10 unbelievable adventures in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Planning Chiang Mai itinerary was a big headache for us because everything on our first drafted itinerary was temples all the way from the first day to the last day! I mean, it could get quite boring right? So we decided to research on what else we could actually do in this city and we were pretty excited to find all these beautiful places! In this post, we will be sharing with you guys our 6 favourite temples and 4 unique activities you can do in Chiang Mai to get your friends jealous over your instagram feed!



Depart from Chiang Rai

Thailand

We drove for ~3hours from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai with Chic car rental.

Special arrangement was made during online reservation that actually allow us to collect and return the car at two different locations. 


San Pareni

Chiang Mai

San Pareni is a boutiuqe hotel located in Chiang Mai City. Its unique design is a blending of various European building architectures such as Amsterdam, Switzerland and Tuscany. You will feel that you are transferred to Europe the moment you step into San Pareni's compound. Everthing here is so tastefully designed and you will find a lot of quirky toys as well as antique displays in every corner of this place.

The accomodation is very cozy and thoughtful. Not forget to mention, it is very afforable (SGD30-40/night) and I have to say for a boutique hotel with standard like this, I wouldnt mind paying more. I really love this quaint and unconventional gem found in this little city which filled with everything mostly traditional. They also have their own eatery called 'Daddy's antique' that serves decent European food and is well-known among locals. 


Wat Suan Dok

Chiang Mai

Gorgeous sunset on our first day.

The most instagrammable temple in Chiang Mai I would say. Painted only in white and gold, this place gave me goosebumps while I was walking among the small chedies. Interesting fact: this place is rarely visited by visitors however contain a large number of monks living on site. There are also monk chats where you can chat with monks about their day-to day lives or about Buddhism. 

This place is way too beautiful! More people should have seen it.


Silver temple (Wat Sri Suphan)

Chiang Mai

Bored of gold temples? No worries, we have got your covered. Here it is - Silver temple, the one and only temple in Thailand that is entirely covered with silver, from the interior to the exterior. The decorations on those silver panels are all hand-crafted by real artists. You will find Buddhist legends, aniamals and even country landmarks being carved on the wall of temple. We were so surprise to find Singapore Merlion there!

Unfortunately, women are not permitted to enter inside of the temple due to old Buddhist rules and only can remain outside. 

The closer you look the more details you will see.


Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Chiang Mai

Wat Phra That Doi Kham is famous with its 18 feet tall of sitting Buddha statue and its location on hilltop. The views from top of the temple is spectacular and really impressive. The viewpoint is located at the end of the temple and from here you can see both the city as well as part of Doi Pui Mountain. 

The both sides of staircases leading to the temple are decorated with dragon tails.

This temple is about 10km from the central and we visited here before taking a Songthaew to Baan Khung Chang Kian for sakura. Visitors here are definitely more than those usual temples so do come here early in the morning.


Baan Khun Chang Kian

Chiang Mai

Located ~20km away from Wat Phra That Doi Kham temple, you can find sakura blooming in fields of pastel pink in the months of December and January every year. As we know sakura only grows in cool climate, Baan Khun Chang Kian' location on Doi Suthep mountain provides an ideal environment for sakura survival.

I always dream of seeing sakura in Tokyo one day, but now my dream came true in Thailand, Chiang Mai to be exact.

We were just way too lucky to be still able to catch them blooming at the end of the sakura season.

However it is not an easy task to get there. It is recommended to rent a Songthaew than driving yourself up to the mountain as the roads are mostly unpaved, muddy and with lots of potholes. We never regretted our decision of renting a Songthaew because we probably could not get our rental car deposits back if we were to drive there. 

We found a Songthaew driver who is willing to drive us there with a charge of about SGD 80 to and fro (It takes around 1.5 hours to get there). It would be much cheaper if you were able to find other tourists the share the cost with you. 

Althought the sakura blooming here is not as impressive as compared to Japan, however I am sure it willl be one of your most unique, memorable, and affordable sakura experiences.

 


Wat Phra Sing

Chiang Mai

If you look carefully, there is one elephant head sticking out from the golden spire.

