Thailand’s main northern city of Chiang Mai is absolutely crammed with things to do and see. Surrounded by lush and beautiful countryside, home to a plethora of stunning temples, surrounded by ancient walls, and with numerous activities to try, a stay in Chiang Mai need not break the bank. There are many ways to enjoy Chiang Mai on a budget, always important when watching the pennies and trying to save money when travelling.
Of course, there are certain activities that you will want to do whilst in Chiang Mai, including visiting the awesome Doi Suthep temple. However, low price, or free, activities can easily be interspersed with those that you will need to pay for.
When being careful with money, eat at the great selection of various street stalls. Not only is street food inexpensive, but it is also incredibly tasty.
The top five things to do in Chiang Mai on are budget are:
1. Go Hiking in the Gorgeous Mountains and Jungles of Chiang Mai
Whilst it is possible to take tours and hire guides, some of the best scenery can be enjoyed completely under your own steam. Inexpensive maps are available to assist, and with a sense of adventure anyone can enjoy the best of Chiang Mai’s natural attractions for very little cost. There are waterfalls to admire; at some, swimming is possible. Getting out and about in nature is a prime reason many people visit Chiang Mai, so think smart, act savvy, and with a little preparation you can really explore this side of Chiang Mai on a budget.
2. Visit Chiang Mai’s Temples – For Free!
With over 300 temples, Chiang Mai is a cultural dream. Many of the temples are also free to enter! Some ask for donations, but these need only be a small token offering. Where admission costs are requested, remember that the temples are still free to admire from outside. After all, how many temples do you realistically need to go inside?! The main temple highlights are totally free for visitors; Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chaing Man, and Wat Phra Singh.
3. Watch a Muay Thai Fight in Chiang Mai
Seeing a Muay Thai fight is a quintessentially Thai experience. Native to Thailand, this type of boxing is filled with interesting rituals and rites that are as interesting as the fight itself. To see a fight at one of the big stadiums can be very expensive. In Chiang Mai, it is possible to experience the electric atmosphere for a fraction of the cost.
At the Loi Kroh Entertainment Centre you can sit in one of the bars and enjoy a drink whilst watching the fights for free. The idea is that viewers will tip the boxers, although minimal amounts are expected. This is certainly a much cheaper way to see a fight, as well as being a great evening of entertainment. Whilst avid followers of the sport say that these fights are less authentic, and staged for the crowds, it is still a great way for a tourist to learn more about the sport without paying a lot of money.
4. Visit Chiang Mai’s Famous Markets
There are several interesting and lively street markets in Chiang Mai, which are one hundred per cent free to wander around and experience the hustle and bustle. You can also dine for relatively inexpensive at the markets, meaning that not only can you take part in a fun activity, but your budget will go further with eating on the cheap. You can pick up some low costs souvenirs, although you can also simply look.
A really good way to have fun in Chiang Mai on a budget is to check out the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. Pay a visit to Worarot Market or Sanpakhoy Market to see where the locals shop, and to see many different foods and fresh produce, head to Muang Mai Market or Sompet Market. There are some markets that only operate at weekends, which are also lively and crammed with interesting trinkets, nik naks and food.
5. Walk Chiang Mai’s City Walls
The old city walls are in very good condition, and they are easily walked. To walk around the walls, and see the different gates to the old city, will cost absolutely nothing. A major advantage of taking a stroll is that you can stop when you want, and will often see things that you would otherwise have missed.
You will no doubt find many other great things to enjoy in Chiang Mai on a budget …. happy travelling!