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Chiang Mai is full of enough drool-worthy places to make all your Instagram followers reach for their passports! Here is the ultimate list of the most Instagrammable places in Chiang Mai!
We spent 2 months living in Chiang Mai as digital nomads. It was safe, had great food, amazing people, good city infrastructure, and tons of things to do. We fell in love with this unique city, and were never bored! One of our favorite things to do in Chiang Mai was wander the historic streets and cute cafes looking for picturesque spots to photograph. What can I say? I love being able to remember our favorite places on Instagram!
For your convenience we’ve split the extensive list into types of places. This way you can clearly organize your trip based on the most Instagrammable ways to do what you wanted to, anyway! (And don’t forget to check this Thailand packing guide to best prepare for your trip!)
If you want to see more great content from the travelers featured in this list click on the picture to be taken straight to their Instagram account!
Most Instagrammable Spots in Downtown Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai refers to both a city and the surrounding area in Northern Thailand. When many people say something takes place in Chiang Mai they are referring to the outlying area, not the actual city. Nevertheless Chiang Mai city is a fun, vibrant place full of wonderful things to see, do, and eat!
Here are the most Instagrammable places in downtown Chiang Mai:
1. Tha Pae Gate and Wall
The Old City of Chiang Mai was once protected by a high brick wall and a moat. The moat still exists, but the wall has been crumbling. Some sections are still standing tall while others have deteriorated completed. One of the most popular spots of Chiang Mai is the Tha Pae Gate, the opening of the Old City wall. The walls of Tha Pae Gate still stand tall, which means you can have a solid wall of brick as the background of your picture.
Tip: The wall and Tha Pae Gate are a popular resting place for pigeons. Use the animals to your advantage as in the picture above by startling the birds as your photographer clicks in action mode.
2. Jansom Bridge (Kuakog)
This photo was taken at the Jansom Bridge connecting the inner square of the Old City to the outskirts of downtown Chiang Mai over the famous Ping River. This particular bridge leads to some of the most popular markets in Chiang Mai, so it’s one that’s easy to find and common to cross. To get the best picture down the bridge you’ll want to arrive in the early morning and be prepared to hang out and wait for the perfect shot. Squat in the middle of the bridge to achieve this symmetrical shot.
3. Street Art at Wua Lai 7 Alley, Silver Temple
Chiang Mai is a creative, artistic city. You’ll find lots of pockets of amazing street art and wall murals around the city. This particular wall mural is block wide on an alley near downtown. It’s on the left a few blocks toward town from the Silver Temple, another popular attraction. If you’re already planing to visit the Silver Temple simply walk toward town a few minutes until you find this alley.
Bonus: There is a second alley of an even longer line of wall murals in the alley just past this one! Explore both to see which displays colors or styles you’re most interested in.
4. Songthaew Trucks
This picture shows a visiting family in the back of a songthaew, a pickup truck converted into a passenger vehicle. Songthaews defining characteristic is being bright red, which makes them noticeable all over town. To get this iconic shot of the local vehicle keep your eyes peeled for a stopped songthaew. The trucks are stationed at regular locations, so it should be easy to find one waiting to fill up on your journey.
Tip: Sit on the outside of the songthaew, as pictured, because the lighting inside the truck is terrible! You should also be prepared to offer the driver some small bills for his trouble.
Related: 4 Best Party Hostels in Chiang Mai
Most Instagrammable Chiang Mai Buddhist Wats
Chiang Mai is home to over 300 Buddhist temples, known as wats. The defining feature of wats is a giant, pointed stupa. Stupas are often seen above other buildings town, making the many wats easy to spot in Chiang Mai. Another defining characteristic of wats is their incredible artistic design. Each wat in Chiang Mai is unique and visiting them brings anyone a renewed appreciation for the buildings representing man’s relationship to a higher power.
The wats around Chiang Mai are also home to sets of monks. Monks will wander the grounds of each wat in bright orange robes, making the visit even more special.
Between the monks, colorful walls, interesting landscape, and giant stupas, Buddhist wats are the perfect Instagram locations in Chiang Mai.
5. Wat Ratchamonthian
Wat Ratchamonthian is one of the most Instagramed spots in Chiang Mai. Deep colors, gold accents, and tiled floors and stairs make this Buddhist temple iconic. Achieve this look by standing in the middle of the floor toward the stairs, with the camera man close to the ground pointing up.
