Chiang Mai: 5 Fun Things to Do

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Scenic view of Doi Inthanon National Park at sunrise in Chiang Mai Thailand

Are you sick of reading the same old Chiang Mai city guides?

If you’ve seen enough recommendations to visit the hill people and elephant sanctuaries this post offers you a change up from the average guide.

Cruise Outside the Old City

Forget the Old City for a minute. All well and good to cruise in this heavily tourist area but walking around outside of the Old City introduces a whole new world to you.

View of some street stalls in Chiang Mai Thailand

I often wander up and down Lamphun Road on the southern end of Chiang Mai during the evening to see the real Thailand unfold before my eyes. Street stalls litter the sidewalk, pushing pedestrians into oncoming traffic. Motorbikes whiz by as you enjoy a mango with sticky rice for only 45 Baht, bought from the Mango Lady who all the locals and expats know.

Throw out your tourist guide for a bit. Wander where few visitors go to get a feel for the other Thailand, away from tourist hot spots.

Get a Massage in a Surrounding Village

Not only will this place even less of a strain on your wallet, getting a massage in a village surrounding Chiang Mai is a more peaceful, relaxed experience when you exit the hustle and bustle of the city.

a couple getting a massage in Chiang Mai Thailand

Although you can get a good massage in town for about 150 Baht you will enjoy a massage in more chill surroundings if you motorbike to communities like Pong Noi.

The vibe is different in surrounding villages. After your massage, drift for a few hours. Smile and greet locals. Do some shopping. Step into a way different experience from the hectic pace in the Old City.

Explore the Outskirts on Motorbike

Surrounding communities like Hang Dong are goldmines for visiting motorbike riders.

Street market in Pong Noi near Chiang Mai in Thailand

Hop on a motorbike – or bicycle for the more athletic types – and drive outside of town to places like Hang Dong and Mae Rim. These communities are fun places to explore for finding fabulous restaurants and authentic Thai markets if you want to “get your shopping on”.

Visit the Ladyboy Cabaret Show

Visiting the ladyboy cabaret show was a colorful experience for me and my wife.

For 240 Baht apiece we enjoyed almost 2 hours of dancing, singing and pure performing joy from a group of ladyboys.

The show gives a generally accepted but sometimes marginalized group a platform to express themselves and it’s guaranteed to make you smile or sometimes laugh out loud with the onstage antics going on throughout the show.

Temple Hop

One of my favorite things to do in Chiang Mai is to visit the hundreds of temples in town.

Street view of Wat Phra Singh Temple in Chiang Mai Thailand

Inside and outside of the Old City you will stumble upon temples regularly. These impressive, ornate structures give you a glimpse into the past. Just make sure to keep your shoulders covered and remove your footwear before walking into the temple to respect Buddhist customs.

Get off of the beaten path to enjoy more of what Chiang Mai has to offer you.


Photo of Ryan Biddulph on a beachContributor: Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who’s been featured on Richard Branson’s Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur, John Chow Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He has written and self-published 126 bite-sized eBooks on Amazon. Ryan can help you build a successful blog at Blogging From Paradise.


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