12 TOP THINGS TO DO IN CHIANG MAI, THAILAND | Things and What To Do In Chiang Mai 2017

Here’s our list of the 12 Top Things To Do In Chiang Mai, Thailand. The list covers off our favourite Chiang Mai Activities, what to do, places to visit and things you must see!

We spent over 4 months in Chiangmai and were constantly trying to scope out the coolest and best things to do and must see points of interest. Hopefully our list is helpful and inspires you to hunt out some new activities or unearth something else to do if you’re traveling to Chiang Mai. Feel free to ask any questions below.

Theres loads of activities on offer, but it’s often a skipped city when visiting Thailand, we think thats possibly because theres no beach. But with so many awesome top things to do we highly recommend you make the effort to visit and check out a few of these same places.

Each video links to a specific adventure we had below so you’re welcome to go and watch our experience to get a feel for where to go in Chiang Mai.

Disclaimer – this is our experience, from the list of things we’ve done. There’s plenty of other things to do in Chiang Mai that aren’t on this list, we get that, so don’t hate mmmkkay.

#1 — Elephant Sanctuary 2018 video (we went back again!):

#2 —Zip Lining:

#3 —Cooking Class:

#4 —Local Markets:

#5 —Mae Sa / Samoeng Loop:

#6 —Khao Soi:

#7 —Old Town:

#8 —Coffee Shop (well, 1 cool one):

#9 —Doi Suthep:

#10 —Shopping Malls:

#11 —Mon Jam / Mon Cham:

#12 —Grand Canyon:


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44 Replies to “12 TOP THINGS TO DO IN CHIANG MAI, THAILAND | Things and What To Do In Chiang Mai 2017”

  1. gumsh gumshson

    About the sanctuary you are recommending!

    No riding does not equal ethical. It’s just less unethical!

    Me and my girlfriend were skeptical about the elephant experiences offered. We chose this one because of a personal recommendation, to find out that our advisor probably was just overwhelmed by the experience and did not notice the little signs. (Tranquilizer Dart, read below)

    We kept a bit in the background and observed (though we did touch the elephants) and took some pictures.

    From the beginning the other visitors where very keen on touching, cuddling the elephants and we felt the urge to leave them in peace and would have wanted the guides to hold back the others. Instead they encouraged everyone.

    “The Elephant touching experience” by itself is definitely interesting, but it would have been enough to just observe them.

    On occasion you could tell that the elephants were really afraid of the guides.

    They had a rotating system, so the groups of elephants were visited (hugged, touched, over fed?) by at least two groups of visitors, they did not really have much time for themselves.

    We thought that we‘re probably a bit neurotic and overly concerned and went on with the schedule until the bathing in the river.

    Though the elephants calfs really enjoyed their bath and played there was a point were they had to leave the place (we were at a pond overlooking but also lured to take a bath in the beautiful pool below a waterfall). One of the baby elephants suddenly got a bit over the top and wild and the guides changed their behavior, before they seemed very relaxed (there were no tourists near the elephant). They started boxing it rather firmly in the back which at first looked a bit like just a playful reminder BUT then suddenly there was something sticking in the elephants back and was quickly, with a slick move removed by the guard. Must have been a tranquilizer dart…

    This was when it all fell apart for us.
    Just before a guide had told us that we had to produce natural medicine balls (rice, banana and other stuff) for the elephants because they apparently constipated very easily.
    I‘m a doctor and really was wondering, since the sanctuary controls the diet and why would this be a problem?
    In humans constipation is caused by lack of physical activity, bad diet, or Pharmaceuticals, especially Tranquilizers or Morphine.
    This is just speculation, but in the aftermath they did not look very vital and rather passive and had an astonishing endurance of people constantly touching and whirling around them.
    My first guess would be Ketamin, but how to tell.
    The Dart in the elephants body and the eagerness of the guide to quickly remove it so nobody noticed stayed in our heads. There could have been an explanation, but this should not be noticed by someone, and probably isn’t often since everyone is usually distracted and the guards are obviously trained for these situations… their movement was incredibly ninja…

    Maybe there is a „good“ explanation for this, but there is no explanation that would make it up for me or my girlfriend, since this situation of agitation happend as a direct consequence of constant contact with selfie-ing boundary crossing tourists.

    i won‘t judge if someone is looking for the incredible experience of touching an elephant, but in this quantity of people you should probably keep in mind that there is a really high chance of the elephants just being drugged to be able to endure it.

