Nine must-see places to visit while in beautiful Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s brightest jewels and famous for its elephant tours and sightings. There are plenty of other things to see and do here and all you can experience without booking a tour. What should you absolutely visit when heading Chiang Mai? Here are the top nine places on the list.

1. Doi Suthep Temple

This Buddhist temple is located high on a mountain and is one of Thailand’s most sacred temples. It sits at the end of a 306 step staircase which is intended to help Buddhists build merit. The temple was founded in 1383 by King Keu Naone to enshrine a piece of bone said to be from Buddha himself.

2. Sunday Walking Street Market

The Sunday Walking Street Market is easily one of Chiang Mai’s most popular destinations for shopping. You can find food, listen to great music, explore arts and crafts and find good handmade souvenirs to take home with you.

3. Wat Chedi Luang

This gorgeous chedi used to house the famed Emerald Buddha until 1475 when it was moved to Bangkok but you can still view a jade replica here. This used to be the largest structure in Chiang Mai until the top of the chedi was destroyed either by an earthquake in the 16th century or by cannon fire during the recapture of Chiang Mai from Burma in 1775. It’s a great place to take in the local history and architecture.

4. Wat Phra Singh

The most revered temple in Chiang Mai, Wat Thra Singh is a lavish monastery which resides among lush, well trimmed grounds. There are coffee stands and massage pavilions to explore and devote Buddhists come here to worship the famous Buddha image the Phra Singh or Lion Buddha housed here.

5. Wat Umong

Wat Umong is a 700-year old Buddhist Temple located in the mountains of Doi Suthep and is not too far from the main campus of Chiang Mai University. Visitors here not only get to marvel at the majesty of this beautiful temple but there is also a small open zoo located behind the temple for visitors to enjoy.

6. Ride the Samoeng Loop

When you are looking for a scenic ride, then the Samoeng Loop is a definite must-see and do in Chiang Mai. It’s a good idea to take at least 4 hours to really enjoy the scenery and to stop for local food and drink. While once at the loop, take time to visit the Mae Sa Elephant Camp, the Orchid Farm and the Monkey Show. You can also bungee jump and take in the waterfalls.

7. San Kamphaeng Hot Springs

A definite must-see in Chiang Mai is the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs. About an hour drive away from downtown, you will be inneresed in the peaceful countryside surrounded by mountains. Once at the hot springs, you can boil eggs within the hot springs complete with hot sauce and enjoy the flowers that cover the acreage.

8. Wat Ched Yot

Wat Ched Yot is the central location for a pilgrimage for those born in the Year of the Snake. The Buddhist temple is located northwest of Chiang Mai and was built in 1455. The extensive grounds holds several chedis and the largest chedi holds the ashes of King Tlokarat.

9. Nimmanhaemin Road

One of the hot spots of Chiang Mai is Nimmanhaemin Road. This trendy location boasts cafes and restaurants, bars and boutique hotels popular with both the locals and tourists in the area. This is not an area for the budget minded but it definitely is a must-see location.