Home to unspoiled beaches, tropical jungles, cosmopolitan cities, luxury hotels, budget shopping, opulent palaces and ornate temples, it comes as no surprise that #AmazingThailand is one of the top picks when it comes to honeymoon destinations in Southeast Asia. In this issue, we feature Chiang Mai, a charming city located in mountainous Northern Thailand.
Chiang Mai means “New City”. This land of misty mountains and colourful hill tribes was formerly part of the independent Lanna Kingdom until 1558. Over the years, it somehow manages to retain its blissful, calm and laid back atmosphere – perfect for honeymooners seeking peaceful serenity yet still wanting a piece of city vibes. Though travellers frequently head to the capital city of Bangkok, more are increasingly flocking to Chiang Mai for a more authentic and down to earth experience of Thailand. Chiang Mai was named on Tripadvisor’s list of “25 Best Destinations in the World” in 2014. Let us take you to explore the Top Things to Do on your Chiang Mai Honeymoon.
Read our #AmazingThailand series:
- Top 16 Things to do on your Bangkok Honeymoon
- Top 16 Things to Do on your Phuket Honeymoon
- Top 17 Things to Do on your Krabi Honeymoon
- Top 10 Most Romantic Thailand Destinations for your Honeymoon
- Top 16 Things to do on your Koh Samui Honeymoon
In this issue, let us take you on a journey to discover the Top 15 Things to Do on Your Chiang Mai Honeymoon. First, let’s get started with a video we took on our trip to #AmazingThailand!
Before we get started on the things to do, here are our recommendations on the best places to stay at in Chiang Mai!
p.s. A short disclaimer that some of our links below are affiliate links – which come at no cost to you if you decide to click and purchase. But if you do book through our site, we get a small commission which keeps our site running and allow us to create content for you – for free! That being said, we only recommend picks that we ourselves would use. Thank you for your support! For more information on our disclosure policy, please click here.
Best Places to Stay in Chiang Mai:
1. Delight in a city sanctuary at Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai
We could not contain our excitement knowing that we were seeking refuge in this upscale hotel for our trip to Chiang Mai. Shangri-la, a world-class luxury brand, definitely lived up to its standards. This modern sanctuary, located in the heart of Chiang Mai city made it very convenient for us to explore the city’s offerings (it is also only ~10 to 15 minutes away from the airport). Yet magically, it was surrounded by greenery and plenty of private spaces that made us feel secluded, away from the city hustle and bustle. It allowed us to enjoy the best of both worlds – peaceful serenity without sacrificing convenience and accessibility, every traveller’s dream.
Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai features elegant and spacious rooms styled with teakwood furnishings and touches of Thai decor. Club rooms come with access to the lounge which features a special cocktail every day – we enjoyed that so much it made it difficult to leave the hotel. We also dined at one of their in-house restaurants China Kitchen, featuring a wide selection of authentic and delicious Szechuan dishes at fairly reasonable prices. We recommend you visit the restaurant even if you are not staying in the hotel. If you are up for a short walk, simply take a 10-minute walk to roam the streets of Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and an 11-minute walk to the banks of Ping River for refreshing views. Stay tuned for our upcoming full review of Shangri-La Chiang Mai!
Read more: Get Wed in an Enchanting Sanctuary in the Heart of an Ancient & Charming City at The Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai
Click here for rates via Booking.com or Agoda >
2. Soak up peaceful serenity at The Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
When it comes to a Chiang Mai honeymoon, often couples are seeking a respite from the city’s fast-paced lifestyle. A peaceful atmosphere is key and we found the perfect spot for that. At Four Seasons Chiang Mai, couples will find themselves soaking in luxury, comfort, and serenity. Enjoy the mystical views of Mae Rim Valley and other treasures of the Northern Island. The hotel also features very authentic experiences that you can enjoy during your stay. Read our review of Four Seasons Chiang Mai here.
