Trekking tours are Chiang Mai’s version of the hiking tours so popular in other parts of the world. Trekking tours take visitors to the more remote areas of the mountains and jungles ringing Chiang Mai’s valley. They provide an unbeatable adventure experience plus insightful glimpses of Northern Thailand’s abundant attractions and heritage.
Although hiking only treks are an option, most Chiang Mai trekking tours incorporate bamboo-rafting , elephant-riding, swims and at least one stop at a hilltribe village. The length of the treks varies between a half-a-day intro to ones of six nights and seven days. People joining multi-day tours usually stay at houses in hilltribe villages.
Thai-style meals for the duration of the trek and transportation are included in package prices. The shorter trekking tours are usually to the nearby Doi Suthep, Mae Wang or Mae Taeng districts. Longer ones might go to these areas too, but some go farther afield to the likes of Doi Inthanon, Chiang Dao and even Chiang Rai and Nan.
Which hilltribes are included on each trek tour varies with the particular region of Chiang Mai. Shorter tours to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park usually stop at a Hmong or White Meo village. Trekking tour operators such as Green Trails go to Karen villages in Mae Wang. If opting for a Chiang Rai trip, this same operator plus others call at Akha villages including Huai Kee Lek.
Mae Taeng treks typically cover the region around Huai Nam Dang National Park and provide glimpses of the lives of Hmong, Akha, Lisu, Lahu and Karen hilltribes. Other bonuses of choosing this area are Pong Dued Hot Springs, the stunning vistas at Doi Kiew Lom Viewpoint and the proximity of Pai. Waterfalls are often added into trek tour itineraries. Apart from just before the onset of the rainy season, pools at the bases of falls like Mae Sa and Pha Dang National Park’s Sri Sangwan are refreshing for swimming in.
Knowledgeable guides lead treks through forests with ancient hardwood trees and clumps of bamboo standing guard. Wild flowers dot the wayside and the only sounds are often the tweet of birds or the voices of others in the group. Trekkers need to be reasonably mobile as the tours typically require two hours of walking at a time. Tour companies recommend that participants wear suitable walking shoes and bring swimwear for waterfall pool swims.
Trekkers have the choice of joining group tours or asking trek operators for tailor-made ones. There are scores of trekking agencies in the central areas of Chiang Mai. Many hotels and guesthouses have their own sightseeing and trekking tour desks too. The What’s Up team have picked out a few recommended agencies offering trekking tours from Chiang Mai.
Recommended Chiang Mai Trekking Agencies:
Amazing Trekking | Green Trails | Pooh Eco | Trekking CM | Trekking Collective | Trekking With Piroon | Further Reading
*Note: Prices do change, we recommend you to check with tour operators before making reservations.
Operating out of an office in the Nong Hoi area, Green Trails is a premier trekking tour company offering about 70 standard packages plus the chance of creating tailor-made ones. As Green Trails says, it can incorporate special destinations or experiences. Group tours are limited to 10 trekkers. Tours aimed at families with younger children are one of this operator’s top choices. Among destinations are Chae Son National Park, Huai Nam Dang and the jungles of Doi Inthanon.
Green Trails: #111/70 K-Park, Mahidol Rd., T. Nong Hoi, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50000 | Open: 08:30-17:30 (Mon-Sat) | Tour Prices: 1 Day (Doi Suthep) = US$100 / 2 Days (Karen Hilltribe) = US$105 / 3 Days (Mae Wang) = US$150 | Tel: +66 53 141 356 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
AMAZING TREKKING CHIANG MAI
A family-operated business, Amazing Trekking Chiang Mai certainly lives up to the name with its exciting adventure tours to Huai Nam Dang National Park. Lahu hilltribe guide Kalu designed the Amazing Trekking tour itineraries to take participants to places deep in the jungle where few other trekking agencies venture. The one-day tour comes with bamboo rafting while two and three days ones typically include Pong Dued hot springs, Mok Fa Waterfall and Karen, Shan and Lahu villages too. Winter camping trips allow trekkers to witness sunsets and sunrises. Transportation from Chiang Mai, food, accommodation, rafting and entry fees for national parks are included in this operator’s tour prices.
Amazing Trekking Tour: #195, Phadeng Village, Mae Malai-Pai Rd., T. Pha Pae, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 05:00-19:00 (Daily) | Tour Prices: 1 Day = 1,800-2,000 B / 2 Days = 3,000-4,000 B / 3 Days = 3,500-5,000 B *prices depend on group size* | Tel: +66 84 808 7663 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
POOH ECO TREKKING
Located in the prime backpacker and guesthouse zone around Rajchapakinai Road, Pooh Eco Trekking offers packages designed to ensure walkers leave nothing but their footprints behind. Pooh specialises in providing one-day standard and advanced treks plus three-day survival ones to Doi Inthanon National Park. A longer duration trek option is the Sop Moei area of Mae Sariang.
Pooh Eco Trekking: #59, Rajchapakinai Rd., T. Phra Singh, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 08:00-21:00 (Daily) | Tour Prices: 1 Day = 1,200-2,000 B / 2 Days = 3,560-5,360 B / 3 Days = 4,060-6,360 B *prices depend on group size* | Tel: +66 53 208 538, +66 85 041 4971 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
The Trekking Collective is based at an office on Soi 1 off Loi Kroh Road. Trekking Collective has been offering personalised trekking tours since the late 1980s. This company concentrates on providing unique experiences and ensuring tours do not harm the environment. Trekkers are able to build their own itineraries so that they include just mountains or the likes of hot springs , hilltribe villages and national parks as well.
The Trekking Collective: #3/5, Loy Kroh Rd., Soi 1, T. Chang Klan, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100 | Tour Price: N/A | Tel: +66 53 208 340, +66 83 152 3621 | Fax: +66 53 208 341 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
TREKKING WITH PIROON
Trekking with Piroon is another long established tour operator with professional guides totally focused on giving memories to treasure for tour groups and private parties. The guides know the northwest trail between Mae Taeng and Pai like the backs of their hands and are able to give enlightening details about them and the people who live there. Trekkers typically have to walk about five hours daily and will visit several hilltribe villages. Trekking with Piroon is also in the Rajchapakinai area of the Old City.
Chiang Mai Trekking with Piroon: #12, Rajchapakinai Rd., T. Phra Singh, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 09:00-19:00 (Daily) | Tour Prices: 1 Day = 2,000-2,500 B / 2 Days = 3,000-4,000 B / 3 Days = 3,500-5,000 B *prices depend on group size* | Tel: +66 53 115 906 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
Another popular choice, Trekking Chiangmai’s head office is in Nong Hoi. This company travels to remote areas and says trekkers will be very unlucky if they meet other trekking groups while they are enjoying the pristine environment of Northern Thailand. Standard treks go to Mae Wang, Doi Luang in Chiang Dao and Mae Taeng. Group tours are limited to six and private tours are available on request.
Trekking Chiangmai: #543/405, Soi 10, Karnkeha Nong Hoi, Chiang Mai-Lamphun Rd., T. Nong Hoi, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 5000 | Tour Price: N/A | Tel: +66 93 282 4454 | Website | E-mail | Map