Chiang Mai 3 Days Itinerary – You Cannot Miss These Locations

Jump To a Topic

About Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai was one of my favorite cities to visit in the north. One of the most amazing things you can experience is their culture, the stunning temples, and the energy you get from that place, which is mesmerizing. About 800 km away from the bustling city of Bangkok, the vibe in the north of Thailand is much different and more relaxed.

You should expect great places for trekking, activities, attractions, and cooking classes in Chiang Mai. The best spas in Thailand are located in Chiang Mai, so if you plan on getting massages while traveling in Thailand, I would suggest doing it in Chiang Mai. It’s a destination that many backpackers visit, offering vibrant nightlife and plenty of things to do during the day.

I’ve created this 3-day plan for what you should do and expect in Chiang Mai. I will list the things you must do while staying there and optional activities you can consider. Additionally, I will provide some insights about Chiang Mai, tips to note, and further suggestions about the area. If you want to jump to a specific section within this post, feel free to use the table of contents to find out what interests you about Chiang Mai.

Day 1: Chiang Mai Old Town

Wat Ban Taen 2015 วัดบ้านเด่น

On the first day when arriving in Chiang Mai depends on where you’re staying which we will cover as well first you should know if Chiang Mai is your first destination you should download the Apps Grab & Bolt which are used to order taxis like Car taxi or motorbike taxi if you are on a budget. When visiting the old town it is recommended to bring clothes that will cover your shoulders, chest, and knees, try to avoid revealing or tight clothing since it’s considered rude and disrespectful when visiting the temples and they will not allow entrance.

1. Tae Pae Gale

Entrance Fee: Free

The entrance to the Old City and also one of the most famous landmarks of Chiang Mai. Before, it used to be a fortress for the Old City and is located around the Ping River with many attractions such as temples, shops, restaurants, and food stalls. One of the must-do activities there is taking a photo with the flying birds near the wall.

2. Wat Chedi Luang

Entrance Fee: Free

The temple is a Buddhist temple located a few minutes away from Tae Pae Gale a historic building that is worth visiting while in the Old Town in Chiang Mai

3. Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan

Entrance Fee: Free

A famous location that many tourists go to is Wat Phra Singh Woramhawihan also a few minutes away from Wat Chedi Luang by walking Another sacred site, Wat Phra Singh a precious location with historical and spiritual significance to the city of Chiang Mai. As one of the most visited temples in Chiang Mai.

4. Three Kings Monument

Entrance Fee: Free

Standing at the heart of Old Town Chiang Mai, you will find the bronze Three Kings Monument. It was built to mark the alliance between Phaya Ngam Meuang of Phayao, Phaya Mengrai of Chiang Mai and Phaya Khun Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai when they established the city. For the local people, the monument serves as a shrine, after their day jobs, they stop by and make offerings there.

5. Wat Lok Moli

Entrance Fee: Free

Finish by heading out to Wat Lok Moli also located just outside of the Old Town the Temple symbolizes the Buddha’s teachings and path to enlightenment, and houses the sacred relics, it’s very peaceful with amazing temples as all of it is built with wood only.

Dinner: Khaomao-Khaofang Imaginary Jungle

Arrival Time: ~30 Min, Price: 500-1,000 Baht / Per Person

Finish your day at one of my favorite restaurants in Thailand which is Khaomao-Khaofang Imaginary Jungle restaurant. In order to get there you will need a Taxi which you can book through the apps we mentioned above (Grab, Bolt) usually Bolt will be the cheaper option but not always available with drivers. If not just use the Grab application which also you can pay with cash and you don’t need to enter credit card information to use these apps.

Beautiful, feels like a luxurious restaurant. The atmosphere is like a rainforest theme with waterfalls, streams, and a lake in the restaurant. The food menu was authentic and very good. I really enjoyed eating there and the price seem fair.

Another Option: Chang Phuak Gate Night Market

Price: Free, Food Price: 50-150 Baht, Time: 20-60 Min

Located in Chiang Mai Old Town an open-air night market that opens after 5 pm. The best way to experience the cultural food of Thailand and enjoy exciting and delicious foods.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Day 2:

Breakfast – Chiang Mai Breakfast World

Before heading out to a long day you can start your day by going to one of the most popular places in Chiang Mai to eat breakfast. What you will find there is:
Western food, Live music, friendly staff, and delicious food and this is what makes this place a must-visit for continental breakfast lovers. Their menu is so big that you can eat something different every day even if you stay there for 2 months,

Morning – Ethical Elephant Sanctuary:

Protect Elephants From Extinction
Time: 3-7 Hours

It is a must-do when visiting Chiang Mai to see and take care of the elephants in the sanctuary. Interact with rescued elephants, feed them, and shower them. There are many unethical elephant sanctuaries, so you will need to do your own research to see which ones you want to visit. I would personally avoid riding elephants or going to elephant encounters where they are being tortured.

Visiting the elephants and taking care of them can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you cannot miss when traveling in Chiang Mai. I would recommend booking a tour or researching the sanctuaries and deciding where you want to visit. I will list some of my recommendations on booked tours you can do while you are there:

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Night Bazaar, Chan Klan road, Chiang Mai
Opening Time: 5 pm-12 am

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar it’s the most popular night market in Chiang Mai offering dozens of food stalls, Merchants, and souvenirs that are hand-crafted. The night Bazaar opens from 5 pm-12 am every day.

You can go there to experience and enjoy the vibrant food of Chiang Mai and get some souvenirs to bring back home it is located East of Old Town Chiang Mai between the moat and the Ping River, Chang Khlan Road, between Tha Phae Street and Sridonchai Street.

