Chiang Mai

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Although often overshadowed by the fame-factor of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is truly a Thai destination in its own right. What is sometimes called the "rose of the north," this city offers a cooler climate, but an equally cosmopolitan vibe. Once you've had your fill of culture at the fourteenth-century temples of Doi Suthep and the surrounding area, head to the more modern sections of the city to indulge in incredibly current shopping, dining, and nightlife. You could also venture to just outside the city center to spend your day with the elephants: go for an elephant trek through the jungle and commune with these cute and cuddly, albeit enormous, creatures. Although this slightly smaller sister to Thailand's capital was once relegated to swarms of unruly backpackers, the city is becoming increasingly luxe; experience it by visiting one of the many spas that have popped up around the city and enjoying a luxurious massage or treatment. If ever you find yourself traveling to Thailand, be sure to stop by in Chiang Mai--you won't be disappointed.

Activities Excursions Dining Shopping Nightlife  

Wat Chiang Man
Ratchaphakhinai Road
Chiang Mai, 50200
Tel. +

Chiang Mai’s oldest temple, Wat Chiang Man is famous for its history, architectural style and its two Buddhas in the interior of the wiharn.  A replica of Buddha Sila is only open to the public once a year during a special ceremony for its believed rain making abilities and the other one, Phra Sritang Khamani, a large, gilded statue that is truly awe-inspiring.

Chiang Mai Night Safari
33 Moo 12, Tambon Nongkwaii
Tel. 053.999.050
Located in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, the Chiang Mai Night Safari guides tour buses through the park and allows people to get up close to giraffes, zebras and white rhinoceroses, and see (not as up close, fortunately) black bears, lions and tigers.  Although it is a night safari, it is more thjn welcoming and pleasant during the day, as family’s hang in the park and sit near the musical foundation.

Sai Nam Phung Orchid Nursery and Butterfly Farm
60-61 Moo 6, Old Maerim-Samerng Road
Chiang Mai, 50180
Tel. +

The largest orchid nursery in Chiang Mai, it holds around 470 different species of orchids and almost every specie that is grown in Thailand.  Send some of the orchids back home to a loved one or marvel at the butterflies in the nearby farm.

Wat Chedi Luang
Prapokklao Rd.
Although ruined during an earthquake in 1545, the Wat Chedi Luang still measures 282 feet high and 144 feet wide and is considered to be the largest chedi in Chiang Mai.  To say the temple is hugely impressive is an understatement.

Ban Sabai Town
17/7 Charoenprathet Rd, Chiang Mai, 50100
Tel. 053.285.2046
One of the best spas in Chiang Mai, Ban Sabai Town offers luxury travelers serenity, peace and quiet in the hustle and bustle of this great city.  Offering everything from aromatherapy to an herbal steam room to the classic Thai massage (and much more) you will truly learn the definition of pamper.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep 
16km from Chiang Mai, off Huay Keaw Road
Hike (or drive) up to this Buddhist temple for one of the best views of Chiang Mai.  Built in 1383, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is not only covered in gold but it also houses Buddhist relics in a glittering gold pagoda. 

Thai Elephant Conservation Center
Km. 28-29 Lampang - Chiang Mai Highway, Hang Chat
Tel. 05424.7875
Head to Thai Elephant Conservation Center and you’ll be able to tell your family and friends back home that you know how to ride an elephant.  It’s an experience of a lifetime not to be missed.

Mae Ping River Cruise
133 Charoenprathet Rd.
Tel. 01.884.4621
Catch the cruise is Chiang Mai and then leave the city behind for a beautiful tour along the Mae Ping River.  Complete with urban views, rich wildlife and local farms, the Mae Ping River Cruise is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Chiang Mai Horse Riding
2/2 Chaiyapoom Rd, Thapae Gate
Tel: 6653.87.4091
Let experienced instructors guide you through Thailand’s scenic beauty and untouched nature.  Novices and experts alike are welcome to take a trip just north of Chiang Mai along jungle trails, rice paddies and lakes. 

113 Bamrungraj Road
Tel. 5324.2491
With an elegant decor combining art deco, feng shui, and Frank Lloyd Wright design principles, Dalaabaa is the perfect place to enjoy traditional Thai cuisine. Enjoy a candlelit dinner either inside or out while dining on creative dishes with a kick.

Huen Phen
112 Rachamangla Rd
Tel. 5381.4548

This tiny restaurant offers some of the best Khao Soi (traditional Thai curry soup) in the area. Though it has only one air-conditioned room, the food at Huen Phen is definitely worth the heat. Stick to the traditional dishes like Khao Soi or Som Tom (traditional spicy green papaya salad) and you will not be disappointed.

Kantoke Palace
288/19 Chiangklan Road,
Tel.  5327.2757
Feast on Northern Thai cuisine like visitors of old by sitting on the floor and dining while enjoying traditional Thai entertainment like the candle and sword dances. Sure it's a bit touristy, but then again, you are a tourist!

Antique House
71 Charoen Prathet Road
Tel. 5327.6810

With a beautiful interior made out of old teakwood, Antique House is also a gallery ith stunning teakwood furniture and carvings. Dine inside or out in the garden on traditional Lanna (northern) cuisine, albeit a little bit toned down for tastebuds not entirely accostomed to Thai spice. Delicious cuisine in an atmospheric setting--not to be missed!

