The borders have finally reopened and you have landed in the land of smiles and as many travellers do, up to Chiangmai you go. But what to do once you get there? You can, of course, do the standard stuff, Thapae Gate, Doi Su Thep, Night market etc. OR you could do the Top 6 things that I have come up with, which in my humble opinion, are awesome and NOT touristy.
This trial will eventually take you all the way up to Doi SuThep, but not in the standard way, this trail takes about 2 hours to complete and snakes its way up the side of Doi Su Thep mountain. The real gem of this trial is Wat Pha Lat which is a hidden temple that few tourists know about or visit, it is literally a hidden temple in the middle of the jungle (INSTAGRAM HEAVE) to get there, this sounds a bit like a treasure map, but trust me its worth it.
Go to the end of the university wall, and follow the signs to Palaad Tawanron which will take you to the back entrance of the zoo. Go left at the fork and you will see a big TV tower and at the end of the road dead ahead you will see a brown sign with yellow writing that shows the start of the trail. You can thank me later.
This one is a bit of a drive to get to, but again well worth it in the area of Meawang you can find amazingly cool local coffee shops, handmade crafts, some great food. It is the perfect area for taking pictures and doing some gift shopping before you make your way back home.
Wakeboarding in a Rock Quarry
Yup about as cool and fun as it gets, the Chiangmai Grand Canyon (probably the most touristy thing on this list) is a killer spot for the adventurous and adrenaline junkies, you can jump from a 10, 15, or 20 meter high cliff, you can zipline across the canyon or you can try their wipe out course. BUT that is not what we are here for, once you enter the park if you head to the bottom there is a wakeboard line where you can zip back and forth in the park on some simple obstacles.
It’s great for beginners or for experts that want to have some fun, this is one of my favorite things to do in Chiangmai.
Floating Restaurant on Huay Tueng Tao Lake
Huey Tung Tao is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Chiang Mai and offers a beautiful, peaceful setting away from the busy city. To enter Huay Tung Tao costs 20 Baht per person and there is parking available just to the right of the entrance.
There are a lot of restaurants to choose from but our favourites are the ones that float on the water, of course! Not only can you eat whilst drinking in amazing views, but you can also rent a pedalo to travel along the lake or rent a bike to cycle around the dedicated cycle path.
Definitely one for those who want views as well as adventure!
Eat Khao Soi
I do not have a specific place for this, maybe in Pai (Beer Noodles, OMG so good!!) but generally speaking it is a must do in Chiang Mai and something that unfortunately a TON of people miss out on. Khao Soi is a mix of a curry broth, slow cooked chicken or beef, lime juice, crunchy noodles, pickled cabbage and a little bit of spice, or a lot depending on you. This is hands down a MUST try when in Thailand and especially in the north where the dishh originated.
Most people will tell you Zowie in Yellow, which is not a bad shout for late night debauchery and you and I will certainly run into each other there at some point. However you have to get the night started somewhere and if you have not been wise enough to jump on one of our pub crawls then the next best thing is to go to Lost Hut.
This funky little street bar is cool and serves up awesome cheap cocktails with incredibly friendly staff and they also have some tasty food. This is a great place to go as a solo traveller if you are looking for some buddies to party with for the night.
If you are looking to get away from the standard stuff and really want to do something unique I highly recommend you try our Top 6 Off The Beaten Path activities that offer you a great mix of shopping, photo ops, getting drunk and eating some awesome food.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any recommendations for Chiang Mai that we missed.