The 5 greatest day journeys from Chiang Mai

Although Chiang Mai has a wealth of points of interest to maintain guests busy for days on finish, town’s enchantment as a journey vacation spot is enhanced by its location. The Rose of the North is located amidst jungle-blanketed hills and rolling rice fields, the place cottage craft industries nonetheless thrive and distinct temples dazzle. It’s a world crying out to be explored.

From lakeside pampering in Huay Teung Tao to hilltop climbing round Doi Inthanon, listed below are 5 of one of the best day journeys from Chiang Mai.

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Hikers taking within the views on the Kaew Mae Pan Nature Path © nirutti / Shutterstock

Watch the dawn at Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s best-known nationwide park

Journey time: 2 hours

Taking its title from Thailand’s tallest peak at 8415 toes (2565m), Doi Inthanon Nationwide Park is likely one of the nation’s best-known nationwide parks, masking greater than 185 sq miles (480 sq km) and residential to quite a few waterfalls, climbing trails, viewpoints, hill tribe villages and chook species.

It’s form of an enormous deal, significantly through the nation’s chilly season from November by means of January when temperatures drop on the greater elevations and typically even frost seems – a phenomenon that draws Thai guests used to sweltering tropical climate. Generally it even makes the information.

Doi Inthanon can also be one of many few nationwide parks in Thailand that’s simple to drive by means of, with easy roads connecting key websites and points of interest such because the Kaew Mae Pan Nature Path. This quick however spectacular path, which requires the assistance of a neighborhood information (and provided bamboo climbing stick), winds by means of a bit of the park’s greatest landscapes to lovely viewpoints overlooking the encompassing valleys.

Many individuals discover Doi Inthanon as a day journey, both on their very own or by means of an organized tour, however it’s also possible to keep in primary bungalow lodging or camp on the mountain in a single day to get up above the clouds.

The right way to get to Doi Inthanon from Chiang Mai: A full day taxi service together with return journey and totally different stops across the park, prices round 3000B ($95). A less expensive possibility is to hop in a shared songthaew (passenger van) heading within the route of the park.

A line of bamboo huts stand at the edge of Huay Tung Tao, a man-made reservoir near Chiang Mai. A swing dangles from a tree in the foreground.
Lounge in a bamboo hut on the banks of Huay Teung Tao © phanasitti / Getty Photos

Graze on scrumptious Thai meals overlooking Huay Teung Tao

Journey time: 30-45 minutes

Technically a man-made reservoir, tranquil Huay Teung Tao is a neighborhood hang-out for whiling the day away in easy bamboo huts proper on the water. It’s significantly common with households and teams of mates over the weekends and public holidays.

In recent times, there’s been a rise in actions supplied across the reservoir, equivalent to ATV using or paddle boarding, however settling into one of many huts for a day of grazing on native Thai fare and bottles of beer remains to be the favourite strategy to “do” Huay Teung Tao. Every hut is tied to a special restaurant, which all supply related menus, high quality and pricing – merely decide a spot, order some meals or drinks and keep so long as you want.

The right way to get to Huay Teung Tao from Chiang Mai: Simply 9 miles (14km) away from the middle of Chiang Mai’s previous metropolis, alongside the 121 or “Canal Street,” Huay Teung Tao is fast and handy to get to in a songthaew, by calling a automotive with the Seize ride-sharing app, or with your individual set of wheels.

Bo Sang serves as a middle for umbrella making: these conventional umbrellas are at Wat Phra Kaew © Getty Photos

Go to conventional artisans within the villages of Bo Sang and San Khampaeng

Journey time: 1.5 hours for each

Chiang Mai has lengthy been a handicrafts hub, recognized for its consultants within the disciplines of wooden carving, silversmithing, weaving and extra. Right now, expert artisans nonetheless observe many of those conventional arts and crafts and, consequently, you will discover many distinctive, handmade souvenirs for buy across the metropolis and in its myriad markets, from baskets and furnishings to jewelry and ceramics.

However for the optimum selection of genuine souvenirs, head east out of city on Freeway 1006, also referred to as the “handicraft freeway,” to succeed in the small villages of Bo Sang and San Khampaeng. Whereas Bo Sang serves as a middle for umbrella and paper making, San Khampaeng makes a speciality of textile and ceramic objects. Many workshops and showrooms are on the primary street or marked with indicators pointing the way in which.

