Below is a list of popular attractions to visit whilst in Chiang Mai:
Bua Tong Waterfalls, (Travel north from Chiang Mai up Route 1001 approximately 50 to 60km), +66 94 740 2294. Vary. Located in the Sri Lanna National Park, this unique destination is often not listed in any of the major guide books, and tends to be discovered through word of mouth from traveler to traveler. A fairly simple, rather scenic motorbike ride along Route 1001, this trip should take around 45 – 60 minutes at a comfortable, leisurely pace. Known as the “Sticky Waterfalls” due to the limestone deposits that are prevalent throughout. These mineral deposits provide a grippy surface for hands and feet, allowing one to travel UP a waterfall with relative ease. Very likely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an absolute must see. Key notes: More powerful in the rainy season (June through September). A popular destination for Thai families on the weekends, so the area will be busier during this time. Some travelers have had a problem seeing the sign leading off of the main road down to the waterfalls; along the way there is a sign stating “Bua Tong 18km”. This sign can be used as a reference point, so upon seeing this sign, simply keep track of your motorbike odometer from there and the area will be hard to miss.
Chiang Mai Zoo & Aquarium, 100 Huay Kaew Rd (at the foot of Doi Suthep), +66 53 893 111. Daily 09:00-17:30. Extremely popular with Thai tourists, and so expect long queues. While better than some zoos, the animals are nevertheless kept in small enclosures. Operates an dual pricing system whereby non-Thais are charged approximately double the price of Thai nationals. Additional charges also apply for both the panda exhibition and the aquarium. There are more stalls selling the usual trinkets than enclosures, and more human visitors than animals. Not much to recommend, including that the journey from the city centre can be lengthy because of long queues of cars, the dual pricing system, and the less-than-ideal conditions for the animals. The car parking facilities are best described as chaotic. 620 THB including Panda, Aquarium and a hop-on-hop-off bus inside the complex which saves a lot of walking and steep roads.(2017 Oct.) worth the money considering the Zoo houses two of the only 35 Pandas which can be seen outside of mainland China. 100 baht.
Mae Sa Waterfall, (go 17 km north to Mae Rim on Rt 107. Turn onto Rt 1096 to Samoeng. Travel ~7 km to waterfall on left.) +66 53 210 244. 08:30-16:30. Set in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. The path winds up for almost 2 km to the 8 tiers of cascades. There are many secluded areas off the trail for picnics. Crowded on weekends and holidays. Foreigners, 100 baht; Thais, 20 baht.
Phu Ping Palace (Royal Winter Palace), Suthep 50200 (on Rt 1004, beyond Doi Suthep). This royal winter palace has lavishly landscaped gardens and is open to the public daily 08:30-11:30 & 13:00-15:00 when the Thai royal family is not in residence. Dress code strictly applied: dress modestly or pay 15 baht for fisherman’s pants to cover your lack of it. This includes ANY leg above the ankle for either gender). The palace itself (built in 1961) is not particularly exciting, but the extensive gardens are picturesque with some amazing plant life, including carefully curated tropical flowers, as well as centuries-old trees and giant bamboo. A sign at the bottom of the hill near the zoo indicates when it’s closed. It is close to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, so travel directions are similar. 50 baht, children 10 baht.
Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden, 100 Moo 9, Mae Ram (go 17 km north to Mae Rim on Rt 107. Turn onto Rt 1096 to Samoeng. Travel 12 km to garden on left.), +66 53 841 234. Daily, 08:30-16:30. Thailand’s oldest and foremost botanical garden. Dedicated to the conservation of Thai flora, it holds collections of, and carries out research on rare and endangered species. Lovely gardens in a mountain foothills setting. Run by the Botanical Garden Association, Thailand. Adult, 100 baht; child, 50 baht; Adults with a Thai ID card: 40 baht, car (additional) 100 baht.
Royal Flora Ratchaphruek, (Take the Canal Road from the city for about 9km south. Turn right at Night Safari junction). A big garden with loads of pretty flowers like orchids. Also has a temple, a (rather worn out) playground for kids, and a bug museum 100THB.
Doi Inthanon, (A bus (from Chiang Mai to the base of the mountain, and another smaller minibus up) , Hire van , Private car (best option), or motorbike (bigger bikes recommended). Some hearty souls ride bicycles up, but for the experienced cyclist only.). Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand. It is in Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai province (2565 meters above the sea level) The second-highest peak of this range is Doi Hua Mot Luang (2330 meters above sea level) Doi Inthanon is the source of many rivers, where the Bhumipol Dam is situated and generate the electrical power. Doi Inthanon has cool weather and high humidity through the year, particularly on the top. In winter, frost is a regular occurance. And in summer, despite hot weather in central Chiang Mai and nearby districts, it is still very cool on the top of Doi Inthanon and tourists should be prepared with thick clothes. Doi Inthanon is popular with both Thai and foreign tourists. In the wet season the many waterfalls are lovely, and in the cool season, the lower temperatures are novelty.