Thailand // The north //

Trekking and other outdoor activities in Chiang Mai


The trekking industry in Chiang Mai offers an impressive variety of itineraries, with over two hundred agencies covering nearly all trekkable areas of the north. Most treks include a ride on an elephant and a bamboo-raft excursion, though the amount of actual walking included can vary greatly. A few operators offer something a little different. Eagle House runs the standard type of trek, with elephants and rafting, but to carefully chosen quiet areas and with an educational bent, and passes on a proportion of costs towards funding projects in hill-tribe villages. Moving upmarket, the Trekking Collective can arrange pricey but high-quality customized treks from one to five days and can cater for specific interests such as bird-watching; it too is involved in community programmes to help tribal people.

Meanwhile, Chiangmai Green Alternative Tours, an eco-friendly and culturally sensitive operation 100m north of TAT at 31 Thanon Chiangmai–Lamphun, offers a fascinating diversity of worthwhile nature field trips. Sharing the proceeds with knowledgeable local guides, they can take you up Doi Suthep, Doi Inthanon or Doi Chiang Dao on one-day or multi-day trips, including bird-watching specialities.

For a wide range of adventure tours, including whitewater rafting on the Pai River, trekking, cycling and kayaking, a long-standing, general agency is Contact Travel, based at Tasala to the east of town.

If you just fancy a gentle paddle up and down the Ping River in town, kayaks can be rented from Wat Faham on Thanon Fa Ham (B100). For those with a head for heights, Flight of the Gibbon offers full-day rainforest canopy tours on zip lines and sky bridges in the hills to the east of town.

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