Chiang Mai Itineraries

Chiang Mai is the kind of place where you can easily spend a few days or a few weeks. You can reach most other places of interest in the north on day trips, so the city can be used as a base for exploring almost all of the north.

There are, of course, some "must see" sites and places. Our basics tour below will get you through these, and then we suggest some day trips to other sights.

If you don't want to be part of a standard packaged group tour, but want to make sure you see some of the more remote sights, a number of individual day trips can be booked through our affiliate Viator.

Chiang Mai Basics - 3 Days

This is an "easy" schedule. If you start on these tours early in the day, you'll have time in the late afternoon to cool off, or even take a siesta before heading out for an evening at the night bazaar or where-ever. Don't forget to squeeze a khan toke dinner in on one evening (this can be booked in advance through Viator).

Day 1
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
Maeo Village at Doi Pui
Wat Phra Sing (time permitting)
Day 2
Mae Sa Valley
Elephant Camp
Orchid & Butterfly Farm
Mae Sa Waterfall
Siamese Cat Farm
Day 3
San Kamphaeng Road Factories
Silk Factory
Umbrellas at Borsang
If time permits, proceed on to the hot springs at San Kamphaeng

Optional Day Trips

Most of these are full day outings you can make from Chiang Mai.

Chiang Rai - Mae Sai - Chiang Saen
Mae Sai is right on the Burmese border, at the northern-most tip of Thailand. Here, the two countries are separated by just a small stream. Being on the border, Mae Sai is naturally a trading town with a busy market. For tourists, there is jade and handicrafts from both Burma and China. A road roughly follows the stream down to where it joins the Mekong river, site of the infamous "Golden Triangle." Further on is the ancient city of Chiang Saen, with more than 70 temples dating from as early as the tenth century.
Doi Intanon
The trip up to Thailand's highest mountain is a full day exercise, especially if you stop at the many spectacular waterfalls you'll find up the side of the mountain.
The fascinating ancient city of Lamphun is merely 30 minutes drive from Chiang Mai, along a route traveled by both kings and invading conquerors.
Further afield, the 1200 year old city of Lampang is about 100 kilometers (66 miles) from Chiang Mai. It can be a long day, but still can be seen in a one day trip.