The Best Cheap Tours and Things To Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is a city in mountainous northern Thailand. Founded in 1296, it was capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom until 1558. Its Old City area still retains ruins of walls and moats from its history as a cultural and religious center. It's also home to hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, including 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang, adorned with carved serpents. Thailand's northern capital is an escape from the whirlwind pace of life of its southern rival. Despite the constant arrival of planes and trains full of sightseers, the city is still blissfully calm and laid-back. This is a place to relax after the chaos of Bangkok and recharge your batteries with fabulous food and leisurely wandering. If you don't want to participate in the vast array of activities on offer, just stroll around the backstreets, and discover a city that is still firmly Thai in its aspect, atmosphere, and attitude. A sprawling modern city has grown up around ancient Chiang Mai, ringed by a tangle of superhighways, but if you drive in a straight line in any direction, you'll soon find yourself in the lush green countryside of northern Thailand. A short ride by motorcycle or chartered rot daang ('red truck') will deliver you to pristine rainforest reserves, churning waterfalls, serene forest wat, bubbling hot springs and peaceful country villages - as well as a host of adventure camps, elephant sanctuaries and souvenir markets. With so much to see and do, Chiang Mai is a great place to experience, and there are several options for exciting activities and tours in or near the city.
Meet the elephants at the sanctuary! Be sure to bring a change of clothes, as well as a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Once you arrive at the park, get changed into clothes you don't mind getting dirty and meet the elephants. You'll get the opportunity to feed them some treats, including bananas and sugar cane, while learning about the family-owned Elephant Pride Sanctuary's mission: providing elephants with the highest possible quality of life. You'll be dropped back at your hotel in Chiang Mai at the end of your tour.
Approximate Price: $87.54
Choose from an early morning, midday or afternoon departure from Chiang Mai with hotel pickup included. Board the deluxe air-conditioned minivan for a scenic drive to the zipline site, situated deep in the Thai rainforest. Start with a detailed safety briefing and orientation, followed by time to get outfitted in your harness and other provided gear. When the group is ready, your guides lead you to the beginning of a series of amazing platform stations. The ziplines run between the platforms, and other aerial stops include hanging sky bridges and more. Soar through the treetops by zipline and enjoy the fun of rappel descents. Your eco-adventure is supervised by experienced guides who share informative details about the rainforest flora and fauna along the way. In addition, you can enjoy three nature walks, including a hike up the seven-tiered Mae Kampong Falls for more scenic views. If you're lucky, you may even spot wild gibbons, although they can be elusive. You'll have a blast for sure!
Approximate Price: $77.82
This gentle half-day cycling tour takes you on a memorable and informative tour of this ancient city's most interesting sights and beyond the city walls where you'll visit stunning temples and local markets. Some of these sights are well off the tourist track so you'll get to visit the city's best attractions, and experience a different side of Chiang Mai from most visitors on this easy 12.4mi (20km) ride. You'll have a leisurely start along the banks of the Ping River where you will ride through quiet country lanes and be introduced to Thai culture as you pass local villages, markets, plantations, and ancient ruins. Suited for all riders, this family-friendly cycling tour is ideal for those who would like to explore and experience Chiang Mai the non-traditional way.
Approximate Price: $36.48
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