6. Wat Suan Dok (White Temple)
Wat Suan Dok is often known as Chiang Mai’s White Temple. White mini stupas and walkways surround a large, golden stupa. You can wear any bright color to stand out beautifully against this stunning, simple wat. There are lots of walkways to wander around Wat Suan Dok, so you have lots of options to get creative, gorgeous Instagram pictures here. Visit in early morning to avoid extraneous tourists.
7. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That is the Buddhist temple that sits atop Chiang Mai’s tallest mountain, Doi Suthep. The wat is easily accessible by car or a popular hiking route (but if you hike it be prepared for some nasty selfies. That’s right, you’ll sweat.) Wat Phra That is beautiful and sprawling. It’s also popular. You will be able to find quiet corners if you arrive early in the morning, however!
Wat Phra That is accessed by a long staircase to the road. The stairs are flocked by bejeweled dragons on either side. Take a picture from the top of the stairs looking down or the other way around, as shown, for a gorgeous and unique picture either way.
Tip: This picture depicts the subject sitting next to a local girl in traditional hill tribe clothing. You’ll see many small children hanging around the stairs hoping to make some money by posing with tourists. If you choose to recreate this picture, ask the girl first and be prepared to offer some money for it.
8. Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang is one of the most popular Instagram spots in Chiang Mai. It’s historic, large, and beautiful. Get the full breadth of Wat Chedi Luang’s stupa by crouching down and shooting upwards.
9. Silver Temple
The Silver Temple is one of the slowest in Chiang Mai. The small grounds’ main feature is one silver building with sculpted turquoise water flowing onto the ground. A golden Buddha sits on a concrete platform in front of the Silver Temple, so you could get both gold and silver in your photo if taken from the right side of the buddha. A photo straight on, however, gets the sign forbidding women from entering in the shot, which could make for an Instagram post which starts a valid conversation.
Most Instagrammable Chiang Mai Cafes and Restaurants
Chiang Mai city is home to almost 15 million visitors per year from countries around the world. One thing that makes Chiang Mai the perfect melting pot of Thai and international cultures is it’s variety of food. From fine dining restaurants (the #1 restaurant in Thailand, David’s Kitchen, happens to be in Chiang Mai!) to cheap and delicious street food you can find every type of cuisine in almost any type of setting in Chiang Mai.
With so much competition to appeal to the ever-growing market of young, digital nomads, restaurants and cafes are left use their decor to stand out in addition to their menu. You can find cafes serving gorgeous presentations of food surrounded by art, flowers, and murals, to make your lunch an Instagrammable spot in Chiang Mai!
10. Tropi Hoola Bubble Tea Cafe
Tropi Hoola is a drink cafe in downtown Chiang Mai. It’s small, but known for it’s colorful decor. Get a traditional Thai Bubble Tea and a great shot there. Two birds, one stone, everyone jealous!
11. HeartWork Sharing Space
As a hub for digital nomads from around the world, Chiang Mai is home to tons of public work sharing spaces. Most are cafes offering free internet and desks to anyone who purchases a drink. If you also want to blow up Instagram, visit HeartWork Sharing Space. This place will make you comfortable to work and is beautiful enough to capture on Instagram!
12. Armchair Breakfast and Bistro
Armchair Breakfast and Bistro is another Instagram favorite in Chiang Mai. If your Instagram style leans toward simple lines and pops of color you will love the vibe at Armchair!
13. Cheevit Cheeva Fine Desserts
Cheevit Cheeva Fine Deserts is all over Instagram. There are tons of quirky spots in the cafe to capture great pics while waiting for some seriously delicious food! You may be left to do some editing due to poor lighting conditions, but it’s worth the effort.
14. Woo Cafe and Art Gallery
Woo Cafe and Art Gallery is a staple among beauty-seekers in Chiang Mai. The cafe makes amazing meals and desserts, and the inside is just as incredible as the food. This photo was taken at Woo Cafe’s front door, often featuring overgrown greenery, but he inside features modern design with the added flair of fresh flowers. You’ll find a dessert counter with cake stands in between flower bouquets and huge floral arrangements placed around the restaurant floor.
Most Instagrammable Chiang Mai Daytrips
The outlying area of Chiang Mai is home to the most majestic scenery in Northern Thailand. Not only can you find lush greenery and tall waterfalls, the landscape makes for some of the best adventures in Southeast Asia. You don’t want to just sightsee Buddhist temples while in Chiang Mai, you also want to show your friends, family, and followers how much adventure you have.
