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Daytrips around Chiang Mai
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  1. #1
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    of course, all this information is already out there on the internet, but it might be a good idea to collect some of it here, so that you may add more information and ideas for others. also, if you upload a picture about any of the sights, you could add a link to the description.

    CHIANG DAO

    Chiang Dao is a town some 70 km north of Chiang Mai, famous for the stalagtite caves a couple of km outside the town.
    Entrance is from a rural temple. Entry fee is 20 baht.
    Inside the cave, you need to hire a guide with a lamp for 100 baht per group. The tour takes about 40 mins. There is lots of crawling in muddy, tight gaps, you don't want to be wearing your best clothes. You cannot see much in the faint light of the lamps but it is a nice experience - don't expect something breathtaking though. Much of the cave system has not been explored. There are zillions of bats.





    Food and drink available at small simple restaurants outside the temple.
    Chiang Dao is accessible by bus (route to Fang, from Chang Phuak bus station), about 1 hour. I do not know how to access the cave one you are off the bus because I do not remember seeing taxis. The route does not have heavy traffic once you are out of Chiang Mai, it is a very nice motorcycle ride.

    Chiang Dao elephant camp is on the way from Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao (55 kms), it is right by the road, next to a river. I have not found info on show times.

    check out this thread for information and pictures on Doi Chiang Dao, the mountain area near Chiang Dao town:
    http://www.thailandqa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14445


    MAE RIM - MAE SA


    Mae Rim is 12 km north from Chiang Mai. A rural road turns west, continuing deep into the mountains, on a scenic route dotted with resorts and attractions such as snake farms, monkey schools, orchid nurseries.

    Mae Sa Waterfall
    A path winds up for one kilometre to the top of the 10-tiered cascades. The many secluded areas off the trail are great for picnicking. The park is crowded on weekends and public holidays. Some areas suitable for taking a dip and swimming in the rainy season.
    Open: 08:00-18:00.
    Entry: 50 baht per foreigner, 20 /10 baht for Thai, 50 baht per car, 20 baht per motorcycle. No parking outside the official parking lot, so you need to pay the fee for taking your vehicle.

    The Mae Sa elephant camp holds three shows a day (8:00, 9:40, 13:30). There is a possibility to ride an elephant or watch elephant bathing in the river. You can sign up for mahout courses.

    a photo taken on the road leading to the camp:



    Check out their website for details:
    http://www.maesaelephantcamp.com/

    A few kilometres down the road, The Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden lies at the edge of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park (about 28 kms from the city). It has an area of 1,000 hectares. It is a pleasant, relaxing spot with 12 exhibition greenhouses, garden and nature trails, educational and research activities
    Open daily from 8:30 – 16:30. Entry 20 baht, 50 for cars. Motorcycles not allowed.
    http://www.qsbg.org/index_E.asp

    If you continue on this road, you will end up in Samoeng. The road continues to encircle Doi Suthep and Doi Pui from the west, leading back to Hang Dong., south of Chiang Mai (about 100 kms in all). The Samoeng area is famous for strawberry plantations (from November to February). The route is very scenic all along and makes an excellent daytrip by motorcycle. Take a jacket because the road leads up to high altitudes. If you search the internet, the route is referred to as the Samoeng Loop.

    There are yellow songthaews running from Chiang Mai all the way to Samoeng, via Mae Rim. I don't know the price, but all I saw were jam packed, with people sitting on the roof as well. You can take these to go to Mae Sa falls, the elephant camp, or the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden.

    If you do the full loop by motorcycle, I think it is easier starting from the south (Hangdong), because there is a section that is very steep downhill if you go this way (about halfway). I'm not sure a 125 cc motorcycle with two people on can negotiate those bits uphill.

