Chiang Mai, a total hotspot for Asia lovers!
Chiang Mai, a city full of beautiful temples and unique sites. The historical capital of the old Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai has so many history and culture, certainly in The Old City. You will find temples, one of the most gorgeous ones I have ever seen! But you will also find museums and other interesting sites. This city is surrounded with beautiful mountains and national parks, so you can actually escape from the busy and chaotic Old City. Check out the best hotspots and attractions in Chiang Mai, which I have visited myself. Make sure you don’t miss the nicest spots!
Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Lantern Festival
I was so lucky to be in Chiang Mai during Loy Krathong. The Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Lantern Festivals are the most magical events in November. In Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong coincides with the Lanna (Northern Thai) festival of Yee Peng which falls on the full moon day of the 2nd month of traditional Lanna calendar. Yee Peng is mostly about lanterns hence the name The Lantern Festival, also known as The Festival of Lights and truely amazing.
During this time you will see a lot of traditional dance shows and they have an official “Yee Peng Parade” around the Old City, a pageant contest, fireworks everywhere but also ritual ceremonies etc. A lot of activities take place at the Ping River. The area of Nawarat Bridge and the Iron Bridge are the best spots to watch the celebrations. For me the temples were the most impressive to see! Later on more about the temples!
Loy Krathong and Yee Peng festival
‘MUST DO’ DURING LOY KRATHONG AND YEE PENG FESTIVAL
During this event I did a River Cruise with Maeping River Cruise Chiang Mai. I paid 550 baht and received a free Krathong to release down the river during the boat ride. During this trip you will see many Krathongs in the river and lanterns in the sky, an experience I won’t forget!
Cruise with Maeping Rivercruise during Loy Krathong
Have dinner at the River Side
The Riverside in Chiang Mai has many affordable eateries and live music venues. Dining and walking along the banks of the Mae Ping is very romantic.
Dinner on the Riverside in Chiang Mai
Visiting temples in the Old City
During Loy Krathong it will be very busy and I only wanted to see the most impressive temples. So the most beautiful temples are the Wat Phan Tao and the neighbouring Wat Chedi Luang. Both were decorated with hundreds of lanterns and lights for their outdoor ceremonies. At some other temples people were lighting up lanterns at the Wat Lok Moli or the Wat Suan Dok.
Wat Lok Molee, Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singhand and Wat Phan Tao
Things to do in The Old City
WANDER THE SUNDAY NIGHT MARKETS
I arrived on a Sunday so I could see the most awesome night market of Chiang Mai. It’s every Sunday. The market starts at the Tha Phae Gate in the center of the old city of Chiang Mai. You will find many stalls of handcrafted goods, made by Northern Thai, local food and street performances.
Tha Pae Gate, the start of the Sunday Night Market
HAVE DINNER AND LUNCH IN THE MOST AWESOME RESTAURANTS
The interior and exterior of the restaurant is really fantastic! It is also very popular during the Sunday ‘walking road market’. Dinner is ok but a little bit expensive but I really loved the drinks, 4 fresh pineapples with coconut milk.
Hot Chilli Chiang Mai, Rachadamnoen Rd, Mueang Chiang Mai District
Asian Roots is a Thai-Asian fusion restaurant in Chiang Mai and they serve the best food and it’s not expensive. The food is delicious, people are very friendly and the atmosphere of the restaurant is nice and stylish. I had several dishes, the Pad Thai was really good.
Asian Roots Chiang Mai, 4/5 Chaiyaphoom Road, Chang Moi, Muang Chiang Mai
On the Ping River
On the Ping River is located along the river and they serve Thai, Western, and Italian dishes. They have tables which are overlooking the gentle river of Chiang Mai. They also have a rooftop and the kitchen is international orientated but we preferred to have a Thai dish. Dinner was nice and I liked the service.
On the Ping River,7 Gate,, Thanon Charoenrajd, Wat Ket, Mueang Chiang Mai District
The Faces Chiang Mai
The Faces Chiang Mai, is one of the most amazing restaurants of Chiang Mai, our favorite! A terracotta garden, art gallery, restaurant & gastro bar and they serve traditional Thai cuisine, pizzas, signature dishes and inspiring cocktails. This hideaway is in the Old City of Chiang Mai. Next door you will find Clay Studio Coffee in the Garden, this is one of the most amazing gardens I have ever seen. They serve breakfast and small snacks. So a little less fancy than Faces.
