Chiang Mai boasts an interesting collection of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Daytrips to the likes of hilltribe villages, national parks, waterfalls, hot springs, a leisure lake, ziplines and the exciting activity centres in the Mae Sa Valley ensure there is never a dull day in Chiang Mai. People with a desire to enjoy interactive experiences with Northern Thailand’s famous elephants will find the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang is a fascinating day trip. A guide to the top Chiang Mai day trip destinations is shown below.
Last Updated: 01-03-2018
Chiang Mai Day Trip Destinations:
Day Trips to the North of Chiang Mai | Day Trips to the East of Chiang Mai | Day Trips to the South of Chiang Mai | Chiang Mai Vehicle Rental Services | Further Reading
DAY TRIPS TO THE NORTH OF CHIANG MAI
The Mae Sa Valley is one of the jewels in Chiang Mai’s tourism crown. The turning for Highway 1096 is 15kms from Chiang Mai. This road runs right through the middle of the valley and connects all the attractions. The Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens, Baan Tong Luang hill tribe show village, Mae Sa Waterfall, Tiger Kingdom and farms with butterflies, elephants, monkeys, crocodiles and orchids are within a few kilometres of each other. The Chiang Mai Xcentre is located beside the 1096 and offers adventure activities including quad-biking, Xorb-ball and bungy-jumping. Read more on a guide to Mae Sa Valley.
Huay Tung Tao is a lake and popular leisure destination about 20 minutes’ drive away. The lakeside features shaded open-sided huts for picnics. Cafés offer Thai snacks, meals, and soft and alcoholic drinks. Typical menu items are spicy somtam papaya salad, grilled fish and meats, and sticky rice. Old inner tubes are available for rent and can be used to float on the water or you can just go swimming. Read more on the Chiang Mai Lakes and Reservoir.
Chiang Dao Elephant Training Centre is one of a number of similar camps in the Chiang Mai area. Visitors to the centre have a choice of several interactive elephant packages. The first is bathing and playing with elephants and the second is a one-hour elephant-back ride through the forests of Chiang Dao. A combination elephant ride and bamboo river-raft trip is the final option. The centre is located at the KM56 marker on Highway 107. Read more on Chiang Mai Elephant Trekking.
Chiang Dao Elephant Training Centre: #108/1, T. Inthakin, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-13:00 (Daily) | Prices: Entrance Fee 100 B/Person; Elephant Riding + Bamboo Rafting (1 Hour) 1,300 B/Person | Tel: +66 53 298 553 | Fax: +66 53 862 037 | Website | Map
DAY TRIPS TO THE EAST OF CHIANG MAI
Bo Sang and San Kamphaeng are adjoining areas. They are noted for shops and small factories which sell Chiang Mai’s handicrafts. Bo Sang Village is the place to buy the acclaimed and colourful sa paper umbrellas and fans. Factory outlets dotted around San Kamphaeng sell Thai silk clothing, accessories and household items, lacquerware, celadon and pottery, silverware, jewellery and semi-precious stones.
Muang On Cave is about 20kms from San Kamphaeng town and signposted from the main highway. The cave is loaded up with rock formations, stalagmites, stalactites and statues of Buddha and other religious figures. One of the more unusual exhibits at Muang On is what is believed to be the fossilised remains of a dinosaur. Read more on a guide to San Kamphaeng and Mae On.
The hot springs park at San Kamphaeng is a few kilometres past Muang On Cave. The main geyser here shoots a jet of water high into the air. Visitors are able to bath, take a group bath, swim and dip their feet into hot spring water. Boiled quail or duck’s eggs boiled in the sulphurous water make a tasty snack. There are plenty of masseuses on hand who are willing to add to the wellness experience with curative massages. A restaurant, several cafés and souvenir shops, and nicely maintained gardens are the key amenities at the hot springs park. Read more on the best Hot Springs in Chiang Mai.
Mae Kampong Village is an ideal destination for those looking to relax and enjoy nature at its finest. Homestays provide rustic accommodation while cafés serve up coffee made from locally grown beans. Hiking in the surrounding forest and to Mae Kampong Waterfall plus adventures on the original Chiang Mai zipline, Flight of the Gibbon, are other reasons to schedule a visit to Mae Kampong. Read more on a guide to Mae Kampong Village.
DAY TRIPS TO THE SOUTH OF CHIANG MAI
Originally the hub of Chiang Mai’s wooden handicraft and furniture industry, shops and factories at Baan Tawai have since expanded their range of products. Wooden toys, games and the likes of intricate models of motorcycles are complemented by teak dining table sets and four-poster beds. Lamps, Buddha statues, hand-crafted jewellery, stuffed toys, dolls and lacquerware are among other Baan Tawai specialities. Unusual ornaments and household utensils are practical gifts for loved ones. Read more on a guide to Shopping in Chiang Mai.
Towering 2,565 metres above Chom Thong district, Doi Inthanon is the loftiest mountain in Thailand. The top of the mountain is home to two iconic chedis and is one of the few places in the country where winter ground frost forms. Additional draws of Doi Inthanon are diverse. The main ones are four waterfalls – Wachirathan, Sirithan, Mae Klang and Mae Ya; Borichinda Cave, and the Ang Ka Luang and Kaew Mae Pan nature trails. Camping is convenient for people who want to extend their stays at Doi Inthanon. Read more on Chiang Mai Waterfalls and Doi Inthanon.
Lamphun is a small and historic town 30 minutes by road from Chiang Mai. Lamphun’s best known tourist sites are two temples, Wat Phra That Hariphunchai and Wat Chama Thewi. Phra That Hariphunchai is in the town itself and was founded in the ninth century. Its Chedi Suwanna is about 400 years newer and is ornate and multi-levelled. Wat Chama Thewi (or Wat Ku Kut) boasts impressive chedis, including Ratana and Kukut, and a peaceful atmosphere.
Wat Phra That Hariphunchai: #335, Inthayongyot Rd., T. Nai-muang, A. Muang, Lamphun 51000| Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Tel: +66 53 563 612 | Facebook | Map
Wat Chama Thewi: #123, M. 3, Chama Thewi Rd., T. Nai-muang, A. Muang, Lamphun 51000 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Tel/Fax: +66 53 511 149 | Map
The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC) is on the road down to Lampang. It is a facility dedicated to the wellbeing of elephants and providing memorable experiences for tourists. The TECC is home to 50 elephants ranging from calves to senior citizens. Shows demonstrate the skills of elephants in logging, painting and various activities. Other great TECC experiences are elephant-back rides, bathing with elephants and homestay packages. A must-have keepsake is a notebook created from elephant pooh. Read more on the best Chiang Mai Elephant Camps.
Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC): Km.#28-29, Lampang-Chiang Mai Highway, Hang Chat, Lampang 52190 | Open: 08:00-16:30 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 200 B; Child 100 B | Elephant Rides: ½ Hour 500 B | Tel: +66 54 829 333 | Fax: +66 54 829 334 | Website | E-mail | Map