4 Days in Chiang Mai: Ultimate Guide

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Perfect 4 Days Chiang Mai Thailand Guide

Tucked into lush jungle mountains, Chiang Mai, Thailand, is a spiritual hub you don’t want to miss! Chiang Mai, the second-largest city in Thailand, is a digital nomad hub, full of culture and trendy food spots! You can see a ton of Chiang Mai in 4 Days. In this Chiang Mai itinerary, I have put together some of the best things to do in Chiang Mai including fun activities, where to eat, stay, and more that can all be done in just 4 days in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

First time in Thailand? Check out these things to know before visiting Thailand!

Chiang Mai Thailand Elephant

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Is 4 Days in Chiang Mai Enough Time

We spent around 3 weeks in Chiang Mai working as digital nomads. After spending a considerable amount of time, I believe 4 days is a good amount of time to spend in Chiang Mai, especially if visiting this city is a part of a larger Thailand vacation.

Afterall, Chiang Mai is known as one of the best places to visit in Northern Thailand and the second largest city in Thailand!

If you plan on spending anywhere from 10 days to 2 weeks in Thailand, you will definitely want to add Chiang Mai to it! Chiang Mai is also known as one of the best Asia honeymoon destinations!

Chiang Mai Temple in Thailand that is bluish grey with metallic details. Women in front facing temple with purple shall covering shoulders, blue long skirt and long blonde hair.

Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai in 4 Days

Below, find some of the best things you can experience with 4 days in Chiang Mai!

Chiang Mai Temples

Did you know Chiang Mai has over 300 hundred temples? They don’t say Chiang Mai is the spiritual hub for nothing! With 4 days in Chiang Mai, it’s easy to get “templed out.”

Out of all the temples we saw (which you can find just walking around the Old City), our favorite two were Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Sri Suphan (Silver Temple)! They are both very unique temples, which makes them stand out!

Please be advised women are not allowed inside the Silver Temple. We paid, and only my husband could go in. Additionally, please make sure to have your shoulders and knees covered when visiting temples!

Related: Ultimate Thailand Packing List

Wat Chedi Luang Address: 103 Prapokkloa Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Silver Temple Address: 100 Wua Lai Rd, Tambon Hai Ya, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

Volunteer With Elephants

Have you ever wanted to see an Asian Elephant up close? How about feeding them? Chiang Mai, Thailand, is the perfect place to volunteer with Asian Elephants at one of their Elephant Sanctuaries. The Northern part of Thailand is famous for its opportunities to see Asian Elephants.

When choosing a company, please make sure to choose a NO RIDING company and one that makes sure to put the elephants’ safety and health, before tourism! This experience will take just about a full day. If you do have any daylight left, you will likely be exhausted. I wrote a whole post that goes more into depth about volunteering with elephants in Thailand here!

Volunteering with Elephants in Thailand

Thai Massage

When in Thailand, it would be a sin not to indulge in a Thai massage during your Chiang Mai trip. Better yet, Thai massages usually cost less than half the price in your home country! We tried several places and were never disappointed.

Get a Sak Yant Tattoo in Chiang Mai

Looking for something a little more permanent? A Sak Yant Tattoo might be perfect for you! A Sak Yant tattoo is a spiritual and cultural experience done by a Monk or Ajarn. They use a long pole with a steel needle that stipples your spiritual tattoo! They are perfectly safe when done at a reputable facility and a fun way to remember your trip.

My husband went to Sak Yant Chiang Mai in the Old City to get his tattoo.  He loved it so much, we went back the next day for a second one!

The experience of getting a Sak Yant in Chiang Mai, the cultural hub in Thailand, was really special! I was able to watch the whole process, about 25 minutes and he was able to choose which Sak Yant he wanted!

A Sak Yant heals much quicker than regular tattoos and, in his experience, hurts less than regular tattoos as well!  Make sure to book your appointment online to get the best rate. For my husband, it was 2,000 baht with a 1,000 baht donation and to bring a pack of cigarettes and matches. Pricing might be more for women.

Location: 27 11 Arak Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Shopping in Chiang Mai

Did you even go to Thailand without doing a little shopping? With 4 days, make sure to check out some of Chiang Mai shopping including the Bazzar and even mall!

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

In Thailand, Chiang Mai is known for its Night Bazaar. Full of shopping and food, it’s a place you will not want to miss! The shops go down about a mile long, so make sure to give yourself some time to shop.

You will find awesome Thai-made goods, souvenirs, and more, but make sure you are ready to bargain. You should be able to squeeze this in any night of the 4 days since the Chiang Mai Bazaar is open every day!

Location: Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall

Looking for more extensive brand shopping? The Maya Lifestyle Mall has over 4 floors, a co-working space, a great food court (kind of expensive), and even a movie theater! Find big brands and more all in one spot!

Location: 55 Huaykaew Rd, ตำบล ช้างเผือก อำเภอ เมืองเชียงใหม่ Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand

Chiang Mai Bars

We found a lot of bars in the Old City area, although they are much different from bars back in New York. The bars in Chiang Mai and other spots of Thailand consisted of chains of open area bars with women playing pool, cards, and Connect Four.

