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Things to do in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s rich history and exotic natural settings are key to the many activities to enjoy in the city. At Patara Elephant Farm, learn all about these magnificent mammals and support programs for their breeding and well-being. You can ride an elephant at the eco-friendly Thai Elephant Home, or admire colorful sculptures at the Elephant Parade House, which supports the Asian Elephant Foundation’s efforts to protect these animals. The most visited temple in Chiang Mai is Wat Phra Singh, built in classic Lanna style: three-tiered rooflines and golden patterns on the walls. Inside the temple is the revered Lion Buddha, admired for its graceful features. Wat Umong is another very interesting temple, less glitzy but equally fascinating. Built in the fourteenth century, it’s made up of a series of tunnels into the side of Suthep Mountain, and offers a quiet setting that is ideal for meditation.

To learn more about Thai culture, head to the Chiang Mai National Museum, filled with artwork and crafts from the area’s Lanna culture. But if you really want to take in the city’s personality, spend an evening at the Night Bazaar, one of the most fascinating things to do in Chiang Mai. Every night, the long street of Thanon Chang Khlan becomes a shopping paradise, with stall after stall selling everything from jewelry to clothes to designer knockoffs. Just outside the city, the Bo Sang Umbrella Factory is a feast for the eyes; you can see how these colorful paper parasols are made.

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