Here are all the best Instagram spots within 1-2 hours of Chiang Mai!
15. Zip Lining Jungle Canopy Tour
This photo was taken on a zip lining tour with Flight of the Gibbon. You are allowed to take GoPros or digital cameras with you, as long as they stay strapped to your body while zip lining. For this shot I stood as directly behind the subject as possible (leaving space for the zip line guide) and kept the camera on sports mode. Editing for saturation and brightness afterward led to this great adventure Instagram post of Chiang Mai!
16. Doi Inthanon National Park Hike and Wats
Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s highest peak and around 2 hours away from the city of Chiang Mai. You can reach the peak by car and take a short walk to a sign proclaiming the highest point, or opt for a 3-6 hour guided hike to some spectacular vistas. The longer hike will be worth it if you want to get some great Instagram posts in Chiang Mai! The weather can be foggy at that elevation, but you can use that as a creative advantage.
The other main reason to visit Doi Inthanon National Park is to visit the two wats built into the side of the mountain. The farther wat is decorated by bright purple tiles and surrounded by a beautiful garden in the back. Pose on the bridge for your Instagram Husband to capture you, the landscape, and the wat in your Instagram pic.
17. Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary
The single most popular thing to do in Chiang Mai’s surrounding area is to visit an elephant sanctuary. Chiang Mai Elephant sanctuaries plots of land where domesticated elephants are rehabilitated. The groups who own the land and elephants charge tourists a fee to get up-close-and-personal with these majestic creatures. Tourists can feed the elephants bananas, bathe them in mud, and clean up poop. What tourists can’t do is ride the elephants, which makes these face-to-face shots the most endearing you could capture.
There are many, many elephant sanctuaries outside of Chiang Mai. Do some research to find one which best suits your desires and moral as a tourist, but don’t worry: whichever you tour with will allow some nosey nosey time with the great beasts. You’ll even be given a traditional shirt to wear over your clothes to make the experience even more Insta-worthy!
Most Instagrammable Chiang Mai Hotels and Resorts
It shouldn’t surprise you that Chiang Mai is home to some expensive luxury hotels. You could book a stay at a Chiang Mai resort and never want to leave the property! The best hotels and resorts will have a spa, gorgeous swimming pools, lush rooms, and incredible restaurants.
If you’re looking for the most Insta-worthy Chiang Mai trip, book at one of these!
18. Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
The Four Seasons brand of hotels and resorts is known for quality around the world. Their resort in Chiang Mai is no exception. The draw to stay at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai are it’s lush grounds. There are straw bungalos, a pond with lilipads, and rice fields. That’s right, they have their own rice fields.
You really can’t go wrong with an Instagram photo shoot at Four Seasons. Check out their official Instagram page to get ideas of incredible poses from past guests!
19. Akyra Manor Chiang Mai
How drool-worthy is that restaurant? I personally feel like this photo speaks for itself. If you position the camera at an angle to capture both the table and pool there’s really no way to get a bad Instagram shot!
Color me jealous.
20. Villa Mahabhirom
What’s so intoxicating about this Instagram shot is the simplicity and clean lines of the black and green building and white statues behind the dark pool. The elegant backdrop puts a clear focus on the subject of the picture while still maintaining Chiang Mai’s unique scenery.
21. Panviman Chiang Mai Spa Resort
A quick Instagram search will lead to this gorgeous pool of flowers and tons of other drool-worth corners of the Panviman Spa Resort. Not only will you feel like a million baht by bathing in flower petals, your Instagram will look like a million baht. If you’re not able to stay the night at he Panviman you can still achieve Insta perfection by booking walk-in spa treatments for around $100 USD/ 2 hours.
22. Dhara Dhevi Resort Chiang Mai
The Dhara Dhevi Resort may take the cake of extravagant hotels and resorts in Chiang Mai. The Dhara Dhevi Instagram account is so drool-worthy it’ll have you saving your pennies to stay the night in no time. The resort features an incredible pool and temple-esque grounds. You’d have to work hard to find a bad angle for Instagram pics of the resort!
Prefer watching a video? See the top things to do in Chiang Mai!
If you’re looking for the most drool-worthy Instagram spots in Chiang Mai you’ll have plenty of materials from these locations! It’s a gorgeous, fun, vibrant area of Thailand!
*The O’Briens Abroad received no compensation in exchange for inclusions in this list. Every item was carefully vetted to give you the very best advice on Instagram in Chiang Mai*