10 cool things to do in Chiang Mai

Insurance Travel
Avator By Lauren Noakes
Marketing Assistant
Published 12th August 2022
Last modified 23rd December 2022
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10 Cool Things to Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Take a walk on the wild side in Chiang Mai with our travel insurance team’s top things to do whilst visiting the Thai city. Dive into Chiang Mai life and venture off the beaten track – this list is for travelers who do things differently.

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1. Coffee and Chill at the Cat Café

The Catmosphere in Chiang Mai is a cat cafe that has gained popularity in China and Japan. The cafe has a spaceship theme, with cat-themed decorations on the walls and 15 cats living on the premises. Visitors can relax with a drink while interacting with the cats, although during busy times, they are limited to a two-hour stay. Prices for drinks may be higher than other cafes in Thailand, but the unique atmosphere and opportunity to spend time with cats makes it worth it.


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2. Unwind at Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm

Orchids are a well-known symbol of Thailand and can be found all over the country. At the Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm just outside of Chiang Mai, visitors can view these stunning flowers year-round. In the gift shop, you can find orchids that have been dipped in gold and turned into unique pieces of jewelry. The farm also has a butterfly exhibit, where visitors can walk among thousands of butterflies in their natural habitat.


3. Meet the Long Neck Karen Tribe

The Karen are a tribal group native to Myanmar who have fled to Thailand due to ongoing political conflict in their homeland. In Mae Rim, a small village outside of Chiang Mai, members of the tribe welcome tourists into their homes for income. It is recommended to visit the village with a local tour guide, as they can facilitate communication with the locals and ensure that visitors are respectful and follow ethical tourism practices. Tour companies that prioritize responsible tourism are the best option for visiting the tribe.


4. A Massage to Remember: Traditional Thai Massage from an Ex-Prisoner

Massage parlors are common in Thailand, but getting a massage from a former prisoner is a rare experience. The Women’s Prison in Chiang Mai offers a program that trains soon-to-be-released inmates in practical life skills, including massage therapy. The ex-prisoner massage parlor is closely monitored by security to ensure that the women follow all rules. It is an opportunity for these women to find employment after being released from prison.


5. Jump from The San Kamphaeng Hot Springs

The San Kamphaeng Hot Springs are a serene retreat located in a small forest with stunning mountain views. Visitors can relax in a mineral bath swimming pool or try a local tradition of boiling eggs in the hot water. This is a great way to unwind and indulge in some natural pampering after exploring Thailand.


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6. Become a Meditation Master at Wat Doi Suthep

Chiang Mai is known for being a place where visitors can find inner peace and connect with themselves. The Doi Suthep Vipassana Meditation Centre, located on the beautiful Suthep Mountain, is a popular destination for those seeking to practice meditation. The temple is visited by thousands of people each day, and speaking is not allowed within its walls. Visitors can participate in meditation courses led by experienced teachers, focusing on their breath and clearing their minds.


Songkran Celebrations

7. Get Wet at Songkran Celebrations

Songkran, Thailand’s water festival, is an unforgettable experience. During the three-day event, the entire city of Chiang Mai comes alive with excitement as people use water guns and buckets to soak each other. It is important to protect your valuables before going outside, as you may be surprised by locals waiting around corners to douse unsuspecting passersby with water. The festival is a wild and thrilling time.


8. Jump Around at the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon

Located just 20 minutes outside of Chiang Mai, the Hang Dong Quarry, also known as the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon, is a beautiful swimming spot that has recently gained popularity as a tourist attraction. The main attraction is cliff jumping, where visitors can dive into the calm blue waters below. However, the canyon is also a great place to relax with friends, soak up the sun, and spend time by the water. Remember to follow the rules and only cliff jump in designated areas, as there are lifeguards on site to ensure safety.


9. Floating Along Mae Ngat Dam

Located just 20 minutes outside of Chiang Mai, the Hang Dong Quarry, also known as the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon, is a beautiful swimming spot that has recently gained popularity as a tourist attraction. The main attraction is cliff jumping, where visitors can dive into the calm blue waters below. However, the canyon is also a great place to relax with friends, soak up the sun, and spend time by the water. Remember to follow the rules and only cliff jump in designated areas, as there are lifeguards on site to ensure safety.


10. Remember Chiang Mai Forever with a Sak Yant

For those who have finished exploring Chiang Mai and want to mark their Thailand adventure, getting a sak yant (bamboo tattoo) is a popular option. Sak yants are traditional, sacred tattoos in Buddhism that are given by an Ajarn or tattoo master. Chiang Mai has many places where you can get one of these tattoos, but be prepared for a high level of pain. It is important to do your research and choose a reputable tattoo artist to ensure a safe and meaningful tattoo experience.

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