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Top 10 Trekking Tours in Chiang Mai

Top 10 Trekking Tours in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai has all the sights and spots that you and your family can enjoy while you’re here in Thailand. However, you need to do your part and actively seek out and tour these different tourist attractions by trekking to them.

There’s a variety of experiences waiting for you in Chiang Mai and we’ve listed down the top trekking tours for you to try out to make the most of your time in this cultural haven of a city. Let’s go ahead and get to it! 

Chiang Mai Temple Trekking 

Address:  Old City, Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is known the world over for its beautiful Buddhist temples scattered across the city. As such, what better way for you and your family to experience the beauty of this area than to do some temple trekking around the Old City?

Within the walls of the city, you can check out various ancient temples with some dating as far back as 1292 back when the Lanna Kingdom was still at its peak. Here are some of the temples you can visit: 

During your temple trekking, you can observe how ornately decorated these Buddhist Lanna Temples are. However, we recommend that you hire a guide if you want to know more about the history and the ceremonies conducted in each temple you visit.

Do note though, that you’re going to have to hire or take transportation outside the Old City if you plan on visiting other temples outside the said area, like Wat Phuak Hong and Wat Ram Poeng.

Pro tip:

  • Since this is going to be a tour of different temples, we recommend that you wear light but appropriate clothing. 

You can wear clothes that use light materials (cotton, satin, etc.) but make sure that what you’re wearing is appropriate for visiting a temple. This means no short shirts or sleeveless shirts when entering any of the sacred sites here.

Elephant Camp Trekking at the Elephant Nature Park

Address: 1 Ratchamanka Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand 

Contact details: +66 53 272 855  

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM  


Over the past few years, Thailand has seen a revolution of sorts in terms of the ethical treatment of elephants. At present, you won’t see any tourist spots offering elephant rides as these are now considered unethical.

Most of these tour operators understand this and now advertise that you can interact with their elephants without any cruelty and with consideration for the elephant’s well-being. 

One such elephant camp (Best Elephant Sanctuaries in Chiang Mai) is Elephant Nature Park, one of the most legitimate rescue centres in Thailand.

This elephant camp doesn’t just feature a number of rescued (formerly abused) elephants but also other rescued animals such as buffalos, dogs, cats, and many more. Talk about being true to your calling and rescuing all animals that need rescuing!

What we also liked about this camp is that you not only have the option of joining a half-day or whole-day tour but you can also choose to stay overnight. This way you get more time to interact with the elephants and the other rescued animals of the camp.

You can also check out the other ethical elephant camps in Chiang Mai if you want to know more about these magnificent beasts. Some of these camps are:

Pro tip:

  • We highly recommend that you wear comfortable shoes when visiting this elephant camp as you will do lots of walking here. In addition, just be mentally prepared for the touching stories of the rescued elephants of the camp.

We got extremely teary-eyed after looking at the photos and watching the videos that these gentle creatures had to endure.

Jungle Trekking at Doi Suthep  

Address:  Shan Hills, Chiang Mai

About 49 minutes away from Chiang Mai City is Doi Suthep, a famous mountain in Thailand with an equally famous temple (Wat Phra Doi Suthep) considered one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in the country. 

At Doi Suthep, you can do some serious and really fun jungle trekking– and more!

The nature trails here are teeming with life and are lush with beautiful greenery. 

You and your family can expect to hike through some of the most well-maintained trails in the country, cutting through bamboo forests while listening to the relaxing sound of streaming waters.

If you also get to the right spot here at Doi Suthep, you can also take great photos with marvellous views of Chiang Mai City. Plus, there are a number of waterfalls here where you can swim to beat the heat of the tropical Chiang Mai weather.

Lastly, you can also immerse yourself further in the local culture here by interacting with the local hill tribes in the area. You’ll meet five different tribes in total if you decide to take this tribe trekking tour so be sure that you allot one whole day for this activity.

Pro tip:

  • Be sure to bring some swimwear in case you decide to take a dip in one of the many waterfall pools at Doi Suthep.
  • Make sure that you have your cameras or phones ready as you may spot some of the most unique wildlife you’ll ever see in Thailand such as oversized bugs and tropical birds.

White Water Rafting at the Mae Tang River

Address: San Mahaphon, Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai 50150, Thailand 

If you’re the outdoorsy type of person and you want something more physically demanding, then try going for a three-in-one package here at the Mae Tang River. You’ll do some trekking and waterfall swimming, before going for some white water rafting.

This tour will take you a fall day and while it’s much more challenging than most activities here, you need not worry. The tour handlers will first give you a warm-up run and give you basic training before you start any trekking, swimming, or rafting.

Pro tip:

  • Bring an extra set of clothes here as the activities you’ll have to undergo will definitely make you wet (either with sweat or with water from the waterfalls and streams).

Chiang Mai Food Crawl 

Address: Chiang Mai City

Chiang Mai’s culinary selections are one you shouldn’t dare miss while you’re here. Most of it is heavily influenced by Yunnanese, Burmese, and Lao cuisine and you’ll immediately detect the taste of these cultures with how spicy the dishes here are!

Mango sticky rice is a staple in Chiang Mai and you can enjoy it best if you eat like a local – with your bare hands and taken from little baskets. 

They also have raw papaya salad (locally referred to as som tum), a local favourite and one dish you should try out. It’s refreshing and is considered an easy pick-up-and-go kind of food. 

You should also order some khao soi. It’s made with crunchy egg noodles as its base topped with some coconut curry – a combination you won’t find anywhere else, especially in Western restaurants or fast food.

