Mae Taeng is a district about 35kms to the north of central Chiang Mai. It lies just beyond the turnoff for adventure centre extraordinaire, the Mae Sa Valley. Mae Taeng itself is not short on reasons to visit. A unique temple, elephant camps, Mae Ngat Reservoir, hot springs, a zipline facility and national parks are the other major draws here.
The guide below gives more details about the best attractions and activities in Mae Taeng. There are also a few recommendations for holiday hotels and resorts plus information about the most convenient ways of getting here. Floating raft hotels at Mae Ngat Reservoir add to the options for people wishing to stay overnight and spend time in an unspoilt natural environment.
Last Updated: December 2018
Ban Den Temple ticks all the boxes when selecting a cultural location to visit. The temple complex is on the large side and boasts a huge array of classic Thai Buddhist buildings, chedis and religious statues. Highlights are a collection of lion effigies, chedis representing the 12 star signs of the zodiac and a huge teakwood chapel replete with inlaid gold carvings. Wat Ban Den is on a side turning off the route to Mae Ngat Dam.
Wat Ban Den: – A. Mae Tang, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Admission Fee: Free
The reservoir at Mae Ngat Dam is part of Sri Lanna National Park. Stunning views, peacefulness, activities and the chance of staying the night on raft-houses have made the reservoir a favourite destination with Thai people and tourists alike. Swimming, canoeing, fishing and the thrills and spills of the mini water-playground at Ekachai Houseboat are the main outdoor activity choices.
Mae Ngat Reservoir: #3038, Inthakhin, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: 100 B
Sri Lanna National Park draws with wildlife, forest and mountain views, and as a relaxing escape from city life for a day or so. Mae Ngat Dam and its raft-houses, water activities, cycling, trekking and waterfalls are among the park’s attractions. Mon Hin Lai Waterfall flows year round and cascades down six levels and is one of three waterfalls. Pha Daeng Cave is cool on a hot day and features stalactites and stalagmites.
Sri Lanna National Park: – Ban Pao, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 100 B; Child 50 B | Tel: +66 53 317 495 | Website | E-mail
Huai Nam Dang National Park
Huai Nam Dang is located on the west side of Mae Taeng and in the direction of Pai, this park features majestic mountains and panoramic views. Doi Kiew Lom is a viewpoint with magical vistas. This is especially true during the cold season months when the annual ‘sea of mist’ shrouds valleys and mountain peaks. Huai Nam Dang and Mae Yen waterfalls, Pong Dued Hot Springs, trekking, mountain biking, camping and river rafting are the other principle reasons Huai Nam Dang National Park is a firm favourite with tourists.
Huai Nam Dang National Park: – M. 5, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 300 B; Child 150 B | Tel: +66 53 248 491 | Website | E-mail
Pong Dued Hot Springs
The hot springs at Pong Dued are not geysers in the true sense of the word, but are a few bubbling hot water streams which are channelled into pools for people to bathe in. There are also private bathhouses. Like most hot springs, the waters at Pong Dued are said to be revitalising and to alleviate skin ailments. There is a camping site here set amid forests around the hot springs. Pong Dued is located in Huai Nam Dang National Park and accessed via a turnoff on the road for Pai, Highway 1095. Read more on Pai Travel Guide.
Pong Dued Hot Spring: – T. Kued Chang, A. Mae Tang, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 300 B; Child 150 B | Tel: +66 53 248 491, +66 84 908 1531
WHAT TO DO IN MAE TAENG
Lying alongside the Mae Taeng River, Zipline Chiangmai is one of around 10 such facilities within an hour’s drive of the Old City. This zipline offers two hours of high octane thrills across a 2,000 metre, 31 platform course. The longest zipline is a gravity-defying 400 metres. Read more on Zipline Adventure in Chiang Mai.
Zipline Chiangmai: – M. 2, T. Kued Chang, A. Mae Tang, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 09:00-16:30 (Daily) | Price: 2,000 B (31 Platforms) | Tel: +66 85 720 0619 | Website | Facebook | Email
Noted for its exciting whitewater rafting, the Mae Taeng River provides opportunities to enjoy this activity for everybody from novice to experienced rafters. The rapids on the river are rated between Class II and Class IV. Read more on Whitewater Rafting in Chiang Mai.
The virgin jungle lining the Mae Taeng River is a heavenly backdrop for bamboo rafting. Rafting excursion providers utilise the Maetaman Valley and other tranquil stretches of the Mae Taeng River for this activity. Although bamboo rafting is available as a single activity, it is usually offered in combination with trekking tours. Read more on Bamboo Rafting in Chiang Mai.
Trekking experiences are one of Mae Taeng’s greatest draws. Although the district is close to Chiang Mai, it is spread out and trekking parties rarely encounter other trekkers. Treks are usually combined with bamboo rafting and elephant riding to create unique adventures. Overnight accommodation is at rustic houses in hill tribe villages such as those of the Lahu and Karen. Read more on Trekking in Chiang Mai.