For a contrasting take a look at Thailand’s artwork and handicrafts, cease by the MAIIAM Up to date Artwork Museum, simply a few miles from Bo Sang, to absorb exhibitions showcasing modern Thai artists. Alternatively, if furnishings and residential decor are extra to your style, go south of Chiang Mai metropolis towards Dangle Dong to the woodcarving village of Ban Tawai.

The right way to get to Bo Sang and San Khampaeng from Chiang Mai: White songthaews depart for Bo Sang from close to Warorot Market in Chiang Mai. In any other case, taxis and Seize vehicles are available, that are additionally the best choice for reaching Ban Tawai.

The entrance to Wat Rong Khun, an art exhibition in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai. The narrow path to the temple entrance, which is bright white, passes over a 'lake' from which hundreds of sculptures of hands grasp upwards towards the blue cloudless sky.
Wat Rong Khun is not like several temple you’ve got seen earlier than © apiguide / Shutterstock

{Photograph} the unbelievable White Temple and Black Home

Journey time: 3.5 hours for each

Although somewhat taxing as a day journey, when you have restricted time and received’t make it to neighboring Chiang Rai Province as a part of your travels in Thailand, it’s doable to see two of the area’s most beloved websites – Wat Rong Khun and Baandam – in at some point from Chiang Mai.

Generally recognized in English because the White Temple (although it isn’t really a spot of worship), Wat Rong Khun was the brainchild of up to date Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Quirky is probably one of the best ways to explain the glittering white advanced, with guests having to stroll previous a sea of craving arms (symbolizing want) to succeed in the temple’s inside, the place trippy murals that embody pictures of Keanu Reeves and Superman adorn the partitions.

Close by, Baandam, that means “Black Home,” is one other otherworldly creation, this time from the thoughts of Chiang Rai-born artist Thawan Duchanee. Not like the glowing Wat Rong Khun, Baandam’s sprawling assortment of buildings, sculptures and gardens function darkish teak wooden, useless animal components and macabre preparations. Each white and black complexes will seemingly reside lengthy within the reminiscence – or doubtlessly nightmares – of tourists.

The right way to get to the White Temple and Black Home from Chiang Mai: Lease a automotive to do the journey or search for one in every of quite a few package deal excursions to the temples that can seemingly decide you up out of your resort by 8am and return again to Chiang Mai within the night round 8pm. If you wish to go it alone, cheap buses run frequently from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. 

A motorbike is parked at a scenic viewpoint along the Samoeng Loop near Chiang Mai. A helmet sits on the bike seat while views of green valleys are visible beyond.
Take to the open street on the Samoeng Loop greatest expertise within the dry season © Alana Morgan / Lonely Planet

Do the Samoeng Loop on a bike tour

Journey time: 2.5 hours

You’ll be able to’t go to Chiang Mai with out getting out into its surrounding hills. For these comfy on two wheels, the 62-mile-long “Samoeng Loop” is successful with locals and vacationers alike, particularly on the weekends and within the dry cooler season.

Driving straight by means of will take you round 2.5 hours. Nevertheless, all through the route there are many locations to cease off, together with the Nam Tok Mae Sa, a scenic – although typically busy – tiered waterfall that’s good for swimming, and Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens, an enormous, manicured inexperienced house bursting with unique flowers, so plan for 4 hours or extra. Although you could possibly do the loop with a automotive and driver, it’s actually the journey itself – experiencing the air speeding by your face and taking in 360-degree views – that’s the drive’s primary draw.

Scooter leases can be found from quite a few operators in Chiang Mai, together with Mr Mechanic and Toon’s Bikes. Alternatively, organized bike excursions across the loop can be found.

The right way to get to the Samoeng Loop from Chiang Mai: Begin by driving north out of city on Freeway 107 to Mae Rim after which flip left onto Freeway 1096. This may take you climbing up into the hills, passing small rustic eating places, strawberry fields, Royal Venture agriculture initiatives and views of the valley earlier than reaching the small village of Samoeng. Flip left onto Freeway 1296 to start out looping again in the direction of Chiang Mai.

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