Read more: A 7 Day Luxurious & Romantic Escape Newlyweds Must Know, in Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai (Complete Itinerary included!)
Click here for rates via Booking.com or Agoda >
15 Things to Do on Your Chiang Mai Honeymoon
1. Climb up the top of a waterfall at Bua Tong Waterfalls
Bua Tong Waterfalls, also known as Sticky Waterfalls, is one of the most interesting sites you shouldn’t miss while exploring the beauty of Chiang Mai. You will surely be amazed by the great contrast of the cream-colored rocks and the dark green forest surrounding the falls. Its water source also makes it as a peculiar type of waterfall as it came from the Rainbow or Seven Colors Spring that have a rich amount of calcium carbonate. This mineral gave a non-slip surface on the rocks allowing tourists and locals to enjoy climbing up the falls. Breathtaking views, exotic flowers, and cool mineral deposits await you so say goodbye to all of the struggles from a slippery waterfall and see how nature works its miracles!
2. Embark on a temple run to soak up the city’s rich cultural heritage
The temple run we are talking about it not the mobile game, but it is just as exciting! Chiang Mai, like Bangkok, is home to a number of magical temples. There are more than 300 temples in the whole province, most of which showcase the Lanna style. Embark on a temple tour and get to see some of the most famous temples – Wat Phra Thad Doi Suthep in Doi Suthep (a mountain), Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Suan Dok.
We found the temple tour enriching thanks to an English speaking local guide who shared with us the rich culture, heritage, and history of the temple, which made for very authentic and eye-opening experience.
Doi Suthep-Pui National Park is also home to rich forestry and waterfalls, famous ones include the Montha Tan Waterfall, that has nine cascades and flows into Huay Kaew Waterfall at the foot of Doi Suthep. Other notable ones include Tat Mauk Waterfall and Mae Sa Waterfall.
Visit the Hmong Tribal Village
When at Doi Suthep-Pui National Park visiting Wat Phra Thad Doi Suthep, drop by the Hmong Tribal Village. It is situated less than 5km from the temple. Here lies a unique and eye-opening experience for you. Visit the tribe and witness their simple lifestyle. Learn about their culture through interacting with them and their handmade objects such as musical instruments, bamboo handicrafts, and embroidered costumes. The experience here is humbling, authentic, and refreshing.
3. See the highest peak of Thailand at Doi Inthanon National Park
Nicknamed the ‘roof of Thailand’, is Doi Inthanon National Park. Part of the Himalayan mountain range, elevation here ranges between 800 and 2565 meters. It is home to Thailand’s highest mountain – Doi Inthanon, stands at a majestic 2565 meters above sea level. It is here where you can enjoy sweeping views and mesmerizing sunrises. Look forward to brisk temperatures and a cooling climate (freezing temperatures can occur during October to February).
This national park is also home to wonders like waterfalls and hill tribe villages. Hiking here is particularly adored. Try the popular Ang Ka Nature Trail, especially amongst bird watchers. For a more challenging hike, embark on the moderate hike of Kaew Mae Pan Nature Trail, but do make sure you are accompanied by a Hmong Tribe guide (~200 baht) for it is compulsory to have one. May to November is the season for heavier flows at the waterfalls and in late January to February, the park is beautifully adorned with the blossoming of pink Siamese sakura flowers.
We had the chance to visit the Doi Inthanon National Park, we got to see Wachiritharn Waterfall and soak in a panoramic view of the park from the King and Queen’s chedis (Buddhist stupas). Would highly recommend!
4. Go cliff jumping at The Grand Canyon of Thailand
Often labeled as the ‘Grand Canyon’ in Thailand, this is no ordinary canyon. Though no way measuring to its American counterpart, Thailand’s version of the Grand Canyon packs a unique experience. Previously known as Hang Dong Quarry, the landscape is carved out of red soil and makes for beautiful photos. Here you can cliff dive into the 40 meters of water, though we must add the highlight attraction here is the water park packed with floats that makes for one fun obstacle run. The park is located 45 minutes from Chiang Mai city centre. There is a restaurant at the entrance of the Grand Canyon as well.
