Chiang Mai, the cultural capital of Northern Thailand, is not only a destination in itself but also a perfect base for exploring the surrounding region. Here are eight fantastic day trips from Chiang Mai that showcase the area’s natural beauty, rich culture, and exciting adventures.

  1. Chiang Rai
  2. Pai
  3. Doi Inthanon National Park
  4. Doi Suthep
  5. Elephant Sanctuary Visit
  6. Mae Taeng River
  7. Bo Sang Chiang Mai Handicraft Village
  8. Araksa Tea Garden
  9. Chiang Mai Organic Coffee Farm

1. Chiang Rai: White Temple, Golden Triangle & more

A haven for those who love visiting historical temple sites.

White Temple, Black House, Blue Temple & Golden Triangle (left to right)


Just a 3-hour drive from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai‘s borders meet with those of Laos and Myanmar, allowing you to witness the border of three different countries simultaneously, which is a rare sight. Chiang Rai is a province rich with history, providing a pleasant exploration of the various ancient cultures of the cities, and nature.  For anyone wanting to delve deep into its culture, history, and nature without a hassle, booking a tour is recommended for a day trip here!

Location: 197.2 km northeast of Chiang Mai (3-hour drive)

Highlights

  • Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) Wat Rong Khun is a unique white temple. The use of the color white carries meaning and encourages visitors to reflect on Buddhist teachings that show the way to escape from worldly temptations, desires, and greed and focus on the mind instead.
  • Baan Dam (Black House) – Baan Dan or Black House is a collection of more than 40 houses in black color and various shapes. This place is a museum, art studio, and traditional house at the same time.
  • Wat Rong Sear Tean (Blue Temple) The Blue Temple (Wat Rong Sear Tean) is a blue-colored temple, both the interior and exterior, with a painting style reminiscent of the artwork seen in The White Temple.
  • Chiang Rai Hot Spring Village – A place where you can relax and reinvigorate by dipping your feet into a hot spring and eating some boiled eggs!
  • Golden Triangle Area/ Mekong River – The Golden Triangle is where Thai, Myanmar, and Loa borders converge. You can see the river which flows through and trisects the area into 3 counties.
  • House of Opium Museum – The House of Opium is everything you ever wanted to know about opium but never dared ask. The exhibit displays tools used to plant, harvest and trade opium, including pipes, scales, weights, knives, and scrapers. It also includes some lovely poppy flowers, the source of opium production.
  • Long Neck Hill Tribe Village – Visit the famous Long Neck Hill tribe village and learn about their culture.

Ideal for: History, culture explorers, and nature lovers.

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2. Pai: Laid-back Mountain Town

Visit some of the best natural spots and take snapshots of Pai’s beautiful nature.

Pai Canyon, Yun Lai Viewpoint, Tha Pai Hot Spring, & Pai Walking Street


Pai is a district in Mae Hong Son province, located Northwest of Chiang Mai. Mae Hong Son is as close to Laos and Myanmar as Chiang Rai. Chiang Rai and Pai are very different regarding what to look for when traveling there. As mentioned above, Chiang Rai is rich in history and culture, while Pai offers the best spots for nature exploration. Explore the Pai Canyon, relax in hot springs, and enjoy the town’s bohemian atmosphere. If you are looking for a way to travel to this peaceful city without a hassle, here is the perfect solution!

Location: 145.2 km northwest of Chiang Mai (3-hour drive)

Highlights

  • Pai Canyon (Kong Lan) – One of Pai’s most popular natural attractions, known for its dramatic and picturesque landscape.
  • Yun Lai Viewpoint – Offers one of the best vantage points in Pai, providing a sweeping view of the town, the surrounding valley, and distant mountains. An excellent spot for catching the sunrise.
  • Tha Pai Hot Spring – A natural hot spring located within the Huai Nam Dang National Park. Features several pools with varying temperatures, surrounded by lush greenery, providing a tranquil setting for relaxation.
  • Sai Ngam Hot Spring – Also known as the Secret Hot Spring, it’s a more secluded alternative to Tha Pai Hot Spring. Offers a more rustic and peaceful experience with natural pools nestled in a forested area with clear, warm water perfect for soaking.
  • Pai Walking Street – The town’s bustling night market, held every evening in the center of Pai. The street comes alive with a vibrant mix of food stalls, handicraft vendors, and street performers.
  • Boon Kho Soo So Bridge – Also known as the Bamboo Bridge, it’s a picturesque footbridge that stretches over rice paddies in the Ban Pambok area. Made entirely of bamboo, this long, winding bridge offers a scenic walk through lush fields and provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Pai Historical Bridge – Also known as Memorial Bridge, it’s a significant historical landmark in Pai. Built during the World War II by Japanese soldiers to transport supplies across the Pai River, the bridge has a rich history.

Ideal for: Nature & culture lovers

3. Doi Inthanon National Park: Thailand’s Highest Peak

Atop the “Roof of Thailand”.


One of the must-see places for nature lovers and adventure seekers in Chiang Mai. Also known as the “Roof of Thailand”, Doi Inthanon National Park sits on the highest peak at Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand. It consists of nature trails, beautiful royal pagodas surrounded by the garden’s greens, natural waterfalls, and hill tribe villages. Take a hike or go in a car to reach the top. Once you are at the peak, you won’t believe what you see in front of you!

