There are many day trips or tours you can take from Chiang Mai as Chiang Mai is in an area with much to see and do. If you decide to visit Chiang Mai and want to take a day trip or tour though, which tours or day trips are the most interesting and which are the best value for money? Read on to discover that best day trips or tours to take from Chiang Mai and the ones that offer the best value for money.
Elephant Camp Day Trips – There are many tour companies in Chiang Mai that offer day trips to one of the elephant camps around Chiang Mai. Thailand’s elephants, over the last 20 years, are being threatened more and more by extinction so, visiting an elephant camp supports Thai elephants.
At most of the elephant camps around Chiang Mai, you will be able to buy bananas and feed the elephants, take an hour’s ride on an elephant out into the jungle (they usually let you forge a river too, which is very cool), take a 30 minute raft ride down a rapidly moving river and then be picked up by mini van and taken back to the camp where you’ll get a lovely buffet lunch.
After lunch, you’ll see a demonstration of the way the camps make handmade paper out of elephant dung then, on the way back into town, the camp bus usually stops off at the Butterfly and Orchid Farm, where you can see numerous species of butterflies and buy Thailand’s famous orchids. The day trips to the areas elephant camps are a fabulous value for money at only around 1,000 baht (approximately $28).
Thai Cooking Course Day Trip – The Thai cooking course day trips are wonderful as, not only do you usually get to see a typical Lanna home or Lanna restaurant, but you also learn how to cook authentic Thai cooking. The tour company will pick you up at your hotel around 9am and you’ll be taken to the restaurant or Thai home where the classes will commence. You’ll learn to cook seven or eight Thai dishes as well as eat a traditional Thai lunch, after a morning’s work. Cooking courses are only around 900 baht ($25) and you’ll learn a skill that will last you a lifetime.
Doi Suthep and Chiang Mai Zoo – A lot of people visit Doi Suthep, the Thai temple halfway up a mountain side just outside the city of Chiang Mai. A great day trip to take though is to go to Doi Suthep for the morning, take photographs of the amazing temple and the beautiful views, and check out all the little shops at the foot of the temple.
You’ll eat lunch at a restaurant nearby and then visit Chiang Mai zoo, which has more than 7,000 animals, an aquarium, a large aviary and the famous giant pandas, given to Thailand by the government of China. Cost is usually between 800 and 1,000 baht ($22.50 to $28) and includes entrance fees and lunch.
Doi Inthanon National Park – Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s highest mountain and is in the middle of a gorgeous national park. You’ll get to see the national park, go up to the top of Doi Inthanon and then down to the foot of the mountain, which has some beautiful Buddhist chedis and statues. You also get to see a typical hill tribe village where you can buy some traditional hill tribe products, an agricultural research center that’s a Royal Project by the King of Thailand, and several beautiful waterfalls. A Thai lunch is always included in the price and at around 1,000 baht ($28) per person, you can’t beat the price.
Flight of the Gibbon – One of the newest and most popular day trips from Chiang Mai, Flight of the Gibbon is an amazing tour. You get picked up at your hotel early in the morning and then head out into the rainforest, where you’ll be kitted out with helmet and safety harness and hooked up to a zip line that runs through the canopy of the rainforest. High above the ground, the zip line run is about 2 kilometres and you get to stop off at platforms and bridges to enjoy the amazing view.
After zipping through the trees like a gibbon, you get lunch followed by a trek up to the waterfall. The tour includes insurance and at only 1,800 baht ($50) it’s probably the best value for many of any of the day tours outside Chiang Mai.
There are many day trips and tours available from any travel agent in Chiang Mai. A word of warning, do not book through an American company before you get to Chiang Mai, as the cost for most of these tours is more than five times the cost of a Thai tour company.
Also the Thai tour companies often know the area better and actually give you a better tour, especially for the price. Remember, there are many places to visit outside Chiang Mai on day trips but you’re better going with a tour company to cut down on the possibility of getting lost or having other mishaps that you won’t be able to clear up quickly due to the inability to speak English of most of the peoples living around Chiang Mai.