Get away from the hustle and bustle of Thailand's intoxicating capital of Bangkok and head north to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is a breath of fresh air, literally, with wide open spaces and absolute mesmerizing views. The northern city is also considered the hub of traditional arts and crafts, so it is the perfect place to pick up some beautiful souvenirs to decorate your home or give to your friends and family. The city's beauty paired with its affordability had made it a hub for digital nomads so you can expect to find a lot of mod cons here. Here are our top 5 unmissable sights!
1. Doi Suthep
Give your legs a work out by climbing the 300+ steps up Doi Suthep, to the jaw-dropping gold-plated temple that has been in use since the 14th Century. Be sure to ring the bells (just once!) in order to keep evil spirits away from your friends and family – to double up on protection, you can also leave a small bell of your own to attract good karma. Get tickets from our friends over at TicketLens.
2. Doi Inthanon National Park
Covering almost 500 square kilometres, this national park is full of stunning views of mountains, waterfalls and lakes. Unfortunately, nearly all of the big mammals that used to roam have become extinct from the park, however there are many types of birds and plants, and the views are absolutely jaw-dropping, especially over the two large Chedis pictures above. Trust us, any lactic acid from the hikes uphill are worth it for all the Instagram likes you're bound to get! Get tickets from our friends over at TicketLens.
3. Tiger Kingdom
Not to be confused with the infamous Tiger Temple in Bangkok, tigers room outdoors at Chiang Mai's Tiger Kingdom. Visitors can observe adult and juvenile tigers, and marvel at how enormous they are in real life. There are also often tiger cubs that you can hold and even feed with a bottle.
4. Warorot Market
There's lots of great markets in Chiang Mai, but our pick is the expansive daytime Warorot Market, which sells everything you could possibly want (and way, way more). Here, you will join both travellers and locals looking for affordable goods from clothing to food to homewares and everything in between. You can find some great deals here, however to do so you'll need to be prepared to haggle the prices right down!
5. Wat Phra Singh
Chiang Mai's most revered Buddhist temple, Wat Phra Singh is an incredibly beautiful and ornate temple that is a testament to the former wealth of the city. Much of the temple is covered in gold leaf, as well as many other spectacular colours that make the inside of the temple incredibly striking. It is also a moving place to visit, as it remains such an important site to the city's many Buddhist residents.