Le Coq d'Or
11 Soi 2 Koh Klang Road
Tel. 5328.2024
If Thai food is getting you down, journey to Le Coq d'Or to enjoy delicious French haute cuisine in an English country house setting (an odd combination, to be sure, but the restaurant has been around for over 30 years, so don't knock it!). Dine on French favorites like seared foie gras or perfectly cooked chateaubriand.

199 Th Moon Muang, Inner Moat
Tel. 5341.9011
Occupying a house that once belonged to an exiled Burmese prince, House restaurant boasts a beautifully restored interior and an extremely relaxed setting. The bistro serves up regionally-influenced cuisine with the occasional fusion dish--perfect for midday munching or evening dining.

Mi Casa
60/2 Moo 14 Soi Wat Padaeng, Suthep Road
Tel.  5381.0088
The hotspot for Sunday brunch, Mi Casa also excells at delicious dinner service, offering the best Spanish cuisine outside of Spain. Mi Casa is the brainchild of Spanish expats who, after a visit to Chiang Mai, simply never left. Enjoy phenomenal tapas in their garden patio--a beautiful setting with beautiful food--who could ask for more?

Le Grand Lanna
51/4 Chiang Mai-Sankampaeng Road
Tel. 5326.2569

Located in the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi property just outside of Chiang Mai proper, Le Grand Lanna offers a luxurious dining opportunity that is not to be missed. Dine amidst the lush tropical gardens and breathe in the fragrant notes of hibiscus and jasmine, or sit in one of the artistically decorated pavilions. Local Thai specialties are served in aesthetically beautiful constructions, making each experience at Le Grand Lanna a feast for the eyes as well as the appetite!

Aroon (Rai) Restaurant
45 Th Kotchasan, E of Pratu Tha Phae
Tel. 5327.6947

Serving up delicious Chiang Mai specialties in their open kitchen, Aroon Restaurant is a gem in this city. Each dish is made to order so as the chef prepares your dish, you can customize it based on the fresh ingredients displayed before you. Their curries are especially fragrant--enjoy them in the open-air upstairs dining room. Like what you ate? Be sure to pick up some pre-packaged spices and recipes that the restaurant offers, so you can take the flavors of Thailand home with you.

The Gallery
25-29 Charoenrat Road
Tel. 5324.8601

Set on the banks of the Ping River, the Gallery is housed in a century-old teak house that offers fine Thai cuisine and art. One of the more romantic riverside restaurants, The Gallery is the perfect place to enjoy a simple Lanna meal.

The Night Market/Night Bazaar
Chang Klan Rd., Chiang Mai
Although the Night Market is a bit crowded and a bit touristy, it’s a Chiang Mai institution that’s not be missed.  The Night Market, or Kad Luang (Royal Market) as it’s known by locals, shows the hustle and bustle of the city in all its glorious form with innumerous amounts of shops, boutiques and stalls right in the heart of the city.

6/21 Th Nimmanheimin
Chiang Mai
Tel. 66.5321.5635

Danish designer Hans Christensen pulls out all the stops in this stylish boutique that looks like you stepped onto the set of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.  The vivid colors jump out of each of his designs, including dresses, slippers, bags and ceramics.  It’s the hippest and chicest place in town and a must for any fashionista visiting Chiang Mai.

Living Space
276 Thapae Rd
Tel. 053.874.156
Pick up some of the best lacquerware in Asia at this contemporary home accessories store.  Designer Jennifer Dyson shows her range and attention to detail in her one-of-a-kind items that also include house wares, silks, bags, ceramics and jewelry.

Gerard Collection
6/23-24 Nimmanheimin Road
Tel. 5322.0604
Do your part for the environment and stop by this beautiful showroom featuring bamboo furniture and home furnishings. Bamboo, the ultimate renewable resource, also happens to be stunning in furniture form. Whether you snag a sofa or a serving tray, you will definitely go home happy.

Studio Naenna
138/8 Soi Changkhian, Huay Keow Rd
Tel. 5322.6042
Located right at the base of Doi Suthep, Studio Naenna is a convenient stop on your shopping loop around the city. Peruse eco-friendly textiles, or try on one of the hand-woven, hand-sown dresses. Definitely the place to go for fair-trade approved shawls, wall art, or any other such silken need. Also a great place to pick up some ikat--uber chic.

Warm Up Cafe
Th Nimmanhaemin
Tel. 099.932.963
Trendy Thais and in-the-know Westerners gather at this Chiang Mai watering hole. Sip a cocktail in the courtyard at one of the many bars, or head inside to two separate dancefloors. Music pumps until 1 AM.

Mix Bar
100 Th Chang Klan
Tel. 053.999.999

Chic and sophisticated bar located in the dusitD2 hotel in Chiang Mai. Mix bar has an extensive wine list and cocktail menu--enjoy your drink while lounging on the many pillows or on one of the super hip abstract benches.

199 Th Moon Muang, Inner Moat
Tel. 5341.9011

This popular Chiang Mai restaurant is also a perfect spot to enjoy an after-dinner drink or a nightcap.

113 Bamrungraj Road
Tel. 5324.2491
Dalaabaa also is a great place to unwind with a cocktail--their list is absolutely enormous. We can't say the same for the actual size of the cocktails, however, glass size has been known to be a bit small.