    Further down, there is a photo with the list of things to see on the southern section of the loop. The board is displayed a couple of kms into the loop from the southern end.

    a picture of the scenery along the way (this viewpoint is about 10 kms from Samoeng, coming from Mae Rim)


    Samoeng village



    SANKAMPHAENG AREA

    The hot springs are actually 11 kms outside the town of Sankamphaeng (almost 30 km from the centre of Chiang Mai), surrounded by hills. The beautifully landscaped area offers a mineral swimming pool (30 baht), the sights of hot water gushing out from the ground, channeled into pools and brooks where you can boil your eggs, or warm your feet (further down the line of course!). A favourite picnic spot for Thai families. You can also have a Thai massage (the first place I have ever seen where farangs are expected to pay a higher price for massage).
    Entry: 15-30 baht (foreigner), 5-10 baht (Thai). Open until 18:00.
    There are some resorts in the vicinity.






    Bosang
    This small village about 10 kms east from Chiang Mai is famous for its hand-made umbrella workshops. The ideal place to buy umbrellas, fans, other decorative bamboo and saa paper items for souvenir or wholesale - the prices are a little lower than in the markets in the city. In some workshops, you can observe the process. A nice relaxing walk for an hour or so.
    Shops start to close early, at around 4 p.m.
    You can take a white songthaew from Warorot Market to get to Bosang (about 15 baht, but jam packed).



    DOI SAKET

    Doi Saket is a small town 15 kms from Chiang Mai on the main road leading to Chiang Rai. There is also a country road from Bosang (18 ks), which is quite scenic. A long naga staircase leads up to a small temple on the top of a hill (or take the winding road to the parking space, but then where is the adventure?) Nice view from the top. An interesting temple with contemporary style murals. A chedi you can walk inside to reveal another chedi. A large monastic school on the grounds.





    HANG DONG

    The grounds of the former flower expo area have mostly been preserved and are open for visitors free of charge. The international gardens and the company gardens are closed, but the Royal Pavilion and the Thai tropical gardens are open. Hardly any visitors, very quiet and peaceful now. About 15 kms from the centre: south along the canal road or the Hang Dong road, then turn right following the clear signs.



    Wat Doi Kham temple right behind the flower expo area features a small temple and a large seated Buddha.




    The night safari is right next to the flower show area.
    http://www.chiangmainightsafari.com/en/home.htm

    Baan Tawai (Ban Tawai) is a handicraft village 15 kms south of Chiang Mai specialising in woodcarving, ideal for shopping and for observing the workshops. Over half the shops were closed on Sunday early afternoon - no idea when would be a better time to visit. Baan Tawai is 3 kms from Hang Dong, seems like you need your own wheels to get there. Yellow songthaews go from the south of the moat all the way to Hang Dong. There is also a quiet rural road along the west bank of the Ping River leading to Baan Tawai, though I had never seen it signposted that way.
    http://www.ban-tawai.com/





    LAMPHUN
    Temple or history enthusiasts definitely find a little daytrip to Lamphun rewarding. The ancient town of Haripunchai, dating back to the 12th century, lies 30 kms from Chiang Mai. Wat Phra That Haripunchai is in the town centre, with the National Museum exactly opposite. Very conveniently, this is the very place where blue songthaews leaving from Chiang Mai's Iron Bridge (Saphan Lek) end up (the western side, i.e. the back entrance to the temple, the main entrance is on the east, by the river). A magnificent golden chedi is behind the main temple, there are two chedis in Haripunchai style, and the world's largest bronze gong is also here to be seen.



    Wat Chama Thewi (Wat Kukut) is on the Lamphun - Sanpatong road, west from the centre. The area dates back to the 8th century, was developed in the Haripunchai era, and rebuilt several times since then of course. There are several spectacular chedis around, in the style unique to Haripunchai monuments.
    The weaving village of Pasang is 12 kms south from Lamphun.
    The train station is on the outskirts of the town. The bus station is within walking distance of the centre area, surrounded by a moat. The songthaew seems to be the most convenient option coming from Chiang Mai. Many buses heading south from Chiang Mai (to Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Bangkok etc) also stop in Lamphun.


