Chiang Mai Tours: Top 10 Day Trips & Excursions

Chiang Mai, the fascinating city in North Thailand, offers its visitors a multitude of possibilities for unforgettable daytrips, tours and excursions. Around that area there are many beautiful sights and lots of things to do in nature. Among the list of the ultimate must-sees are rushing waterfalls, national parks with deep jungles and high mountains, ethnic elephant camps and beautiful temples. Some of Chiang Mai’s attractions are located in the closer environment of the city. However, tours to Golden Triangle and the world-famous White Temple are a bit further, and can be booked through a day trip from Chiang Mai.

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. Also, you will get some useful tips and we will show you how and where to book trips in Chiang Mai.

Book excursions

Chiang Mai Tours can be booked at local travel agencies or, if you also value good recommendations and reviews as we do, you can book your favourite tours online. We had very good experiences with the online portal GetyourGuide, an excursion portal where you can browse through a huge selection of exciting tours and guided excursions. We really love the fact that most of the excursions can be cancelled 24 hours in advance.


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 to visit in Chiang Mai. Whether on your own with the scooter, with the red collective taxis or a guided tour, exploring that place is absolutely recommended. Above all, culture and nature enthusiasts will enjoy the many beautiful 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.

Tip: 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.

Hmong Village in Chiang Mai

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 village where you can shop cheap souvenirs and traditional Thai costumes. Once at the top of the gardens, you have an amazing view over the traditional village and the green jungle. The excursion can be done on your own with a scooter, or with a tour from Chiang Mai. Usually, a visit to the Doi Suthep Temple is included when visiting the Hmong Village.

Tip: If you have some time left you should stop at Pu Ping Palace and admire the palace grounds with their beautiful gardens.

Doi Inthanon National Park

A tour to Doi Inthanon National Park is an absolute highlight in the north of Thailand and is definitely one of the most rewarding excursions around Chiang Mai. The tours to the national park are usually offered by a day trip from Chiang Mai. You will enjoy the intact nature of the national park, you visit the highest mountain in Thailand, wander through the jungle and admire stunning waterfalls.

Tip: If you want to stay in this area for one night or more and arrive by car or scooter then we can give you this hotel recommendation. The bungalows are located near the National Park entrance and delight with pool and great views of the green rice terraces. Really unique!

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 elephant. 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 very good 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: In most elephant tours the pick up from the hotel is included. Often you have the opportunity to swim with elephants, to feed them and to observe.

Royal Park Rajapruek

The Royal Park Rajapruek is located about 9 kilometers from the old town 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 a lot 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: Connect your trip to the Royal Park Rajapruek with a visit to nearby Wat Phra That Doi Kham Temple. This temple complex is absolutely breath-taking and the views from the temple terrace are gorgeous too.

Temple Tour in Chiang Mai

The temples in Chiang Mai are probably the most famous and most visited attractions of the city. In the old town you will find a beautiful Buddhist site every few meters, but there are also some temple highlights in the area around. Chiang Mai’s most beautiful temples include Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh and the Silver Temple. On a temple tour you discover the most beautiful holy places of the city and learn a lot about history and culture.

Tip: A cool thing to do is explore the temples of Chiang Mai on a guided bike tour!

Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls

There are some really spectacular waterfalls around Chiang Mai. One of them the Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls, a kind of waterfall that you probably have not seen before. These really special waterfalls are among the insider tips of the region and so a tour from Chiang Mai to the Sticky Waterfall is a really cool experience. The special thing to see here are the white round limestone formations, which make for an insanely beautiful picture. These stones are sticky and so you can easily walk up and down the waterfall.

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 2 water parks at the Grand Canyon. If you just want to take pictures, the first park entrance on the road is good. But if you want to the exciting water activities, then take the 2 park entry!

Day Trip Chiang Rai to the White Temple

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 amazing. 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 of the Golden Triangle is also worthwhile and is even included in some tours.

Hiking & Cycling tours in Chiang Mai

When you are on holiday in Chiang Mai, you can get really active. The area around the city is just perfect for adventure tours where you are guaranteed to experience a lot of exciting things. Especially popular here are hiking or cycling tours. Surrounded by jungles, mountains and rice fields, Chiang Mai is perfect for nature activities. Bicycles can be rented in the city. In order to get to know the most beautiful spots in the region, you should join guided half-day tours or day trips.

Tip: Check out this guide about hikes in Chiang Mai!

Cooking Class – Visit to a cooking school

Thai food is really delicious, and cooking Thai can be a lot of fun. Why not combine both and take home delicious recipes from Thailand. Joining a Thai Cooking Classes is very popular. With such a cooking class in Chiang Mai you will learn in a convivial group all the important things about the tasty Northern Thai cuisine and after the course you can enjoy your home-cooked treats.

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