5. Take to the skies on a magical hot air balloon ride
Hot air balloons are a beautiful sight to behold. Watching them float up into the air seems to defy gravity which leaves us mesmerized in wonder. Being on one as it makes its way up into the skies makes for a breathtaking and unforgettable experience for your Chiang Mai honeymoon. Cappadocia, Turkey (our guide is coming soon) and Myanmar are famous for hot air balloon rides, but not many know that you can also experience a magical ride in Chiang Mai. Float 2,000 metres into the air and soak in the in the spectacular scenery of Chiang Mai from a bird’s eye view with a hot air balloon tour. After the ride, you will also celebrate over champagne and breakfast! The tour also includes a convenient pickup and drop off at your hotel.
6. Experience a free fall at Pongyang Zipline & Jungle Coaster
This amusement park ride is one for the taking. Add that wow factor to your honeymoon by visiting the Pongyang park. Here, you can zipline through the jungle forest, or up your game with a free fall at the QUICKjump devices. They utilize a magnetic braking technology that allows you to experience the thrill of free fall (like in a bungee jump), but the end of each jump does not lie a heart attack for they softly catch you before lowering you to the ground. I for one, would jump for a spot on the jungle coaster ride, which gains to a speed up to 40km/hour while whipping around the treetops!
7. Hike up to see the massive cliff of Pha Chor
A 1-hour drive from Chiang Mai, Mae Wang National Park is a great spot for hiking and trekking adventures. It is home to Pha Chor, a cliff that was formed thanks to the Ping River changing its course and the uplift of one of Earth’s plates. It was shaped naturally over the years thanks to wind and weather erosion, which led to the pillars forming.
Pha Singh Liao
For more striking and fascinating pillars, you can visit Pha Singh Liao, just 110km south of Chiang Mai. Here mysterious looking pillars surround a deep sandstone canyon. Referred by the locals as a “bouquet”, it makes for quite a fascinating photo. Click here for coordinates.
8. Go river rafting at Mae Wang River
On the way back from Mae Wang National Park, you can visit the Mae Wang River for bamboo rafting, tubing, and kayaking, all of which are popular activities on the river. Another popular activity is river rafting. Check out this tour via Klook, where you will maneuver around exciting canyons and rapids on a 10km journey. You can choose to extend the excitement and adrenaline with an ATV ride after. The surrounding hills of the Mae Wang River are also home to traditional Hmong and Karen villages and more trekking trails. Alternatively, you can take a relaxing 2-hour boat cruise along Mae Ping River and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
9. Be fascinated by the wonders of a limestone cave
Chiang Dao Cave is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chiang Mai. It is an enduring natural cave temple filled with limestone stalactites and stalagmites, making for a fascinating sight. Stretching deep into the mountain ranges, it is also home to Buddhas & other religious statues and even a fish pond. Legend has it that it connects with several other caves before eventually emerging somewhere in Shan State across the border, though you can only explore a part of it (the official figure is 12 km). Admission fee for the cave costs 40 baht. The best way to discover this cave is with a guided tour, for a flashlight is useless in this dark cave. You will require a kerosene lantern and a guide who knows his way around.
Visit the Karen Long Neck Village
From Chiang Dao Cave, head to the Padung Village where you will be able to visit the Karen Long Neck ethnic hill tribe. You have probably once heard of these ladies who wear brass rings around their necks, and even wrists and ankles, as part of their culture. Explore the tribe, respectfully, to get a feel of their culture and lifestyles. You can support their income by purchasing their handmade souvenirs, though it is not a requirement.
