Reasons to go
Best times to go
We went during the rainy season in July and absolutely loved it. It was warm but not overwhelmingly hot, everything was green and lush, it wasn’t very crowded and we only had a few sprinkles.
Must eat places
Where to stay
Rimping Village - ($90 - $100 / night) Located just outside the old city, Rimping Village is a quiet and beautiful Thai hotel. The staff are incredibly helpful and nice, the breakfast is included and is delicious, the rooms are large and very nice and they have a beautiful pool to relax by after a day of exploring. You are also just a 10 minute walk or a quick tuk tuk ride into the old city. After busy days in and around Chiang Mai, we really enjoyed the peace and quiet here.
Things to do
Thai Elephant Home - ($130/ person) Don’t miss this experience, it was one of our very favorite things we did in Thailand. They pick you up from your hotel and take you about an hour outside of Chiang Mai to the elephant home where you start by learning about Asian Elephants and about Thai Elephant Home and their mission. You then learn Thai elephant commands and are introduced to your elephant for the day. After a beautiful, long trek (bareback) you stop for a delicious pad thai lunch they provide. After that you bathe yourselves and your elephants in mud and ride them down to the river where you play with them and clean them up. My elephant even lifted me up on her trunk in the river which was an incredible experience. You end the trip with a clean shower, fresh water and fruit before heading back to your hotel. Do not miss this experience!
A lot of Thai - Home cooking class - ($30/ half day, $42 / full day) We wanted to do a Thai cooking class at some point during our trip and heard amazing things about A lot Thai and were very glad we picked this one. You are picked up from your hotel in a classic VW van and taken to Yui’s home in the heart of Chiang Mai. Yui is an international TV chef and started her cooking classes back in 1999 right out of her house. The maximum class size is 8 and she still teaches every dish in all of her classes. She is an absolute joy to be around and an incredible chef as you can imagine. She takes you to the local market to start, where you learn about all the local produce which she buys for the day. You then return to her house and begin to cook! The menu varies by day but ours was pad thai, hot and sour prawn soup, spring rolls and green and red panang curry. If you chose to do the full day you also got to cook stir fried chicken with cashews and sweet sticky rice with mango. We learned a ton and got to eat and enjoy our creations after each one was finished. She also sends you on your way with a cookbook so you can make all your favorite Thai dishes back home.
Muay Thai Fight - You will see these advertised all over Chiang Mai and I highly recommend checking one out. Tickets are cheap and it is a really fun night. You can order drinks, place bets if you want and sit back and watch authentic Muay Thai!
Night Bazaar - Located on the east side of the old walled city it is open every day of the year from dusk til about midnight. While you can shop for almost anything imaginable here, our favorite part was the food. Come hungry and order small plates from a handful of different street food vendors. We had the best massaman curry of our trip here.
Fah Lanna Spa- Thai Massage - Great spas all over the city where you can get a thai massage for under $10 / hour but this was my favorite. Clean, beautiful, friendly and amazing massages!