The Faces Chiang Mai, 33 ถนน Ratchamanka Soi 6, Tambon Phra Sing, Chiang Mai
Woo Cafe & Art Gallery
On Instagram I spotted this new hotspot in Chiang Mai, Woo Cafe & Art Gallery. It is more than just a place to drink, dine and relax. They also have a lifestyle shop, art gallery and an unique flowery decoration. I really loved it here! They serve international dishes but also typical products from Chiang Mai.
Woo Cafe & Art Gallery, 80 ถนน เจริญราษฎร์ Wat Ket, Chiang Mai
Things to do outside Chiang Mai
VISIT THE WAT PHRA THAT DOI SUTHEP
Take a Grab Taxi in the city center of Chiang Mai and visit the Wat Phra That Doe Suthep. This is one of the most beautiful temples of Chiang Mai. The temple is often referred to as “Doi Suthep” although this is actually the name of the mountain where it’s located. It is a sacred site to many Thai people. You need to drive 15 km from the city of Chiang Mai. It can be really crowded so if you go at the end of the day there are less people and you can enjoy the beautiful sunset. I enjoyed the sunset and the views.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Mueang, Chaing Mai
HAVE A FABULOUS DINNER IN THE JUNGLE AT KHAOMAO-KHAOFANG RESTAURANT
Just outside Chiang Mai you will find the most beautiful restaurant, Khaomao-Khaofang. I had dinner in the jungle and was surrounded with waterfalls and beautiful flowers. Even the bathrooms have been decked out in rainforest foliage and waterfalls!
They serve a wide selection of Thai, regional and seasonal dishes. I really loved everything they served. And it’s so cheap. I really recommend this restaurant.
Khaomao-Khaofang, Rd, Tambon Nong Kwai, Amphoe Hang Dong, Chiang Mai
Visit the Royal Park Rajapruek
After dinner at Khaomao-Khaofang I visited the Royal Park Rajapruek, this is not far from the restaurant and also situated 10 km southwest of Chiang Mai. In 2006, the garden was the site for the Royal Flora Expo, on the occasion of His Majesty The King’s 60th anniversary of coronation. Ever since, the garden has been maintained and developed. It has become a resource for agro-tourism as well as a learning and research centre for the public. A visit is a must whilst in Chiang Mai.
Royal Park Rajapruek, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100
Things to do in the mountains of Chiang Mai
HAVE DINNER IN A BEAUTIFUL LANNY STYLE RESTAURANT IN THE MAE RIM DISTRICT
The Pongyang Angdoi
I went into the mountains of Chiang Mai and passed a lot of restaurants offering some awesome scenic views over the valley along a small river or waterfall. If you’re going into the mountains you need to go by motor, car or with a private driver. My first stop was at the Pongyang Angdoi, a beautiful Lanna style restaurant up in the mountains of Chiang Mai. This restaurant is surrounded by the protective mountains and forests of Doi Inthanon National Park with nice waterfalls. The food is surprisingly fresh and I had a classic dish of chicken with lime, fresh basil and fresh vegetables.
Pongyang Angdoi,86 Maerim-Samoeng Rd Km12, Pong Yaeng, Mae Rim District
HAVE A MATCHA ICE TEA AT THE LOVE CAFE
Love Cafe is not known by tourists and they don’t have a website or are visible on Social Media but I was glad that I visited this gorgeous place. They serve Matcha Iced Coffee or Tea but also other drinks. The view is breathtaking! I really loved the temperature out here. This “mountain climate” is actually perfect for growing vegetables and fruits such as strawberries. I’ve passed numerous strawberry fields and of course I bought freshly picked ones – they won’t get any fresher than here!