Mae Taeng Elephant Park
Mae Taeng Elephant Park is in the Maetaman Valley and a showcase facility at which tourists are provided with diverse experiences. The park arranges daytrips from Chiang Mai and these feature elephant treks, elephant skills shows, rides in buffalo carts and bamboo rafting. This park has one of the few dedicated elephant care clinics in Northern Thailand.
Mae Taeng Elephant Park: #99/1, T. Kued Chang, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-16:00 (Daily) | Park Package: 1,600 B/Person | Tel: +66 +66 81 549 1110, +66 89 755 5451 | Website | E-mail
Maetaman Elephant Camp
Maetaman Elephant Camp is just down the road from Mae Taeng Elephant Park. Elephant rides, elephant shows, elephants painting pictures, feeding the elephants and the chance of buying elephant souvenirs provide full-on experiences at Maetaman. Mahout training programmes, a hill tribe village and oxcart rides are added bonuses at this camp.
Maetaman Elephant Camp: #131, M. 2, T. Kued Chang, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Price: N/A | Tel: +66 53 297 060 | Website | E-mail
Woody Elephant Training
Woody Elephant Training offers half-day tours with coaching on how to ride elephants bareback, bathing with elephants, lunch, the hire of hill tribe clothes and round-trip transfers included. One day tours add on extra activities including feeding the elephants and joining them in a mud spa.
Woody Elephant Training: #59/3, M. 1, T. Kued Chang, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Prices: ½ Day 1,800 B; 1 Day 2,400 B | Tel: +66 81 531 5363 | Website | E-mail
WHERE TO STAY IN MAE TAENG
A part of the Asian Oasis collection, Mae Taeng’s Lisu Lodge is managed by Lisu hill tribe villagers. The lodge’s boutique cottages have 20 rooms which feature all natural products and the basic necessities needed for comfortable sojourns. Private bathrooms, fans, hot showers and mosquito nets are the main features. The Lisu Lodge offers package deals which generally include meals and an educational outing to the local Lisu village. Lisu guides lead trekking tours from the lodge…more info & booking
Sibsan Resort & Spa
The Sibsan is close to Zipline Chiangmai and Maetaeng Elephant Park and offers five-star accommodation and facilities. The portfolio of private villas and suites boast elegant Lanna inspired décor and amenities including bathtubs, satellite TV, WiFi, minibars and verandas. The Kalapa Spa offers wellness treatments ranging from herbal facials and foot massages to traditional Thai massages. An onsite café and wine bar, a swimming pool, a library, a gym, free bicycle usage and a conference room are all provided for the convenience of guests.…more info & booking
Royal Ping Garden & Resort
The Royal Ping is a complex of structures and a tribute to the Lanna architecture of yesteryear. Full amenities like a swimming pool, the Inthakin Restaurant, Thai massage, a snooker room and shuttle services cater to the needs of visitors. Rooms and suites all feature air-conditioners, refrigerators and TVs. The Royal Ping enjoys a convenient garden location near the River Ping and Highway 107…more info & booking
Located within striking distance of Sri Lanna National Park, Riverside Homestay is an ambient accommodation choice where the emphasis is on tranquillity. Fully equipped, stylish bungalows and superior rooms come with breakfast included. A bar-restaurant, shaded gardens, a swimming pool and reservations services for activity and sightseeing tours are the main onsite amenities…more info & booking
The Phusanfah is a pleasing fusion of historic Lanna and European colonial styles and polished wood décor is very much in evidence. The room, suit and villa collection here ooze elegance and boast amenities such as mini-bars, private safes, facilities to brew hot drinks, and cable TV. A function hall, a swimming pool, transfer services from local airports and a setting amid verdant farming area near Mae Ngat Dam are additional bonuses of the Phusanfah…more info & booking
Ekachai Houseboat is situated on the shores of Mae Ngat Reservoir and a popular choice with tourists. It is reached by longtail boat from a pier near the dam. Ekachai’s floating raft-houses are basic but functional and decorated colourfully. Rooms have external decks and private bathrooms. A highly acclaimed restaurant plus inner-tube floats, bouncy platforms and kayaks set Ekachai apart from other Mae Ngat raft-houses.
Ekachai Houseboat: #3038, T. Ban Pao, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 09:00-18:00 (Daily) | Room Prices: 500-2,000 B | Tel: +66 81 950 9420 | Facebook | Map
HOW TO GET TO MAE TAENG
Mae Taeng Town is 40kms due north of central Chiang Mai and accessible on Highway 107. The town is on public transportation routes, but most of the attractions in the area are not. Public buses for Fang and Tha Ton stop at Mae Taeng Town. Buses depart from Chiang Mai Chang Phuak Bus Station and at frequent intervals during the daytime. Air-conditioned passenger vans operate on the same route from Chang Phuak and are slightly quicker.
Renting a songthaew or taxi in Chiang Mai or joining organised trekking and activity tour operators are other means of travel to Mae Taeng, while rental cars and motorcycles are more convenience choices. Rentalcars.com is a preferred partner for What’s Up and is a global car hire provider offering competitive daily rental rates in Chiang Mai.
Chang Phuak Bus Station: #108/27, Chang Phuak Rd., A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 04:00-21:00 (Daily) | Tel: +66 53 211 586, +66 53 223 900 |