Doi Suthep mountain is the most recognizable landmark in Chiang Mai. Its glimmering mountaintop temple is a popular first stop for visitors.
Khao Soi —
Khao Soi is a dish of noodles bathed in an intense curry broth topped with crispy noodles. One bowl at Samoer Jai, a Chiang Mai institution, is never enough.
Street market foot rubs —
At Chiang Mai's weekend market, entrepreneurial massage ladies lure shoppers with $5-an-hour foot rubs.
Songkran in Chiang Mai —
Thailand's most famous holiday is Songkran, the Thai New Year, which basically becomes a nationwide water fight. Chiang Mai has earned a reputation for hosting the wildest Songkran celebrations in the country.
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Doi Inthanon —
Named after its centerpiece and the highest peak in the country, Doi Inthanon National Park offers waterfall and cave attractions by day and stargazing by night.
Road trippin' —
The roads around Chiang Mai are some of the most scenic in the country. One of the best is the Mae Hong Son Loop, a 600-kilometer (373-mile) journey that starts from Chiang Mai, and traveling counterclockwise, passes through Pai, Mae Hong Son and Mae Sariang.
Courtesy Harry Vowell
Balloon rides —
Weather permitting, Balloon Adventure Thailand offers twice-daily hot air balloon flights over the city of Chiang Mai. Rides last about 90 minutes.
Courtesy Balloon Adventure Thailand
Always wanted to to see a green-tailed sunbird in the wild? Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park is a great place for birdwatching.
Wat Chedi Luang —
Thai Buddhists make offerings at Chiang Mai's Wat Chedi Luang, located in the historic center of the city.