    HUAY TUNG THAO LAKE

    This lake is at the foot of Doi Suthep, not very far from Mae Rim, some 12 kms from Chiang Mai. Best accessible riding north along the Canal Road from the city. You have to pay 20 baht admission per person. Lots of simple restaurants on stilts, serving mostly fish, gai yang and somtam. Rent kayaks or inner tubes for swimming, splashing in the water. Lots of Thai families with kids spend a relaxing afternoon here. There is also a paintball course by the lake.


    DOI SUTHEP - DOI PUI

    Chiang Mai zoo lies at the foot of Doi Suthep. It covers an area of 200 acres. Motorcycles and cars have recently been banned, you can take a tram or a monorail to go round. Some sections are very steep, and it takes quite a bit of trekking to get around! Highlights: aviary (very difficult to find, but worth the trouble), pandas. Entrance fee: 100 baht for adults and 50 for children (prices keep going up here!), another 100/50 baht for entrance to the pandas. Check out the feeding time at the panda enclosure entrance before you go in, otherwise they are asleep and pretty boring.
    You need a take a songthaew to take you here - bus number 3 that many websites are referring to hasn't been around for a while.

    A hundred metres or so uphill from the zoo entrance, you will find the statue of Khruba Sriwichai, the most revered monk of the north, who initiated the building of the road to the hilltop temple in 1934 - the work was completed within 6 months! If you walk past the worshippers and the flower shops, you will find the most popular picnic area of Chiang Mai people, the Huay Kaew waterfall. Food and mats for rent are available. There is a steep footpath if you want to walk to the top of the waterfall.

    The same stream has more waterfalls a couple of kilometres uphill, also called Huay Kaew waterfalls (clearly signposted).

    There are several smaller waterfalls on the way up (signposted), as well as a viewing area.

    Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the gleaming golden pagoda on the hill west from Chiang Mai, needs little introduction. It lies at about 1300 metres of altitude. The temple grounds are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays are crowded. Take a songthaew from Chiang Mai zoo, or rent a motorcycle. About 12 kms from Chiang Mai zoo, the road is not very steep, a 100 cc can carry 2 people. Admission: 30 baht (for foreigners only).
    The temple has its own website with information, including history of the temple:
    http://www.doisuthep.com/english.html

    Phuping Palace (also spelled Bhubing palace), the king's winter palace, is another 4 kms on. The palace is surrounded by magnificent gardens well worth exploring. Each season is a different experience. Tickets are sold from 8:30 to 11:30 and 13:00 to 15:30, 50 baht for foreigners, 20 baht for Thais. Proper attire required (no short, no sleeveless shirts, clothes can be rented for a fee.) You can rent a golf cart to take you around. Previously only open on weekends, but recently every day, except when a member of the royal family is expected - you need to ask in advance.
    their official website:
    http://www.bhubingpalace.org/main_en.php

    If you continue on the same road, a little more uphill and then lots of downhill, you get to Meo village that consists entirely of shops - only worth seeing if you want to buy handicrafts, or if this is your only chance to see a hilltribe village.

    The Doi Suthep - Doi Pui National Park, where all these sights are located, covers 262 km2. For attractions, see their website:
    http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp...attraction.asp
    This list also contains sights accessible from the Mae Rim - Mae Sa - Samoeng or the Hangdong - Samoeng route. Nice photos of waterfalls to help you decide which ones you would like to visit!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Betti; 19-07-09 at 09:13 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Daytrips around Chiang Mai

    OB KHAN NATIONAL PARK

    http://www.thai-blogs.com/index.php/...l-park?blog=27

    Ob Khan is a small national park just south of the Samoeng junction. The Khan River has cut out a nice little gorge in the rocks (Ob Khan), and formed pools further down, which are of course a favourite picnic spot for Thai families at the weekend. There is a nature trail starting at the parking lot, leading up about 1.5 km beside the river to another gorge called Ob Hai - not many people take the trouble to climb up the initial uphill part, so you can have an entire section of the stream for yourself. There are restaurants and camping facilities, as well as bungalows where you can stay overnight.

