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Sights of Chiang Mai (map and top interesting places)

Table of contents

1. Chiang Mai for life and for tourists

2. Roads and transport Chiang Mai

3. Where to stay in Chiang Mai

4. Map of interesting places in Chiang Mai

5. Top attractions in Chiang Mai

6. Viewpoints

6.1 Wat Tham Muang On

6.2 Doi Inthanon

6.3 Kew Mae Pan Viewpoint (Doi Inthanon National Park)

6.4 Pagoda Noppamethanedon & Pagoda Nopphonphusiri (Doi Inthanon National Park)

6.5 Doikham Panorama View Point

6.6 Huamereng (Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park)

6.7 Lan Sone Viewpoint (Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park)

6.8 Chaloem Phra Kiat Pavilion Viewpoint

6.9 Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

6.10 Mae Kuang Dam Viewpoint

6.11 Mon Pha Dham Viewpoint

6.12 Doi Pui View Point

6.13 Doi Hua Moo Viewpoint

6.14 Kew Fin

6.15 Doi Nangmo

6.16 Doi Lhung Chiang Dao Viewpoint

6.17 Huai Kaeo Reservoir

6.18 Samoeng Viewpoint

6.19 Doi Pa Klong Viewpoint

6.20 Doi Dam Viewpoint

6.21 Doi Mon Ngo Summit Viewpoint

6.22 Rak Chang Viewpoint

6.23 Kong Gnam View point

6.24 Sunset View – Pa Pae

7. Zoos

7.1 Chiang Mai Zoo

7.2 Siam Insect Zoo

7.3 Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders

7.4 Tiger Kingdom

7.5 Mae Sa Elephant Camp

7.6 Maerim Elephant Home

7.7 Thai Elephant Care Center

7.8 King Cobra Chiang Mai Show

7.9 Maetaeng Elephant Park & Clinic

7.10 Elephant Nature Park

7.11 Happy Elephant Home

7.12 Elephant EcoValley

7.13 Ran-Tong Save & Rescue Elephant Centre

7.14 Maerim Elephant Sanctuary

8. Hot springs

8.1 San Kamphaeng Hot Springs

8.2 Doi Saket Hot Spring

8.3 Chiang Dao Hot Springs

8.4 Fang Hot Spring

8.5 Thep Phanom Hot Spring

8.6 Pong Duet Geyser

9. Caves

9.1 Tham Muang On

9.2 Mae Sap Cave

9.3 Phra Ruesi Cave

10. Places for photo sessions

10.1 Hinoki Land

10.2 Khun Chang Khian

10.3 Dantewada

10.4 Pang Pao Beach

10.5 Kuv Niam Hydenyia

10.6 Royal Park Rajapruek

10.7 Bhubing Palace

10.8 Wheat Fields Samoeng Rice Research Center

10.9 Nai Phon Chrysanthemum Flower Field

10.10 Sixflowers Garden

11. Museums

11.1 Chiangmai Art Museum

11.2 MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum

11.3 Art in Paradise Chiang Mai

11.4 Chiang Mai National Museum

11.5 Darapirom Palace Museum, Chulalongkorn University

11.6 Princess Sirindhorn AstroPark

11.7 Wiang Kum Kam

12. Farms and Botanic Gardens

12.1 Tweechol Botanical Garden

12.2 Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden

12.3 Bai Orchid & Butterfly Farm

12.4 Ying Yong Flower Garden

12.5 Royal Rose Garden

12.6 Janthawee Orange Farm

12.7 Dutch Farm

12.8 Ginger Farm

13. Hiking routes

13.1 Wat Pha Lat Hike (Monk's trail)

13.2 Montha Than Waterfall Trailhead

13.3 Kew Mae Pan nature trail

13.4 Doi Pui Nature Trail

13.5 Pha Ngoep

14. Water parks and Zip lines

15. Etc


Chiang Mai for life and for tourists

Chiang Mai is a province in northern Thailand. It is a fairly large and quite populous province. Chiang Mai is called the “northern capital of Thailand”, but not because Chiang Mai in any way resembles Bangkok (in fact, there are only a few high-rise buildings in all of Chiang Mai), but because the other northern provinces are even smaller, even less crowded, even poorer, they have even fewer high-rise buildings and they are even less developed from the point of view of tourists.

