Chiang Mai is one of the cultural and spiritual hubs of South East Asia. Set amid the mountains of northern Thailand, it is a beautiful, fascinating place to visit, with so many different ways to experience it to the fullest. That is where a good tour can come in handy. By offering to take care of the harder parts, like getting you from points A to B, a tour can be a great way to experience Chiang Mai, especially if time is an issue.
There are plenty of different experiences to be had and different ways to get around. In this article we here at TravelMag.com hope to bring you a cross-section of the best, from sampling the best street food to propelling yourself around the city on a bicycle. All tours are selected on the strength of their value for money, itineraries and previous guest reviews.
FROM: $82/per person
When visiting an elephant sanctuary, or indeed any animal sanctuary, it is imperative that you check that the sanctuary is ethical in more than just their marketing. Nevertheless, such experiences can make for some of a trip’s most memorable. On this tour, many of the elephants have been rescued and you can help give them a bath and feed them sugar cane. It is a unique opportunity to have a close, meaningful interaction with these magnificent creatures.
From $66/ per person
Four hours may seem like a long time to be cycling around, but when you add in numerous stops to sample a variety of foods that Thai cuisine would be much weaker without, it starts to seem like a great way to take a tour. Chiang Mai has a bit of a famous street food thing going on, and Muang, Tai Yai and Shan cuisines are all something you’ll end the day familiar with, if you know of them already or not. All samples, bike and helmet rental, taxes and guide fees are included in the price.
From $59/ per person
Doi Inthanon National Park is within easy reach of Chiang Mai on a day trip. This tour takes you in and around the park in a small group (the air-conditioned van holds up to nine people). Head up Thailand’s highest peak to the shrine of King Intharawichayanont (good luck trying to pronounce that) and enjoy a short hike along the Angkha Nature Trail. Stupas and local markets also make it onto this lively itinerary. Admission fees and hotel pickup and drop-off are included.
From $40/ per person
If you’d rather see Chiang Mai by bicycle without all that street food, then this 12.4-mile guided route over five or six hours is a great option. The tour traverses the Ping River until reaching the fringes of the city where Buddhist temples and ancient ruins abound. This is a good way to get away from the main tourist drag and see something more unique. The tour is billed as being family friendly, which would suggest that inexperienced cyclists are unlikely to suffer on this tour.
From $31/ per person
South East Asia and street food are inseparable elements, and Thai food can be some of the best in the whole region when done right. For that you need a guide in the know and this tour is all about visiting the right stalls at the right night markets. Sample up to eight different dishes including coconut dumplings and stewed pork. There are options for vegetarians, but it is best to declare your dietary preferences before joining the tour, just in case.