Wat Phra Singh is one of the most famous attractions in Chiang Mai. Its gleaming and sparkling appearance in gold is what makes it a must to visit! Best part? It is located right beside Sunday night market within walking distance so combining these two locations on the same day will save you so much time. In fact, we even parked our car in the temple compound and walked to the market because it is almost impossible to find carparks nearby the night market at all. 


Huay Tung Tao Lake

Chiang Mai

Huay Tung Tao is a massive lake with lots of bamboo hut surrounding it. They are actually restaurants where the local usually hang out. You can cycle, jog, swim or even rent paddle boats here.

 We went there around evening and wanted to have dinner there but they have already closed.The bamboo huts resutaurants close around 5 so if you wanted to dine in there just make sure you come before the timing. The staffs were so kind that they allowed us to take pictures in the huts. 

Entrance fee: 20THB


Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Chiang Mai

One of our favourite travel experiences in Thailand.

Thailand vacation will never be complete without visiting elephants. As tourism grows stronger in this country, elephants are trained/used to attract tourists and that results in them being exploited and harmed. We are really glad to come across learning about ethical tourism and knowing that by visiting these beautiful animals, we can actually have fun and at the same time, helping them!

Read on our complete guide to Elephant Jungle Sanctuary here


Wat Rajamontean

Chiang Mai

Wat Rajamontean is an underrated temple located right in the Chiang Mai central. You can easily miss out this beautiful temple because there are simply too many temples as you are driving around in the city. What really caught my eye is that this temple is painted in maroon colour, which is really rare to see. We have seen temples in colours of white, gold, blue, and even silver, but never one in maroon. 

Very quiet place where you can observe the monks chanting in the main hall. 


Wat Chedi Luang

Chiang Mai

After visiting so many glamorous temples, we were so not used to seeing such a humble-looking temple. Wat Chedi Luang, which was built in 1441, was one of the tallest and most important temples in Chiang Mai. Until one day the chedi was destroyed in an earthquake. The ruins were restored by UNESCO heritage and Japanese government except the top part of the chedi was never resconstructed because nobody could agree what it looked like before the damage. 


+1 Bonus: Chiang Mai Night Market

Chiang Mai

Are you already tempted to visit Chiang Mai for its vibrant and charming culture? and now we are going to give you guys one more reason to visit here!

Chiang Mai Sunday Night Bazaar is one insane and incredible showcase platform for its country arts , talents and food. We were so ambitious so explore the entire market but we failed to do so because it is just way too huge! I really wish I'd had another chance to come back again because the food is amazing, the things are very very affordable, and the vibes are incredible. 

Besides the amazingly cheap food, you can find various hand-crafted items here! From keychains, assessories, soaps, traditional clothings, pouches to souvenires, they have it all! I was so intrigued by one stall that sells soaps in different shapes like fruits, vegetable, and flowers and they smell exactly like how they look like and i spent 15-20 minutes standing there smelling each and every one of it! 

I haven't been to all night markets in Thailand but this one is by far definitely one of the best and I highly recommend it! You can read more on our Chiang Mai food recommendations here. 


Travel Tips

Chiang Mai

TRANSPORT: Drive, if you can because it can get pretty hot in central area. We had quite a pleasant experience with Chic car rent

ATTIRE: Dress moderately, preferably longer than knee-length. Always bring jacket to stand-by in case you are visiting somewhere up on mountains. Always remember to remove shoes when you are entering the main hall of temple.

WEATHER: Temperature in the morning and night can be as low as 12°, afternoon can be as hot as 30°.

FOOD: Meals here are pretty affordable. Rice/Noodles from random stalls are priced ~ 40-50 THB and beverages ~ 30-40 THB. 7-11 store is a good choice if you don't mind convenient food. 

Read on our food post here.

ENTRANCE FEE: Mostly free entrance except 20THB for Huay Tung Tao Lake.

HOTEL: San Pareni and B2 green hotel (budget)

BEST MONTHS TO VISIT: December & January for Sakura season, November for Yee Peng festival (Lantern festival)

SPENDING: ~SGD400 for 2 pax for 4 days (including all food, petrol and souvenirs)