Chiang Mai is one of the historical cities and provinces located in the northern part of Thailand. It is the largest city in northern Thailand with people visiting from all over the world. There are countless restaurants, bars, attractions, temples and markets to visit, and the most outstanding landmark is the Tha Phae Gate and its consecutive gates in the old city. Besides the Thai locals, the city is filled with expats and digital nomads. Chiang Mai offers convenient and affordable transportation, a variety of restaurants, bars and interesting nightlife. On the other hand, it can be challenging if you have explored every corner of the city. But, do not fret because there are many places to visit nearby. Given its convenient location, you can plan numerous short trips from Chiang Mai. To help you on this adventure, here is a list of best day trips from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Bua Tong Waterfalls is located about an hour and a half towards the north of Chiang Mai Old City. It is also famously known as Sticky Waterfalls because it consists of sticky limestone walls. The vertical waterfalls slope down to a slanting one, which provides the people to climb up the waterfalls by its sticky walls. Who needs a trip to a water slide at a park where you can immerse into nature and have a great time? Bua Tong Waterfalls is one of the best short trips you can undertake from Chiang Mai.
Climb Sticky Waterfall Like a Spiderman
Duration: 4 hours
Located 189.6 km (118 miles) from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is a hidden gem of northern Thailand. There are many things to do and see in this small province, such as the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), Black House (Baan Dam Museum), Big Buddha (Wat Huay Pla Kung) and Singha Park. There are many night bazaars in the city that are worth a visit, too. They are filled with stalls selling clothes, accessories and food, plus live band performances are also held regularly. Chiang Rai is definitely a place to relax and rejuvenate yourself
Chiang Rai One Day tour from Chiang Mai (White Temple-Black House-Blue Temple)
Duration: 8 hours
Doi Inthanon is about 86.4 km (53.7 miles) from Chiang Mai. It is known for Doi Inthanon National Park, and it is the highest peak in Thailand with a height of more than 2565 metres (8415 feet) above sea level. Surely, it gives the visitors a fresh turn of the atmosphere with a picturesque view of clouds over the mountain ranges. The national park is well-maintained, with evergreen nature and clean air. It is a great place for trekking, going on a trail walk and discovering unique flowers and plants. It gets quite chilly during the winter, while the summer is warm and inviting.
Doi Inthanon Full Day Tour with Lunch: All-Inclusive Price Promotion!
Duration: 8 to 9 hours
Located about an hour drive south from Chiang Mai, Lamphun is a historical province in Thailand, which is surrounded with lustrous nature and popular for its longan fruit. While you’re here, visit the rice fields, check out the famous temple of Wat Phra That Hariphunchai, marvel at the outstanding architecture of Chedi Suwanna, and hike the Koh Luang waterfall. Koh Luang waterfall is a must-visit waterfall, for it features spectacular serene turquoise colored water.
Full-Day Countryside Bike Tour from Chiang Mai
Duration: 8 hours
Mae Kachan Hot Spring and Geyser is about 72.7 km (45.17 miles) from Chiang Mai. It is located under the province of Chiang Rai, at Mae Chedi Mai district. At Mae Kachan Hot Spring and Geysers, the water rises up to 90°C (194°F), and it is completely natural. The hot spring is maintained very well, and has beautiful landscapes surrounding it, giving the visitors a place to relax while soaking themselves in the hot water.
White Temple, Black House Museum and Hot Spring Tour from Chiang Mai
Duration: 10 hours
Chiang Dao is 69.8 km (43.4 miles) north of Chiang Mai and can be reached within an hour and a half. Its famous attractions are Chiang Dao Cave, Pha Daeng National Park and Doi Chiang Dao, yet kayaking is one of the best adventures so far. You can go on a kayaking expedition on Mae Ping River and admire the nature. Chiang Dao Cave is yet another must-visit attraction. It consists of over 12 km (7.45 miles) of stalactite-laden caves with magnificent sinter. It is a completely different adventure of admiring nature than kayaking.
Chiang Dao Kayaking, Caving, and Jungle Tour from Chiang Mai
Duration: 1 day
At a distance of 54.9 km (34.1 miles) from Chiang Mai, Elephant Nature Park is one of the best places to see the elephants of Northern Thailand. It is a must-do short trip from Chiang Mai to experience a whole different level of adoration for animals, particularly the elephants. It is a rescue and rehabilitation center for elephants, which features a huge park for the elephants to play, relax, bathe and spend their quiet time in the natural surroundings. While visiting the park, there is so much to learn about the rescued elephants. You can even feed them.
Full Day Elephant Nature Park Tour from Chiang Mai
Duration: 9 hours
Mae Ngat Dam is about an hour drive from Chiang Mai, at a distance of 51.7 km (32.12 miles). At Mae Ngat Dam, you can fall in love with northern Thailand all over again. It will give you a pleasant feeling of tranquility and peacefulness, making it worth a short trip. It is a place where you can relax on a floating hut, swim in the lake, or even go kayaking along the lake and down the river.
Cycling the Mae Ngat Valley in Chiang Mai
Duration: 8 hours
Pha Chor is a historical site of a naturally formed cliff consisting of monolithic walls and is quite similar to the Grand Canyon of the United States of America. It is located toward the south of Chiang Mai, at a distance of 50.2 km (31.2 miles). It consists of well-maintained uphill trails and narrow paths surrounded by huge rocks and tall trees, which makes hiking it a bit challenging. However, the hike is worth it for the breathtaking views of the area you’ll witness once you reach the top. It is an ideal short trip that you should undertake early in the morning when the sun is not scorching hot.
CHIANG MAI: Join Tour One Day Phachor (Grand Canyon) - Bamboo Rafting
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes
Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat is located in Lampang, which is about two hours and 30 minutes drive away from Chiang Mai. It is located at a distance of 162.1 km (101 miles). It is famous for its white pagodas situated on high rocky mountains. Over the mountains, there is a beautiful picturesque view of the horizon and perfect point to view the sunset. It is a beautiful monastery built on a mountain and in the forest commemorating Lord Buddha. This short trip will certainly be worth the experience and have you in a peaceful state of mind.
1 day Private Tour to Unseen Temple in Lampang
Duration: 9 to 10 hours
Pai is a small peaceful town located north of Chiang Mai, at a distance of 128.3 km (80 miles). It can be reached within three hours by road. It is the best place for hiking or trekking the mountains. It is also a place to relax and appreciate nature. Wat Phra That Mae Yen is one of the most visited spots in Pai, offering an awesome panoramic view of Pai. Other attractions worth a visit include Pai Canyon, World War II Memorial Bridge, hot springs and Santichon Yunnanese Village.
Pai Highlights Private One Day Trip From Chiang Mai
Duration: 13 hour
Just 14.1 km (9 miles) or about 25-minutes drive from Chiang Mai, Mae Sa is a small valley located in the forest full of tall green trees. It sounds like a quiet boring village, yet it offers a lot of adventure activities, waterfalls, parks and gardens. It is a hub for all the adrenaline junkies. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in pursuits such as bungee jumping, zip-lining, paintball game, go-karting, dirt biking and even driving an ATV (all-terrain vehicle). Also, it has botanical gardens, waterfalls, snake farms, orchid and butterfly farm, Tiger Kingdom and Mae Rim Monkey School.
From Chiang Mai: Mae Sa Valley Hike and Bike Day Tour
Duration: 8 hour
Plan your best short trips from Chiang Mai
Although Chiang Mai is a beautiful place to visit, there are lots of less-frequented places nearby that are worth checking out. Read our above list of the best day trips that you can undertake from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Your trip can be relaxing as well as adventurous.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.