Another Option – Zoe In Yellow

If you want to experience the Vibrant life of Chiang Mai you should visit Zoe In Yellow which is located in The Old Town of Chiang Mai, Zoe In Yellow is known for the most amazing colorful party experience you will find In Chiang Mai. You will mostly find tourists & backpackers there they are highly attracted to that place, and many locals also go there to party, Some of the locals come from Chiang Rai City to Zoe In Yellow on the weekends since it’s a better alternative for them then partying in Chiang Rai. I really enjoyed staying there enjoying the music and chilling with my friends at one of the bars.

Day 3:

Breakfast – Cafe de Thaan Aoan

Prices: 100-400 Baht, Opening Hours: 7 am-8 pm

Another great location for starting your day is having breakfast at Cafe de Thaan Aoan a popular restaurant that attracts many tourists because of its diverse foods from smoothie bowls to delicious desserts, service is very friendly and quick and they let you know the exact times when ordering something. When going there in the morning the outside seating will be shaded from the sun.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Entrance Ticket: 50 Baht, Opening Hours: 6 am-8 pm, Time: 2-4 Hours

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Is the most significant temple in Chiang Mai It was built in the 19th century It is a sacred site for most citizens of Chiang Mai and an attractive temple that tourists visit. it is about 15km away from the city and up in the mountains. there are a couple of ways to get there. The most common one is closing a deal with a Taxi driver to take you up and back and the common price for that will be 600 Baht, another option is taking a songthaew which is a passenger vehicle that you will mostly find in Chiang Mai area it acts the same as a shared taxi that like a bus. You could also book a day tour or rent a motorbike for around 150 baht per day.

You could also eat brunch or lunch there as you will find plenty of restaurants around the area as well as souvenir shops & stalls.

Sticky Waterfall


Price: Free

A few minutes away by car or motorbike, you can find the Sticky Waterfall. You can enjoy climbing all over the waterfall, a great place to get some amazing photos. While you are visiting Doi Suthep, it is definitely worth stopping by.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Lunch – Tong Tem Toh Thai Restaurant

Prices: 100-300 Baht, Opening Hours: 8 am-11 pm

At this restaurant, you will find curries, vegetable soups, and other classic local northern Thai foods. The service is fairly quick with friendly staff, and the seating space is wide and spacious. The place offers a unique menu that you will not find in typical Thai restaurants.

Night – Visit One Nimman

One Nimman is located near Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center Mall. You can find retail shops, a modern mall, cafes, food stalls, restaurants, bars, and architecturally beautiful buildings. It’s a walkable area that looks very vibrant at night.

Best Time To Visit Chiang Mai

If you want to visit Chiang Mai but are unsure about the most optimal and ideal times to visit, I would say it’s probably worth visiting from November to February. For me, it’s the ideal time because the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. While it does not get too cold, I would still recommend carrying a jacket when going up the hills and mountains in Chiang Mai.

How To Get To Chiang Mai

A common question tourists ask is how to get to Chiang Mai. Most tourists land in Bangkok and want to travel to Chiang Mai but don’t know how. A very common way is taking a flight to Chiang Mai, which can be very cheap, from 400 Baht to 1400 Baht with baggage, depending on the date and time of booking the flight. Another option is taking the 12-hour train, which can be an experience by itself, or taking the bus to Chiang Mai. I personally took a 10-hour VIP night bus, which is also extremely affordable and comfortable, and I slept all the way to Chiang Mai. Halfway through the drive, you get a free meal at a restaurant or buffet.


Getting Around Chiang Mai

There are a couple of ways to get around Chiang Mai. The most common and optimal way is downloading the apps Bolt and Grab, which we talked about earlier in the blog. They act like Uber apps that are extremely affordable and easy to use.

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai

Whether you are a backpacker trying to save the most on your trip or you’re traveling with your family and have a little more budget, the most common places to stay in Chiang Mai are near the Old Town area. While they are a bit more expensive since this is the most optimal place, they can save you money on transportation since most of the attractions are in that area.

Here are some recommendations for hotels and hostels in Chiang Mai. I will list different hotels at different prices, from low to high, so you can choose the best for your budget.

Medium Budget Hotels | 700-2000 Baht / Per night:

BED Phrasingh Hotel Adults Only

Theritage Chiang Mai

Walking Street Chiang Mai Cultural Hotel

Low Budget Hotels | 300-700 Baht / Per Night

The Locals Chiang Mai

Cross Vibe Chiang Mai Decem

Sri-Pat Guesthouse

Sunday Night Market

Sunday Market in Chiang Mai
Opening Hours: 5 pm- 10 pm on Sundays only

The Sunday Night Market is easily found inside the Old Town walls. It’s an enormous market with plenty of food stalls, clothing, and souvenirs, located right at the center of the Old Town. It showcases craftsmanship and arts with many restaurants and coffee shops. If you’re visiting Chiang Mai on Sunday, you must go and not miss it.

Cooking Classes In Chiang Mai

If you have enough time, consider taking a cooking class in Chiang Mai. It takes you on a cuisine course for tourists by professional chefs. It is suitable for every age and skill set; no experience is necessary. Just your smile and camera are enough. It’s one of the most popular activities in Chiang Mai. You will learn about northern Thai cuisine. Apart from that, it’s also fun and engaging. The activity usually starts with picking up the ingredients from the market to cook and enjoy the meal. It will leave you feeling confident and able to cook northern Thai food.

Powered by GetYourGuide


Chiang Mai Flower Festival
Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2025
About Flower Festival Event In 2025 An event that occurs every year in Thailand is the Chiang Mai Flower...
chiang mai big temple background
10 Best Chiang Mai Temeples You Must Visit
Chiang Mai Temeples One of the best thing to do when you visit Chiang Mai, Thailand is explore the Buddhist...