Northern Thailand – Where to Go and What to Do

24 May, 2018

There’s nowhere quite like Thailand, and its northern region provides a sensory feast of ornate Buddhist Temples, waterfall dotted national parks and aroma-filled street markets. Here are my tips for your North Thailand adventure.

Chiang Mai

The city of Chiang Mai is a traveller’s dream come true, with delicious food to sample, temples to explore and a rich cultural heritage to soak up. There are several food markets to be found, so make sure you take full advantage and sample some local delicacies. Other things to do in Chiang Mai include bathing an elephant at the Elephant Nature Park or talking to a monk. You heard me right, ‘Monk Chat’ is an unusual activity hosted by some temples, where you can ask the Buddhist monks questions.

Doi Inthanon National Park

Covering a large part of Chiang Mai is the Doi Inthanon National Park. This is worthy of a day’s exploration as it covers an area of some 482km² and is the perfect place for birdwatching. There are several beautiful waterfalls too that rival the well-known falls found in southern Thailand’s Krabi. They’re easily reached from the main road through the park, with Mae Ya Waterfall, a multi-tiered aquatic delight, being perhaps the most impressive.

Doi Inthanon National Park By Shutterstock.com/KANIT TEEBET

Chiang Dao

As well as offering an abundance of limestone cliffs, caves and hot springs, over 300 species of birds can be spotted in and around Chiang Dao, so it’s well worth adding to your itinerary. The Chiang Dao Cave, with its underground maze of passages and caverns, is a popular attraction and inside you’ll see an array of incredible rock formations, but visitors must be accompanied by a guide.

Pai

Once known as a backpacker’s favourite, tourism is slowly reaching this small town in the hills of Northern Thailand. There’s a beautiful canyon to visit and numerous waterfalls to admire. The hot springs are perfect if you’re in need of rejuvenation and the Sai Ngam Hot Spring, or ‘Secret Hot Spring’, located around 15 km from Pai town, is a particular favourite. Lod Cave is another nearby attraction that is worthy of exploration.

Chiang Rai

The district of Chiang Rai, located at the heart of the area known as the Golden Triangle, is a diverse and mountainous region. Visit the Blue Temple, also known as Wat Rong Suea Ten, to drink in the Thai architecture, intricate carvings and breathtaking murals. Mae Fah Luang Art & Cultural Park, set in landscaped gardens, is a good place to learn about Thai history and houses a permanent exhibition of religious art and artefacts.

Mae Hong Son

The small town of Mae Hong Son offers an escapist retreat for those in search of solitude. Its remote mountain setting, though a challenge to reach, will reveal an array of temples, markets and hiking opportunities. The Wat Jon Khang is the oldest temple in Mae Hong Son and presents a visually spectacular collection of ornate carvings, gilded pillars and golden turrets. The Namtok Mae Surin National Park, blessed with waterfalls, caves and mountains, is a must for nature lovers.

Sukhothai

Sukhothai was the first Kingdom of what was, in the 13th century, called Siam and the city has several fine monuments. One of Thailand’s most impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the Sukhothai Historical Park, a fascinating spot which includes the remnants of 21 historical areas and four large ponds. History buffs could also visit the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum. Sukhothai comes alive at night, by hosting a bustling night market that is a great place to find reasonably-priced food.

Sukhothai Historical park

By Shutterstock.com/Gunn Benchaporn

I hope this has given you a few ideas and that you enjoy all that tantalising Thailand has to offer.

Zhiqiang & Tingyi

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