Outskirts of Chiang Mai City
Huay Tung Thao
Huay Tung Thao is a local reservoir at the base of Doi Suthep and is not too far out from town. This is a great place to wine down, relax, eat great food and enjoy the lake by stunning mountain views on lake huts by the water. There are also other adventurous activities to do there like jungle ziplining, ATV, mountain biking, dirt biking, swimming and boat paddling. Once a year there is a reggae and ska music festival called “Smile Party” by the lake, which attracts many Thais and tourists all over Thailand.
About an hour and a half drive south of Chiang Mai is Doi Inthanon. the highest mountain in Thailand with an elevation of 2,565m. In the winter time (November-January) temperatures have been known to drop to 0°C at night so do not come unprepared! There are many famous waterfalls on the way up the mountain and a few camping grounds and cabins where you can stay overnight. Also, at the peak of the mountain is the Queen’s pagoda and the famous sea of clouds, which is definitely a site to see!
Camping in Huai Num Dung
On the way to Pai is another amazing camping ground where you will see Thailand’s night sky at its best and stunning mountain views! The night sky is lit up with millions of stars and an incredibly bright Milky Way. It is definitely one of the best places to star gaze and to see a guaranteed shooting star every minute! Because the camping ground is located high up in the mountains temperatures are very cool so bring warm clothing. During the cold season wake up at dawn to a sea of clouds beneath you. A must see when your in Thailand!
Boathouse, Mae Ngat Dam
The boathouse! One of the best ways to spend your weekend on a large dam surrounded by surreal beautiful mountains while staying on a floating boathouse. About an hour and a half drive from Chiang Mai, the boathouse is one of Chiang Mai’s best get away spots. So go there to relax, chill out in the sun, swim and eat great Thai food and enjoy the scenery. If relaxation gets a bit too boring there are other activities such as canoeing, jet skiing, fishing trips, karaoke parties and big diving boards to jump off of. The boathouse is a definite must if you come to visit Chiang Mai!
Also known as Bua Thong Waterfall, is the limestone waterfall located 50km north towards Phrao from Chiang Mai and is very unique to all the other waterfalls in Thailand. The water comes from a calcium rich spring at the top of the waterfall giving the boulders grip allowing you to climb and walk down the waterfall! Park facilities include toilets, ranger’s office and a picnic area. Food and drink is not permitted in the waterfall, however, you can eat and drink in the picnic area. Besides the waterfall just 150m from it, is a spiritual water pool that is lit up by seven different colours and is guarded by several spirit houses. The limestone waterfall is a great place to have a day trip, however, if you wish to stay over night you can stay at the boathouse or at the Rabeang Pasak Tree House near by.
About 40 minutes drive out of Chiang Mai is Mae Sa, the place to go for exciting adventures, animal farms and waterfalls. There is an X-center that offers bungy jumping, go carting, paintballing, xorb balling, ATV and off road buggy tours. Other attractions include crocodile, snake, tiger and insect farms that offer exciting shows and exhibitions. In addition there is a popular elephant camp to see Thai elephants up and personal, go elephant trekking and see live shows of elephants doing funny cheeky tricks. There are also attractive waterfalls to see on the way.