Lastly, forget your standard mashed potatoes and carrots if you want some side dishes here! Instead of the common Western ones, you can order some fiery red and chilli sauces with your mains. 

There is a lot to take in, so to get an overview and taste of almost all of the local dishes here, you can join a local street food tour that will take you around 3 hours to complete.

From this experience, you can try out some of the city’s unique dishes and learn some Thai words when ordering some food items from a menu! 

Pro tip:

  • Some Thai words to keep in mind when ordering food during the food tour are the following:
    • “ao” (I would like)“
    • pet maak” (very spicy)“
    • pet nit toi” (just a little spicy)“
    • mai pet” (not spicy)“
    • nam plow” (water) 

Local Market Trek with Grandma’s Home Cooking School

Address: 172/7 Moo.8 Saraphi Chiang Mai 50140, Thailand

Contact details: +66828509999    

Operating hours:  

  • Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM


You’re not just limited to eating your way through Chiang Mai! You can also choose to learn the traditional art of Chiang Mai cooking by enrolling in a Thai cooking class such as the one offered by Grandma’s Home School Cooking.

This is a fantastic way to learn more about the cuisine and culture of Thailand. Plus, you get to bring home the knowledge you gained here and wow your loved ones back home about your new skill set (cooking some mouth-watering pad thai, for example).

Grandma’s Home School Cooking won’t just teach you how to prepare a minimum of 5 dishes but they will also bring you to the local market and teach you how to pick the best and freshest ingredients for your dishes.

Pro tip:

  • Children (especially teenagers) will have a blast with this kind of activity. It’s very interactive and it will allow them to unleash their creativity in preparing the ingredients and in putting all of them to come up with the perfect dish. 

As such, we recommend that you bring your family and loved ones along for these cooking lessons. It’s simply another opportunity for you to bond over something unique!

Walking Tour in and around Wat Umong Mahathera Chan

Address: 129 Ratchaphakhinai Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Contact details: +66819937249  

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday, 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Sure, Chiang Mai’s temples and the surrounding nature trails may get all the spotlight, but there’s one trekking tour that is undeniably simple yet overly relaxing. It’s the self-walking tour of Chiang Mai City streets itself, a way to take all the sights in!

You can get lost in the more laid-back portions of the city and can start off in the alley behind Wat Umong Mahathera Chan. It’s a combination of the traditional and modern, with a good amount of structures and establishments for you to appreciate and visit.

Wat Umong Mahathera Chan is also worth checking out for its ancient chedi which houses a tunnel you can explore to see various images and statues of the Buddha. This is an awe-inspiring area so it’s best to take selfies and photos while you’re here.

However, we recommend that you try to get lost by moving toward the edge of the Old City’s four corners. Here, you might end up finding a hidden gem like a local restaurant or a souvenir shop selling some trinkets you might want to take back home.

Pro tip:

  • Turn on your mobile data and Google Maps if you want to specifically search for something (a street, a building, etc.) while doing your walking tour of Chiang Mai City. This will make it easier for you to go where you want to go!

Biking Tour with Grasshopper Active Day Tours

Address:  10, 3 Wiang Kaew Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Muang, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand 

Contact details: +66617402233  

Operating hours: 

  •   9:00 AM to 6:00 PM


Compared to the country’s capital, Bangkok, Chiang Mai’s city traffic is much more manageable if you’re going around riding a bike. Here, you can just bike around the city to explore or even go outside the city walls to paddle past temples, foothills, and fields.

You can opt to get a biking tour via Grasshopper Tours that will guide you through the centre of the city. Or, you can join one that will take you outside the city to experience a more rural backdrop while pedalling. 

If you are a foodie, you may want to check out the culinary cycling tour at night. It’s the perfect excuse to combine two of your favourite activities: biking and eating right in the heart of one of the most unique and interesting cities in Asia.

Pro tip:

  • Pregnant women and those with mobility issues shouldn’t be going on these biking tours. The trails can be quite challenging, especially if you’re going for the countryside tour package.

Nature Trail Trekking at Doi Inthanon National Park

Address:  119 Ban Luang, Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai 50160, Thailand

Contact details: +66 53 286 729  

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday, 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM  


If you’re looking to do a full-day tour in the middle of nature, then check out the nature trail trekking at Doi Inthanon National Park. The mountain here is the tallest in Thailand and is surrounded by wildlife,  waterfalls, and protected forests.

Here, you and your loved ones can visit the waterfalls, rice terraces, and twin stupas commemorating the Queen and the King of Thailand. 

The highlight of this tour though, is that you get to climb the top of the mountain, offering you some of the best views of Chiang Mai and the surrounding area!

Pro tip:

  • The top of the mountain can get quite cold so we recommend that you bring an extra layer of clothing (such as a sweater or a windbreaker) if you want to stay here for a couple of hours.

Chiang Rai White Temple Tour

Address: Pa O Don Chai, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand  

Contact details: +6653673579  

Operating hours: 

  •   8:00 AM to 5:00 PM


What’s a trip to Chiang Mai without touring the iconic White Temple in Chiang Rai? Locally referred to as Wat Rong Khung, the temple is literally a glittering white structure, especially when under the bright morning sun.

While it’s not really a Buddhist structure that you can consider “traditional” or “ancient,” you can think of it as a modern art gallery. Here, you and your loved ones can take perfect photos!

A full-day tour of the Chiang Rai area will also allow you to visit points of interest here such as the Golden Triangle Lookout Point (the point where Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand intersect) and the other temples in the area.

Pro tip:

  • Make sure that your camera or phone is fully charged when you visit Wat Rong Khung. The temple is so detailed you might snap away at the ornate walls and structures scattered across the area, draining your battery pretty quickly!
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