Planning to visit Chiang Mai and need some photo inspiration? Great! I have collected the best photo spots in Chiang Mai that you should add to your itinerary when visiting Thailand.
Chiang Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand and was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom until the 16th century. The Old City of Chiang Mai is a perfect place for history lovers as it holds ancient temples, old city walls, and other time-worn attractions. Chiang Mai is surrounded by mountains which makes it a great destination for hikers and nature passionates. On top of that, it is home to two tribal villages and offers a lot of unique experiences.
In this article, we will discover the most beautiful places in Chiang Mai and I will help you create some beautiful Chiang Mai photography. Other useful photo tips are included!
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Best Photo Spots in Chiang Mai
Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan
Some would call Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan the most beautiful temple in Chiang Mai, so it certainly deserves to be on the list of the best photo spots. It dates back to the 14th century so it was built during the Lanna Kingdom and nowadays it is one of the finest examples of Lanna architecture.
The complex included Main Chedi, Viharn Lai Kham, Viharn Luang, and Ubosot. This means that there are a lot of photo opportunities. Make sure you visit Viharn Luang and see the walls which are covered with mural paintings created during the 1820s. Some of the murals show scenes of a popular local story, as well as scenes of daily 19th-century life in Chiang Mai.
The entrance is free, however, it is a popular attraction in Chiang Mai and can get very crowded. So I suggest you head to Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan early in the day. We visited Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan during a tribe event, so the place was completely packed, but it is still one of my best memories from Chiang Mai.
Visiting temples in Chiang Mai is an essential part of your itinerary. And Wat Rajamontean is one of the best photo spots in Chiang Mai that you don’t want to miss. What makes it so unique?
Well, it is not a typical Thai temple and you will find a lot of one-of-a-kind details. Compared to other temples, Wat Rajamontean is small and you can easily visit it in 30 minutes, but don’t miss the large Buddha and the interior of the temple.
The entrance is completely free and you won’t find many tourists around here. This means you can visit Wat Rajamontean any time of the day and still create a beautiful postcard from Chiang Mai. But a wide-angle lens is a must.
Chai Lai Orchid Eco Lodge and Cafe
Even though this is a great photo spot in Chiang Mai, Chai Lai Orchid is so much more than that. It is a hotel with a mission and over the last 8 years, Chai Lai Orchid has rescued Asian elephants from abusive practices.
To be honest, the situation with elephants in Thailand is very sad. I thought that at this point we could all agree that elephant riding is not okay, yet I have seen many tourists still engaging in these activities. Remember that demand creates supply, so please do your research in advance and stop supporting this entertainment business.
The elephants at Chai Lai Orchid are rescued from these abusive circumstances. And 100% of their proceeds go to Daughters Raising another great organization to fight violence, human trafficking, and exploitation.
You can spend a night at the bungalows of Chai Lai Orchid, visit their cafe, or book one of their unique activities. Along the way, you will find a lot of opportunities to photograph nature. Click here to book your stay at Chai Lai Orchid. And make sure you book in advance as they have limited availability.
Wat Chiang Man
This temple is located in the heart of the Old Town of Chiang Mai and can be easily added to your Chiang Mai itinerary. In fact, you might cross it at some point during your trip, so make sure you plan a quick stop.
Wat Chiang Man was built as the first temple of the Lanna Kingdom, so the temple holds some very ancient Buddha images. Between a unique chedi and multiple temples, you can find a lot of unique photo spots. Chedi surrounded by 15 elephants probably is my favorite spot inside the complex.
It opens up as early as 6 am and there is no admission fee. The temple is a popular attraction in Chiang Mai, so many tourists visit this place daily, but you can still get some great photos even during busy hours.
The Silver Hall
If you ask me, The Silver Hall also known as Wat Sri Suphan is one the best temples I have seen and one the places to visit in Chiang Mai. It is one of a kind and it is completely covered in silver and aluminum. Even if you think that you have seen a lot of temples in Thailand, you cannot miss The Silver Hall.
As a female, you won’t be allowed to enter the temple, however, you can still appreciate the beauty from the outside. The best photo spots are in front of the entrance and behind the temple. While the front can work with many different lenses, the back requires a wide-angle lens.
The temple opens at 6 am and it can get crowded later in the day, so I would plan your visit early in the day. When I visited, there was nobody asking for an entrance fee, but some places online say that it costs 50 Baht to enter.
Extra tip! Make sure you visit Lanna ArtIsans Art Gallery before the entrance of The Silver Hall. You can see local handcrafts working on the details of the temple and creating some unique artwork on aluminum plates.
The Inside House
Wondering where to stay in Chiang Mai? You can find a real-life Pinterest hotel which is also one of the best photo spots in Chiang Mai. Literally, every corner at The Inside House is picturesque and it is hands down one of the best hotels in Chiang Mai.
My personal favorite is Glass Pool Suites, however, a lot of rooms offer a private pool and a lot of photo opportunities. If you already booked your hotel, you can still visit the restaurant, and take photos in the courtyard and from the outside of the hotel.
Prices vary from 100 to 300 euros depending on the season which is above average, but for a good reason. Also, the convenient location is a perfect base to explore the best places to visit in Chiang Mai. Make sure you make your reservation far in advance as the rooms sell out quickly.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Ratchaworawihan
This beautiful temple in Chiang Mai is a must. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Ratchaworawihan is located outside of the city and will need to take a taxi or songthaew to get there, but trust me, it is one of the most instagrammable places in Chiang Mai and it is worth the trip.
