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Chiang Mai has a small-town feel, with plenty of temples and cultural attractions. But right outside – all within an hour’s drive is lush greenery and mountains, offering a bevy of local adventures.
In fact, there’s so much to do that you may have trouble packing it all in.
To help you plan, here are 7 fun things to do in and around Chiang Mai.
The night safari offers three trails: Predator Prowl, Jaguar Trail, and Savanna Safari. All can be toured on foot, or in an open-sodded tram. The night safari offers the opportunity to pet tiger cubs and to hand-feed some of the animals.
Buddhist statues, stone tablets, and pottery dating back to the 8th century can be seen at Wiang Kum Kam, which is about five kilometers south of Chiang Mai. The ruins can be toured in a horse-drawn carriage.
The elephants at the Mae Sa camp play football, paint, dance and perform. In fact, they are in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s a sight worth the drive.
Atop the majestic mountain to the northwest of Chiang Mai sits the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Dating back 700 years, the temple is one of the most spiritually and historically significant places in all of Thailand. Expect a crowd.
The Chiang Mai zoo sits at the foot of Doi Suthep Mountain, occupying roughly 200 acres. The zoo houses more than 400 species, including two rare pandas from China and aquatic life in a freshwater aquarium.
Doi Pui is the highest peak in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, reaching 1,685 meters above sea level, and offers stunning waterfalls that are accessible from the main road. The nearby Hmong Tribal Village is also a major attraction.
The parasols and umbrellas made here are known worldwide, and have become the symbol of Chiang Mai. Hand-painted umbrellas are available, as well as larger coverings for patios or gardens, all done on sa paper. And the prices won’t break the bank.