Considering a trip to Thailand? No Thailand itinerary is complete without a stop in the ancient city of Chiang Mai. If the allure of exploring a new continent, culture and language isn’t enough, read on for a few of Chiang Mai’s highlights.

1. Historic Sites

While Chiang Mai means “New City,” it was founded in 1296. Travel back in time with a visit to the iconic wats, or temples, like Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. While it’s actually located outside the city, this sacred property is easily accessible by public transportation or tours. You can feel the ancient wealth and grandeur radiating from the gold structure. The elaborate monastery Wat Phra Singh is another revered site for religious pilgrims and tourists alike.

Ancient Temples - Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Ancient Temples - Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

2. Elephants!

As a socially responsible travel company, VWI condemns tourist attractions, poaching, habitat destruction and other activities that harm the wellbeing of elephants. Elephant Nature Park is a highly-lauded conservation center where you can visit, interact with the endangered species and learn about their efforts to combat harmful practices.

Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai

Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai

3. EAT!

Thai cuisine is renowned for its freshness and flavors like lemongrass, chili, turmeric and exotic fruits. And best of all, it can be cheap! Khao soi is northern Thailand’s specialty, a curry soup with deep-fried egg noodles and coconut milk, or try Chiang Mai’s specialty sausages, sai ua. There are endless options for adventurous foodies, hesitant eaters, vegetarians and carnivores alike!

Read The Guardian's Chiang Mai food experience.

4. Day Trips

Chiang Mai is surrounded by northern Thailand’s lush, green mountains and there are a variety of day or weekend getaways for visitors. The Wang River is about an hour away and perfect for an afternoon of lazy bamboo rafting. Hike Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain, or visit the tiny, slow-paced town of Pai for waterfall trekking or a yoga retreat.

5. Markets

Markets in Chiang Mai are a hub of activity - food, groceries, souvenirs and handicrafts, knock-off products, household items, street entertainment and more. The Saturday and Sunday Night Walking Street are the most popular with visitors for their huge array of vendors selling crafts and souvenirs.

Night Market - Photo by Xavier Teo on Unsplash

Night Market - Photo by Xavier Teo on Unsplash


Outdoor adventures, cooking classes, spas and massages, biking, Thai dance, Terracotta gardens, museums, language courses, music, festivals, religious studies - Chiang Mai has so much to offer our Venture with Impact participants outside of dozens of great cafes for working remotely.

Want to get to know the city AND give back through volunteering with a group of fun adventurous professionals? Venture with Impact organizes 30-day coworking retreats and shorter one-week retreats Chiang Mai. Check out our Chiang Mai program to learn more!