Chiang Mai is one of the best cities to visit in Thailand for budget travelers. There are tons of free and cheap things to do in Chiang Mai; you could spend days on end exploring them all. It’s cheaper than Bangkok and many of the other cities in the south of Thailand. In addition to being inexpensive, Chiang Mai is also a great place for foodies, culture lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. Rich with the promise of adventure and delicious food, Chiang Mai is a wonderful place to explore for a few days (or weeks)! Whether you’re looking for a good booze deal, a cheap daytime adventure, or a free activity, Chiang Mai has it all.
Here are the top 5 budget things to do in Chiang Mai.
Beer Buffet at Rush Bar
Going out in Thailand may get expensive, especially as those SangSom buckets seem to miraculously add up. Everything in Thailand is cheap except for alcohol. Not many people know about this deal in Chiang Mai, but at Rush Bar in the Nimman Area, they offer a Heineken beer buffet for only $5 from 6-9 p.m. You’ll find your cup getting refilled before you’re even finished with it. If you’re looking for
Eat Khao Soi
Khao Soi is the national dish of northern Thailand and you can find it for an incredibly cheap price anywhere in Chiang Mai. It’s a spicy coconut milk broth with yellow noodles, meat, garlic and onions, all topped with fried yellow noodles. You could easily live off of this northern Thailand delicacy! You’ll find Khao Soi at various street food stalls throughout the city. Click here to check out our recommendations of where to eat.
Rent a motorbike and ride the Samoeng Loop
You can rent a motorbike for a few dollars a day in Chiang Mai. Get out of the city and head onto the Samoeng Loop, a 100-kilometer route through rice paddies and strawberry fields. Relish in the beautiful mountain views and peek into the daily life in rural Thai villages you pass along the way. Set aside an entire day, or more, for this cheap, beautiful adventure!
Visit the Flower Market
The Flower Market in Chiang Mai is behind the Warowat Market close to the river. It’s open from 10:00 am-6:00 pm every day. Walk around and take in the wonderful aroma and vibrant colors of fresh flowers, some of them only native to northern Thailand. This is a great way to learn about different types of indigenous flowers in Thailand and even see some species you’ve never seen before!
Visit the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon, an old limestone quarry, is a great place to spend the day relaxing in cool water to escape the heat. There’s a 50 THB entrance fee, which also comes with a free herbal drink. The Grand Canyon is about 40 minutes south of Chiang Mai. You’ll find both foreigners and locals here, all cliff jumping into the quarry or floating on one of the rental tubes. This is a great, cheap way to spend the day! There’s also a restaurant next to the quarry that serves good food, though it tends to be a bit pricier than food in the city.
Do you have any other suggestions of budget things to do in Chiang Mai? Let us know in the comment section below!