Chiang Mai Walking Tour

Chiang Mai Walking Tour by Tanya

Recently I created a walking tour of Chiang Mai due to a lot of people coming to visit us in Chiang Mai.

Yes, the map was copied from the web, and I have used the internet for help explaining some things in Chiang Mai, I hope that you will find this helpful :) Although it may be a little out of date, and the walk be a full day and half a night, this really is an enjoyable walking tour!

At the end of this page you will find links to be able to download the map and directions. Enjoy!

CM-Walking-Map

You are welcome to take yourself on this walking tour for free. If however you would like a handy dandy printable PDF containing a map and directions click here to purchase our Chiang Mai Walking Tour Map for $5.

1. STARTING POINT: CHANG PUAK GATE – This is the North Gate of Chiang Mai also known as the “white elephant” gate. A short distance outside of the northern Chang Puak gate is the Chang Puak monument. The shrine sits in the middle of a sort of traffic circle next to one of the city’s main bus stations. The late fourteenth century monument consists of two white elephants (chang puak) who stand in their own arched stables. As in all of Thailand, the white elephant (which is not an albino, and not even white) is highly revered, so the elephants are hardly ever alone or unadorned. Take a picture ☺

2. Cross the road and cross the gate, mind the traffic, and head south. Follow the signs to the statue of the Three Kings. At roughly the center of the walled city, in the district where the former rulers of Chiang Mai built their palaces, stands the monument to the ‘Three Kings’ — King Mengrai, the founder of Chiang Mai; his contemporary and reportedly good friend King Ramkamhaeng of Sukothai; and King Ngam Muang of Payao. According to legend, the three worked together to lay out the city of Chiang Mai. The sculpture has become something of an iconic image representing Chiang Mai. You will see it reproduced in various forms all around the city. The sculpture stands in front of the old provincial administration building, which now houses the Chiang Mai City Art & Cultural Center. The hall was built in 1924 when the government in Bangkok decided to exert full control over the former Lanna kingdom, which up to then had been an autonomous region of Siam. The hall stands on the site of a palace of one of the former princes of Chiang Mai. Lanna palaces were typically built of wood, and each successive king would usually tear down the previous ruler’s buildings and build his own. The permanent exhibits cover the history of Chiang Mai, from the earliest human settlements to the modern city. The old reception room of the governor’s office has been fully restored to look as it would have been when important guests visited Chiang Mai. The rear half of the building is mostly occupied by a large courtyard surrounded by a two storey hallway. This portion of the building houses the offices, temporary exhibits, the museum store and a small coffee shop. One room displays for sale samples of contemporary works by Chiang Mai artists. Just about every style you can name is represented.
The Chiang Mai City Art & Cultural Center is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 8:30 to 17:00. Admission is approximately 90B.

3. Turn left after the Three Kings Monument onto Th Inthawarorot, passing one of many Wats (Temples) of Chiang Mai. Turn right onto Jaban Road, and then turn left again once you see a very quiet road leading to the Women’s Prison of Chiang Mai. There are two touristy things you can do here. The first is visit their restaurant, the Restaurant is run by the women prisoners, giving them some money once they can leave the prison itself, and also a trade of cooking and waitressing. The kao soi here was delish! The second touristy thing is a Massage Parlour – seriously brilliant massages, again run by the prisoners to make money and have a trade once they leave prison. Prices for massages range from 150B to 180B per hour, and worth every cent for a great massage with happy smiling women, yes prisoners! Open from 9:30am to 4:30pm – DO NOT TAKE PHOTOS, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW, DO NOT END UP IN HERE!

4. After your fabulous massage by prisoners, he he he he, turn left out of the Prison area, take the first left, and then the first right, carry on walking, looking at all the sights until you reach Suan Dok Gate – The Eastern Gate of Chiang Mai – take a picture ☺

5. Follow the road south, taking note at how the Old City is completely surrounded by a moat, take care of the crappy apparent sidewalks. Note the partial castle wall to your left as you walk. How cool is that? Have you seen a city where a wall surrounds the entire central area? Take a moment and ponder this as you come to where the west and south walls converge.