10. Plunge into the depths of a cave
For those of you looking to take your cave explorations to another level, we found an interesting activity for you. With the cave tour, you can climb down (with the help of experts) into a large hole in the earth. But it is not as dangerous as it looks! This introduction to caving will show you the beginning steps to cave exploration and allow to view remarkable cave features up close and personal. Do this at the Crazy Horse Buttress, one of the world’s most sought-after climbing spots.
11. Witness ‘Tangled’ in real life during Yi Peng Festival
In celebration of the full moon of the 12th lunar month (around mid-November) every year is the Yi Peng lantern festival. As one of the most symbolic events in Chiang Mai, you will see thousands of brightly lit lanterns rising into the night skies. The Yi Peng festival is a Buddhist celebration that starts with a procession of monks. As the celebration proceeds, you will find many wishing for good luck as they set their lanterns into the skies. There is the total of 3 releases, one for each of the Buddhist jewels – the first Buddha, second Dharma and third Sangha. We do suggest for tourists to watch this mesmerizing celebration, but not to release more lanterns, to lessen your environmental footprint.
12. Take part in the largest water fight at Songkran festival
During the traditional New Year celebration (13th to 15th April), the Songkran festival ushers in a massive water fight that is unlike anything we have ever seen or experienced. We visited Chiang Mai for the first time during this season and it was filled with extreme fun, enjoyment, and laughter. During the Songkran festival, time comes to a standstill as all the shops close and everyone comes together to splash water on any passer-by that crosses their path. It is very fun and inclusive, for both locals and foreigners. You cannot walk through the Old Town without getting completely drenched.
The celebration goes on for a week and reaches a crazy climax over the weekend. The meaning behind Songkran lies in the belief that throwing of water will cleanse your sins and the bad luck, allowing for the new year to begin on a fresh start.
13. Whip up authentic Thai delights in a cooking class
After several visits to Thailand and savouring the delicious Thai cuisine, it was time we learned how to make them so we can satisfy those cravings when we get home. During our trip to Chiang Mai, we signed up for the Asia Scenic Thai Cooking Class via Klook. Prior to the class, we learned about the Thai herbs and spices that were planted in the garden. Following which, we took a short walk to the local market to purchase our ingredients, before we started the hands-on learning experience. You can select the dishes that you wish to learn. This authentic Thai culinary experience is a great bonding activity for newlyweds and is definitely a refreshing experience. You can opt to top up for an organic fresh farm experience.
14. Roam the shopping streets of Chiang Mai
The markets of Chiang Mai is every shoppers’ paradise. Visit the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, the wonderland of shops, restaurants, and bars. It is huge and the hectic streets extend through Rachadamnoen (the main street in the old town). The Saturday and Sunday night markets are also great spots to visit.
15. Visit an Elephant Sanctuary
Thailand has a roaring industry for elephant shows, rides, and camps. Sadly, the industry feeds off the misery of these poor animals by torturing and overworking them. Many elephants live in debilitating conditions, with many leading their entire lives chained up. In an effort to rescue these elephants, Elephant Nature Park was set up save elephants who have suffered as show or labour animals. Once the elephants arrive here, they led a very different lifestyle as they no longer need to work and live under insufferable conditions. Instead, they can roam about freely as they desire.
During your Chiang Mai honeymoon, be sure to pay a meaningful visit here. Volunteers are invited to spend a day to get up close and personal with these majestic and gentle animals. You can feed them and bathe them in the river. It is an eye-opening experience as you get to learn about their plight. There is an admission fee that is slightly pricer as compared to shows, but every dollar goes towards a sustainable and ethical business. The admission fee helps to maintain the sanctuary and includes your transportation and lunch. Do make your reservation in advance as slot fill up quite quickly.
Also, do note that not all ‘sanctuaries’ are ethical, and some businesses, knowing that ‘sanctuaries’ are getting popular among tourists, may hide behind that fade. Hence, do read reviews online prior to going there.
