The 10 Best Day Trips from Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is filled with scenic landscapes, traditional culture, incredible architecture and friendly locals, so it seems only fitting that there is a multitude of incredible tours and day trips from Chiang Mai to choose from.
We’ve created this list of our favorite things to do near Chiang Mai and our best 10 Chang Mai Day trips where you can discover ancient temples, national parks, waterfalls, Thai animals, ancient cities, and visit the hill tribes of the Golden Triangle.
Here is the list of the best day trips from Chiang Mai.
Also, check out our guide to fun things to do in Chiang Mai!
1. Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle Day Trip
Be a part of the countryside in Northern Thailand as you cross the border to Laos for a full-day tour of Chiang Rai and the Buddhist temples that reside here.
First, stop by the hot springs in Mae Kajan and soak your feet in the healing waters before embarking on the journey to the temple of Wat Rong Khun.
Here, you will find a magnificent building with a sublime white exterior inlaid with mirrored glass.
The rest of the trip involves entering the“Golden Triangle” in the city of Chiang Saen. Here, you will find markets, museums and delicious restaurants.
Plus, visit the hill tribe village and embrace the sense of community that is ever-present in Thailand.
2. 3 Experiences Day Trip
Obsessed with wildlife? This Elephant Sanctuary tour is a must-visit. This tour is three unique experiences all combined into one day.
Begin the 10-12 hour tour by visiting the elephant sanctuary and have the once in a lifetime opportunity to see these amazing creatures up close.
After you have taken in the incredible beauty of these creatures, you will head off to explore Doi Inthano. Here, you will find the highest point in Thailand, and you will be greeted with magnificent views.
Later in the day, nature lovers will be amazed at the final part of this tour.
Become soaked in the rich nature of the Pha Dok Siew trail where you will not only be subjected to unusual wildlife, but you will also get to see the most amazing waterfall.
3. National Park Half Day Trip from Chiang Mai
From panoramic views of the mountains to fantastic local markets and National Parks, this nine-hour tour will allow you to see so much of what Chiang Mai has to offer.
Find yourself venturing to the top of Doi Inthanon National Park to see Thailand’s highest mountain and the shrine of King Intharawichayanont.
Then get those feel-good endorphins pumping with a short hike along the Angkha Nature Trail before visiting the local market and restaurants for a delicious lunch.
Before heading back, you will also get to visit the Karen Hill tribe village and marvel at the Vachiratharn Waterfall.
4. Customize Your Own Private Chiang Rai Tour
Do you want to decide on exactly which attractions you get to see whilst having a personal driver and guide to answer any questions you have? Then this private day trip is ideal for you.
Choose from three to four city attractions and explore them in your own time.
Add attractions such as the Khun Korn Waterfall and the White Temple to learn about Thailand’s heritage.
Or, visit the Northern city of Chiang Rai where indigenous villages, charming streets and traditional markets can be found.
If you’d like ot get a bird’s eye view of the city and see some magnificent temples and perhaps even do some hiking, nearby Doi Inthanon National Park can easily be part of a full or half-day day trip.
Throughout this tour, you will gain personal insight from an expert guide on historical details, cultural elements and community stories for a totally immersive experience.
5. Day Trekking Full Day Trip from Chiang Mai
Day trips from Chiang Mai also have unique experiences that can’t be replicated elsewhere, for example, discover the spectacular caves of Chiang Dao on this Thailand day trip.
Here, you will carry gas lanterns as you climb through the five limestone caverns that have been produced underneath the mountains.
After the cave exploration, you will indulge in a delicious local market meal made with fresh produce and locally grown ingredients for a revitalising meal.
Plus, climb the most unique waterfall in Thailand, Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall, and discover the stunning landscape surrounding this wonder of nature.
6. Guided Day Trip from Chiang Mai
This day trip from Chiang Mai is jam-packed with attractions. This tour is perfect for those that want to understand the history that remains in Chiang Mai and those who love to see the sights that the locations that they visit have to offer.
Spend the day exploring iconic attractions such as The White Temple, the Big Buddha statue (which you can go inside to have a lunch break), the Black House Museum and the Blue Temple which has the most incredible murals.
You also have the option to visit Karen Village where you can wear traditional clothing, make crafts with locals and steep yourself in the Thailand culture.
7. Sukhothai Heritage Tour
Customize your own 12-hour half day trip from Chiang Mai to Sukhothai and explore many of the ancient temples and palaces along the way.
Create your own travel itinerary and choose up to four attractions with this tour. Plus, have a personal driver who will take you straight from your hotel to each attraction.
You can even add a personal guide to educate you on the history of Thailand.
Some of the best attractions to consider are the stunning Sukhothai Historical Park, Wat Traphang Ngoen and the Wat Chang Lom Ancient Remains where 32 elephant sculptures surround the main structure.
8. Lampang Temples Tour
This Lampang Temples tour is filled with exciting activities, including riding a horse cart through the town!
This off the beaten track experience takes you through various areas of Thailand. The first stop is Wat Phra That Lampang Luang which is filled with wonderful Lanna-style architecture.
Then, take a horse cart past the Wang River and head to Chammathewi Temple where you can find the famous “stepped pyramid” and various other attractions.
9. Chiang Mai Hike & Bike Day Trip
Looking for an active activity? This hike and bike day trip is perfect for those seeking adventure.
The five-kilometre walk is guided by a local and you will discover nature you have never seen before. You will see blooming flora and fauna, juicy fruit orchards and locals going about their everyday tasks.
After the walk, you will refuel at a local private house restaurant, before embarking on a 20-kilometre cycling trip that takes you through the scenic Thailand countryside, rice fields and rural roads with panoramic views.
After soaking in all that Thailand has to offer in terms of natural beauty you can head to another restaurant to relax and unwind before being transferred back to your hotel
10. Chiang Rai Temples Tour
When considering things to do near Chiang Mai you should seriously consider this private Chaing Mai tour.
Your day will be filled with panoramic views, spectacular architecture and immersive activities.
Along the trip, you will discover the Mae Khachan Hot Springs where you can relax in the gardens whilst dipping your feet into steaming mineral water.
Next up you’ll pass The White Temple, which is a modern architectural attraction built by a local artist.
Then you’ll visit the Wat Rong Seua Ten (the temple of the dancing tiger), where a fantastic blue and gold temple awaits you.
Before the day ends, you will make your way to Baan Dam Museum (Black House Museum) where you will find animal exhibits that encapsulate the history of Chiang Mai with its natural environment.
Bonus Full and Half-Day Day Trips from Chiang Mai City
If you don’t want to spend a whole day seeing outside of the city or don’t want the expense of a tour, consider these nearby attractions, some of which are in the Doi Inthanon National Park.
- Elephant Nature Park
- Chiang Dao – why not stay the night?!
- Mae Sa Waterfall (near the Queen Sirikit Botanical gardens)
- the ancient city of Lamphun (south of Chiang Mai, formed from the remanants of the Mon Kingdon and then the Lanna Kingdom)
- Tubing down the Pai river through the jungle