Christmas in Chiang Mai 2016
While Christmas is not a celebrated holiday in Thailand, it is still a festive time of year. Chiang Mai is a quaint ancient city with plenty to see, as you stroll along the shops, you will feel the spirit of Christmas everywhere. Festive decorations such as garland, snowmen, and Christmas trees line the streets. Santa peeks out from shop windows in their own unique Thai style. Restaurants even boast some traditional Christmas fare.
Whether you are visiting friends, family, or simply enjoying holiday on your own, be sure to check out these top 10 landmarks in Chiang Mai.
Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. One of the most famous Buddhist shrines in Thailand, it is named after the mountain it rests upon. It shines like a bright golden star from atop Doi Suthep. It is believed that this place was chosen for the shrine when one of Buddha’s bones split in two. One piece of the bone was placed upon a sacred white elephant who climbed the mountain, trumpeted, and died. This was seen as a sign from the heavens and construction was started soon after.
See Mae Sa Elephant Camp. Originating in 1976 as a conservation centre, this camp is home to over 70 elephants. These are quite talented elephants having been trained to play football, paint, dance, and perform talent shows to delight their guests. You have the opportunity to learn more about these elephants from their mahouts during your visit. You may even ride them if you dare.
Explore Wat Chedi Luang. The temple was built between 1385 and 1402. It’s chedi was once the home of the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most sacred relic. An earthquake in 1545 reduced the chedis height to nearly half its size. At 50 metres high, it’s still an impressive temple.
Take a Thai cooking class. Try your hand at authentic Thai cuisine. Cooking classes kick off at the market where you learn about local ingredients. After the market tour you return to class and begin cooking. The best part of the day is getting to taste the delicious creations you have prepared.
Sail through the treetops. A short trip out of town brings you to a picturesque countryside filled with lush tropical surroundings. It’s not enough to view this landscape from the ground. It must be experienced from within and above. Zip line your way through and above the most exquisite setting you will ever experience.
Shop in Bor Sang Village. This village is famous for its handcrafted paper umbrellas. There is no shortage of styles and sizes from the small drink umbrellas to large parasols. While visiting, be sure to check out the umbrella factory. Watch in awe as the skilled craftsmen and women put these masterpieces together from scratch.
Visit the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. Take in the beauty of the waterfalls that are easily accessed from the main road as you travel up Doi Pui, the highest peak in the park. Sitting at 1,685 metres above sea level, the peak is shrouded in mist and the temperature stays relatively cool. On your way back down, be sure to visit the Hmong tribal village. Experience their simple way of living and learn about their culture through costumes, crafts, and musical instruments.
Visit the museum district. Formerly the administrative centre for the city, the old buildings have been repurposed into museums and exhibition centres. The buildings are all within a short walk of one another. There is even a small intricate temple to visit as well. After getting your fill of culture, fill your bellies with the scrumptious food offerings just up the street.
Visit Wat Pra Prabat Si Roy. Also called the Temple of the Four Buddha Footprints, it is a forest temple located in Mae Rim’s Salouang district. Access to the site can be limited discouraging many tourists and groups. This makes it an ideal, quiet spot to add to your itinerary. Rent a motorbike and you are on your way to this picturesque attraction.
Shop at the Night Bazaar. For something a little different, make your way to the night bazaar. Vendors line the streets which can be walked in some areas or traveled by tuk tuks in other areas. Pick up your wares then hit a local bar to celebrate your Christmas trip.
Christmas Eve at akyra Manor
In the true spirit of Christmas, akyra Manor is partnering with a local orphanage to have the kids join the Christmas Eve night entertainment for a Christmas carols choir and Santa Claus escort. Guests will enjoy Christmas martinis & festive canapés at Rise bar, overlooking the iconic Doi Suthep Mountain, followed by a delicious a five-course dinner featuring Hokkaido scallop, smoked trout, cioppino with Andaman Sea tiger prawn, slow-baked lemon snow fish with Andaman blue crab, and an indulgent yule log for the holiday.. Italics restaurant is celebrating the bounty of the ocean this year by putting on a Seven Fishes traditional Italian Christmas menu
The 700 year old Chiang Mai makes an ideal travel spot for your Christmas holiday. Although small in size, the northern capital is Thailand’s second most visited city. With an abundance of tourist attractions, there is no limit of sights to see or things to do. You will find the city sparkling with Christmas cheer even though it is not a celebrated holiday in Thailand. Stroll through the shops to get your fill of Christmas spirit, then head out on the listed adventures to immerse yourself in culture.