What to see and do in northern Thailand’s popular creative and cultural hot spot
Travellers are flocking to Chiang Mai, northern Thailand’s largest city, and it’s easy to see the appeal. It has a tropical climate, a wealth of cultural attractions and a vibrant culinary scene. It’s calmer than Bangkok, and it’s gained a reputation as a creative hub filled with hip, tech-savvy locals and digital nomads, but it’s also considered a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities to keep children and their parents occupied. Add these stops to your itinerary.
Wat Phra That
This beautiful temple inside Doi Suthep-Pui National Park is one of Chiang Mai’s top attractions. It’s also one of northern Thailand’s most venerable Buddhist sites – the monastery was established in the late 14th century – and its lofty location affords amazing views of the city. Wat Phra That’s most prominent feature is a 24-metre golden spire. The temple also has murals, statues, shrines and one of the world’s biggest gongs (yes, you and your kids can ring it!).
Saturday Walking Street
On Saturdays, this popular outdoor night market sprawls along Wualai Road. You can haggle for anything from authentic Thai handicrafts and musical instruments to jewellery, paintings and clothing by local designers. Equally tempting are the tasty snacks from food stands. If you can’t go on Saturday, take your family to the similar Sunday Walking Street on Ratchadamnoen Road instead.
You’ll find amazing eats all over Chiang Mai, but make a point of visiting trendy Nimmanhaemin (or Nimman). It offers a world of enticing dishes, including Thai, Indian, Italian, fusion and vegetarian, at all price points. For a deeper cultural experience, take a class – English-speaking instructors at Nimman Thai Cooking School will teach you five dishes you and your family can feast on at home.
Baan Kang Wat
This charming eco-friendly artists’ village in Wat Umong district features independent galleries, studios, cafés, an amphitheatre and more. The vendors focus on handmade, organic, sustainable products. On Sunday mornings, you’ll even find an organic food market. Visitors can attend workshops to learn about jewelry making, pottery, woodcut printing and more. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Art in Paradise Chiang Mai
This quirky, family-friendly “illusion art” gallery is designed to put you in the picture. The 130-plus paintings here are flat but look 3D. The whole gang will have fun exploring six themed zones ranging from classic art to underwater scenes to Ancient Egypt.
Elephant Nature Park
Chiang Mai has several sanctuaries for rescued elephants. Formerly abused or exploited in the tourist trade, these majestic creatures are cared for and given natural spaces to roam. For a fee, you and your family can hang out with the herd, for an experience that’ll leave a lasting impression on kids and parents alike. Choose wisely, though – not all facilities are as virtuous as they appear. The ethical ones never allow the elephants to give rides or perform tricks. Instead, visitors can feed and bathe the animals. The area’s largest sanctuary, Elephant Nature Park, has a solid reputation and has received many awards.
Whether you’re heading to Bangkok, Chiang Mai or any of the other popular hot spots in Thailand, it’s now easier than ever to stay connected while you’re there. Thailand is one of the latest Rogers Roam Like HomeTM destinations: with Roam Like Home, your plan travels with you – so you can use your phone’s data, talk and text just like you do at home in over 100 destinations worry-free. For more details, visit rogers.com/roamlikehome.
You may also like:
* Excluding prepaid accounts, most enterprise plans as well as monthly plans that include roaming services. Additional restrictions apply for My 5/10 customers. Pay-Per-Use rate and subject to change without notice. Taxes extra. Fee charged per line in addition to plan monthly fee and applies for 24 hours from first use in eligible destination. Roaming charges apply when outside eligible destination. Data: Usage exceeding plan allotment charged in increments rounded up to next MB or GB as applicable. Texts: While in eligible destination, includes texts sent to local or Canadian wireless number. Sent/received premium texts, sent international texts to non-eligible destinations charged at applicable rates. Calls: While in an eligible destination, includes unlimited calls to local or Canadian numbers. International long-distance rates apply to calls made to other countries while in eligible destination. Visit rogers.com/terms for full terms and conditions and list of eligible destinations.