Chiang Mai's main attraction are the lush forests that surround the northern city. There are way too many day trips to take and you would need to spend quite some time in the region to cover them all. But, there are some that stand out among the rest. Here are my top pick:
I have a whole post about my day at the Elephant Sanctuary here. It was truly a magical experience and one I won't be forgetting any time soon. If you do one thing while in Chiang Mai it should be this.
There are so many adventure tours around Chiang Mai, I was really excited to find a combined tour so we could experience a few things in one. This was definitely one of my favorite things I did while in Chiang Mai. We booked our tour ahead of time although, looking back I see that wasn't necessary since there are so many tour operators.
Our day was long, but totally worth it. We started out the morning with a zipline tour through the canopy. Next, we headed out on ATVs. We passed a couple of elephants along the way, which was pretty magical. Our guide even took us to a small waterfall that we were able to slide down. After a small lunch (included) we headed out whitewater rafting.
Like I said...long, but amazing day.
About an hour and a half away from Chiang Mai is Chiang Dao. The area is filled with a huge national park that is great for trekking. There is also caves to explore and hot springs to relax in. The best way to get here is either renting a motorbike or hopping on a local bus from Chiang Phueak Bus Station.
A 100-km loop that starts and end in Chiang Mai is a great way to spend the day. Rent a motorbike and drive the loop yourself. The loop includes gorgeous mountains, quaint valleys and through authentic local villages. There are many local places to stop and eat along the way.
Long Neck Hill Tribes
The Karen Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand, nicknamed the Long Necks, for their decorative brass neck rings. A day trip to one of the tribes is an interesting cultural experience. Book a guided tour to experience this.
Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) of Chiang Rai
If you want to see the famous White temple of Chiang Rai but don't have time to stay in the city itself you can easily do this in a day trip. There are many organized tour groups you can join to see this beautiful place.
Chiang Mai will be an amazing time no matter which tour you choose. Enjoy the unique city and experience the magic of Thailand.
Last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you.
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