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Chiang Mai Attractions

Overview
Restaurants
Attractions
Events
  • Doi Suthep

    Doi Suthep

    Some 10 miles (15km) west of Chiang Mai lies the Doi Suthep Mountain, famous for the Wat Phrathat temple perched on the summit. Legend has it that in the late 14th century King Ku Na was looking for somewhere to house a collection of holy relics. He placed them in a howdah (canopied seat) on the back of an elephant and let the animal wander. The elephant proceeded to climb Doi Suthep, on top of which it trumpeted, turned round three times and knelt to indicate that this was the spot. Within the site are bells, pagodas, statues and shrines influenced by both Buddhist and Hindu culture, including a model of the Emerald Buddha and a statue of the Hindu god Ganesh. Wat Phrathat can be reached either by a flight of 290 steps, or by funicular, and offers breathtaking views of the countryside.

  • Mae Sa Waterfall

    Mae Sa Waterfall

    Set in the lush Soi Suithep-Pui National Park, only 10 miles (15km) out of town, the Mae Sa Waterfall is definitely worth visiting on any Thailand holiday. Follow the winding pathway to the waterfall's plummeting 10-tiered cascades. There are various little secluded areas along the trail where visitors can relax with a picnic. The jungle villages dotting the riverbanks are also fascinating to see. This popular picnic and swimming spot gets a bit over-crowded on weekends.

  • Chiang Mai Zoo

    Chiang Mai Zoo

    Boasting two giant pandas from China, and Chiang Mai Zoo has earned itself quite a reputation with travellers as one of the top attractions in the region. The perfect destination for a day trip with the kids, the Chiang Mai Zoo also features exhibits such as a walk through aviary, Gibbon Island, an aquarium, a Cape Fur seal exhibit and even a special Children's Zoo. With two waterfalls, plenty of space to run around and a fabulous variety of exotic residents, a trip to the zoo is a must for all animal lovers and a great way to spend the day. Seal shows and other animal shows are conducted several times a day.

  • Pai

    Pai

    Located 83 miles (135km) up a coiled mountain road from Chiang Mai in the extreme northwest of Thailand, Pai is an unlikely tourist attraction. The town has undergone a number of transitions from hill tribe village to hippie hideaway to a tourist playground. Its relaxed atmosphere and peaceful mountain scenery have enlarged its widening reputation and it is now a tourist hot spot. Pai is a popular base camp for treks into the hills which can be arranged through hotels or travel agencies in the city. Closer waterfalls and hot springs are worth a visit, and elephant camps are nearby as well. An airport now connects Pai to Chiang Mai, but the best way to get there is by motorbike or bus in order to see the beautiful scenery on the way.

  • Chiang Mai Temples

    Chiang Mai Temples

    Temple tours of Chiang Mai are a wonderful attraction for visitors. The old town is home to the most honored temples and some tranquil Buddhist sanctuaries. The historic Wat Pra Singh holds the revered Phra Singh Buddha, which dates from the 15th century. The oldest temple in Chiang Mai is Wat Chiang Man (establilshed by King Mengrai), noted for its ancient bas reliefs and massive teak columns. Wat Chedi Luang boasts a gigantic chedi ruin, said to be the tallest structure in the old town, and was once home to the sacred Emerald Buddha (now in Bangkok). Wat Rong Khun is an impressive white glass temple with colourful paintings inside; if you look carefully, you may even spot Superman or Keanu Reeves depicted in them!

  • Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center

    Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center

    The Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center is an interesting attraction near the Three Kings Monument (Saam Kasat). This multimedia history and cultural education centre offers English-subtitled video displays of Chiang Mai, followed by tours of the rooms documenting the region's history and culture since the pre-Muang period. There are also exhibits showcasing Buddhism and regional beliefs, as well as agricultural history, hill tribes and other regional cultures, and the royal dynasties are also represented. The guides are elegantly outfitted in traditional Thai clothing. The Center is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the rich culture and history of Chiang Mai.

  • Lisu Hill-Tribe Display

    Lisu Hill-Tribe Display

    A worthwhile Chiang Mai attraction is the Lisu Hill-Tribe display at the Hill-Tribe Research Institute Museum. The lives and cultures of the hill-tribe people in Thailand are exhibited here through photographs, agricultural implements, religious artefacts and musical instruments. Household utensils and ethnic costumes are also displayed. The non-hill-tribe ethnic minority, the Mlabri (who are often associated with the 'spirit of the yellow leaves'), are included in this extraordinary exhibit.

  • Bhubing Palace

    Bhubing Palace

    The royal winter palace of Bhubing has beautiful, regal structures and extravagantly landscaped gardens for visitors to take in. The palace may not be entered but the gardens can be explored when the Thai royal family is not in residence. The gardens of Bhubing Palace are known for their stunning roses, and are home to a variety of bird and insect life. There is a strict dress code which must be adhered to when visiting this royal site, including a ban on shorts and dresses that show the shoulders, however clothes can be hired at the palace for those who aren't properly attired.

  • Dokmai Garden

    Dokmai Garden

    The Dokmai Garden ( meaning flower) displays a vast range of edible fruit plants, vegetables and vascular plants. Aluminium signs in English, Japanese and Thai guide and inform guests throughout the grounds, which are surrounded by plantations of teak, bananas and longan. The Atlas moth and the Golden Birdwing butterfly can also be observed here, as well as numerous mushrooms and fish species and more than 1,000 varieties of flowers.

  • Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden

    Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden

    A beautiful Chiang Mai attraction, the first genuine botanical garden in Thailand was the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden in the Mae Sa Valley. It now also serves as a centre of botanical research and studies. The main feature of this attraction is the Glasshouse Complex, made up of four exhibition conservatories and eight display glasshouses. A lovely river runs melodically through the grounds. The Thai Orchid Nursery and Rock Garden are other highlights of the gardens, as well as various walking trails and shaded rest areas. Facilities for visitors include a restaurant, a first-aid station, souvenir shops and toilets.

  • Maesa Elephant Camp

    Maesa Elephant Camp

    Maesa Elephant Camp is a popular attraction located up in the Muang hills, about a half hour's drive north of Chiang Mai. The camp is home to dozens of Asian elephants, and is dedicated to conservation and breeding. Visitors to the camp will be privy to shows which include elephants playing football and even painting! There are also elephant rides available for the more adventurous. Although this is not a natural environment for these great animals, they are well cared for and very entertaining. The best time to visit Maesa Elephant Camp is on March 13th, which is National Thai Elephant Day and is celebrated by an enormous banquet for the pachyderms.

  • Museum of Insects and Natural Wonders

    Museum of Insects and Natural Wonders

    Little boys will love this wonderland of interesting creepy crawlies. Founded in 2002 by Manop Rattanarithikul (nicknamed 'The Mosquito Man') and his wife, Manop, who have a keen interest in insects and have been studying them for most of his life. Manop guides curious visitors through his vast and rare collection of insects and invertebrates that comprises 422 species of insects Thailand. From the tiniest little gnat to gigantic beetles, there are enough bugs here to make your skin crawl!

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