I was passing through Chiang Mai during my trip to the north of Thailand. I planned to stay in this province for 3 days, but as a result I lived all 7. That is, I liked Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai has many interesting places, both natural (mostly related to mountains in one way or another) and built by man. In 7 days I didn’t have time to watch them all.

In Chiang Mai, I really wanted to give up everything and stay to live, at least for a couple of months. From a domestic point of view, I felt very comfortable. I settled not in the old city, but outside its perimeter (beyond the river). The hotel was apartments, not expensive, but good. There was a market nearby where we bought fresh fruit and different types of barbecue and other food. According to my first impressions, the streets and roads of Chiang Mai seemed very confusing to me (later I only became stronger in this opinion), and returning from the market to the hotel, which was 100-200 meters away, during the first days I managed to get lost. All this – unfamiliar streets with low buildings – reminded me of my first years of life in Pattaya. The prices of fruit, food and housing also took me back to the past.

I definitely plan to return to Chiang Mai – either while passing through or for a few months. But, perhaps, I would not stay in Chiang Mai forever. Still, the number of interesting places, although varied, is finite. The disadvantages of Chiang Mai include its distance from the sea and from other developed cities and provinces of Thailand. I still prefer the vibe of big cities, even though from time to time I like to relax in small provincial towns.

Roads and transport Chiang Mai

The roads in Chiang Mai are intertwined and confusing. This applies to both large highways and small roads in the city. Perhaps this is due to the peculiarities of the terrain (mountains and river), perhaps it just happened historically.

Of course, over time you begin to get used to it, but in 7 days I was not able to completely understand the road intricacies of the city and suburbs of Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is comfortable with private transport. There are tuk-tuks in the old town of Chiang Mai, but I didn't find the old town itself interesting. And outside the city perimeter there is virtually no public transport. At the same time, large shopping centers, and especially attractions, are located far from each other and from Chiang Mai old town.

In general, without your own transport, you will have to shell out money for a taxi if you want to visit something.

Where to stay in Chiang Mai

By the way, if you plan to use a taxi, it is better to stay in the old city – it is much easier to find a taxi there.

At least some nightlife is also present in the city center.

Conversely, if you have your own transport and are not interested in nightlife, then it is better not to stay in the old city – there is nothing much to do there, and the restaurants are very expensive even by the standards of tourist places (and I did not like the food).

All attractions are located anywhere in the vast territory of Chiang Mai, but not in the old city. And therefore, when you get somewhere, you will have to waste time first getting out of the city along narrow roads with very dense traffic.

For me, the city of Chiang Mai became a place where I came to spend 1 full day, but I got tired of the city center in just a few hours. Moreover, a significant part of this time I tried to find at least some restaurant with normal food. The point is not that it was expensive (and it was really very expensive!), the main thing is that the food did not arouse any interest. And it’s not that I’m a foreigner; my Thai wife didn’t want to eat it either.

At the same time, across the river where I stayed (very close to the city, literally just cross the bridge), everything was all right both with prices and with the choice of food.

The old town of Chiang Mai is more of a hub for tourists, where they begin their journey. There are a huge number of companies here that sell excursions for every taste. If you do not have your own transport, then this option will be the most comfortable for you.

Map of interesting places in Chiang Mai

I made a map of interesting places in Chiang Mai and divided them into groups. Descriptions of the groups and a brief description of the attractions are given below. I have visited many of these places and this note is based on my experience traveling around Chiang Mai. Below are links with more detailed reports and more photographs of visits to Chiang Mai attractions – if you wish, you can read these notes.

If you think that something else needs to be added to the map, just write in the comments and I will add it.

Top attractions in Chiang Mai

I have divided the interesting tourist places in Chiang Mai into the following categories – these categories are present both on the map and in this article:

  • Viewpoints
  • Zoos
  • Hot springs
  • Caves
  • Places for photo sessions
  • Museums
  • Farms and Botanic Gardens
  • Hiking routes
  • Water parks and Zip lines
  • Etc (other places) – you cannot create more than 10 layers on the map, so all other noteworthy places are collected here.

