The stunning Doi Suthep mountain overlooks Chiang Mai. If you only have time to visit one attraction in Chiang Mai, this is it!
Doi Suthep Temple
The official name of this temple is Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. This is the most sacred and beautiful temple in Northern Thailand. On clear days there are spectacular views of Chiang Mai city and beyond.
If you have the time and energy, walking up the temple steps is a great cardio workout. A more popular option is to take the cable-car to the top and walk back down.
You may like to time your visit to coincide with the monks chanting at sunset.
You will need to be moderately fit to climb the temple steps - a cable car is available at additional cost.
A long skirt or trousers are required at the temple by custom and law - sarongs are available for rent at the temple.
Doi Pui Hmong Village
Doi Pui is a neighboring peak on the same granite base as Doi Suthep. The Hmong Village at Doi Pui has a market and an impressive garden. They grow coffee, lychees, and strawberries on the the hillside. Local coffee can be sampled at the open-air cafe overlooking the gardens.
The Hmong village is an interesting blend of traditional and modern. There are some sample buildings showing traditional construction, but if you look at where the people actually live you will see similar designs constructed with steel sheeting etc. The markets have their share of mass-manufactured goods, but you will also see local people hand-sewing traditional Hmong clothing for sale. The people here gave up their semi-nomadic lifestyle in an earlier generation, but have gained a government primary school - and the older children travel by bus down the mountain to a high school in Chiang Mai city.