Adventure Activities in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai was our beautiful home base for a year and there are always plenty of things to see and do in this amazing city. Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand and the most culturally significant city in Northern Thailand. There are hundreds of temples and cultural sites to visit within the city limits. Chiang Mai also offers plenty of adventure activities which we were excited to explore. We found some great tour companies and locations to explore and highly recommend braving the heat and going on a few excursions while you’re here. We pulled together a list of our favorite adventure activities to get you started!
The Best adventure activities in Chiang Mai
Ultralight Gliding Tour
See Chiang Mai from above and get a unique perspective of the surrounding mountains and lakes. An ultralight is a much more affordable alternative to a helicopter ride and thanks to the exposed nature of the vessel, you really will feel the wind on your face. Chiang Mai Sky Adventure will take you on a flying tour over farms with an amazing view of the city.
It might sound like an underground stroll, but our caving experience with Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventure was physically challenging and educational. We rappelled down deep into the side of a mountain and got up close and personal with some giant cave spiders.
Our next excursion with CMRCA was even more of a workout. Whether you’re experienced or not, you’ll be able to enjoy some incredible rock climbing, including another huge rappel into a cave and a climb back up the side.
Flight of the Gibbon has a pretty well-known zipline course in the countryside outside of Chiang Mai. You can even add a homestay to your trip and stay with locals nearby. The staff here were a lot of fun and made the day really exciting. Plus, this is one of the few places you can see gibbons in the forest!
You can’t visit Chiang Mai without traveling up the mountain to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, the Golden Temple. If you’re up for it, you can even follow the monk’s trail and hike up to the summit. It took us a few tries to find the trail, and most locals aren’t familiar with it, but we found some pretty good directions here.
Hang with the elephants
Don’t just run off to the first elephant camp that approaches you in Chiang Mai. Take the time to do some research and educate yourself about the cruel practices most camps employ to make their elephants fit to ride and carry heavy loads that are harmful to their backs. There are really very few elephant parks that you should even consider visiting, and we can only recommend Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai. Evanne was lucky enough to visit twice and try their ENP Single Day Visit experience as well as Pamper a Pachyderm. The second was incredible and walking through the jungle with a train of elephants was one of her favorite memories of Thailand!
What other adventures do you recommend in Chiang Mai? Have you tried any one our list? Tell us in the comments!