Established more than 700 years ago as the capital of the ancient Lanna (Northern Thai) Kingdom, Chiang Mai continues to be a thriving hub of art, culture, tradition and Buddhism. The city is sure to become a favourite destination for you and your family, even more so with the new Anantara Vacation Club Resort scheduled to open this year.
Chiang Mai: Thailand’s Cultural Capital – What to See and Do in the Rose of the North
Go for the refreshing air, mountainous landscapes and the hundreds of glittering temples, stay for the colourful local markets, adrenaline pumping activities, luxurious spas, mouth-watering street food and so much more.
Where to Go
You can’t stay in Chiang Mai without visiting some of its famous temples. Make sure you stop at Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh in the centre of the Old City. Venture out to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, nestled on the side of Doi Suthep mountain, which boasts an impressive golden chedi, or stupa, and breathtaking panoramic views.
While the city is charming, Chiang Mai’s surrounding natural environment takes centre stage. Spend a day at Doi Inthanon National Park, home of the highest peak in Thailand, wander down jungle paths and cool off beneath splashing waterfalls.
What to Do
For families and animal lovers, take a trip to the Chiang Mai Zoo and Aquarium to visit the pandas or take a ride through the Chiang Mai Night Safari to spot nocturnal wild animals. If you dream of getting up close and personal with elephants, head to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, an ethical and sustainable eco-tourism project located about 60 kilometres outside of town.
A myriad of excursions and adventure activities, including zip lining, white water rafting and trekking are at your fingertips.
Where to Eat
From street stalls serving up snacks all day long and numerous fresh markets, to a strong vegetarian scene and high-end, riverside restaurants featuring a range of both Thai and international cuisine, you’ll never go hungry in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai Gate is a street food haven where market and street food stalls serve ready prepared and cooked-to-order dishes from 5.30 pm till late at night.
For fine dining, The Service 1921 Restaurant & Bar at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort serves contemporary Thai, Chinese Szechuan and Vietnamese dishes within an exquisite colonial house.
To get a taste of the local flavours try Khao Soi, a creamy curry served with chicken and yellow egg noodles, garnished with lime, shallots, roasted chillies and pickled greens. For a traditional local experience, enjoy a Khantoke dinner that showcases authentic Lanna cuisine and performances.
Where to Shop
The shopping in Chiang Mai meets every preference and budget, from street stalls to multi-storey shopping malls. For souvenirs, head to the massive Night Bazaar held every evening along Chang Klan Road. The Sunday Night Walking Street and daily Wororot Market carry a wide selection of handmade items while the nearby woodcarving village of Baan Tawai is the place to go for antiques, wooden furniture and home decor. Central Festival and Maya Lifestyle Shopping Centre are large malls featuring brand name stores in air-conditioned comfort.
Start planning your Chiang Mai escape now and be the first to check out the new Anantara Vacation Club Chiang Mai, coming in 2016!