Day Trips and Tours to do from Chiang Mai

When you are visiting Thailand make sure you do not pass up its Northern jewel, Chiang Mai! The things to do in Chiang Mai are diverse and aplenty for all travelers. Centuries-old golden temples (the city has over 300!), rich culture, tradition and tons of things to do in Chiang Mai make it a destination where you could easily spend a year. Whether you are looking for meditation or chants with monks, muay thai classes, or even hot air balloon rides, Chiang Mai has it all! In this blog we will will give you some options for Chiang Mai tours and day trips in case you want to find some peace and serenity outside of the busy city life.

1. One day Chiang Rai White Temple and Black House

Chiang Rai White Temple

If you go to Chiang Mai make sure that you also add at least a day trip to Chiang Rai’s White Temple!

This one-day trip features Wat Rong Khun, Black House and Mae Khachan Hot Spring is simply stunning. The trip departs from Chiang Mai in the early morning. On the way, you will visit a hot spring and have some time to relax before heading to see the incredible White Temple (Wat Rong Khun).

Wat Rong Khun is an amazing masterpiece! It is considered the most beautiful temple built in this century (and they are still continuing to add on to the complex!). Wat Rong Khun reflects the artist’s grand visions of heaven, hell and Nirvana.

After spending some time at the temple, you get to visit Baan Dam (Black House) in Chiang Rai. The house is a huge teak hall with several other teak buildings decorated with unique artwork. Contrasting to the white temple, this Black House will give you a totally different feel.

2. Chiang Mai Countryside by Bike

Chiang Mai Countryside by Bike

This is one of our favorite Chiang Mai tours and day trips!

It is just a short trip east of Chiang Mai, where you can get away from the tourist mass and get into the beautiful countryside of Chiang Mai! You will get to explore Sankampaeng and the beautiful, peaceful Lanna countryside.

The bike ride is around 34 kilometers through tranquil rice paddies and past buddhist temples where you can stop to have a look (and make an offering). Sampling the fruits in season at the local market will make sure you will not run out of energy throughout this picturesque day.

Passing by Sankampaeng Hot Springs you can have a dip in the rejuvenating natural mineral springs if you are up for the heat! This day trip exploring the Chiang Mai Countryside is an original Thai experience that you definitely do not want to miss.

3. Mae Sa Waterfall

Mae Sa Waterfall Chiang Mai

This is a nice daytrip from Chiang Mai. The waterfall has 10 levels and you can hike to all of them. Although the top level is too dangerous to swim in, it is nice to walk all the way to the top.

Level 5 is our favorite. You can just stop there and find a nice place to sit down and possibly even have a bit of a picnic. The entrance fee is 100 Bath and 20 extra per bike. On the way to the park you will pass by an elephant park and a place where monkeys will do tricks for money. We suggest you to just keep driving past these and save your time to go to a proper elephant sanctuary.

This waterfall is getting more and more popular with tourists, so do not expect to be the only one here.

4. Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens

Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens

After going to the Mae Sa Waterfall you can continue to drive uphill for about 20-30 minutes and stop at Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens. The place is huge and you can even ride your motorbike around instead of walking. They have greenhouses but also ponds with loads of fish, fountains and lovely benches to sit on and enjoy a little rest. But most of all they have gorgeous flowers!

If you want to extend your daytrip you can drive further to Samoeng, where you can stay overnight. Or you can just follow the signs to Chiang Mai, completing the Sampeng Loop.

5. Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls

Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls Chiang Mai

If you enjoyed the waterfall and are looking for another Chiang Mai day trip, look no further! This unique waterfall is gorgeous and impressive, but on top of that, you can easily climb it! It has a special feature that allows you to climb directly up the rocks, hence the nickname, sticky waterfalls. Thanks to the natural limestone deposits you’ll feel like Spider-Man!

Although the sticky waterfalls are quite known with tourists, there are also some places around there that are still quiet. When you are near the top of the falls search for a sign for Nam Phu Chet Si. After a short walk you’ll get to a small shrine and sacred spring. This area is usually only frequented by religious locals who believe in the mysterious healing benefits of the water. Another little bonus section can be found at the bottom of the Waterfalls. If you walk down further, after the man-made paths. You will see a small plunge pool. You might be lucky and get to act like Jane (or Tarzan) and swing yourself into the pool by one of the vines (that is, if the pool is deep enough and the vines grew the right way).

6. Huay Tung Tao Lake

Huay Tung Tao Lake Chiang Mai

The Tung Tao Lake is only a short ride from Chiang Mai, making it the perfect Chiang Mai day trip!
If you have a motorbike it is really nice to drive around the lake. You can make several stops along the way to eat some local food or take a swim in the water! The water is not very clear but it is clean enough to swim in. It is also nice to get a tube and just float around for a bit. The lake is surrounded by mountains so the scenery is beautiful!

If you are looking for Chiang Mai Tours and day trips these are just a few of the many options to choose from! If you have a bit less time and would like to do something authentic and fun closer to the city, make sure to have a look at our Things to do in Chiang Mai as well. You can learn glassblowing from a master artisan, do a silversmith workshop at a buddhist temple or even make your own batik cloth (just to name a few!).

Backstreet Editorial Team

We're a clumsy bunch of foodies, techies and travellers. We rock out to the tunes of Rick Ross, and Flamenco on weekends for fun.