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What to Do in Chiang Mai Old City

Chiang Mai Old City Attractions

Chiang Mai Old City is peppered with hundreds of examples of religiously affiliated architecture, a world class sightseeing destination where the old and new world coexist flawlessly. Enforced conservation measures to protect the city’s skyline ensure that no high-rise construction can occur within 93 metres of a temple, the Ping River and city walls. For the most part this has been an effective measure.

Achieving the balance between preservation and progression, Chiang Mai is a place steeped in history and a rich culture, while still being a thriving, cosmopolitan city. Defined by its 600 year old moat that is surrounded by fractional walls signifying the boundaries of the Old City. Within the moated area several of the city’s three hundred plus temples exist, these serve as precious channels to Chiang Mai’s fascinating history.

Beyond temple hopping there are a number of educational stops to be made that will expand your knowledge of the area and its inhabitants. The prominent sense of identity Chiang Mai has in large measures accounts for its enigmatic spirit .This is a city firmly rooted in its own distinct culture, adopting a unique dialect, cuisine, architecture and style of dress.

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Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep is a constant part of life in Chiang Mai. This mountain overlooks the city from the northwest, providing Read More...

Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon National Park is a true jewel of natural beauty, consisting of rugged mountainous terrain, lush tropical Read More...

Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Signh is perhaps the second most venerated temple in Chiang Mai after Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. It houses three Read More...

Featured Stories

10 Cheap Things To Do (or even Free!)

Chiang Mai is a cheap city despite the amount of tourists visiting yearly, and especially compared to other Thai cities Read More...

Chiang Mai Historical Centre

The Chiang Mai Historical Centre is a museum in the city which presents the history of the city in a new and exciting Read More...

Lanna Folklife Museum Chiang Mai

The Lanna Folklife Museum is an interesting museum full of exhibitions about the lives, history and culture of the Lanna Read More...

Wat Phan Tao

Wat Phan Tao is a beautiful wooden temple with a decorated garden area. Sitting next to the famous Wat Chedi Luang this Read More...

Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre

The Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre is located right in the middle of the Old City, just behind the Three Kings Read More...

Tha Pae Gate

Tha Pae Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai and is part of the crumbling city wall which once acted Read More...

All Attractions in Chiang Mai City

Chiang Mai City Arts and Museum

The centre is a modern multi-media museum and cultural education centre, featuring a range of medias from video, scale models, enlarged photos, wall murals and text in Thai and English. Built in 1924, the building was the former Provincial Hall of Chiang Mai and is considered to be a stunning example of post-colonial Thai architecture.

Visitors Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:00-17:30
  • Address: Prapokklao Road between Rajdumnern Road and Rajwithee Road
  • Tel: +66 (0) 5321 7793
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Chiang Mai Historical Centre

The Chiang Mai Historical Centre is a museum in the city which presents the history of the city in a new and exciting way. While it is similar to the National Museum in Chiang Mai, the Historical Centre is conveniently located in the city centre and easy to find right in the centre of Chaing Mai Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:30 - 17:00 (closed Monday)
  • Location: Jhaban Road, Inside the old city and behind the 3 Kings Monument
  • Tel: (+66) 053 217 793
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Chiang Mai University

Chiang Mai University has a beautiful, green campus and offers tours around the large campus on electric buses. The main entrance to the university is on Huey Kaew Road and this is the only entrance that tourists can enter. Sometimes the guards will ask for your passport or ID card to register when entering. The main Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
  • Location: Chiang Mai University 239, Huay Kaew Road, Muang District, Chiang Mai (Next to Chiang Mai Zoo)
  • Tel: +66 (0)5 394 1300
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Fern Forest Cafe

Fern Forest Cafe is located on a small residential street in Chiang Mai’s old town. It is not immediately obvious as you walk past, with the sign hidden amongst foliage, which makes you feel like you have stumbled upon a well-kept secret. The cafe tends to be quiet on weekdays and a Thai favourite in the Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:30 to 20:30 every day
  • Address: Singharat Rd., Soi 4, Si Phum Sub-district, Mueang District, Chiang Mai
  • Tel: +66 (0)53 416 204
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Lanna Folklife Museum Chiang Mai

The Lanna Folklife Museum is an interesting museum full of exhibitions about the lives, history and culture of the Lanna people of northern Thailand. The museum (also called the Lanna Heritage Centre) is located opposite the three Kings Monument in the middle of the old city, and sits inside the old municipal court of Chiang Mai. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 8:30 – 17:00 Tuesday – Sunday
  • Address: Prapokklao Road, Old City, Chiang Mai
  • Tel: +66 (0) 53 217 793
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Lanna Traditional House Museum

 The Traditional House Museum is fantastic way to take a step back into the past and get a taste of Lanna culture in the past hundred years. This hidden museum was set up by Chiang Mai University and for some strange reason has been overlooked by visitors. Thankfully this makes the visit much more enjoyable as you Read More...

  • Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 08:30 to 16:30, Closed weekends and bank holidays
  • Address: 239 Huay Kaew Road,Muang, Chiang Mai
  • Tel: +66 (0)53 9436 2526
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Museum of Insects and Natural Wonders

For some creepy crawly fun, head over to this museum of the oogie, run by Manop Rattanarithikul, an eccentric entomology enthusiast and his wife Rampa, a PhD in the field. Manop, nicknamed "The Mosquito Man", has been studying and collecting insects for most of his life and he and his wife have travelled the world studying and working with bugs. They founded the museum together in 2002 and have been giving visitors the willies ever since.

Manop himself will guide you through exhibits that run from massive beetles that look like something out of the movie Dune to almost invisible little gnats. Anyone who's spent time in Thailand will get a feeling of deep satisfaction from seeing an example of all 422 species of Thai mosquito dead and impaled in a glass case. But don't be surprise if you get bit by some of Manop's enthusiasm for the little buggers. The Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders is located on Srimankalajarn Road, soi 13 (midway between Suthep and Huay Kaew roads near Suan Dok Hospital.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00
  • Address: Srimankalajarn Road
  • Tel: +66 (0)53 21 1891
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Suan Buak Hat Park

A lovely and very well maintained pubic park that is a great place to stop and soak up some sunshine. Situated in the southwestern corner of the old city it is Chiang Mai’s equivalent to Lumpini Park. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00
  • Address: The Southwestern corner of the Old City walls.
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Tha Pae Gate

Tha Pae Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai and is part of the crumbling city wall which once acted as a fortress for the ‘Old City’ (and still today acts as a geographical boundary). The gate area is an epicentre for tourism in Chiang Mai, boasting more hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, Read More...

  • Location: Moon Muang Rd., Chiang mai City
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Tribal Museum

Can't tell an Akha from a Hmong? Do you think that Yao is just a big guy who plays in the NBA? Then you need to pay a visit to the Chiang Mai Tribal Museum. Recently moved from its location on the Chiang Mai University campus, this museum is now housed in a modern, three storey building in Ratchamankla Park. Anyone planning on paying a visit to the many hilltribe villages around Chiang Mai will definitely benefit from a visit to this museum. On display here are costumes, tools and art from all of the major northern hilltribes, as well as daily slide shows which tell the stories of these colourful and unique peoples.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00-16:00 fever
  • Address: Ratchamangkla Park
  • Tel: +66 (0) 53 210 872
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Wat Bupparam Temple

Wat Bupparam is one of Chiang Mai’s most visited temples and has a strong Burmese influence from the past. Located on Thapae Road and 500 metres from Thapae Gate, the old entrance to Chiang Mai city, Wat Bupparam has a strong historical significance. Thapae Road used to be the route traders would take as they entered Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 7:00 – 18:00
  • Location: Thapae Road
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Wat Chedi Luang

Built in 1391, during the reign of King Saen Muang Ma, 8th ruler of the Mengrai dynasty, Wat Chedi Luang's massive chedi (pagoda) is a distinctive feature of the Chiang Mai skyline. At its peak, the chedi measured 44 meters (144 feet) wide and 86 meters (282 feet) tall and was the home of the Emerald Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 06:00-17:00
  • Address: Phrapokklao Road
  • Tel: +66 (0) 53 24 8604
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Wat Chiang Man

This is the oldest temple in the Chiang Mai, built in 1296 at the time of the city's founding. The temple served as the residence of Chiang Mai's founder, King Mengrai, for a time. The buildings are finely decorated in red lacquer, gold leaf and mosaics of tinted mirror, wonderful examples of Lanna style architecture. Wat Chiang Man is located on Ratchaphakhinai Road, near the Chang Puak gate in the northern part of the old city.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00
  • Address: Ratchaphakhinai Road
  • Tel: +66 (0) 53 24 8604
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What Phan Tao

Directly adjacent to Wat Chedi Luang, although there is a wall between the two you can walk through one to get to the other. The name of this temple means "Monastery of a Thousand Kilns", in reference to the numerous Buddha images within the magnificent Wat Chedi Luang. The temple has a viharn, which is Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 07:00-17:00
  • Address: Diagonally adjacent to Wat Chedi Luang, Phrapokklao Road
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Wat Phra Sing

This venerable temple, located at the end of Ratchadamnoen Road, is perhaps the most venerated in Chiang Mai, behind Doi Suthep. While the dusty parking lot and hordes of taxi drivers may be discouraging at first, this temple is certainly worth a look.

Although the main hall of the temple dates back to 1512 and is Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 07:00-19:00
  • Address: Singharat Road
  • Tel: +66 53 24 8604
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Wat Saen Fang

This old Burmese style temple is testament to the one time Burmese occupation of Chiang Mai, with its origins going back to the 14th century.

  • Opening Hours: 06:00-17:00
  • Address: Thapae Road
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Wat Suan Dok

Just beyond the walls of the old city on the west side stands Wat Suan Dok, which dates back to the 14th century. Built by the King of Lanna on the grounds of his pleasure garden, this temple was originally intended to serve as a retreat for a revered monk from Sukothai.

This temple is a Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 07:00-19:00
  • Address: Suthep Road
  • Tel: +66 (0) 53 24 8604
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