Chiang Mai is one of the largest and most culturally significant cities in Northern Thailand. The city is an amazing destination and an experience that I would recommend to any traveler as a must see. There are plenty of things to do not included in this list that others may recommend, but these activities are not to be missed.
1. See the Elephants. These gentle giants are playful, full of personality, love, and innocence. The photogenic little guy in our featured photo loves attention and enjoys eating bananas, bathing in mud, and throwing dirt up in the air with his trunk! If you plan to see the elephants while in Thailand be sure to do your research and visit a rescue or sanctuary, and please remember these beautiful animals are not meant to be ridden.
2. Take a Cooking Class. At the Great Kitchen Thai Cooking School, you will begin with a tour of the local food market with Chef Meow, to purchase fresh ingredients for your traditional Thai dishes. You will then learn how to cook a total of 5 courses: an appetizer, soup, curry, stir-fry and lastly dessert. The lesson is complete with your very own recipe book to take home, and an official Master Thai Chef Certificate of Completion. This course will cost ฿800 (Thai Baht), which is approximately $23 USD.
3. Walking Tour of the Temples. Chiang Mai is a very walkable city, so it’s easy to grab a map and set out on a self guided tour of the gorgeous temples you’ll find scattered throughout the city.
4. Shop the Markets. Thailand is known for the world famous markets you will find there, and Chiang Mai is no exception: from the Night Bazaar to the Sunday Walking Market, you’ll find any sort of art, food, or souvenirs you can imagine.
5. Treat yourself with a spa day. There is no better place to get a traditional Thai Massage, and as a matter of fact all of the spa services in Chiang Mai are much more affordable on average than what you will find in the United States.