city walls

*De Charme Hotel - 3 Stars (3/5) *De Lanna Hotel - 4 Stars (4/5) *Bodhi Serene Chiang Mai - 4 Stars (4/5) *U Chiang Mai - 4.5 Stars (4.5/5)

*The Chiang Mai Old Town - 5 Stars (5/5)

Outside the city walls

*Park Hotel - 3 Stars (3/5). Chang Klan Rd. *The Empress Hotel - 4 Stars (4/5). Chang Klan Rd.

*Duangtawan Hotel - 4 Stars (4/5). Nightbazaar *Amora Tapae Hotel - 4 Star (4/5). Located at Tapae Gate

*Dusit D2 Chiang Mai - 4 Star (4/5) Night bazaar *Eastin Tan Hotel - 4 Stars (4/5). Near Maya Shopping Mall

*U Nimman Chiang Mai - 4.5 Stars (4.5/5). Near Maya Shopping Mall *Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai - 5 Stars (5/5). Chang Klan Rd.

Ping River

*Anantara Chiang Mai Resort - 5 Stars (5/5) *Ratilanna Riverside Spa Resort - 5 Stars (5/5)

*Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort - 5 Stars (5/5)

Outside the city

*Lanna Dusita Boutique Resort - 3 Stars (3/5). 15 Minutes drive from city center, north of Chiang Mai on the banks of the Ping River.

*Hmong Hilltribe Lodge - 3 Stars (3/5). Mae Rim district - 20 km outside the city in the Mae Sa Valley

Chiang Mai - Wat Chedi Luang

Way up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Doi Inthanon National Park

Chiang Mai Flower Festival

Ob Luang Canyon

See our range of tours