5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

Well hello to you my reader chums! Chiang Mai was my favourite city in Thailand. The city had the calmest and friendly appeal, with plenty of sights, good food and the quaintest streets to browse. I heard a lot of good things about Chiang Mai prior to our trip and that's why I booked 5 days there. The 5 days we spent exploring could easily have been extended as it's such a beautiful and large city. If you're heading there soon, here is everything you can get up to in 5 days:

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

Visit an Elephant sanctuary

Visiting the elephant sanctuary was my favourite day in Chiang Mai and probably one of the highlights from our entire trip. Elephants are my favourite animals and seeing them playing in a happy environment was the sweetest thing. In Thailand, it can be quite tricky in identifying which sanctuaries actually take care of the elephants, and what ones, unfortunately, harm them. I've written a post all about how to choose the right sanctuary.

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

I went to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai and it was around a 1 and a half out of the city, set in the jungle. I booked a full day trip, so we departed from the hotel about 8am and got home around dinner time. The day trip was incredible and I'd highly recommend doing it. The full-day tour included the opportunity to get up close and personal with the elephants, feed them, make their food and learn about animal care. I also got to bathe the creatures and go in a mud bath with them. It was a beautiful experience!

Attend a cooking class

Thai food is incredible and learning about how to make it is a must when you're in the country. I went to Smile Organic Cooking School, located just out of the city and loved the full experience. I booked Dan and me a morning session and the teacher picked us up from town. They first took us to the market to see where they buy the ingredients and then drove us to the farm. The cooking school was attached to an allotment, and upon arrival, the teacher gave us a tour of the allotment and showed us everything they grow there.

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

After a tour, the lessons began and it was so much fun! We got to pick a few dishes including Pad Thai, a curry of our choice (I chose Panang), a soup and curry paste. It was really interesting learning the fast-paced technique of Thai cooking and all the ingredients that are included. We got to use plenty of fresh ingredients, spices and flavours, and the results were delicious. I loved being creative with the flavours and learning new recipes.

Go temple hopping

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

Thailand is a hub for beautiful temples and Chiang Mai is no exception. As there are quite a few temples in the Old City, I'd recommend dedicating an afternoon/day to explore them all, soaking up the city as you go. There are small to large temples including the Wat Phra Singh, Wat Pha Tao and probably the most impressive, Wat Chedi Luang. Each temple is unique to the next and always decorated to the finest of details.

Visit the weekend night markets 

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

Thailand is renowned for its night markets and Chiang Mai is famous for having some of the biggest. Every weekend, the night market lights up on Saturday and Sunday night for the walking street. They sell everything from freshly cooked food, ice cream, hand made clothes, nick nacks and souvenirs. It's a cool hub to browse, and free activity to do of an evening if you're on a budget.

Explore the Old City

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

The Old City soon became my favourite part of Chiang Mai. If you look on a map, the square is the Old City and is a beautiful place to browse. As you walk around, you'll see the traditional temples, cute restaurants, quaint cafes, bars and candid markets. It's really the loveliest of places with a chill vibe. Every person you come across is super friendly and the sights are enough for a sweet afternoon stroll.

Get a traditional Thai massage 

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

If you're looking for a bit of relaxation on your trip, a traditional Thai massage will do the trick. In Chiang Mai, you'll find massage places everywhere, where you can get a full hour massage for a couple of pounds. Even if you're on a budget a massage is easily affordable and can be a great way to end the night after a day of walking. There are also plenty of other spa treatments available for the cheapest of prices.

Enjoy the street food

5 day guide to Chiang Mai - what to see and do

Street food is the norm in Thailand and you can't go to one of the biggest cities without sampling its street food. You'll see vendors selling it everywhere from traditional Thai dishes to pancakes and western food. It's usually dirt cheap and can be some of the yummiest foods you try.

I hope you enjoyed this Chiang Mai guide. Have you visited Chiang Mai?

Thank you for reading <3


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