Awesome places to visit in Northern Thailand besides Chiang Mai

PHOTO: White Temple Chiang Rai by note thanun via Unsplash

Northern Thailand is one of the best places for nature lovers, as it features beautiful hills, rice fields, hill, mountains and waterfalls. Visiting is definitely recommended during the months of December and January, as the natural scenery gets even more beautiful as sakura and cherry blossoms adorn the outside world. Besides Chiang Mai, however, there are many other places to visit in Thailand’s north, which promise travellers a window into local culture. Here, it is amazing to see the different ethnic groups that make up the northern area of Thailand, with Myanmar’s culture fusing with that of Thailand’s.

Northern Thailand’s most awesome places

1. Pai

Northern Thailand
PHOTO: Pai Canyon by Ronny Sison via Unsplash

Pai is definitely a must-see if you are thinking of travelling north. As it is known for as being an ultra hippie backpacker haven, it is a go-to place for eclectic bohemian souvenirs. Moreover, it is a great place to relax and recharge with many health-conscious eateries, massage places, and yoga sanctuaries.

What’s cool about Pai is that you can experience its natural surroundings, which feature waterfalls, a canyon, and hill villages. And, since it is a popular place to visit, Pai offers a great nightlife scene with plenty of enticing bars to choose from. As Koh Pha Ngan is considered southern Thailand’s hippie haven, Pai is northern Thailand’s bohemian wonderland.

2. Chiang Rai

PHOTO: White Temple Chiang Rai by Peter Borter via Unsplash - Northern Thailand
PHOTO: White Temple Chiang Rai by Peter Borter via Unsplash

Chiang Rai (not Chiang Mai) is the latter’s sister city, and it is definitely well worth a visit. Complete with waterfalls and hill , the area is delightful to the eye. Moreover, its famous White Temple or Wat Rong Khun is one of the most stunning temples in the country. And, if you are wondering if it is truly a white-coloured temple, you can be sure you will be in awe of its boldness.

However, the opposing colour adorns another attraction called The Black House or Baan Dam Museum. Thus, the city’s top attractions are uniquely similar by name. Those wanting to venture just outside of the city will find the likes of Doi Mae Salong, the site of the Santi Khiri Village. This village was inhabited by the former Chinese 93rd Division, which had moved from Myanmar to Thai territory in 1961. With majestic scenery, the village is a great place for hiking. Furthermore, if you go between December and January, the Sakuras are in full bloom, making the area even more picturesque.

3. Chiang Dao

PHOTO: Doi Chiang Dao in the clouds as seen from the northeast By Takeaway - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons - Northern Thailand
PHOTO: Doi Chiang Dao in the clouds as seen from the northeast By Takeaway – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Outdoorsmen will find Chiang Dao their favourite as it features everything from hiking to caving. Moreover, it sits upon the green slopes of the Chiang Dao Mountain, which means the city of stars. And, its name is definitely not misleading, as stargazing is top notch here. Travelers can choose to camp overnight in San Phakia among the stars with epic views of the valley below.

Chiang Dao is also home to natural hot springs, where travellers can surely indulge in ultimate relaxation. The nightlife is that of a delightfully quaint, local Thai town. Additionally, in January, visitors can see cherry blossoms in full bloom. The Japanese hippie Shambhala In Your Heart Festival is one attraction that should also be on your itinerary.

4. Sukhothai

Awesome places to visit in Northern Thailand besides Chiang Mai | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Sukhothai by jcomp via Freepik

Sukhothai, which means “the dawn of happiness” in Thai language, is a great place for those wanting to see ancient city ruins. Here, Sukhothai was Thailand’s first capital back in the 13th century C.E., with King Ramkhamhaeng as its founder. Moreover, the ruins have been granted a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it an exclusive attraction all the more.

Ancient temples, like Wat Mahathat, and monuments are also part of the site as well as the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum. Travellers can also visit The Royal Palace for a bit of cultural education. Lastly, Sukhothai features 2 national parks: The Ramkhamhaeng National Park and the Sri Satchanalai National Park. Thus, nature lovers will find each of these areas a great place to spend the day.

5. Mae Sai

Awesome places to visit in Northern Thailand besides Chiang Mai | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Mae Sai by Kong S via Unsplash

Although it is known more as the border-run town for those renewing their visas, Mae Sai is a great place to visit on your northern Thailand holiday. The border town is quite bustling as it caters to such visa-runners as well as those wanting to hike through Myanmar’s hill in Eastern Shan state.

Known as the hub for imports and exports, it is a shopping heaven as it is loaded with quirky souvenirs at rock bottom prices. Moreover, it is possible to venture on over the border to the town of Tachileik by paying 500 baht for a day pass. Here, you can explore Myanmar’s border town, which promises some interesting things to do. And, for bragging rights, saying you have been to Myanmar is easily obtainable with the day pass.

Excluding Chiang Mai, travellers have a diverse selection of other areas to see while venturing up north. From Lanna hill villages to Sukhothai’s ancient city ruins, there is plenty to do and see. For history buffs, exploring the northern end of the country provides a way to learn by actually experiencing the remnants of ancient Thailand. And, seeing first-hand how the countries of Myanmar and Thailand have been woven together provides an in-depth look at northern Thailand’s societal fusion. If you are planning your next trip to Thailand, Do not forget to check out Agoda.com, This website is really amazing for getting perfect discounts on your bookings.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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