Chiang Mai – 55 Secrets to Explore like a local

October 19, 2015


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Thailand’s northern capital, Chiang Mai, is the country’s second most-visited city, yet in terms of size it does not compare to Bangkok. With its smaller size and population, Chiang Mai, has a lot in its favor for tourists and expats alike.  The Ping River runs through the town and Chiang Mai has over 300 Wats, or Temples, to explore.

Home to the prestigious Chiang Mai University, the city has quite a cosmopolitan feel when compared to other Thai provinces and a lively entertainment scene accompanied by some of the best eating in northern Thailand – you will never be hungry in town!


  1. The Best Grilled Chicken in Town

Address: SP Chicken – Samlan Road Soi 1, Si Phum, Chiang Mai. FBMAP

From the outside one would think it is just a family run place hidden between buildings selling grilled chicken. S.P.’s grilled chicken is different. First, the chicken is quite small, but the meat is so tender and soft. Their specialty is the mixture of herbs (garlic and something unknown) that are added together and the home recipe dip. These together make their grilled chicken superb.


  1. A Riverside Dinner with Live Thai Music

Address: The Good View Restaurant – 13 Charoenrat Road, Wat gate,FB, Site, MAP

Cavernous, noisy and popular with locals, here is where you will find lively bands,         abundant and tasty food, and a great riverside location. Dine early because the band is loud so conversation is almost impossible.


  1. The Midnight Divine Mexican Street Food

Address: Tacos Bell –  Ratchapachinai Road in Old Town  next to Zoe in Yellow , MAP

Tacos Bell is a tiny food cart outside of the backpackers’ party area on Ratchapachinai Road in Old Town. A local Thai serves up incredibly delicious tacos full of spicy Thai ingredients. That is right, Mexican food in Chiang Mai! And each is around 50/60 Baht. This makes Tacos Bell great for snacking after a long night of imbibing.


  1. 2,000 People Buffet Experience

Address:  Sukontha Buffet – 46/1 Huay Kaew Road . MAP

Sukontha Buffet is a massive hot pot restaurant located behind the Hillside Condo Plaza. It is said that over 2,000 people can eat here at the same time, and there will be almost no foreigners in sight. Just you, 2,000 locals, and a lot of delicious hot pots cooking under your nose. If you are a big fan of hanging with locals and eating street food together, then this is the place for you. A live band entertains diners with Thai country music and jokes. Tip: If you can’t find this place, tell your driver: Sukonthan MOO-GA-TA.


  1. Street Food Night Market

Address: Prathu Chang Puak – outside North gate. MAP

Some of the best Thai food can be found in markets and street stalls. In Chiang Mai, the night market at Prathu Chang Puak or Chang Puak Gate market, is one of the best food markets in town. It’s located on the exterior side of the Northern Moat Road, Sri Chum Road, immediately west of the Gate itself. You’ll find fruit vendors, juice, coffee stands, and dishes including a range of noodle soups and fried noodles, all the usual chicken, pork and duck dishes, and cooked-to-order classic stir-fries.


  1. Dinner and Shopping at the Students Market

Address : Malin Plaza – Huay Kaew, Opposite of Chiang Mai University Suthep, FB, Site, MAP

Malin Plaza is a good place to find delicious food for a very reasonable price. This plaza is filled of students from Chiang Mai University. From 6 P.M. to around 10 P.M , all the shops and restaurants are open.

There you will find a few good Japanese and Thai restaurants. Need a break from food? You can stroll through the maze of clothing stalls, get your nails done, and get a massage or even tattoo.

The great thing about Malin is that it is less crowded than the night markets more frequented by tourists allowing you to feel the authentic vibe of the University students’ lifestyle.


  1. Get Lost in the Flower Gardens

Address:  Ratchaphruek Flower Gardens – Tambon Mae Hea, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai

Ratchaphruek is huge attraction with many different themed flower gardens, many of which are beautiful and interesting.  There is a huge temple built for the King which is stunning. The place is normally not crowded so you can have a relaxing day exploring around. The cost is 100 Baht plus twenty Baht for the tram.


  1. Cliff Jumping at Chiang Mai’s Grand Canyon 

Address: Old Quarry – Baan Nam Phare, Amphur Hang Dong, Chiang Mai, MAP

If you are looking to get off the beaten track be sure to enjoy a day at the Hang Dong rock quarry. Tailored for both the adventurous dare-devil as well as those looking for a relaxing escape set amongst some of the most beautiful and peaceful surroundings the region has to offer, this abandoned quarry has been transformed into a breathtaking swim hole carved out of soft umber burnt clay  and is home to the cleanest and warmest water  that nature has to offer.

If you are brave enough, the perimeter boast no less than six daring jumping off points from where one can test their courage and comfort with heights. The highest jump is over twelve meters,  and once you’ve taken the long walk along the rocky corridor and a short climb to meet the plateau in plain view of all to see, the worst challenge you may be faced with is the embarrassing prospect of turning around and climbing back down .

The Hang Dong rock quarry is about a thirty minute bike / songthaew drive  from Chiang Mai, heading  south along the canal road highway (Hwy 121) from Huay Kaew road and keep driving until you are about ten minutes past Hang Dong. Keep your eye out for the green HANG DONG GOLF COURSE sign and turn right on the small bridge directly after the PT gas station on your left hand side. Follow the road until it forks, and be sure to take the left fork.


The full book contains the best 55 activities to do in Chiang Mai and several extra lists with deep insight of the best spots locals like the most. 

Here Is a Preview Of What You’ll Check Inside…

  • Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai
  • Annual Festivals and Holidays You Can’t Miss
  • Best Outdoor activities and day trips
  • Best markets in town
  • The best Temples
  • Top Vegetarian Restaurants
  • Top Adult Entertainment
  • Religious related activities
  • Nightlife and bars
  • Top 10 Coffee Shops
  • Top Volunteering organizations
  • Much, much more!





We are a team of avid travelers passionate about traveling and exploring each new destination from a local perspective. We're embarking on a journey to unravel the secrets of the world's most unique, under-the-radar and beautiful places. We started 55 Secrets to provide a regular source of the best travel related tips including the best unknown locations, insight from travellers and a curated list of the best places to explore during your trips. With over 100 Top selling Travel Guides published we want to make sure you get to explore every single place with the best local tips!