Chiang Mai is one of the most popular cities in Thailand for expats. The cooler weather attracts people who want to live in a more temperate climate, while the beautiful mountains bring many here who want something different than the beaches to the south. This diverse, historic area offers many experiences you can’t find elsewhere in the country. Here are five original Chiang Mai activities you should try at least once.
Visit Huay Tung Tao Lake
Huay Tung Tao Lake is a lovely lake surrounded by beautiful mountains. This is the perfect place if you’re looking for a restful retreat outside of the town center. The lake is open to swimming when the weather is warm enough and you can rent a paddle boat and enjoy the scenery. There are also a few small restaurants on the edges of the lake if you want to stop for a bite.
Take a Cooking Lesson
Instead of visiting local restaurants to get a taste of the regional cuisine, why not learn how to cook them yourself? You could take a private cooking class Chiang Mai through one of the many cooking schools in the area. You can find affordable classes that take up a morning, afternoon, or evening, and you’ll learn how to make multiple dishes. Full day courses cost more, but you will learn how to make several common Thai recipes, and staples like curry, soups and a variety of stir fry dishes.
Go Shopping in Thanin Market
While there are several markets that cater to tourists, Thanin market is where locals will go to get authentic regional cuisine. In fact, there is a good chance this is where your cooking instructor picked up the ingredients for your class. There are stalls selling fresh fruit, salads, and what locals use to make their own meals. It is a good place to see local life and meet the people who make Chiang Mai their home.
Drop by Baan Kang Wat Artist Village
The Baan Kang Wat Artist Village is the heart of the expanding Chiang Mai artisanal scene, and it is much more accessible than the touristy area in Nimman. You can find shops, cafes and restaurants here, and you can join in artist workshops to learn how to create handicrafts and pick up a little history while you’re at it. Or visit the local art galleries to see the future of Thai art.
See the City from Suthep Mountain
On the trip up Suthep Mountain, you’ll see waterfalls, mountain villages, and beautiful temples. Head up to Doi Suthep Viewpoint if you want to get a full view of Chiang Mai. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always rent a motorbike and go up at night to see the lit-up city in all its splendor.
Chiang Mai is a rich, vibrant city that offers many experiences. Make sure that you try one or all of these activities if you want to see what Chiang Mai is truly about.