Location: 103 km west of Chiang Mai (2-hour drive)

Highlights

  • The Highest Point in Thailand– is the highest mountain peak in Thailand in Doi Inthanon Park.
  • Ang Ka Nature Trail – a trail approximately 360 m in length which will take about 30 minutes to complete. Ang Ka, meaning “Crows Pond” in Thai is considered the highest natural water body in Thailand
  • Royal Pagodas and the Gardens – The Thai Army built these pagodas, as presents to the King and Queen in commemoration of their birthdays; The King’s 60th in 1987 and the Queen’s 60th in 1992. Inside the pagodas, there are shrines with Buddha images for visitors to pay respects to. The gardens are also a pretty sight to see and blend well with the landscape of the mountain.
  • The Waterfalls – there are waterfalls on the way to the summit of Doi Inthanon such as Wachirathan waterfall, which has a cumulated height of 80 m. The waterfalls are a refreshing sight to see. 
  • Karen Hill Tribe VillagesVisit the famous Karen Hill tribe village and learn about their culture.
  • Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail – This short trail, winding through pristine forest allows the hiker to experience the natural beauty of the forest at first hand. Pass by giant Rhododendrons, which is a rare sight elsewhere in the country, various species of birds, nature in its purest form.

Best for: Nature & culture explorers

4. Doi Suthep: Sacred Mountain Temple

Embark on a journey to the secret jungle temple of Wat Pha Lat.


While technically within Chiang Mai, Doi Suthep deserves a dedicated day trip. This sacred mountain temple offers panoramic views of the city and houses important Buddhist relics. Climb the 300 steps (or take a cable car) to reach the Golden Chedi at the top. The serene atmosphere and stunning architecture make it a spiritual and photogenic experience.

Location: 15 km from Chiang Mai City Center (30-45 minute drive)

Highlights

  • Monk’s Trail – A scenic hiking path that leads up to Doi Suthep mountain, providing a serene and spiritual journey through the lush forests of Chiang Mai.
  • Wat Pha Lat – Also known as the Hidden Temple, it’s a serene and less-visited Buddhist temple located along the Monk’s Trail.
  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – One of Thailand’s most revered temples and a must-visit landmark in Chiang Mai. Perched atop Doi Suthep mountain, the temple offers stunning views of the city and a rich cultural experience.
  • Meo Hilltribe Village – Also known as the Hmong Village, it offers visitors a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle and culture of the Hmong people, one of the ethnic minority groups in Thailand.

Ideal for: Temple and culture lovers

5. Elephant Sanctuary Visit

Making friends with gentle giants has never been this fun.


Elephants are the national symbol of Thailand because they play a significant part in Thai history. This is why Thai people have a strong emotional bond with these heartwarming animals. In this sanctuary, they allow you to touch, feed, photograph, and bathe with the elephants, enabling you to form a bond with them. It’s all done in a safe and sustainable environment. Don’t worry, you will not be disturbing them from anything because the sanctuary provides shelter and the care they deserve.

Location: 400 m west from Old City’s Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai

Highlights

Ideal for: Nature and animal lovers

6. Mae Taeng River: Whitewater Rafting Adventure

Experience the only rafting tour rated “Excellent” in Chiang Mai.


For thrill-seekers, a day of whitewater rafting on the Mae Taeng River is hard to beat. Located about an hour north of Chiang Mai, the river offers exciting rapids suitable for beginners and experienced rafters alike. Enjoy the lush jungle scenery as you navigate the rapids, with professional guides ensuring your safety throughout the adventure.

Location: 45 km from Chiang City Center (1 to 1.5-hour drive)

Highlights

Ideal for: Thrill-seekers and water sports adventurers

7. Bo Sang Chiang Mai Handicraft Village

Witness the talented craftspeople of Chiang Mai

 Check out the handicrafts from umbrellas, gems, silk, and much more!


Just a short drive from Chiang Mai, Bo Sang is famous for its handmade umbrellas and other traditional crafts. Watch artisans at work, participate in workshops, and shop for unique souvenirs. The village offers a fascinating glimpse into Thai craftsmanship and makes for a culturally enriching day trip.

Location: 20 km west from Chiang Mai Old City (20~25 minute drive)

Highlights

  • Umbrella Making Center
  • Silverware Factory
  • Thai Silk Factory
  • Celadon Factory
  • Lacquerware Factory
  • Gems Factory

Ideal for: Cultural exploration

8. Araksa Tea Garden

Learn how tea is produced in Thailand.

The first step? Tea picking!


Chiang Mai is one of the most famous tea plantation provinces in Thailand, possibly even in the world. The northern part of Thailand has optimal conditions for growing tea trees, therefore it is a perfect location to grow fresh tea. For any of you tea lovers, here is your chance! You will be impressed by not only the tasty and aromatic tea but also the stunning view of the plantation itself. The lush tea trees are evenly lined up on the hillside providing a wonderful scene for every visitor. Also, learn the whole process of tea production from growing, cultivating, and roasting! You also get to pick tea leaves at the hill while you’re here.

Location: 65 km north from Chiang Mai Old City (1 hour 30-minute drive)

Highlights

  • Tea Garden
  • Tea Tasting
  • Cultivation of Young Tea Plants
  • Tea Leave Picking

Ideal for: Nature explore, tea lovers, and culture explorers

9. Chiang Mai Organic Coffee Farm

Steep yourself in the heart of Chiang Mai’s thriving coffee scene.


Calling all coffee enthusiasts! Join this unforgettable Chiang Mai Organic Coffee Farm by Zeit Roatser half-day tour. You’ll meet passionate local farmers and delve into the world of organic coffee production. Experience coffee brewing, cupping, roasting your own beans, and coffee tree planting and have a chance to have a heartwarming hand-made local Thai lunch.


Check out more Trazy Blogs for your perfect trip to Chiang Mai!


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