Chiang Mai Day Trips: 10 Best Tours & Excursions!
In Chiang Mai you can go on absolutely fantastic day trips and tours in the surrounding area because this region has so much to offer. In the center and especially in the surrounding area, there are incredibly great attractions and places that you can explore via a day tour. On the top list of the best excursion in Chiang Mai are rushing waterfalls, national parks with deep jungle, high mountains, ethnic elephant camps, but also beautiful temples and historical buildings. Some of Chiang Mai’s highlights are just around the city and can even be visited via a guided half-day trip or on your own. There are so many fantastic things to do in Chiang Mai and, theoretically, you could spend every single day of your vacation with sightseeing, so huge is the range of tours in this region.
In this travel guide, we will show you the most beautiful day trips and best excursions from Chiang Mai and why it is absolutely worth to exploring the area around the city. In addition, there are helpful tips about where to book day trips and prices.
Doi Suthep Temple & National Park
Doi Suthep is Chiang Mai’s 1,676-meter-high home mountain and its national park, as well as Doi Suthep Temple, are popular places for day trips in Chiang Mai. Whether on your own with the scooter, with the red collective taxis or a guided tour, exploring that place is highly recommended. Above all, culture and nature enthusiasts will enjoy the many stunning sights in the National Park. An absolute highlight and at the same time one of the most beautiful temples of Chiang Mai is the golden Doi Suthep temple. There are 309 steps up to the top of the temple, from where you will have a truly spectacular view of Chiang Mai city and the surroundings. Inside the national park there are many opportunities for hiking and beautiful waterfalls to visit. For example, the scenic Huay Keaw Waterfall, which is located near the National Park entrance.
- Prices: A tour from Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep costs around 20,- Euro per person.
Another popular destination is the Hmong Village, a Thai village located in the mountains of Doi Suthep National Park. Although the village is now a real visitors magnet, nevertheless, the flower gardens are really worth seeing. On the way there, you first wander through the small local town, where you can shop cheap souvenirs and traditional Thai costumes. Once at the top of the gardens, you have a wonderful view over the traditional village and the green jungle. The excursion can be organized on your own with a scooter, or with a guided tour from Chiang Mai. Usually, a visit to the Doi Suthep Temple is included when visiting the Hmong Village.
Tip: Usually an excursion to the Hmong Village includes a side trip to Doi Suthep Temple. Recommended guided tours can be found here.
- Prices: A day trip from Chiang Mai to the Hmong Village costs around 25,- Euro per person.
Doi Inthanon National Park
The Doi Inthanon National Park is an absolute highlight in the north of Thailand and definitely one of the most rewarding excursions in the area around Chiang Mai. The national park is well-known for the 2,565-meter high Mount Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand. Travelers are simply amazed by the magnificent scenery. One visits gigantic waterfalls, hikes through deep jungle, experiences green rice terraces and enjoys the pleasantly cool temperatures in the national park. A special attraction of each day tour are also the imposing temples Pra Mahatat Noppamethanedon and Pra Mahatat Nopphonphusiri, with the two royal pagodas, which should not be missed on the way to the summit. Tours to the national park are usually offered via guided day trips from Chiang Mai.
Tip: If you want to stay one night or longer in this area and arrive by car or scooter, we can give you this hotel tip.
- Prices: A day trip from Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon costs around 40,- Euro per person.
Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary
A visit to an Elephant Sanctuary is really popular in Chiang Mai. At that place, there are no elephant rides offered. On contrary, these elephant camps are dedicated to the wealth of retired and once tormented working elephants. Excursions to the elephants are offered at nearly every corner in Chiang Mai, but if you are also looking for an ethical elephant camp, then be sure to check out before your visit. In this case, there are excellent experience and recommendations for the Lanna Kingdom Elephant Sanctuary. It is located around 1 hour from Chiang Mai and a great experience for children and adults.
Tip: The pick-up from the hotel is included in most elephant tours. Mostly, you have the opportunity to bathe with elephants, feed them and observe them.
- Prices: An excursion from Chiang Mai to visit the elephants costs from 50,- Euro per person.
