Best Places To Go Outside Chiang Mai
If you’re looking for some of the best places to go outside of Chiang Mai Thailand then let me share with you some of the coolest places I have visited while living here for 2 months. I’ve lived in Thailand for 6 months this year, while visiting various other countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. I honestly prefer living close to the beaches so I decided if I was going to spend a long term stay somewhere landlocked, it would have to be REALLY cool. Chiang Mai does NOT disappoint, there are so many things to do in and outside of this beautiful and awesome small ancient city. I will list my favorite places, the ones I’ve considered to be the best places to visit outside Chiang Mai which include Baan Chang Elephant Sanctuary, Royal Park Rajapreuk, Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens, and Ban Mae Kham Phong, Huay Tung Tao Lake and Doi Suthep.
To put this in perspective, Chiang Mai was recently rated one o the top cities in the world to live or visit by several travel magazines including Travel + Leisure who rated them the #3 best city in the world, Best city in Asia and #2 by the Asia Times, and also best city in Asia and #3 in the world by Chiang Mai City Life.
1.Baan Chang Elephant Sanctuary
At Baan Chang you can clean, feed and bareback ride (optional) your elephant. This is all done in groups as you are typically picked up at or by your travel agency and transported out to where the elephants live. This is a really cool experience and obviously one that is on the top of most peoples lists when you visit Thailand. This was an amazing experience, and I appreciate all the information they shared with us, especially how they do not hurt the animals and are generally trying to look out for their well-being the best they can.
Elephants are expensive to take care of and require a lot of land and food so along with increased tourism, prices have risen substantially. If it’s your dream to feed, hug and clean one of these majestic creatures then I would recommend signing up for a day at Baan Chang. Lunch is also provided.
The Royal Park Rajapreuk turned out to be a really amazing experience! After all the other places and wats I have visited already, I did not expect to see and do so much here. Basically, the place is HUGE and there are all sorts of different locations to visit on the path around the area. I HIGHLY recommend renting a bicycle and biking around or you’ll be dripping sweat and get nowhere. I noticed that if you taking the tour bus system, no one is allowed to get off, so I don’t understand why people would want to do that. When you bike, you can stop at all the spots and take pics, go inside and check out the botanic gardens and insects. Everything is arranged around this incredible Royal Pavilion Palace at the top of the part and in the middle of two of the large circular paths, you take to see the other sites. If you’re in Chiang Mai and have a scooter, head out here for the day and then head up to the close mountain temple located close by.
When you bike, you can stop at all the spots and take pics, go inside and check out the botanic gardens and insects. Everything is arranged around this incredible Royal Pavilion Palace at the top of the part and in the middle of two of the large circular paths, you take to see the other sites. If you’re in Chiang Mai and have a scooter, head out here for the day and then head up to the close mountain temple located close by.
This place is really cool and just an hour drive north of Chaing Mai. This place is also, very big, so bring your scooter. There is an awesome skybridge jungle canopy walk on your way to the botanic gardens. The canopy walk has a nice viewpoint at the end so don’t turn around too early it will be well worth the walk. The views through the glass walls are pretty rad considering at some points you are well over 100 feet above ground level and above the trees looking at the mountain in the distance. There are signs for flying lizards but I did not see any while I was there.
The botanic gardens are broken up into 10 or more greenhouses, all housing their own plant species and climates. There is a larger tropical one with an indoor waterfall, an orchid, arid dessert and even a carnivorous plants exhibit! This place is also very well taken care of and has many great views.
Ban Mae Ham Phong is a special little mountain town located almost 2 hours ride outside of Chiang Mai up in the mountains. You will want to make sure you have a full tank of gas and will likely need to fill up again, but this trip is worth it. The views as you ascend the mountain are superb.
The town itself is very small, nestled up in the mountain countryside surrounded by the jungle. As you enter the town you will notice these unique country style homes lined up on both sides of the roads with small shops and restaurants, nothing like what you see in the cities.
This is a perfect place to get away from the city, breathe some fresh air and see some unique sites. If you’re wondering where I took that awesome waterfall pic, it’s located on the side of the road on your way up to the village. Its a little cafe discreetly tucked away off the side of the road to the left as you cross one of the rivers, so keep your eyes peeled and have a cup of coffee in the middle of a waterfall and river. Also, on your way out of town, there are some pretty cool rice fields I would recommend you check out too.
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5.Huay Tung Tao Lake
Huay Tung Tao is a large still water lake overlooking the mountains of Doi Pui. This is where many locals go to sit lake side in little bamboo huts while hanging out with family and friends. If you’re looking for somewhere peaceful then this is a great place to go and relax. You can also feed fish on a small dock located on the north side of the lake.
6. Doi Suthep Temple
This is a must see location and probably the most popular tourist attraction near Chiang Mai. This is actually called Wat Phra That but is located near the top of Doi Suthep, so most people know it simply as Doi Suthep.
Thanks for reading my blog post about The Best Places to go Outside Chaing Mai! If you have any questions please leave a comment below or you can also reach me on my Instagram @NomadicNava.