Where are you going?
Or, let us surprise youSpin the Globe ®

Romantic Chiang Mai

Music and Dance in Chiang Mai
Romantic Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, the former capital of the Lan Na Kingdom, has much to explore. Start your morning with a river cruise or a cooking class for two, relax with a massage or spa treatment, and end the day with a night on the town.
Photo by Henglein and Steets/age fotostock
  • 1 / 8
    Music and Dance in Chiang Mai
    Music and Dance in Chiang Mai
    Hit the dance floor with your loved one to let off steam after a day exploring temples. Upscale clubs like Infinity or Warm Up Cafe in the western Nimmanhaemin neighborhood are where the young and trendy sip gourmet cocktails while grooving to the latest hits. There is also a small but diverse live-music scene, mainly concentrated around the Old City. Try the bars along Ratvithi Road for reggae or classic rock, or North Gate Jazz Co-Op for classic and experimental jazz. Other choice spots include Boy Blues Bar near the city's main night market.
    Photo by Henglein and Steets/age fotostock
  • 2 / 8
    Thai Massage and Relaxing Spas
    Thai Massage and Relaxing Spas
    A major perk of traveling in Chiang Mai is access to its many spas and massage parlors. Thai massage benefits your health and—in its homeland, at least—is very affordable. Spa procedures range from the usual hour-long massage to full-day luxury experiences that include facials and body wraps. Cheeva Spa is a favorite among travelers for its tranquil setting and its extensive list of treatments and services. For impromptu relaxation, take a load off during one of the weekend street markets and enjoy a neck or foot massage on the sidewalk while you watch the crowds pass by.
    Photo by Susan Corlett/age fotostock
  • 3 / 8
    Cruising on the Ping River
    Cruising on the Ping River
    For those times when a meandering pace seems best, try a relaxing and romantic river cruise along the Ping River. Set off in an old-fashioned vessel and coast through the waters of the Ping as a guide lays out the history of the area. Along the way you'll also enjoy a stop at a garden or an herb farm. The tours last from one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours, depending on which company you choose (Mae Ping River Cruise and Scorpion-Tailed River Cruise are both popular), and are typically offered several times a day.
    Photo by Blaine Harrington/age fotostock
  • 4 / 8
    Thai Cooking Classes
    Thai Cooking Classes
    Thai cuisine is justifiably famous around the world, and there is no better place than Chiang Mai to learn how to cook dishes like green curry or tom yum goong (spicy lemongrass soup with river shrimp). There are plenty of Thai cooking schools around the city to choose from. For an educational experience with a bit of humor, sign up for a class with A Lot of Thai and let Yui, a renowned chef, guide you through a local market and teach you to shop for fresh Thai ingredients. For cooks who prefer an organic alternative, Thai Farm Cooking School is a good option for escaping the city for the day and getting some culinary instruction in the place where many of the ingredients you're using are grown.
    Photo by Daniel Nahabedian
  • 5 / 8
    A City of Celebration
    A City of Celebration
    Thai people love to celebrate. There are multiple festivals throughout the year in Chiang Mai and you’ll often stumble upon small parades and celebrations without even knowing what the event is about. The biggest and most popular one is Loy Krathong and Yi Peng, also known as the Lantern Festival, which takes place in November. Join the throngs of locals as they release thousands of small floats onto the river and similar numbers of paper lanterns into the sky. Not for the faint of heart, Songkran (the Thai New Year) is celebrated in April, and is considered the world's largest water fight: The official event runs for three days, but the splashing may continue for as long as a week!
    Photo by Daniel Nahabedian
  • 6 / 8
    The City of 300 Temples
    The City of 300 Temples
    Chiang Mai is home to more than 300 Buddhist temples; there's one on almost every street corner, and monks walking around in saffron robes are a common sight. Locals will often claim that if you haven’t been to Wat Doi Suthep, the sacred temple on the mountain, you haven’t visited Chiang Mai. The vista offered from this temple at night, with the city at your feet, is worth the winding trip to the top. You can also walk (or ride a bike or Segway) around inside the Old City and stop by Wat Chedi Luang with its giant stupa that used to host an emerald Buddha statue. Join a monk chat (where you get to converse with monks) three nights a week at Wat Sri Suphan, the Silver Temple, or explore the ancient tunnels of Wat Umong.
    Photo by Cornelia Pith/age fotostock
  • 7 / 8
    Shop for That Special Someone
    Shop for That Special Someone
    Chiang Mai is the perfect place to shop for exotic souvenirs and gifts for friends and family or to pick up a present for your partner. Head to the night market, which is open every evening. You’ll find a vast selection of products, from art pieces to clothing, bags, shoes, and hill-tribe handicrafts. (Don’t forget to haggle for lower prices.) You can also browse weekend street bazaars on pedestrianized streets for authentic items. If you’re looking for high-quality silk, lacquerware, or beautiful umbrellas or parasols, head out of town toward Bo Sang to buy directly from the makers. As a bonus, artisans here can often give you a tour and show you how the whole process works.
    Photo by Daniel Nahabedian
  • 8 / 8
    Art Galleries and Photography Exhibitions
    Art Galleries and Photography Exhibitions
    Chiang Mai’s creative scene is growing. They might not be obvious on the tourist trail, but art and photography exhibitions are regularly hosted in the city. If you’re after fine arts, explore the Nimmanhaemin area in the western part of the city to find galleries showing locally made works and to socialize with connoisseurs. An important new addition to the city's cultural scene is the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, a stunningly transformed warehouse that opened in 2016 in the Chiang Mai suburbs to showcase Thai and regional Asian contemporary art. Those interested in history can visit the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center to learn about the founding of the Lan Na Kingdom and its capital. For something different, check out the Art in Paradise gallery, where 3-D murals and paintings feature optical illusions—and make for great photo ops.
    Photo courtesy of Documentary Arts Asia