Chiang Mai, Thailand is a great city. It’s one of my favorite places in Thailand and I plan on staying there again sometime in the near future. If you read my review of Chiang Mai Thailand then you already know that it ranks very high for Single Man’s Paradise. Check out that blog post if you missed it. Chiang Mai is a small laid back city but there is so much to do! So here it is gentlemen. In no particular order…
The Top Ten Things To Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand
1. Visit Wat Doi Suthep
I don’t care if you have been in Thailand a while and have seen enough temples to last you a lifetime… Doi Suthep is a must see! It’s probably my favorite temple in Thailand and it’s a great place to relax and clear your mind. The golden temple sits up in the mountain side on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. You can see it shining in the hills from most places in the city. Once you get to the temple you have a great view of Chiang Mai. Unless it’s burn season… Then you will see a haze of smoke sitting over the city. The ride up into the mountains is great too! That brings me to number two…
2. Ride a Motorcycle
One of the major highlights of my life was riding a motorcycle all over the north of Thailand. That was such an amazing experience and I’m so happy I get to take those memories to the grave. The scenery surrounding Chiang Mai is absolutely stunning. Endless green mountains, waterfalls hidden deep in the forest, rice paddies full of roaming water buffalo, random elephants walking down the street, small villages full of children who run outside and wave at every foreigner.
I recommend you rent a bike and go explore for a few days. There are so many places to go. I recommend riding up to Doi Suthep Temple and then on to Pai. Pai, Thailand is a small town about three hours from Chiang Mai. The road from Chiang Mai to Pai has 762 hair pin turns in the mountains. Sickening in a bus or van but fun as hell on a motorbike! It’s so much fun twisting the throttle with the wind in your face as you go around those turns. You will see many cars and vans pulled over with people throwing up on the side of the road. Poor bastards… This trip must be done on two wheels to be enjoyed! All those turns are sure to make you sick riding in a car the whole way.
You can also do the whole route from Chiang Mai to Pai, then to Mae Hong Son. That was an incredible ride that took me three long days. I stayed the night in each town and I should have spent more time. The way back to Chiang Mai I cut through Doi Inthanon Mountain which is the highest point in Thailand. So much fun! Writing this has me itching to get back there now… There’s nothing like riding through the mountains and feeling that cold air on your face. It’s a refreshing break from the madness and heat in the city.
Another awesome ride I will recommend is Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. The ride isn’t that exciting but it’s relatively close and you can visit Wat Rong Khun also known as “The White Temple.”
This temple is so stunning and unique it deserves it’s own place on the list but since it’s technically in Chiang Rai I’ll sneak it in here. There is so much to see and do around Chiang Mai I highly recommend you rent your own bike. Riding to these places is half the fun! A small motorbike or “scooter” is just fine too. Don’t think you need to gear up like a pro rider. I went to most of these places on a 125cc Honda Click.
If you have no experience on a motorbike you might want to rent a car… Either that or find a quiet street to learn how to ride first. You can really hurt yourself and other people if you don’t know what you are doing. The rules of the road here in South East Asia is every man for themselves and if you are not used to how the flow of traffic moves you can get yourself fucked up pretty bad… Killing someone or getting paralyzed is not a good way to spend your holiday. Be careful guys!
3. Tiger Kingdom
The only way to describe Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai is FUCKIN AMAZING! There are very few times in your life where you will have the opportunity to lay next to a full grown tiger. This will get your heart rate up for sure! By the way this picture is not me… Just a google image. I decided to take all my personal pictures off the site for various reasons. However, I have some awesome pictures of me with all the tigers from babies all the way up to the full size cats. You can not come to Thailand and miss out on this experience! Another thing I must say about the Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai. The place is very clean, professional and well run. The animals look healthy and happy. Some zoos are just sad and I’m not into seeing animals being mistreated. I felt good about this place and I highly recommend you check it out.
4. Elephant Nature Park
I’m sad to say I did not get a chance to visit the Elephant Nature Park. I hope to check it out on my next trip to Chiang Mai. There are several reputable Elephant Parks around Chiang Mai. The one I researched was The Elephant Nature Park. The Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Northern Thailand where you can visit and volunteer to help. Rather then ride an abused elephant in some tourist trap you can come up to this park and hang out with rescued animals of all kinds. You can learn their story, feed them and even bathe them if you are feeling adventurous! I think that would be a great experience. If you have never seen an elephant up close you need to add that to your bucket list. They are magnificent creatures. I find them fascinating and there is no better place to interact with them then at a reputable camp in the north of Thailand.
Songkran is the New Year celebration in Thailand. It takes place in mid April each year. I believe the official days are April 13-15. The party always starts several days early and lasts for several days after the 15th. Especially in Chiang Mai! Regardless of where you are in Thailand during Songkran you are in for the party of a lifetime. Chiang Mai has a ridiculously long Songkran of almost a week.
Holy shit I thought we partied hard in America but the Thai’s are something else when Songkran rolls around each year. Expect at least three to five days of an all out water fight in the streets. Nobody is safe… Not the police, not the taxi drivers and not even that family of four speeding by on a motorbike holding their new born baby. Songkran is a raging party all day and all night. Everyone is completely fuckin hammered all day and night so be extra careful on the roads… Many people die during Songkran every year. That said, I find everyone is always in very good spirits for the holidays. It is a time for celebration in Thailand and good vibes are all around.