Best Time to Travel to Chiang Mai
The best time to visit Chiang Mai is from November to February where you can experience cooling weather and light breezes. The peak period for tourists is in January so be ready for higher prices. Summer season is from March to May and temperatures can rise up to 40°C. The rainy season is June to October (monsoon season), so you get milder temperatures but humid weather. It does not rain as much in Southern Thailand, but be prepared with your umbrellas.
How to get to Chiang Mai from Singapore
We used Skyscanner to get the cheapest flights to Chiang Mai! As huge fans of the travel search engine, we never fail to find the cheapest travel dates with their price alerts and cheapest month function. It’s quick, comprehensive and best of all – free to use!
Related Read: Our Guide on Cheap Airfares & Easy Travel Planning – 12 Skyscanner Hacks every Honeymooner needs to know
In 4 steps you can easily book the cheapest tickets to Chiang Mai
- First, fill in the search form with your destination, date, and number of passengers – For you to see the list of airports in Chiang Mai, all you need to do is hit the search button after filling in the information for your honeymoon destination, travel dates, and of course the number of passengers. Be ready to see the best deals in as quick as 30 seconds!
- Simply select the cheapest month if you have flexibility in your dates
- Use their calendar/chart view to find the cheapest travel dates – If you are very busy and you don’t have much time to see the perfect airline for your honeymoon, this function is perfect for you. There’s no need to toggle between the sites of different airlines just to find the best deals. Skyscanner make your sourcing and booking of flights in easier ways as they have listed all the airlines – including budget airlines! – for you.
- If you are happy with the price, click through Skyscanner to book your flights. But if you want to monitor the web hoping prices may get lower, feel free to hit the “Get Price Alert” feature to be notified when your flight price changes. This way you never miss out on a good flight deal! What are you waiting for, it’s time for your travel adventure to Chiang Mai!
How to get your tours in Chiang Mai:
We discovered a must-have travel app! Klook offers a simple and convenient way to book your tours and tickets for must-see attractions and must-do activities in many popular destinations.
We used Klook to book all our tours and activities in Chiang Mai. The process was seamless and done in 3 quick steps.
- Visit Klook and search your destination.
- Klook recommends you activities based on what you are interested in, such as “The Must-Dos”, “Adrenaline Junkie”, “Take me away”, “Venture into Nature” and more. Click on any tour or activity that catches your eye, and you get a detailed breakdown of what to expect from the tour. The pricing is clearly stated on the website (no hidden charges), and even comes with a ‘best price guarantee’!
- The app shows you availabilities for you to make a reservation. Make yours and you get either an instant or 24-hour confirmation, which is emailed straight to your inbox. To redeem, simply flash your mobile coupon. No hassle dealing with print-outs, it is that easy.
What we loved so much about using Klook to book our travel experiences is that we could read reviews and experiences shared by fellow travelers about the tour. You get to make an informed decision before you sign up for the tour.
All tours listed on Klook are curated and verified by their team, no longer do you have to worry about untrustworthy agencies or unfair pricing.
Book tours prior to your travels
Klook really changes the way we are going to travel from now on. Booking our activities is now safe, secure, seamless, and can be all done prior to your trip. It was a refreshing feeling not having to worry about tours or pricing during our trip itself.
Use promo code “TATKLOOK” and get S$10 off all Klook activities in Thailand, with a minimum spend of S$100. Promo code is valid for redemption till 15 April 2018.
Where to Stay in Chiang Mai
If it is your first time in Chiang Mai, I recommend you stay near the Old City and main central areas like Riverside and Night Bazaar. Roads are not as congested as in Bangkok. If you want a quieter surroundings, you can opt to stay outside the city in the countryside. If you want to discover the artsy side of Chiang Mai, the lanes of Nimmanhemin are lined with cool cafes and boutiques.
If you found this travel guide useful, please help to share it on Facebook with your friends!
This post was brought to you by Tourism Authority of Thailand.
All opinions remain writer’s own. For more information, kindly refer to our copyright & disclosure policy.