Activities To Do In & Around Chiang Mai
Google Map Note: On each map, you’ll notice a GREEN ARROW. That IS the location, not the letter (A, B, C) that Google places nearby.
Huay Tung Tao Lake, just north of the city (about 10 KM) off of the Canal Road (121). Entrance fee: 20 Baht.
Mae Ngat Lake & Dam is a great place to chill out, swim, eat at one of the little restaurants lining one area, or even stay overnight on a house boat. Swimming is okay, but the water is not too clear. It takes about an hour by car to get there. A long boat taxi will cost 500 baht (return), so it’s best to go with a small group.
The Rock Quarry, Hangdong
Located about 15 KM south of Chiang Mai from Suthep Road and Canal road (Hwy 121), this non-touristic place is known by locals as stunning and picturesque with 2-15 meter cliff jumps and very clean, warm, emerald green or blue swimming water.
1. From Suthep Rd. in Chiang Mai, head south on Canal Rd. (Hwy 121) for 13.9 KM (about 10 minutes past Hang Dong and 1 KM past the Hangdong Golf Course sign.)
2. Turn Right (west) on a small bridge for 1 KM (just after the gas station.) Follow the road and be sure to take the left fork.
3. Then, make two quick lefts after 70 meters each.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2zek3j25Lc (Bird’s Eye View Video)
Listed below Trip Advisor has a rather comprehensive list of activities in Chiang Mai.
Op Khan National Park Swimming
You can park your motorbike at the signed parking, then walk about 10 minutes through the jungle. There’s even a small sandy area there.
Parks – In Chiang Mai City
Suan Buak Haad Park, The very southwest corner of the moat/old city.
This a beautiful, inner-city park where many locals go to walk, run, have a picnic, or chill out and feed the fish and birds. They even have aerobics workouts almost every day around 5:30 PM. It can be a bit noisy because it’s next to the road, but it’s still a peaceful setting.
Uniserv Exercise Park, Off of Nimmanhaemin Road, just south of soi 17
Locals go here to walk and run around this small, but nice path nestled in the trees and next to a small pond.
700 Year Stadium, North of Chiang Mai, just off of the Canal Road.
Ratchapat University Fitness Park, Off of Changpuak Road, from the north gate.
This is a full-size track at the university where locals run, walk, and play various sports. There is also mechanical-based exercise equipment free for anyone’s use. No fee.
Wats to See? Wat’s not to see?
With more than 300 temples in and around Chiang Mai, more than any other city in Thailand per capita, here are some I suggest for architecture, character, and general interest.
Wat Phra Singh – at the end of Rachadamnoen RoadSingharat Road, one of the largest and located in the inner city on the west side.
Wat Doi Suthep – the famous, very touristy Wat on the mountain, but still a great Wat to see. Song taews (red baht bus/trucks) go there from Huay Kaew road near the zoo, among from other places. Or, go on an adventure and just rent a scooter/motorcycle and have fun riding up there.
Wat U Mong – located off of Suthep Road near Chiang Mai University, this Wat has tunnels and a small lake where you can sit and relax, and feed the fish, birds, and turtles.
Wat Jed Yod – an oldy, but a goody.
Wat Chedi Luang – despite this being one of the largest and most touristic temples in Chiang Mai, it’s impressive in its size and also kind of hidden in the city.
From Trip Advisor – There are many around Chiang Mai. Of particular note and special care for the elephants, Patara Farm has been recommended to me. See the below link for trip advisor.
Patara Elephant Farm, near Hang Dong (city), located about 30 minutes south of Chiang Mai. This farm is rated as one of the best around Chiang Mai and noted for their special care for the elephants.
Trekking – Many travel shops offer treks to hilltribes, elephant camps, bamboo rafting, inner tubing, etc.
Hiking – Just get off the beaten path as Chiang Mai is surrounded by tons of nature.
Huay Kaew Waterfall
Chiang Mai Lake at Chiang Mai University
This is a pleasant, local lake where mostly university students go to hang out, take a short walk, or just a nice place to chill out.
Huay Tung Tao Lake
This is a great little get away that’s only about 12-14 KM from Chiang Mai off of Route 121 (the Canal Road). There are small restaurants on the east side of the lake where you can order Thai food and sit right by the shore.
The Mae Ngat Dam & Reservoir
San Khampaeng Hot Springs is a beautiful area to relax in public or private pools. Despite the place being highly touristic, there’s no entrance fee to look, though. It’s located about 40 KM east of Chiang Mai. From Hwy 11, go east on Route 1317 for about 30 KM, then take a left (right after you see the hot springs sign) for 2.8 KM.
Doi Saket Hot Springs is a non-touristic place where mostly locals hang out. There’s also a few small cheap food stalls there. There’s no entrance fee.
Heading northeast on Kaeo Nawarat Rd (ถนน แก้วนวรัฐ) and taking Rte 118, it’s located about 40 minutes (35 KM) from Chiang Mai.
Travel on Rte 118 for 22.8 KM from the Super Hwy (11). Then, turn right on Rte 3005 (in Doi Saket just 200 Meters past Chiang Hill Resort) and go 1.2 KM, then turn left just past Wat Ban Pong (Wat Sawang Waree) and go 500 Meters and it’s on your left.
Rock Climbing – There is rock climbing here, including indoors and outside of the city on actual rocks — imagine that?
River Rafting – Many travel shops offer river rafting trips with a variety of class rapids.
Mountain Biking – You can sign up for a day trips with various travel shops or biking companies and they will provide transportation, the bike, lunch, etc.
Cooking Classes – There are many Thai cooking courses in Chiang Mai with many of them located in the inner city.
Thai Massage Courses – There are many Thai Massage courses in Chiang Mai.
Wat Suan Dok
Northern Insight Meditation Centre, 4 KM south of Chiang Mai. They offer 26-day (or longer) courses.
Wat Suan Dok – On Suthep Road on the west side from the moat.
The Yoga Tree has had good mention from what I’ve heard.
Spas – There are numerous spas located in and all around the city. See HTTP://www.tripadvisor.com for specific ratings and places.
Flight of the Gibbons is rated high on the list of zipline courses. Most travel shops can arrange this day course, or at their main office near Tha Pae gate.
Sunday Night Walking Street – this is the famous weekly shopping event in Chiang Mai where tourists and locals go to buy street food, arts, crafts, clothing, and more. It begins at Tha Pae gate and goes west on the main road into the inner city. Literally, there are thousands of people every week and it starts in the early evening and goes til about 11 PM.
Saturday Night Walking Street – this is much like the Sunday Night Walking Street, but just smaller and located right near Chiang Mai gate on the south side of the moat.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar – this is a nightly shopping place where there is food, tons of tourists, and shopping for arts, crafts, clothing, and more. It’s located on Chan Klan Road just east on Loi Kroh Road from the moat.
Talat Warorot (Market) – this is a daily market that sells local food, spices, produce, flowers, clothing and more. It’s located east of the inner city on Chang Moi Road.
Doi Khun Tan National Park
Brownie Hunting: Finding the best brownies in Chiang Mai…
Minimart Convenience Store (sign is in Thai มินิมาร์) – This store has my favorite brownies (topped with cashews) in Chiang Mai. For 15 baht each, they are kept in the refrigerator case with the drinks. For the baht, these are better than most at twice the price, in my opinion. The store is located next to a bookstore on Soi 4 off of Suthep Road, just east of the back entrance to Chiang Mai University. They are open from 9 AM – 11 PM daily.