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Chiang Mai is a land of misty mountains and colourful hill tribes It’s a playground for experienced travellers, a shopper’s paradise, and an adventurer’s delight. If you’re an avid traveller looking to broaden your horizons, Chiang Mai is the ideal holiday destination where you can enjoy everything from a Thai massage to cooking classes.

You can also enjoy the array of handicrafts and antiques on display. If you’re a little wild at heart, Chiang Mai has a thriving nightlife, all while you’ll be able to indulge in delectable cuisine. Chiang Mai, despite its small scale, really has it all!

Let’s look at five of the most memorable things you can do on your Chiang Mai holiday this year.

Lantern Festival

The Yi Peng 2021 Chiang Mai Lantern Festival is named after the full moon. ‘Yi’ means ‘two’ and ‘peng’ means full moon. The full moon will be visible on the night of the 2nd of the Thai Lanna Calendar. So the exact date changes every year.

This year the festival will be celebrated on 19-20 November 2021. Locals go to the temple to listen to the monks praying, while they decorate their houses with hanging lanterns that light up the sky and give praise to Buddha.

Top Tip |   Get there early to make the most of the evening, but remember the celebrations go through the night, so be ready!

Hundreds, if not thousands, of brightly lit lanterns, rising into the night sky over Chiang Mai is an iconic picture of Loy Krathong – but an interesting fact is that these mass lantern lighting sessions are actually part of a smaller festival inside the larger Loy Krathong celebrations.

There is also a Yee Peng ceremony for visitors, which is held about a week after the actual festival. It entails more mass lantern lighting and amazing photo ops. 

Previously, tickets were $US100 (approximately 3,000 baht) and included a full meal, transfers, and two lanterns… the whole shebang. The location and dates will not be confirmed until closer to the event, which is scheduled for the end of November.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of brightly lit lanterns, rising into the night sky over Chiang Mai is an iconic picture of Loy Krathong – but an interesting fact is that these mass lantern lighting sessions are actually part of a smaller festival inside the larger Loy Krathong celebrations.

There is also a Yee Peng ceremony for visitors, which is held about a week after the actual festival. It entails more mass lantern lighting and amazing photo ops. 

Previously, tickets were $US100 (approximately 3,000 baht) and included a full meal, transfers, and two lanterns… the whole shebang. The location and dates will not be confirmed until closer to the event, which is scheduled for the end of November.

As part of the day experience, couples will be picked up and taken to the beautiful Karen Hilltribe Elephant Sanctuary. There, they will learn more about the elephants, interact with them, feed them, and enjoy a truly memorable experience.

Let’s take a closer look at what the day looks like.

The tribe now provides wonderful elephant encounters to visitors, enabling their elephants to wander freely in their natural environment and providing people with the opportunity to engage with and care for these magnificent creatures.

The experience includes feeding the elephants, taking a fun mud-filled water bath with them, before changing into traditional Karen clothing, and enjoying a delicious afternoon meal.

These daily elephant experiences are perfect for tourists looking for a great outdoor experience while being surrounded by these animals.

Top Tip | Get the elephant sanctuary and bamboo rafting experience deal! Very worth it.

Night Market

The night bazaar is a must-see part of the Chiang Mai experience. It is the largest shopping venue in Chiang Mai, if not all of Thailand. The epicentre of this nightly commerce extravaganza is at the intersection of Chang Khlan and Loi Khor Road, but it extends for two blocks in either direction.

The market starts at around sunset (usually around 18:00), and shopping continues until about 22:30, with a few vendors staying open even longer.

The night bazaar is made up of a slew of stalls that line the sidewalks and spill out onto the street. Vendors sell almost anything you can think of!

Some of the items available include CDs, DVDs, clothing, shoes, Thai silk, handcrafts, wallets, watches, luggage, housewares, furniture, and more. You can even buy auto parts, and a range of local souvenirs, even a few beautiful samuraI swords! Not to mention all the paintings and jewellery.

The quality varies by vendor, but the low prices ensure that you almost always get good value for your money.

Cooking Classes

If you are a real foodie and looking for a unique experience, you can visit the Best Thai Cooking School. You’ll be working with highly experienced cooking instructors and take professional cooking classes!

The Best Thai Cooking School can be found 13 kilometers from the bustling Chiang Mai, in quiet and relaxing surroundings. They cultivate many of the herbs and spices used in their classes right there, making it a great and authentic cooking experience.

They have an open-air kitchen in a farm setting where you’ll get your own cooking station, knife, wok, and meticulously clean utensils. Here you can make all of your own delicious sauces and traditional Thai dishes.

Along with cooking courses, you’ll also get to enjoy elephant tours, which can last for a full day.

Temples

Chiang Mai’s Old City is a veritable living museum. Its winding streets are lined with beautiful temples, old shophouses, and historical structures, all surrounded by crumbling ancient walls and the moat.

It’s a tiny, compact city, so you can get around on foot without getting tired, allowing you to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and interesting scenery. The temples are, unsurprisingly, the Old City’s main draw.

Some of the beautiful must-see temples in Chiang Mai include:

  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
  • Wat Chedi Luang
  • Wat Phra Singh
  • Wat Suan Dok
  • Wat Umong

The Wat Phra That Doi Kham is also one of the most popular temples, famous for its huge seated Buddha. The Giant Buddha frame, painted in bright white and gold, towers nearly 20 meters into the air. The entire temple complex dates back more than 1,000 years, with plenty of shrines, pagodas, and artifacts to discover in the tropical garden region in the DoI Suthep Mountain range’s foothills.

The beautiful Wat Sri Suphan temple has a shiny coat of silver paint that glistens brilliantly in the sunshine and stands out from the crowd. The stupas’ tips are solid silver, and at night, a neon light show transforms the temple into a rainbow of colors – a truly breathtaking sight.

These are just some of the great things you can do on your Chiang Mai holiday in 2021 and beyond. These activities are ideal for group trips or family holidays, allowing you to see some of the best attractions that Chiang Mai has to offer. Don’t miss out on these incredible experiences – book today!

Couples Guide To

Two souls on a big journey, exploring and seeking out the weird and wonderful things around us.