Within the categories, I tried to mention the more interesting and/or popular places first. Although, of course, this is very subjective. I also placed undeservedly neglected places higher on the list than their actual popularity.

Viewpoints

Wat Tham Muang On

Interesting and underrated place. Beautiful 360° view from the height of a medium sized mountain. Not very difficult to get to – not far from Chiang Mai. There are a lot of steps to climb, but overall the climb is not too long.

Admission is free, but a symbolic donation of 20 baht is required.

Also nearby is the Muang On Cave, a unique place in Thailand. And not very far away are the popular hot springs San Kamphaeng Hot Springs. All these places can be visited in a few hours.

For details, see the note: Muang On Viewpoints

Doi Inthanon

This is a famous place because it is home to the highest mountain in Thailand.

It may not be the easiest way to get here (mountain serpentine roads), but the place is unique. In addition, to visit the highest mountain in Thailand you do not need to climb it – there is a good road for transport right up to the very top.

In addition, this park has a couple of beautiful viewpoints and other attractions.

For details, see the note: The highest mountain in Thailand and other attractions of Doi Inthanon National Park

Kew Mae Pan Viewpoint (Doi Inthanon National Park)

In the same Doi Inthanon National Park there is a mountain hiking trail with several beautiful views, one of them is called Kew Mae Pan Viewpoint.

For details, see the note: Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail

Pagoda Noppamethanedon & Pagoda Nopphonphusiri (Doi Inthanon National Park)

And another interesting place in Doi Inthanon National Park. Here, in addition to the view from the mountain, there are beautiful buildings, but entry is paid.

For details, see the note: Pagoda Noppamethanedon & Pagoda Nopphonphusiri

Doikham Panorama View Point

Not far from the city of Chiang Mai there is an observation deck with a variety of scenery. Here you can take interesting photos against a beautiful background, and also see Chiang Mai from above.

For details, see the note: Doikham Panorama View Point: viewpoint of Chiang Mai

Huamereng (Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park)

The second highest mountain in Thailand is located in Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park. At the very top there is a 360° viewpoint.

To get to it, you need to overcome a mountain serpentine, and then a 3.5 km mountain route.

For details, see the note: Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park is the second highest peak in Thailand and the highest campsite

Lan Sone Viewpoint (Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park)

And another viewpoint in Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park. To get here you don't need to walk – this viewpoint is located next to the road.

For details, see the note: Lan Sone Viewpoint

Chaloem Phra Kiat Pavilion Viewpoint

And one more viewpoint of the city of Chiang Mai. Moreover, unlike Doikham Panorama View Point, this place is closer to the city.

This is perhaps the best viewpoint of the city of Chiang Mai.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

This mountainside temple offers not only a golden stupa, pagodas and a museum, but also panoramic views of the city.

Mae Kuang Dam Viewpoint

An observation deck on an artificial lake famous for its mountain scenery, fishing spots and suspension bridge.

Mon Pha Dham Viewpoint

Doi Pui View Point

Doi Hua Moo Viewpoint

Kew Fin

Doi Nangmo

Doi Lhung Chiang Dao Viewpoint

Huai Kaeo Reservoir

Samoeng Viewpoint

Doi Pa Klong Viewpoint

Doi Dam Viewpoint

Doi Mon Ngo Summit Viewpoint

Rak Chang Viewpoint

Kong Gnam View point

Sunset View – Pa Pae

Zoos

Chiang Mai Zoo

Large zoo and aquarium with a snow dome, panda exhibition, children's water park and animal feeding.

Regarding the panda… There was a story in the Thai news that the panda died and Thailand paid China (from which it rented the panda) a large sum of money. I didn’t delve into this plot too much, I’m reporting just in case – it’s quite possible that the panda is no longer in Chiang Mai Zoo.

Siam Insect Zoo

Large collection of insects.

There are quite a few living insects, including a garden of living butterflies.

In addition there are several exotic animals.

For details, see the note: Siam Insect Zoo: excellent collection of insects, including live ones

Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders

A mixture of insects, wood carvings, paintings and religion.

Tiger Kingdom

A tiger center where visitors can interact with young and adult cats in enclosures under the supervision of trainers.

Mae Sa Elephant Camp

This tourist spot offers: elephant shows, elephant painting, elephant bathing and elephant riding.

