Chiang Mai is a beautiful and busy city. There’s so much going on all the time and plenty to do!
If you find yourself here, here’s a few things to do:
1. Night market
As usual, there’s a night market. If you’re not exhausted from shopping yet, check it out. But, beware! This market was the most packed I’ve been to yet! I’m seriously talking being packing like sardines. It was impossible to not be shoulder-to-shoulder.
2 Sak Yant Tattoos
If you’ve done your research, then you’ll find that Chiang Mai is the place to get a Sak Yant tattoo. This experience is not only extremely spiritual and humbling, but it was one of the highlights of my life by far. I had been dreaming about it for so long and having the opportunity to not only be in the presence of a monk, but to also have him bless me and give me a tattoo almost brought me to tears (I held back the happy tears because I didn’t want him to think I was in pain from the needle 😂). To learn more about my personal experience, check out the post here.
3. Not super spiritual, but still want a tattoo? This is the place for it.
Yes, I got two tattoos in 4 days but who’s counting?? There’s plenty of tattoo shops here and if you’ve been interested in getting a traditional bamboo tattoo, what better time than the present! Is doesn’t hurt too bad…even though my face says other wise.
4. The vegan/vegetarian food here is amazing!!!
For all you vege/vegans living off fried rice and noodles, you have finally come to your holy grail of vege food! Many restaurants use Happy Cow so get on that and start indulging! We were in heaven here.
5. The night life
If you want to get loose, here’s the place for it. The night life goes off just like the other major cities. Just don’t waste your tomorrow curing yesterdays bad decisions.
6. Jungle elephant sanctuary
Want to feed, bath and play with some elephants? Nows your chance! Specifically, the Jungle Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai rescues elephants that are used for riding tours in other parts of Thailand and allows visitors to come feed and bath them for the day.
***DONT EVER RIDE AN ELEPHANT! IS IT TERRIBLY HARMFUL TO THEIR BACK CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF. READ SOME INFORMATION MORE ON THE TOPIC****
If you want to get up close and personal with these gentle giants, then visit the sanctuary. It’s 50 USD for a ride there and back, lunch and food to feed the elephants. Make sure to wear a bathing suit as you’ll be in the river with the elephants bathing them! Ask your hostel and guest house in Chiang Mai for more details and they can hook you up with what you need.
If you’re worried about the ethical element of this, make sure you visit a non-riding sanctuary. Of course, it would be way better to see these beautiful animals free in the wild but unfortunately the hand of man has ruined the likelihood of that chance. Once people realized elephant’s are a money making machine with the tourists, people snatched them up to give rides all day. Want to fight against this injustice? DO NOT pay to ride an elephant–or ever do it in general! Giving them money fuels this kind of elephant labor. If nobody demands it, then it eventually won’t exist! Also, educate others about the dangers of riding elephants!
Alright, I’ll drop the rant. Have fun in Chiang Mai!