6. Turn left at the southern end of the moat; just on your left is Bunk Hat Park. Enter the park for a few minutes’ rest. Note the peaceful scene, as locals relax, and families enjoy the day. Find a spot by the pond and gaze at the school of fish running rampant. You’ll love the park so much; you’ll be tempted to stay here for an hour. Fight it. We’re not done!

7. Leave the park, still going east along the inside of the moat, on your right is Pratu Suan Gate – another gate ☺ Keep going, and make your way to Pratu Chiang Mai, the South Gate. You’ll pass more street food vendors. You’ll see more pork-on-a-stick, balls of questionable meats, and pre-made curries. Find the gate and take a picture.

8. Turn left into Phrapokklao Road, keep walking, stop into a few Wats and take a few pictures whilst being pleasant to the monks. Keep going until you reach Ratchadamheon Road, and then turn right. If you are doing this walk on a Sunday, this is where the famous Sunday Walking Street Market is. This is also where the main tourist trap tuk tuk drivers are. Just say “Mai Kup Khun Kah / Krap” as they constantly ask you “Where you go?” Back to the Sunday Walking Street Market – Starts from about 4pm and goes until around 11pm – The popular market begins at Thapae Gate and all the way through Rachadamnoen Road (which is closed to traffic) and various little lanes along the way. This is the place where Chiang Mai’s young artists and university students come together to sell and show off their talents and the interesting products they created. You’ll also be able to find pretty much anything from Northern Thai style clothing (really quite cool), lovely hill tribe crafts, funky T-shirts, lots of hand-painted environmentally friendly shopping bags, paintings, jewellery, and the list goes on. If you don’t enjoy shopping, you can always get a foot massage, enjoy street performances, or eat! There are plenty of food stalls along the street (and temple grounds) where you’ll be able to sample some of Thailand’s famous street food and snacks. If you’re a family with young children, an elderly person, or just don’t like crowds, I’d suggest you go earlier rather than later. Perhaps about 4.30-5.00 pm is a good time. This is because the “Walking Street” gets very crowded at night. It’ll also be easier to find a table inside the temple to have a meal.

9. Keep walking until you reach Tha Phae Gate – the Eastern most known Gate in Chiang Mai. Take a picture at the outside of the city. Read the board, and enjoy the little concrete area where a lot of locals hangout ☺ Cross the road, take care! Yes there is even a StarBucks here (sigh). Keep walking and looking and walking and taking photos.

10. Turn right at Changklan Road, this is the very top of the Night Bazaar – THE tourist trap of Chiang Mai – however, here you will find everything you may ever want – from cheap food, to fabulous soap flowers, to pirated DVDs – everything you could ever want – suggest half of what they say, and then pay no more than ¾ of what they originally suggested – it is after all, just $2 more.Oh and a McDonalds and Burger King. Night Bazaar generally starts at about 6pm until midnight(ish).

11. Enjoy the walk through all the little sideways and stalls, until you reach Sri Donchai Road, turn right here, and then take the next right just before the bridge. Carry on walking until you reach the intersection of Lio Kroh Road. Turn left down here and enjoy what Loi Kroh Road is most famous for at night – Girly Bars. Before 12pm you will see real girls, after 12pm, the lady boys come out – be careful if you aren’t into that sort of thing ☺ There are many great bars on this street, even a few offering Muay Thai Boxing right there for you (look for the very brightly lit and noisy strip of bars running off Loi Kroh Road on your left as you walk down. On this street, you will also find massage parlous, ranging from very good to very bad. It is luck of the draw if you receive a good massage.

12. As you reach the end of Loi Kroh Road, cross the moat and walk back up to Tae Pae Gate – This is the end of your walking tour. From here, it is up to you what to do with the rest of your day or night. Perhaps take in another walk up Loi Kroh road ☺. Or exit back through the moat through Tae Pae Road, look right, there is a very noisy bar called THC – a rooftop bar – enjoy a drink or three ☺ I hope you have enjoyed your walking tour of Chiang Mai!

You are welcome to take yourself on this walking tour for free. If however you would like a handy dandy printable PDF containing a map and directions click here to purchase our Chiang Mai Walking Tour Map for $5.

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About Andrew

Andrew is a computer programmer and one time TEFL teacher. He is part of the Moodle development team producing course management software for schools and universities all over the world. He checks Tanya’s spelling and produces youtube videos of variable quality.