5 of the Best Day Trips from Chiang Mai

by Paul Joseph  |  Published February 22, 2023

Situated in the mountainous region of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a popular jumping off point for a number of action-packed day tours.

(Photo: Trailhead Thailand / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

Famed for its atmospheric misty mountains, colourful hill tribes, and elaborate Buddhist temples, the city is one of Thailand’s biggest tourist destinations. There’s enough to keep visitors here busy for days on end, but if you’re keen to venture further then it’s also the ideal base to embark on day-long excursions that take you into the city’s surroundings and beyond. Below are five of the best.

Doi Inthanon National Park Hiking Tour

Hike deep into Doi Inthanon National Park on this immersive 7-hour tour. Organised and run by  Trailhead Thailand, specialists in trekking, mountain biking, and cycling in Chiang Mai, as well as kayaking and camping tours, the trip will see you summit to the highest spot in the country before stopping off at some of the most scenic waterfalls in the region. Here, cool off in a refreshing natural swimming pool, perfect during the hot season, before visiting a local tribal village for some lunch. During the day there’ll also be the chance to sample complimentary coffee using beans grown in the area, and spot local wildlife, including snakes, lizards, and gibbons. One final waterfall awaits on the way back to the city to cap off your adventure. From $77 per person.

Book at GetYourGuide

Cycle Tour of Mae Ngat Valley from Chiang Mai

(Photo: Active Thailand / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

Explore the Mae Ngat Valley with the wind in your hair on this 6-hour  guided biking tour. Starting with a transfer from Chiang Mai, you’ll traverse the beautiful valley on two wheels, cycling along little-used roads and trails and making some incredible cultural stops along the way. Highlights include encounters with exotic rural life and learning about rice farming from your expert guide, visiting the area’s most important temple, and delighting your taste buds with a delicious Thai lunch and fresh seasonal fruits. The  tour price includes round-trip transfers and bike hire. From $58 per person.

Book at GetYourGuide

Full-Day Chiang Dao Caving & Jungle Kayaking

Combine a trip through the jungle, with cave exploration and kayaking during this 9-hour adventure. After being driven high up into the jungle, 1.5 hours north of Chiang Mai, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Thai wilderness. From here, you’ll embark on your kayaking experience, where abundant bird life, jumping fish and mysterious sounds will accompany your journey across the water. Next, you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before tackling Chiang Dao Cave. Spend an hour following a local guide with headlamps and flashlights to the well-lit caverns, where striking Buddhist shrines cover the entrance. The tour concludes with return transport to Chiang Mai. From $72 per person.

Book at GetYourGuide

Inthanon Day Trip from Chiang Mai with Lunch

(Photo: Touring Center / Courtesy Viator)

Home to Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon National Park can be explored on this 9-hour day-trip. Over the course of the day, you’ll stop to take snaps at the mountain peak, traverse the Ang Ka Nature Trail to enjoy the area’s lush landscape, visit the Twin Pagodas, see the Wachirathan Waterfall, pass by traditional rural sights like rice terraces, and visit the Karen Hill Tribe village to get a glimpse of ethnic culture. The tour price includes lunch, park entrance fees, and round-trip hotel transfers from Chiang Mai are include. From $73 per person.

Book at Viator

Customize Your Own Chiang Mai City & Temple Tour

For a more intimate and exclusive experience, this 10-hour private tour lets you customise a sightseeing trip around Chiang Mai and its magical temples in the company of a select group of family or friends. With an expert guide, you and your guests can hand-pick your route and stop-offs, with the option of selecting four Chiang Mai City attractions. Among the landmarks you can pick from are some of the area’s mesmerising ancient temples, including Wat Chedi Luang (Temple of the Big Stupa) and Wat Chiang Man (Chiang Mai’s oldest temple). Temple admission is not included in the tour price. From $92 per person.

Book at Viator