Chiang Mai’s Countryside
Exploring Chiang Mai’s Countryside on Motorbikes
Not everyone wants to travel in a crowd and stick to structured itineraries in popular attractions. Each person has their own idea of how to explore unfamiliar territory, and this page talks about experiencing the region of Chiang Mai away from the street markets and crowded temples.
Biking: Take on the streets of this northern region on two wheels with a Chiang Mai Countryside Bike Tour. With the roads beneath you and sounds of rural life around, nothing beats the freedom of touring the dirt roads on a trusty bicycle.
- For first time riders, Chiang Mai has a lot of agencies and guides that allow you to visit attractions on a rented bicycle or motorbike. Some tours may last for just a day, while others can begin and end within a week.
- If you are planning to ride with a company or rent your own, make sure the bikes are durable and suited to the terrain.
Huay Teung Thao Reservoir: Locals love lounging by the water at this sizable reservoir at the northwestern foot of Doi Suthep-Pui Park. The banks of the “lake” are dotted with floating bamboo huts, where Thais snack on fried bugs (yum!), share whisky and perfect the art of chilling. If the day gets hot, jump into the water from your own dock – you can also go fishing if you want to try your luck at catching your own lunch! If not, there are a couple of small restaurants nearby that prepare dancing shrimp (a local specialty).
- The reservoir can be reached by driving some 12km northwest of the city
- If you want to bike there, it takes an hour to cycle from the northwestern corner of the moat. Take the Th Klorng Chonprathan Road (Klorng Road)
Muang On Cave: For those who love a good cave exploration, head to Muang On 35km-45km east of Chiang Mai. The place fronts a rock climbing and abseiling paradise, set among an impressive set of limestone cliffs. Find the latter behind “Tham Meuang On”, near Sankamphaeng, 45km east of the city. If you decide to ascend, you’ll be rewarded with pastoral views (maybe not quite like Krabi’s seaside cliffs, but beautiful all the same).
- Other sights: Down the road are the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, the best spot to sit down and chat with the locals.
- Climbing courses: Try Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures or Peak to guide you through the iconic Crazy Horse Buttress
Trekking: Head into the green slopes close to the Burmese and Laoatian border for “hill-tribe treks” to see mountain scenery, interact with local tribes and greet elephants at their sanctuaries!
White-water rafting: Paddle through the Mae Taeng River north of Chiang Mai, carving a path through the Doi Chiang Dao National Park and Huai Nam Dang National Park. The river’s 10km route is wild and frothy for nine months of the year (July to March), dropping almost 60 meters in just 1.5km at one part!
Chiang Rai Temples Tour: White Temple, Blue Temple & Black House
Chiang Mai, Thailand