Landmarks of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Continuing the stories of our journey through Thailand. In this article we will tell you what to see and do in Chiang Mai.


Chiang Mai is the city of temples, its main attraction. There are so many temples in the city that only special enthusiasts can see them all the first time. It’s worth starting with the most important ones and stopping when the Buddha statues are stuck in your eyes.

Wat Chedi Lunag

One of the oldest and most important temples in the city. In the middle of the temple there is a large stupa (or in Thai “Chedi”) of the 14th century, in honor of which the temple has its name “Temple of the big (royal) stupa”.

During the years of construction this stupa was the tallest structure of the kingdom of Lanna, and the temple kept a valuable statue of the Emerald Buddha, which is now in Bangkok. Wat Chi Luang is one of the few temples in the Old City that charge an entrance fee (40 baht).

Wat Phra Singh

An important monastery with many historical buildings from the Lanna period and a statue of the Lion Buddha, which is very much revered by the pilgrims. The statue is kept in a small chapel (Wihan Lai Kham) behind the main pavilion. We went to this temple for free, but there is information on the internet that 20 baht can be taken at the entrance.

Wat Chiang Man

The oldest temple in the city dates back to the late 13th century. In addition to its historical value, the temple is famous for its large honour standing on the backs of stone elephants. Our Gesthouse was located just outside the walls of this temple. Entrance to the temple is free.

Wat Phan Tao

Wat Pan Tao Temple is notable for being built of teak wood. It is one of the few surviving buildings of its kind in Chiang Mai. Its main pavilion was rebuilt from the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace, which was previously located here. It’s next to Wat Chi Luang, and entry is free.

Monument to the Three Kings

In the centre of the Old Town is the Monument to the Three Kings – the founders of the town. The square in front of the monument can be considered the center of the historical part of the city. The square also houses the Chiang Mai Cultural and Arts Center and the Lanna Folklore Museum.


Chiang Mai is surrounded by mountains and wildlife national parks. The closest one, Doi Suthep Pui, is just 5 kilometres from the historic city centre. The western horizon of Chiang Mai is decorated by two green giants – Doi Pui (1685m) and Doi Suthep (1676m). These peaks, with their surrounding areas, are a National Park. The park has trekking routes and an asphalt road that can be used to reach Mt Doi Suthep (by car, Songteo, bicycle or on foot).

At the top is the highly revered Wat Prathat Doi Suthep Temple, which dates back to the 13th century. There are also waterfalls and caves in the park and on the way to the top there are squares overlooking the city to the horizon. And of course, there are many species of wild plants and animals in the park.

Night Market

Every Sunday, Ratchadarmoen Rd (Sunday Walking Street), which runs from the east gate through almost the entire Old Town, becomes a pedestrian area for the evening fair. At sunset, around 4-6 p.m., the street and the adjacent alleyways begin to gather tents that will remain open until nightfall.

Everything from souvenirs and art objects to clothes and food is sold at the fair. Not only foreigners but also locals come to the night market to peek at the goods and have a snack. Go to the fair to advise on an empty stomach and with money, something will surely look!

Old Market Varorot

For those who want a less tourist experience with an immersion in the everyday life of ordinary Thais, we recommend visiting the largest and oldest market in the city – Varorot. This market is located in Chinatown, a few kilometers from the old town. Varorot is housed in an indoor three-story building, which is adjoined by street vendors and a flower market.