As you can tell by our previous post about the best day trips from Bangkok, we are trying to get you out of the city lights and right into the loving embrace of Mother Nature. And just like Thailand’s capital, Chiang Mai has a lot in store for those who dare to leave the city boundaries. We hope you are one of the daring kind because we will present you with three options to see Northern Thailand at its finest. Whether you want to go down through caves or climb up waterfalls, there is a great variety for you to choose from.
So, let’s channel our inner Lara Crofts and Indiana Jones’ and have some fun adventures.
The act of jumping up waterfalls is usually reserved for certain kinds of fish, like salmon. In Sri Lanna National Park, however, you can find the Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls, where you are able to climb them up as well. This is possible due to their sponge-like surface made of mineral deposits and limestone. It feels slightly bristly, but it’s not painful, especially if you are already used to walking barefoot.
The usual way is to first climb down the waterfall and then once you’ve reached the bottom level, make your way up again. There are a total of five levels, so you can rest in between and relax for as long as you want.The pools are not deep enough to swim in, but it should suffice for cooling down on a hot day. You certainly shouldn’t miss the opportunity to take some beautiful pictures that will make your Instagram followers wild with jealousy.
We also recommend checking out the small shrine, once you are back at the top again. It is in walking distance from the waterfall and also has a sacred spring close by.
Prices: It’s free! #moremoneyforbeer #AdventureHardPartyHarder
Opening times: –
Address: ที่ว่าทำการอุทยานแห่งชาติน้ำตกบัวตอง-น้ำพุเจ็ดสี Tambon Mae Ho Phra, Amphoe Mae Taeng, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50150, Thailand
How To Get There: From Chiang Mai, it’s about 60 km (37 miles) up north. Take the route 1001, which leads you into Sri Lanna National Park. With a car, it takes around 1 ½ hours and with a scooter close to two hours. It’s a pretty easy and comfortable ride, so you can take your time and stop a few times to appreciate the surroundings. If you want to grab some food, you can do so at a small market right before you enter the park area.
What the Kaaba in Mecca is for the Muslims, that is the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai for the locals. In fact, a Thai adage says: “If you haven’t tasted Khao Soi or seen the view from Doi Suthep, you haven’t been to Chiang Mai.” Based on our excessive coverage on Thai food, we can imagine you already had your fair share of Khao Sois.
The temple site is actually only a part of the larger Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, that covers an area of 265 km² (102 mi²). When people talk about Doi Suthep, they often mean the temple and not the park area.
Since its edification in the 14th century, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most revered and hallowed temples in Thailand. It’s a given that Thais make regular pilgrimages to it, but it’s also a popular tourist destination. You will know why, once you step up the 300+ steps towards the temple grounds. On these holy grounds, you can not only find the centerpiece that is the gold-plated mount called chedi (or stupa in Sanskrit), but also pagodas, statues, and shrines. Despite being a Buddhist temple, there are certain Hindu relics as well, like a statue of the great god, Ganesh.
We highly recommend staying or coming back during the evening. Once the sun is gone behind the horizon, you can literally see the temple area in a new light. Also, the vista over Chiang Mai is well worth the wait. Did someone say Instagram-worthy?While Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is without a doubt the highlight, you don’t want to miss out on the surrounding mountains and forests. If you aren’t sick of waterfalls already, you should check out Huay Kaew or the multi-leveled Monthathan waterfall. Both of them are close to the temple and are also excellent spots for a little picnic.
Do you still have some energy left? In that case, you can tackle the mountains of Doi Pui (1,685 meters = 5,538 feet) and Doi Suthep (1,676 meters = 5,498 feet). Provided that you have a good pair of shoes with you. It may be a challenging climb, but at least the high elevation keeps the temperatures quite pleasant. Besides the temple area and the peaks, there is still so much to see and to do in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. It’s the perfect place for more than only one day trip.
- Temple admission with a two-way ticket for the tram: 50 Baht
- Temple admission without tram ticket: 30 Baht
- Mothathan entrance: 300 Baht
Opening times: 6 am – 8 pm (Temple)
Address: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Road Tambon Su Thep, Chiang Mai Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
How To Get There: From Chiang Mai, it’s about 15 km (9 miles) in northwestern direction. So, it’s not too far away and to ride up with a scooter is half the fun. Take the route 1004 and you will be there in no time.
Have you ever watched one of those videos where a group of people jumps onto a huge inflated cushion and the person at the other end gets shot up into the air and then smacks into the water? If so, have you ever thought to yourself: “Golly, I sure wish I could do this. This looks like some jolly good fun.” In Chiang Mai, you can! While it may not be as gigantic and impressive as its more popular American namesake, the Grand Canyon Water Park will still be the second most fun experience you will ever have with something inflatable.
What used to be a quarry, where people swam around and jumped off cliffs, is now a bonafide water park with climbing walls, giant slides, rope swings, wakeboarding, and ziplining. But of course, the highlight is the aforementioned human catapult. Don’t be concerned about any hidden rocks in the water, where you could potentially injure yourself. There are none since the water is deep enough around the entire park. Furthermore, you will be wearing a life jacket and experienced lifeguards are constantly patrolling the area like true Hasselhoffs.
After all the wet frivolities, you can replenish your energy in the nearby café or food center overlooking the lake. Your body will be sore and aching afterward, but the fun memories will last a lot longer.
- Entrance fee for the park: 450 Baht (includes canoeing, kayaking, cliff jumping, giant sliders, life jacket and accidental insurance coverage)
- Wakeboarding: 200 Baht (10 minutes)
- Locker: 50 Baht + 100 Baht for refundable key deposit
Opening times: 10 am – 7 pm
Address: 202 ถนนเลียบคลองชลประทาน น้ำแพร่ หางดง Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50230
How To Get There: From Chiang Mai, it’s about 15 km (9 miles) in western direction. Similar to Doi Suthep, you can easily reach the water park with a scooter on your own. There are countless signs along the way, so you can’t get lost. It will take around 25 – 30 minutes.
Chiang Mai is a fantastic city and has a lot more to offer in terms of day trips. But we think those three mentioned should be on the top of your priority list. You have a good mixture of culture, hiking, food and wet fun, so all you have to do is pack your bag and get going! Oh, and don’t forget the beer!