What is the best way to see Chiang Mai in one day?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Katie Goldstein
  • Katie Lara

  • Correspondent

  • New York City, New York

Try to allot at least three days for your visit to Chiang Mai, which should give you enough time to both explore the city proper as well as to take a day trip into the countryside. That said, it is possible to see many of the top sights in Chiang Mai in just one day – but you’ll have to get an early start and be ready for a whirlwind itinerary.
Your sightseeing day in Chiang Mai will actually begin outside of the city on a guided tour of the lush countryside, which your hotel should be able to help you arrange. Tours vary, but many start with a quick stop at a butterfly farm and perhaps a local market before moving on to the Elephant Training Center Chiang Dao, where you can feed the elephants bananas by hand, then hop onto one for a short trek through the jungle, stopping along the way to visit a local hilltribe village. Afterwards you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, then take a relaxing trip down the serene Ping River on a bamboo raft.
Arrange for your tour guide to drop you off at Doi Suthep, where you can take a tram to the top for stunning views of the area from magical Wat Phrathat’s mountain-top location. Afterwards head back to your hotel to quickly freshen up and perhaps take a dip in the pool, then make for the Night Bazaar, where you can browse Thai handicrafts, nosh delicious street food snacks and sip a cold bottle of Chang beer. Finally, take a deep breath and relax over dinner at one of the nearby riverside restaurants, where you can grab a table under the stars on an outdoor terrace.

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