7 Must See Attractions in Chiang Mai City
Chiang Mai is a city steeped in history—and where that history has been well preserved.
High-rise construction has been severely limited, protecting treasures like the city’s walls, its large collection of temples and its 600-year-old moat. At the same time, Chiang Mai is a modern city, with a cosmopolitan side that won’t be ignored.
To get a sense of all that Chiang Mai City has to offer, here are seven top attractions you won’t want to miss:
Lanna Traditional House Museum
A great way to understand Lanna culture at a facility established by Chiang Mai University that is not often crowded.
Chiang Mai Tribal Museum
Learn the difference between Hmong and Akha at this three-story facility in Ratchamankla Park, which houses art, tools and costumes from the northern tribes. This is a great place to visit before you tour the nearby tribal villages.
Chiang Mai City Arts and Museum Complex
The complex, built in 1924, houses a modern multi-media museum with interactive displays and explanations in both Thai and English.
Wat Chedi Luang
This temple, dating to 1391, has a massive, 86-meter-tall pagoda (chedi) that is a prominent feature in Chiang Mai’s skyline. Each of the building’s faces has a water-serpent staircase and elephant statues adorn the base. A pulley system allows visitors to leave offerings atop the pagoda.
Wat Chiang Man
The oldest temple in Chiang Mai, dating to 1296, it housed the city’s founder, King Mengrai, for a time. The Lanna-style buildings are decorated in red lacquer with gold leaf and mosaics.
Wat Phra Sing
Dating to 1592, this is one of Chiang Mai’s most venerated temples—and often crowded. The draw is usually the Lai Kam worship hall behind the temple, which houses the Phra Singh Buddha image, one of Chiang Mai’s most sacred.
Fern Forest Café
One of Chiang Mai’s hidden treasures, the demur café on Singharat Road is a local favorite—and a great place to relax.