Royal Park Rajapruek
The Royal Park Rajapruek is located about 9 kilometers from the old town of Chiang Mai and is a really lovely place to visit for plant lovers. This huge botanic garden offers an incredibly wide variety of different flowers and plants, which are arranged according to topics and also to different countries. A stroll or a leisurely Hop-on Hop-off shuttle bus trip will reveal plenty of interesting sights and things to see. Therefore, you can spend a pleasant half day here at the botanical garden. Particularly beautiful is the Orchid Pavilion, with a wealth of fascinating orchids of all types and sizes. But also the Royal Pavilion, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view over the magnificent gardens, is really worth a visit.
Tip: Why not combine your trip to Rajapruek Royal Park with a visit to the beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Kham temple, which is located nearby.
- Prices: The entrance fee to the Royal Park Rajapruek is about 5,- Euro per person.
Temple Tour in Chiang Mai
The temples in Chiang Mai are probably one of the most famous and most visited attractions in the city. In the old town, you pass, felt, every few meters at an incredibly beautiful Buddhist site. But also in the surrounding area of Chiang Mai, there are some temple highlights that can be explored via an excursion. Among the most stunning temples in Chiang Mai are Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh and Silver Temple. On a temple tour, you will discover the most beautiful sanctuaries of the city and learn many exciting things about the history and culture.
Tip: A cool way to explore the temples of Chiang Mai are guided tours by bike!
- Prices: A tour through Chiang Mai costs around 25,- Euro per person.
Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls
The Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls are located near Chiang Mai, about 70 kilometers from the city, and are definitely one of the most extraordinary destinations in the region. This snow-white natural jewel is truly unique and inspires with a scenery like out of a picture book! The special feature is the white round limestone formations, which not only make an insanely beautiful picture, but also stand out due to their texture. These stones are sticky, so you can walk up and down the waterfall. These exceptional waterfalls are one of the insider tips of the region, and so a trip from Chiang Mai to the Sticky Waterfall is a really cool experience.
- Prices: A private guided tour to Sticky Waterfall costs around 80,- Euro per person.
Chiang Mai Grand Canyon & Water Park
The Grand Canyon in Chiang Mai, also known as Hang Dong Canyon, is not nearly as big as the American Grand Canyon, but it is still a lovely place to see in Chiang Mai. This canyon fascinates with a really extraordinary scenery, which served as a quarry years ago. Today, the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon is a popular water park, with many entertainment options. Daring jumpers plunge down to a depth of 10 meters, and a huge water playground provides plenty of fun and entertainment. A really cool excursion for kids and the young at heart.
Tip: There are two different water parks at the Grand Canyon. Tickets can be purchased on site, or conveniently online.
- Prices: The admission to the Grand Canyon Waterpark costs around 20 euros per person.
Hiking & Cycling Tours in Chiang Mai
During a vacation in Chiang Mai, you can also get really active. In the surrounding area, many adventure tours are offered, where you are guaranteed to experience plenty of exciting things. Also, especially popular are hiking or tours by bike. Since the city of Chiang Mai is surrounded by jungles, mountains and rice paddies, the whole area is perfect for outdoor activities. Bikes can be rented in the city. However, to get to know the most stunning spots of the region, you should join a guided half-day or day tour.
Tip: Unforgettable bike tours as well as guided hikes are also available on GetYourGuide! The reviews are also great, and you can compare them in advance.
- Prices: A guided hiking or biking tour from Chiang Mai costs around 40,- Euro per person.
Joining a Cooking Class
Thai food is really delicious, and Thai cooking can be a lot of fun. So, why not combine the two and take home some delicious recipes from Thailand. Really popular currently are the so-called “traditional Thai Cooking Classes”. At such a cooking class in Chiang Mai, you will learn in a sociable group everything important about the tasty northern Thai cuisine, and after the course you can enjoy your home-cooked delicacies.
- Prices: A traditional cooking course in Chiang Mai costs around 40,- Euro per person.
White Temple in Chiang Rai
If you are staying in Chiang Mai, you can also go on a day trip to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle. Although the trip is quite far, but still a trip up to the north is really wonderful. The highlight of this tour is the famous White Temple in Chiang Rai, one of the main attractions of Chiang Rai. It is recommended to combine your trip with a visit to the Black Temple or the Blue Temple. The visit to the Golden Triangle is also worthwhile and is even included in some tours.
- Prices: A trip from Chiang Mai to the White Temple costs around 50,- Euro per person.
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