    I am to sensitive for that. We spoke to others about what we saw, but some just gave us an „oh“ and switched the topic. We didn’t address it in public and were even a bit scared and felt like we saw something we should not have seen, but maybe that’s just us.

    If you want an ethical experience, don’t expect a lot of contact and google „the guardian elephant sanctuary“ for a newspaper article about ethical sanctuaries, we found after the trip :*-(

  2. Christopher Bradbury

    Please strongly reconsider your visits to and support for elephant sanctuaries. Much of the elephant "training" to make them comfortable with humans relies on abusive techniques that are unnatural, inhumane, and behind closed doors well before the elephants become available for public encounters. Like all wild animals, they are magnificent, and best appreciated from afar to allow them to live as close to their natural habitat as possible, even if they are rescued. Not meaning to rant, but please consider your ethical boundaries and do some serious research before visiting sanctuaries.

  3. Kevin tither

    Nice video guys. I go to Chiang Mai 2-3 times a year and is a great escape from HK. I have to make a further suggestion on visiting the Doi Suthep temple. Going up that road is only any good on a road bike where you grind a heavy gear and give the lungs a session. In the morning you find plenty of 'this life rocks' to ride with and its total fun then screaming back down! BUT to enter the realm of true awesomeness you have to run up along the Pilgrims trail. It's a tough hike for most people but get some strength in your legs and try and run it – it is total fire! Then at the top get some watermelon or mango juice from the villagers and get ready to bomb it back down! Total ankle breaking potential fun!

  4. starcrafter13terran

    I've been to bangkok, ko lan, and korat already including a small village north of korat. How's the english understanding level in chiang mai? Will people be totally confused by an american tourist or is it common enough i can ask basic things?

  5. Sophie Humphries

    Hey ! I am 19 years old and from NZ ! Yesterday I booked a last-minute trip to Thailand in November however I have never travlled and I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me, i love your vids!! Basically, I am trying to book internal flights from Chaing Mai to Krabi and also over to Vietnam but it says on most airlines baggage is not included and I am not sure how to add it on and how much cost? Was wondering if you guys had this issue. Also, I am a very nervous flyer so what airlines did you find the best ? 🙂
    Also, I am going to Chaing Mai and Phi Phi islands, I was wondering what the best activities you liked to do? I am 100% visiting the elephants in Chaing Mai now. Thank you heaps !! xx

  6. naruamon klaewkla

    thnak you both of you. and i am happy to see your clip and with hundreds thousands view. I am Chiangmai lady. I always be so proud of my home land. And what is in your clip is so true . I would really recommend. But if with longer stay..there are more tradition living style hidden all over Chiangmai..that is our best charming of


    I’m Thai and watching this video made me so happy! Beautiful shots and the places are all very interesting even for Thais. I just loooove Chiang Mai and as a Thai I don’t get to travel where tourists go but this video helps me decide where to go. Thank you!

  8. Brett Foreman

    Just came back from Chiang Mai love it cheap friendly place. $100 dollars Australia for a taxi for the day. Felt safe the whole time. Don't hire motor bikes unless u want to pay a police bribe every 5 km the coppers love pulling over the tourist.

  9. CittiCitti

    Watch 1:01! These are NOT sanctuaries, the keepers are still hurting the elephants to make them perform for tourists! See how the guy digs his nail in behind the elephants ear and the elephant responds by wrapping their trunk around him. Please do your research and only interact with elephants in an ethical way

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