It takes 306 steps to go up to the temple, but it is easier than you might think. The staircase is flanked by beautiful serpents and this is the first stop that you want to photograph. At the top of the stairs, you will find pavilions, pagodas, and statues – more photo opportunities. And just around the corner, you will see this unique attraction (sorry, not sure what it is called) together with some fantastic views over Chiang Mai.
The entrance fee is 30 Baht and it opens up at 6 am. If you choose to come by taxi, ask your driver to wait for you as you won’t be able to get a car from the temple back to the city. And if you want to take the red car to go back, you will have to wait endlessly to get it fully booked. At least I had to… so don’t make the same mistake.
Grand Pavilion (Hor Kham Luang)
Another gem located outside of Chiang Mai is Royal Park Rajapruek, where you can find Grand Pavilion also known as Hor Kham Luang. These stunning gardens offer a lot of photo opportunities but Grand Pavilion is certainly the show stealer.
I suggest you bring your zoom lens and play with the perspective. You can find a lot of unique angles right in front of the Grand Pavilion or next to the pond. Get lost in the area and get creative!
The park is open from 9 am to 6 pm and the entrance fee is 200 Baht. In order to move around the park, you can jump on a tram or rent a bicycle at the entrance. Plan at least a couple of hours at the Royal Park Rajapruek, even more, if you are passionate about flowers.
Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang (Wat Hua Khuang)
If you are looking for a hidden gem in Chiang Mai old town, head to Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang (Wat Hua Khuang). It is a huge complex of temples and it is completely tourist free. This means that you can snap some great photos any time of the day.
Besides the two main temples waiting for you at the entrance, visit other places hidden in the back and I am sure you will find some wonderful photo spots on your way.
To find the main entrance, head to Baan Landai Fine Thai Cuisine and you will find it right in front of you. If you follow Google Maps you might find a closed gate. Entrance is free of charge and it opens around 8 am.
Wat Lok Moli
Wat Lok Moli is another beautiful Lanna temple in Chiang Mai. It consists of Viharn and a massive chedi and both of these places can be considered Chiang Mai photography spots.
Wat Lok Moli dates back to the 14th century, but the only part of the original temple that remains intact is the large chedi, which was constructed in 1527. The temple commemorates the site where monks from Burma were housed during the Mangrai dynasty. The ashes of several members of the Mengrai dynasty are also placed in this temple.
It is located next to Wat Rajamontean and just like the other temple, it is not overfilled with crowds. You can easily combine these two attractions. The entrance is free and a wide-angle lens will be needed as well.
Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang is not as grand or picturesque as other places to visit in Chiang Mai, however, it is certainly worth visiting and hols an important part of the history of Chiang Mai. So for the sake of memories, you want to capture the beauty of Wat Chedi Luang.
I personally think it looks the best from the corner and with a wide-angle lens, but you can play with the perspective. Depending on local celebrations, you might find festive decorations in front of the temple. For example colorful lanterns during lantern festival season.
The main entrance is opposite Phra Pok Klao road, just South of Ratchadamnoen road and it is open from 6 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee is 40 Baht per person and you can spend around 1 hour in the complex.
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Bo Sang Umbrella Village
If you are looking for unique photo spots and don’t mind spending some time on the road, Bo Sang Umbrella Village should be your next stop. As you can already imagine, it is a small village where the Thai make umbrellas and the entire town is decorated with colorful parasols.
Local monk ‘Phra Inthaa’ started the tradition of handmade umbrellas and it is still going strong at the Bo Sang Umbrella Village. You can shop or see the process of making the umbrella or simply visit to find picturesque corners just outside Chiang Mai.
Plan a relaxing afternoon away from the touristic attractions in Chiang Mai and discover this unique local craft. You can find a lot of cool coffee shops together with traditional restaurants and some delicious Khao Soi.
Unless you are planning to rent a car or a scooter, you can read Bo Sang Umbrella Village by public transport. Search for the white songthaew at the Waworot Market (opposite the flower market) and they will bring you to the junction of Highway 1006 and 1014. To get back to Chiang Mai, head back to the same road. If you don’t want to rely on public transport, you can always use Grab as well.
Doi Inthanon National Park
And another great location further away from Chiang Mai is Doi Inthanon National Park. This is a great place for nature photography as the Doi Inthanon is the tallest mountain in Thailand and National Park is filled with unique landscapes and waterfalls. It hosts the Karen hill tribe and offers a lot of unique cultural experiences as well.
You can hike the Kew Mae Pan Trail or do some trekking at the Ang Ka Nature Trail, visit the famous Pagoda, meet the Karen tribe, and check out Mighty Wachirathan and Mae Ya Waterfall. All these places provide fantastic photo opportunities and you don’t want to miss out.
In order to reach Doi Inthanon National Park, you will need to rent a transport or join a tour (private or group). I personally can recommend this fun tour to Doi Inthanon National Park, but there are many available options. Plan to spend an entire day at the park and make sure you bring comfortable shoes.
Further reading for the best photo spots in Chiang Mai
Other useful tips for visiting Thailand
🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Thailand? Use Rentalcars
🚂 If you need transfers, bus or train tickets, check 12Go
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo
This is the end of the best photo spots in Chiang Mai and I’m sure that after reading this article you are impatient to get to Chiang Mai and create some unforgettable postcards. I believe that these photography tips will help you take epic photos and find the exact locations of the best photo spots in Chiang Mai.
I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.