The best things to do in Nimman still include a few temples, because there’s no part of Chiang Mai where you can’t find at least a couple! However, the selection of other attractions is a little more eclectic. This relatively modern part of the ancient city has undergone a lot of development in recent decades, yet somehow retains some really beautiful natural touches, which are well worth checking out.
In all honesty, the majority of the Nimman best attractions are the area’s great bars, shops and restaurants. The choice of things to actually see and do is fairly limited, especially when compared to the likes of Chiang Mai Old City. However, what little there is offers peaceful relaxation, with a little bit of the characteristic quirkiness of this trendy part of town.
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Right at the top (north) of Nimmanhaemin Road you’ll find Chiang Mai’s newest and hippest mall – Maya. It’s not as big or comprehensive on the retail front as Central Plaza or Central Festival, but it does prove a huge hit particularly with the local university crowd with its range of cheap to mid-range fashion, smart restaurants, cool cafes and a number of rooftop bars at the top (head to Myst for some fancy molecular cocktails at night). There is also a cinema and games arcade on the top floor; good for those rainy days. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
- Location: Maya 55 Moo 5, Huay Kaew Road, Nimmanhaemin
- Tel: +66 (0) 5208 1555
Instantly recognisable with its array of brilliant white-washed chedis dotted around a lovely landscaped garden with giant golden stupa as the centrepiece, Wat Suan Dok is up there with some of the most impressive temples in Chiang Mai. It’s not actually located on Nimman Road itself; you’ll have to walk to the southern end of the main road, take a right onto ‘Suthep Road’ then it’s just a few minutes’ walk from there – you can’t miss it. There are also free meditation classes and ‘monk chats’ Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 17:30 - 21:00. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 06:00 - 21:00
- Location: Suthep Road, about 1 km east of Suan Dok Gate
Run by entomology enthusiast Manop Rattanarithikul (nicknamed ‘The Mosquito Man’... need we say more) and his wife ‘Rampa’ who has a PhD in the same field, this quirky museum is a decent way of spending a few hours doing something a little bit different in Chiang Mai. The owners guide you around themselves, showing you all of the exhibits and collections of creepy crawlies. Our personal favourite is a glass case containing all 422 species of Thailand’s dreaded mosquito. How and why Monop managed to find, identify and keep all these bugs we’ll never quite know. Entrance is 300 baht but you’ll have to pay a little extra to take photos. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 16:00
- Location: Srimankalajarn Road, Soi 13 (near Suan Dok Hospital)
- Tel: +66 (0)53 211 891
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/MuseumOfWorldInsectsAndNaturalWonders
- Price Range: 300 baht
You might need a taxi or tuk-tuk to reach Wat Umong if you’re staying in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai, but it’s only a short hop away from the city and well worth a look. Still standing after 700 years, Wat Umong certainly shows its age, despite numerous touch-ups over the years. The crumbling, weather-worn central stupa towers into the sky, set around a well-maintained tropical garden and smart-looking green lawns. You can also feed the fish and turtles in the garden’s main pond, walk around the ‘talking trees’ that offer words of advice (in Thai and English), and head underground to check out the series of ancient tunnels. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 06:00 - 17:00
- Location: 135 Moo 10 Suthep, Chiang Mai
Huay Kaew Arboretum
Right by Chiang Mai University and next to the sprawling zoo in the foothills of Doi Suthep Mountain sits this delightful wooded area that’s totally free to the public. It’s kind of like a nice park where the tropical trees are the main attraction. They’re well-spaced out throughout the lush tropical garden, providing real interest for nature buffs - or just a shady retreat for a picnic away from the hot daytime sun. There’s plenty of flowers too – some of which are rarely found in other cities in Thailand (the elevated position and shade from the mountain allows them to flourish in this particular spot).
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 17:00
- Location: Huay Kaew Road
- Tel: +66 (0)5 338 922
It might seem like an unusual tourist attraction, but the sprawling Chiang Mai University campus actually attracts thousands of visitors each year who aren’t coming to study; they just want to take a look! Authorities officially opened the gates (at Huay Kaew Road) to tourists back in 2014, and the 50 baht entrance fee allows you to walk around the lush gardens and ponds that link the campus building like a small park. You can also rent a bicycle to see the greenery on two wheels for 50 baht an hour. Read More...
- Location: Chiang Mai University 239, Huay Kaew Road, Muang District, Chiang Mai
- Tel: +66 (0)5 394 1300
Monkchat Meditation Retreat
Even if you’re not Buddhist, spending the afternoon talking to a monk, or even enrolling in a meditation retreat, can be a memorable experience. In Chiang Mai, plenty of tourist-friendly centres have opened up in recent years (probably thanks to the bohemian backpacker crowd who favour the north of the country). Check their website in advance, but last time we looked, it was 500 baht (plus a few extra costs) for a two-day course – including accommodation. They also run special days where English-speaking monks offer their wise words of wisdom. Email or telephone in advance to arrange a session.
- Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 17:00 – 19:00
- Tel: +66 (0)84 609 1357
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Monk-Chat-Thailand-107784579939684
Ang Kaew Reservoir
This is a great spot located inside the grounds of Chiang Mai University to cool off and maybe take a nap in the shade of a hot afternoon. Chiang Mai city centre is a little bit short in the way of public parks and open green spaces (although you don’t have to travel far outside to become completely lost in greenery). Ang Kaew Reservoir attracts plenty of the university’s students as well as tourists, and was originally constructed as a water supply for the university in the 1960s. Do note there is a 50 baht charge to enter the grounds.
- Location: Chiang Mai University 239, Huay Kaew Road
Whatever your opinion on zoos, it’s safe to say that the one here in Chiang Mai is one of the best in the country (although Thailand does has its fair share of rather depressing zoos elsewhere). Set in the foothills of the looming Doi Suthep mountain range above, the setting couldn’t be better, with many of the spacious animal enclosures shaded by the tropical surrounds and benefiting from the slightly cooler temperatures at this elevated position. There are over 400 different species living in the 200-acre site including lions, tigers, monkey, rhinos and the incredibly popular Chinese pandas, which will cost you an extra 100 baht to see on top of the 500 baht entrance fee. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 08:30 – 16:30
- Address: 100 Huay Kaew Road
- Tel: +66 (0)53 210 374
- Price Range: 500 baht
For a dose of art right by Nimman Road, Minimal Gallery is well-worth checking out. The first floor doubles up as an art space and minibar (meaning you can drink while browsing the art), while the second floor is home to an arts studio and academy for local talent to do their thing. New exhibitions are held regularly (for the best atmosphere, try to find out when the next opening night is using their Facebook link below).
- Opening Hours: 12:00 - 24:00
- Tel: +66 (0)84 169 3283
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Minimalgallery