Maerim Elephant Home

Thai Elephant Care Center

King Cobra Chiang Mai Show

Maetaeng Elephant Park & Clinic

Elephant Nature Park

Happy Elephant Home

Elephant EcoValley

Ran-Tong Save & Rescue Elephant Center

Maerim Elephant Sanctuary

Hot springs

Hot springs (geothermal springs) are not a common occurrence in Thailand. In Chiang Mai I found 6 such places with varying degrees of entertainment and amenities:

A complete list of all geothermal springs in Thailand and a map of their location is given in the article “Hot Springs in Thailand”.

Caves

Tham Muang On

Stunning, large network of caves. Entry is actually free (you need to make a donation of 20 baht and you can visit both the caves and the viewpoint).

Large caves are even rarer in Thailand than hot springs. This is one of the largest and most spectacular caves in Thailand.

For details, see the note: Muang On – hillside cave network with stalactites & stalagmites, plus small shrines & Buddha statues

Mae Sap Cave

Phra Ruesi Cave

Don't expect too much from this place. Almost everything that is there is shown in the photo above. There is also a small waterfall and a large tree wrapped in fabric.

Places for photo sessions

Hinoki Land

Amazing place with Japanese influences. A visit costs only 80 baht (regardless of nationality). Definitely recommended for visiting – it is very beautiful and atmospheric here.

For details, see the note: A piece of Japan in Thailand: Hinoki Land

Khun Chang Khian

This is a village in the mountains. Beautiful, many flowers, beautiful views. Carefully! A very dangerous road, it is difficult for two cars to pass each other. They carry tuk-tuks into it.

The most beautiful time here is during the cherry blossom season (around January-February).

There is also a viewpoint here.

Here you can buy strawberries and drink coffee.

Dantewada

Beautiful man-made forest.

Flower fields, waterfalls and rabbits that you can also feed.

Pang Pao Beach

You can enjoy the beach, the kids can play, feed the fish, play ball and enjoy a large selection of very good Thai food and much more. Cafe with delicious pastries and sweets.

Kuv Niam Hydenyia

Flowery place on the hillside, you need to take a local pickup – there is no parking at that destination. We were there in early December, the hyacinths were blooming and the Hess avocados in the garden were ripe.

Royal Park Rajapruek

Landscaped park with flowers, plants and sculptures, as well as an elegant memorial chapel.

Bhubing Palace

An elegant royal residence on stilts with a remarkable rose garden, open to the public most of the year.

Wheat Fields Samoeng Rice Research Center

Beautiful wheat field.

I heard that every year in mid-March it turns golden. Entrance to the research center is completely free. But in March the weather is very hot, so be sure to come either early in the morning or around 5:00 pm for sunset.

Nai Phon Chrysanthemum Flower Field

Sixflowers Garden

Museums

Chiangmai Art Museum

MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum

A small modern museum displaying works by contemporary artists from Thailand and other Asian countries.

Art in Paradise Chiang Mai

3D images that you can become a part of.

Chiang Mai National Museum

Museum of Art, History and Culture of Northern Thailand in a traditional building.

Darapirom Palace Museum, Chulalongkorn University

Princess Sirindhorn AstroPark

Wiang Kum Kam

Tours are offered of the brick ruins of the ancient city and temple in a quiet area.

Farms and Botanic Gardens

Tweechol Botanical Garden

Walking, horse riding and boating through manicured landscapes with flowers, swans and animal-shaped hedges.

Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden

Opened in 1992, the botanical garden features landscaped grounds, rare Thai plants and greenhouses.

Bai Orchid & Butterfly Farm

A cozy greenhouse with many butterflies, plants and flowers, including orchids, as well as a cafe.

Ying Yong Flower Garden

Royal Rose Garden

Janthawee Orange Farm

Dutch Farm

Ginger Farm

Hiking routes

Wat Pha Lat Hike (Monk's trail)

A wooded hillside walking trail with steep sections leading to a tranquil Buddhist temple.

Montha Than Waterfall Trailhead

Kew Mae Pan nature trail

A nature trail through the forest with a waterfall and viewing platforms with scenic views.

For details, see the note: Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail

Doi Pui Nature Trail

Pha Ngoep

Water parks and Zip lines

Etc


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