The What’s Up Guide to Ten Good Reasons Why You Should Visit Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Three King Monument

There are lots of good reasons why Chiang Mai nowadays is one of the most visited cities in Southeast Asia. A profusion of temples and other religious monuments are a legacy of the city’s history and harmonise with an exciting collection of dining, nightlife and activity venues. Add to this a warm climate and reasonably high levels of safety and it is easy to see why tourists keep coming to the Rose of Northern Thailand. The What’s Up Chiang Mai has compiled a table of the Top 10 reasons to visit and they are listed below.

Last Updated: June 2019

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 #1 Historic Monuments 

Historic temples and other relics of Chiang Mai’s 700-year passage through time are seemingly hidden around every corner. Must visits are Phra Singh, Chedi Luang and Doi Suthep Temples; plus the evolving Museum Quarter around the Three Kings Monument. [Read more about Chiang Mai  Best Temples]

 #2 Warm Weather, Hospitable People 

Northern Thailand’s warm climate and almost eternal sunshine has apparently given Chiang Mai’s residents plenty of reasons to smile and go out of their way to be friendly. Even the rainy season does not seem to dampen the smiles. [Read more about Chiang Mai Weather and Seasons]

 #3 A Huge Range of Activities 

Chiang Mai is famous for its adventure trekking and, although elephant riding is less common in the 21st century, treks still feature elephant interactions, bamboo rafting and jungle walking. Hot-air balloon rides, zip-lining and extreme sports such as bungy jumping are among the many other activity choices for visitors nowadays. [Read more about Chiang Mai Best Activities]

 #4 Food 

Dining in Chiang Mai is a delight and there is literally something for all tastes. Local specialities such as khao soi curry noodles and khantoke dinners are a must. Standard Thai dishes like kuay tiew noodle soup, pad Thai fried noodles and tom yam gung (spicy prawn broth) enhance options. Restaurants serving cuisines from Mexico to Italy and Korea add to the choices. [Read more about Chiang Mai Top 10 Restaurants and Bars]

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 #5 Nightlife 

Nightlife is another area in which Chiang Mai excels. Thailand’s famous bar-beers, craft beer pubs, sports pubs, hole-in-the-wall cafés, go go bars, girlie bars, gay bars, discotheques and live music bars provide something for all. And then there are ladyboy cabaret shows, spas and Thai massage parlours to add to the mix. [Read more about Chiang Mai Nightlife]

 #6 Shopping 

Such is the variety and quality of shopping in Chiang Mai, it is rare for visitors to go home empty handed. Modern shopping malls, traditional markets and speciality locations including the Night Bazaar and the handicraft zones at Baan Tawai and San Kamphaeng are the best spots to indulge in dream shopping outings. [Read more about Chiang Mai Shopping Guide]

 #7 Safety, Low Crime Rates 

Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand are safe and visitors would be unlucky to become the victims of crimes. Like other cities the world over, it pays to keep an eye on your belongings and stay away from dark places where there are few people about at night. [Read more about Chiang Mai Crime Risks and Health Risks]

 #8 Costs 

Visiting Chiang Mai will not break the bank. Prices for accommodation and meals are generally low. Fares for public transportation are cheap while drivers of taxis, tuk-tuks and songthaews will generally take you where you want to go at a price to suit. [Read more about Chiang Mai Best Guesthouses]

 #9 A Base for Exploring 

A large range of attractions are mostly within one hour’s driving distance of Chiang Mai. Doi Inthanon and other national parks, hot springs, zip lines, elephant camps, bungy jumping and extreme activity venues, trekking trails and handicraft villages are among the choices. [Read more about Chiang Mai Best Attractions]

 #10 Get Around 

Central Chiang Mai is not that big and, with the aid of a map or Google maps, it is not too difficult to explore the Old City or walk to the Night Bazaar or Warorot Market. Tuk tuks or red songthaew shared taxis are found everywhere and convenient for city travel and even trips farther afield. [Read more about Chiang Mai Public Transportation]