They are definitely fun, but don’t be surprised when they literally try to pull you into their bars! At first, we felt really taken aback, but by the end of our trip, we found ourselves at the bars in Krabi almost every night!

Colorful chain of bars
Chain of Bars in the Old City

Take a Cooking Class

Cooking classes are extremely popular in all of Thailand. Whether you are in a group or solo, learning how to cook traditional Thai food is always fun! With 4 days in Chiang Mai, you should be able to squeeze one in. Find cooking classes here!

Eat Your Way Through Chiang Mai, Thailand

Now to my favorite, eating! Since we stayed in Nimmanhemin, we were surrounded by the most delicious trendy food spots Chiang Mai, Thailand, had to offer! Here are some of our favorites! Mind you, I am a pescatarian, so I was able to find good meals at all except Beast Burger.

Smoothie Blues

Smoothie Blues downright has the best smoothies in Chiang Mai! Their breakfast is also really good. My Favorite is their eggs Benedict, and overall, they are decently priced.

Address: 17 Soi Hua Min Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

The Salad Concept

The Salad Concept is our favorite spot to eat in Chiang Mai and also where we got the most bang for our buck. Their breakfast, lunch, and dinner are amazing and since I’m a huge breakfast person, I was in love with their pancakes! Additionally, they have nice fresh salads and really good fried rice in a pineapple!

Address: 49/9-10 ถนน นิมมานเหมินทร์ Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Beast Burger

Known as one of the best burgers in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Beast Burger is not to be missed, says my husband (I don’t eat meat). The burgers are quality and the fries are really tasty. Make sure to add this one to your list!

Address: Nimmanhemin Soi 17 Suthep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Why Not? Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar

Are you in the mood for some Italian? Let me tell you that, Why Not? Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar has really good food, and that’s coming from a New Yorker! They have a wide range of options and if you’re on a budget personal pies are really tasty and affordable. The main dinners can be a little more expensive. If the weather is nice, I would recommend sitting outside!

Address: 14 ถนน นิมมานเหมินทร์ ซอย 11 Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand

Coco Corner

This spot has the cutest cafe vibes with yummy/only coconut ice cream treats, but a little on the expensive side for the amount of ice cream.

How to Get to Chiang Mai, Thailand

First, the easiest way to get to Chiang Mai is by starting in Bangkok. We planned a couple of days in Bangkok before going to Chiang Mai.

Related: Top Temples in Bangkok

Airplane: You will find Air Asia is relatively inexpensive! We used them all throughout our travels in Asia. The trip takes about 1hr 20 mins. To find the best flight, I always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.

By Sleeper Train: From Bangkok, you can catch a sleeper train to Chiang Mai. This is the option we went with. You can book your tickets on 12 Go Asia and try to book train #9, which is the newer train. We got second-class tickets, but I’ve heard 1st class is worth the extra money! The train takes a little over 13 hours. We had a pleasant experience overall.

Location: Bangkok Train Station (Hua Lamphong Station) รองเมือง Khwaeng Rong Muang, แขวง รองเมือง เขต ปทุมวัน Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand

Sleeper bus: I have never done this option, but I know a lot of people who have! It is perfectly safe, takes a little over 10 hours, and can also be booked on 12 Go Asia.

photo of train cart beds in the sleeper train to Chiang Mai, thailand
Sleeper train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Now that you made it to Chiang Mai, Thailand, it is time to look for accommodation! We wanted to stay in the trendier part of Chiang Mai called Nimmanhemin, but on a budget. We stayed at Boutique Hotel called the Nimman Hotel, and had a great stay for a very affordable price. The hotel is within walking distance of trendy food spots and cafes with high-speed Wi-Fi!

Other places to consider staying in Chiang Mai include:

nimman hotel in Chiang Mai
Courtesy of Agoda

Getting Around Chiang Mai

Wondering how to get around Chiang Mai? Chiang Mai, Thailand, is really safe, so you can walk everywhere. However, if you have a far destination in mind, you can get a Grab (just like Uber), a Tuk Tuk (a 3-wheeled taxi), or Songthaew (pickup truck with seats in the truck bed. If you don’t know what it is, look it up!).

Additionally, with Tuk Tuks or Songthaew, make sure to bargain and if it’s a regular taxi, make sure they run the meter! If you feel safe renting a scooter/ bike, this can be another option to get around.

Volunteering with Elephants in Thailand

4 Days in Chiang Mai, Thailand Wrap-up

This concludes some of the best things to do with 4 days in Chiang Mai, Thailand! I hope you have the best time explore Chiang Mai!

Have any questions about this 4 Days in Chiang Mai itinerary or feel like I missed something? Let me know in the comments below.

Did you enjoy this 4 Days Chiang Mai Guide? I would appreciate it if you could share it below!

Chiang Mai Thailand Guide
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

7 thoughts on “4 Days in Chiang Mai: Ultimate Guide”

  1. Oh, this brings me back to my trip to Chiang Mai. I don’t remember it so well. I think we also volunteered in an elephant shelter. Thank you so much for your tips. I will save this post for whenever I travel back to Thailand.

  2. Chiang Mai looks so cool! I’ve been thinking about moving there for a couple of months actually so this blog post came in really handy! Thanks for sharing 🙂


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