Love Cafe Mon Cham,WR7F+JC Pong Yaeng, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai, Thailand
HEADING TO THE MOUNTAIN TOP OF MON CHAM – YOU WILL HAVE AN AMAZING VIEW
I was so happy that I went all the way up, it is worth getting up here for the incredible panoramic views alone but there is much more going on at Mon Cham. If you pay a small amount of money you can stroll through the flower garden, or have a drink with a view from the café situated right in the middle of the viewpoint overlooking the terraces and field. You can also enjoy a traditional Thai meal at the Mon Cham restaurant, offering spectacular panoramic views over the Mae Sa valley. Let the pictures speak for themselves!
Mon Cham (Mon Jam), Mae Raem, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai 50180, Thailand
HAVING ICE TEA AT THE LOVELY JUNGLE DE CAFE
I could easily spend hours at Mon Cham – I have never been this ‘zen’ in my whole life. I had some more things to cross of my wishlist so it was time to head back down the mountain with a stop at the Instafamous Chiang Mai waterfall cafe, Jungle De Cafe. This amazing location perched above a waterfall, where you can chill and relax on oversized floor cushions or net hammocks. I really recommend this place.
Jungle De Cafe, 99/9 หมู่ที่ 2 Tambon Pong Yaeng, Amphoe Mae Rim
Back in time in Wiang Kum Kam
Wiang Kum Kam is about five kilometres south of Chiang Mai. This ancient city dates back to the eighth-century Haripunchai Kingdom. You will find here many interesting items and structures such as stone tablets with Mon inscriptions, Buddhist sculptures and architecture, earthenware and pottery. I took a horse-drawn carriage but I do not recommend it. Our horse was rebellious so this can actually be dangerous. I recommend you to take a bike. People who work at Wiang Kum Kam are not friendly and very rude. So it’s nice to see it but only when you have some time left.
Wiang Kum Kam, ตำบล ช้างเผือก Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Nightlife in Chiang Mai
Compared to the raging party scenes found in Bangkok and the big party islands in Thailand, Chiang Mai nightlife is a little less out of control. In fact, the city has a reputation as being fairly conservative because of alcohol laws and strictly enforced closing times. But in the end I found plenty of decent places to party! My favorite, Zoe in Yellow!!
ZOE IN YELLOW
Zoe in Yellow, this is the place to be in Chiang Mai, after 20:00 a lot of people are heading to Zoe in Yellow. It is a bar with a dance floor (open on both sides), surrounded by seven other bars, a popular reggae bar, a techno area, a heavy metal bar, a ska bar, small discos, and a social courtyard where you can have a cocktail or beer.
Opening hours: Zoe in Yellow is open every evening from sunset until midnight. They close exactly at midnight!!!
Zoe in Yellow, Rajvithi road, Old city, Chiang Mai
Hotels in Chiang Mai
THANNATEE BOUTIQUE HOTEL
This lovely hotel is located in the old town of Chiang Mai. Thannatee Boutique Hotel is decorated with the modern Lanna style. We had the biggest Spa room with jacuzzi and this was not expensive. The decor is really nice but cleanliness in the room could be improved. There was a dead cockroach under the bed so this was very unpleasant. The rest was ok but 2 nights are more than enough in this hotel. We liked the service that they provide, a free shuttle pick-up and the hotel is 100 metres from Dao Wa Dung Temple and a 15-minute drive to Chiang Mai Airport and Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong Worawihan.
Thannatee Boutique Hotel, 2/3-7 Rat Chiang Saen Rd, Tambon Hai Ya, Chiang Mai
THE DECO THE CHAI HOTEL
After staying at the Thannatee Boutique Hotel we, my husband and I, arrived at the impressive De Chai the Deco hotel. We had a very nice welcome and because we had our anniversary (!) they had decorated the room. The room looked so nice and they even offered us a nice bottle of red wine. This hotel is so nice to stay and the beds are very comfortable. Everything is clean and tidy. The rooms features air-conditioned rooms with a 43-inch flat-screen smart TV with satellite, DVD player, and Bluetooth speaker. Luxurious bathrooms decorated with classy tiles, with rain shower and a separated bathtub.
We also had dinner at de chai Restaurant, and we really loved it and the waiter was so kind! We will definitely come back here.
The Chai de Deco Hotel,8 Thapae Rd Soi 5, Chang Khlan, Chiang Mai
Transportation in Chiang Mai
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