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The Top Activities to Enjoy with Family in Chiang Mai

Article by Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah

Posted: April 8, 2023

Chiang Mai is a city located in the mountainous region of Northern Thailand. Known for its rich cultural heritage, beautiful temples, and stunning natural landscapes, Chiang Mai is an ideal destination for families looking for an adventure-filled vacation. Spending quality time with family is a precious commodity, and there is no better place to do it than in Chiang Mai. In this article, we will explore the top activities that families can enjoy together in this beautiful city.

Outdoor Activities

Chiang Mai is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. There are many activities to enjoy with your family, such as visiting Elephant Sanctuaries. These sanctuaries offer a unique opportunity to interact with elephants in their natural habitat. You can feed them, bathe them, and even go on a jungle walk with them. Your kids will love this experience, and it will create memories that will last a lifetime.

Another popular activity is zip-lining, which is perfect for families who love a bit of adrenaline rush. There are several zip-lining companies in Chiang Mai that offer courses through the jungle canopy, allowing you to enjoy breathtaking views while zooming through the air.

Chiang Mai is also home to some stunning waterfalls. One of the most popular is the Mae Sa Waterfall, which is located in the foothills of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. The waterfall has a series of seven levels, each with its own pool for swimming. It’s an ideal spot for a family picnic and a refreshing dip on a hot day.

For families who love hiking, Chiang Mai has some of the best trails in Thailand. You can trek through the lush jungles, take in the stunning mountain views, and enjoy a day out in nature. Some of the best trails are located in Doi Inthanon National Park, which is home to Thailand’s highest mountain.

Lastly, Chiang Mai is a bike-friendly city with several bike tour companies that offer family-friendly tours. You can explore the city’s backstreets, cycle through the countryside, and discover hidden gems along the way.

Cultural Activities

Chiang Mai is steeped in history and culture, making it a fascinating destination for families to explore. There are many cultural activities that families can enjoy together, such as visiting the temples. Chiang Mai has over 300 temples, and some of the most famous ones include Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Chedi Luang. These temples are stunning and offer a glimpse into the country’s rich Buddhist heritage.

Another popular activity is Thai cooking classes. Your family can learn to cook traditional Thai dishes and even take home some new recipes to try out. You can also explore the Night Bazaar, where you can indulge in some delicious street food, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy live performances.

For families interested in Thai martial arts, Muay Thai boxing shows are a must-see. These shows feature live fights between skilled Muay Thai fighters and are a great way to experience the country’s martial arts culture.

Lastly, Chiang Mai is home to several art museums, where families can explore the city’s artistic heritage. The Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders is a popular one, with over 10,000 species of insects on display.

Relaxation Activities

If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience, Chiang Mai has plenty to offer. You can indulge in some spa treatments, which are perfect for families looking to unwind after a day of adventure. There are several spas in the city that offer traditional Thai massages, herbal steam baths, and other pampering treatments.

Chiang Mai is also home to several natural hot springs, such as San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty.

For families interested in yoga and meditation, Chiang Mai is a haven. There are many yoga and meditation centres that offer classes for all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. You can also participate in mindfulness workshops and learn new techniques to help you relax and de-stress.

Day Trips

Chiang Mai is a great base for day trips to nearby destinations. One of the most popular day trips is to Doi Inthanon National Park, where you can hike through the jungle, visit the stunning waterfalls, and take in the stunning views from the mountain’s peak.

Another popular day trip is to Chiang Rai, which is located three hours north of Chiang Mai. Chiang Rai is famous for its stunning White Temple, which is a unique and beautiful work of art. You can also visit the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos meet.

Pai is another popular destination for a day trip from Chiang Mai. Pai is a laid-back hippie town surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and hot springs. You can rent a scooter and explore the surrounding countryside, hike through the jungle, or relax in one of the many hot springs.

Lastly, Mae Hong Son is a beautiful town located four hours from Chiang Mai. Mae Hong Son is home to several hill tribe villages, stunning temples, and natural hot springs. You can also take a boat ride on the Pai River and enjoy the beautiful scenery.


Chiang Mai has a wide range of accommodations that are perfect for families. There are family-friendly hotels with swimming pools and kids’ clubs, Airbnb options that offer plenty of space for families, and homestays where you can experience the local culture and hospitality.

Volunteering as a Family

Volunteering with GVI in Chiang Mai is a fantastic opportunity for families to bond and give back while doing something unique. GVI offers a variety of programs that are suitable for families with children, including wildlife conservation and volunteering with elephants

These programs provide an opportunity for families to learn about the importance of conservation and contribute to the preservation of our planet.

Volunteering with GVI in Chiang Mai is a fun and unique way for families to bond and give back to the community. It provides an opportunity to learn about different cultures, make new friends, and create memories that will last a lifetime. GVI offers a safe and supportive environment, and their programs are designed to be engaging and interactive for children of all ages. So why not make your next family vacation in Chiang Mai a meaningful one by volunteering with GVI?

By Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah is a freelance writer from New Zealand with a passion for outdoor adventure and sustainable travel. She has been writing about travel for more than five years and her work has appeared in print and digital publications including National Geographic Travel, Conde Nast Travel, Business Insider, Atlas Obscura and more. You can see more of her work at petrinadarrah.com.
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