I asked everyone the best place to be in Thailand for Songkran and it was unanimous… The biggest party takes place in Chiang Mai! So that’s exactly where I went last year for the Songkran festival. It certainly did not disappoint. There were many concert stages all over the city with live music, DJs and sexy girls dancing. A raging party in the middle of the street that shut down traffic. Food stalls lining the moat and the whole city was outside to party. I was also happy that the Thai’s warmly welcome foreigners to take place in the festivities. As a “farang” I felt strange about spraying some Thai stranger with water during their holiday… That feeling lasted about three seconds until Thai people of all ages started dumping buckets of ice water down my back. This means war!
You will have a fuckin blast and feel like you’re nine years old again… Except you will be piss drunk and chasing Thai school girls in wet T shirts… Just expect your day to look like this… Wake up at 10:00am. Put on your flip flops, swim suit and tank top. Load up your super soaker. Walk outside and instantly get hit with an ice cold bucket of water. FUCK!!! OK got that over with. Walk to the nearest bar and buy a beer with a soaking wet 100 baht bill. The party has begun… You will drink and eat in between your wars in the street. During the chaos you will find a sweet young Chiang Mai girl and bring her back to your place… Handle your business then back outside for more fun! Not a bad way to spend a week.
There are also many cultural events and celebrations so the temples will be crowded. You will see parades in the street and lots of traditional Thai dancing. I like when Thai women wear the traditional clothing. I think it’s beautiful and Chiang Mai is very culturally rich city. Everyone must experience Songkran in Thailand at least once in their life and Chiang Mai is the best city to join the fun!
6. Flight of the Gibbon
The Flight of the Gibbon Zip Line Tour is another must do activity in Chiang Mai. This was my first time going on zip line and I had a blast! I met a cool group of people from all over the world and we had a great afternoon flying through the tree tops of Chiang Mai. The way they have this set up is incredible. It’s a long series of tree stands through out the jungle that is connected by zip lines. You zip across the jungle one by one while the others laugh and take pictures. I got some great pics of me looking wide eyed about to piss my pants. I’m not exactly scared of heights but a few of these zip lines had me shaking when I was standing at the edge. Awesome time and I highly recommend it. The Thai staff was funny and very professional. The whole experience was fun and totally safe. Check out the link here for more info. The price includes transportation to and from your hotel, a great lunch and all the gear.
7. Sunday Walking Street
Drinking cold beers and eating delicious Thai street food never gets old to me. That’s why every Sunday I would take a two minute stroll down the road to the walking street market in Chiang Mai. They close down the road in the old city across from Thaepae Gate and all kinds of food stalls and markets open up for the night. This usually draws a huge crowd and it’s a great place to bring a date or find a new one! Also a good place to just kick back and have a few beers with friends. As always in Thailand, the food is delicious and cheap. I usually eat myself sick and kill a few large Leo beers then take a stroll and look around.
There are a ton of places to buy gifts and different kinds of handmade crap from Thailand. There was a guy painting these awesome pictures of colorful elephants while I watched. I’m not a big art guy but I was blown away by this dudes skills. I like that these handicraft people are working on their stuff right there. I’m never sure if these people hand make everything in Thailand or if it’s some crap from a Chinese factory they are selling to dumb tourists.
There are also several temples on the street and you can often catch some kind of an event. I saw a talent show with guys spinning fire and girls doing traditional Thai dancing. I always enjoy stuff like that. The walking street is a laid back way to spend a Sunday evening in Chiang Mai.
I love fishing back home in America. I enjoy the peace and quiet of nature just as much as the actual fishing. It’s a great way to spend the day. Relax with a cold beer and forget the outside world. The Bo Sang Fishing Park is by far the best fishing experience of my life. Those Mekong Cat Fish are enormous creatures that put up one hell of a fight. They are so big it’s like pulling a pig out of the water kicking and screaming! This place is about ten minutes outside of Chiang Mai. For a small fee you can rent a pole and get some bait then head out to a shady spot on the lake. Don’t forget to bring two or three ice cold Leo beers! Better yet, do it Thai style and bring your own cooler with a bottle of whiskey and sodas.
9. Take a Cooking Class
Here’s another thing on the list I did not do and I’m still kicking myself in the ass about it. Chiang Mai is home to many well regarded cooking schools that have been in business for over a decade. You can take a one day course. It’s usually 2-4 hours. They bring you to the market and teach you how to pick out ingredients then they show you how to make a dish of your choice. I enjoyed cooking back in the States and I’d like to get a place in Thailand with a kitchen someday…
How crazy is that! I have not had a kitchen since I’ve been in Asia. With all the cheap street food you don’t need to cook but I think it’s a good skill to have and it’s a fantastic date opportunity. Invite a cute Thai chick back to your place and whip up some Pad Krapow… After that you can feed her some special farang sausage straight from your homeland! That brings me to number 10…
Of course! I can’t leave out my favorite past time! Dating beautiful Asian women! Look at these smiling angels… My god aren’t they lovely? I love dating everywhere in Thailand but Chiang Mai girls are so beautiful, smart and sweet. Most are college girls and have not been hardened by big city life.
I highly recommend you sign up for The Best Dating Site in Thailand and read my post about How To Pick Up Thai Girls. Take my advice and you will find a sexy Chiang Mai girl in no time! There is no better way to spend an evening then enjoying some delicious Thai food and then going back to your place to make sweet love to a nineteen year old Chiang Mai school girl. Ahh yes. Life is good in paradise!
There you have it gentlemen. The top ten things to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Can you see why this city is so popular? What a great place! Makes me wonder what the hell I’m doing in Bangkok… I’m seriously considering booking a flight soon.