    To get to Ob Khan national park, continue south on the Canal road about 5 kms from the Samoeng junction. You need to turn right at a bridge over the canal, there is a clear sign on the bridge both in Thai and English indicating "Opkhan National Park". It is another 12 km from here, first through small villages, then lychee orchards, then bone dry bamboo forests. There is a police checkpoint where you need to sign in, no need to present your passport, just register your data - if you are lost, you will be searched for. And no national park entrance fees for anyone! The road is paved all the way, looks brand new.
    I absolutely loved the ride up to the gorge, the scenery, the stream itself, watching people having fun, walking up along the river following the trail. The forest is very dry now at the beginning of the hot season! The whole scenery must be even more beautiful a few months from now, can't wait to go back.

    Ob Khan national park is also the area where so-called one-day treks organised by tour agencies in Chiang Mai take you, however, those turn west to Mae Wang, following route 1013 from the Canal Road or from Sanpatong, further south from Ob Khan gorge. You can do bamboo rafting on the Wang river, and there is also an elephant camp beside the road, as well as several hilltribe villages and small waterfalls.

    official website:
    http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp...sp?npid=2&lg=2







    and a greener photo taken by Khunlungphudhu

    Last edited by Betti; 17-08-09 at 01:42 AM. Reason: add photos

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    Re: Daytrips around Chiang Mai

    The Mae Sa elephant camp was nice but I was hoping for the elephant ride where the elephants trek through a river. I think that happens at some other elephant camp.

    Doi Suthep is a must see of course but those who are prone to motion sickness should take dramamine. I took a taxi up and down the mountain and while the distance is not particularly long, there are a lot of twists and turns in the road that will make your head spin. I was alright but my friend was hurting bad. The way up she almost got sick and needed a few minutes to recover before making our way up to the temple. But on the way down we stopped off at Chiang Mai zoo, and she barely made it to the toilet and she was in there for about 30 minutes.

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    Re: Daytrips around Chiang Mai

    Quote Originally Posted by InterestedGuy08 View Post
    The Mae Sa elephant camp was nice but I was hoping for the elephant ride where the elephants trek through a river. I think that happens at some other elephant camp.
    I think you may mean this one. If it is any consolation you and the elephant get out of the river just around the corner in this photo- you can see all the elephants bunching up to leave the water. The elephant in the foreground has just entered the river.
    There is a company photographer at this point and you can buy the photo he takes of you on the elephant later on in the day. Sorry-I can not remember the name of the camp-but the trip is run in conjunction with a rafting trip (not "white water!") which follows on from the elephant ride-again there is a photographer on hand-and a lunch at some hotel-where you get your photos-should this help.
    The rest of the elephant ride is through some not too great scenery and is quite short.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Daytrips around Chiang Mai

    Mae Wang? Mae Taeng? which way from Chiang Mai? both places have elephant camps and rafting.
    also in Lampang, the elephants go into the water but no rafting there.

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    Re: Daytrips around Chiang Mai

    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Don View Post
    I think you may mean this one. If it is any consolation you and the elephant get out of the river just around the corner in this photo- you can see all the elephants bunching up to leave the water. The elephant in the foreground has just entered the river.
    There is a company photographer at this point and you can buy the photo he takes of you on the elephant later on in the day. Sorry-I can not remember the name of the camp-but the trip is run in conjunction with a rafting trip (not "white water!") which follows on from the elephant ride-again there is a photographer on hand-and a lunch at some hotel-where you get your photos-should this help.
    The rest of the elephant ride is through some not too great scenery and is quite short.
    Yes that is what I was looking for. It doesn't seem particularly long but it's cool that they do cross the river, I wanted to see that. Maybe next time.

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    Re: Daytrips around Chiang Mai

    This is good trip I want to try like this one day ^^

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    Re: Daytrips around Chiang Mai

    Quote Originally Posted by Betti View Post
    Mae Wang? Mae Taeng? which way from Chiang Mai? both places have elephant camps and rafting.
    also in Lampang, the elephants go into the water but no rafting there.
    Based purely on distance on your handily posted map, I am 80% sure it was Mae Wang.

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    Re: Daytrips around Chiang Mai

    I'm curious where that temple in the first picture with the beam of light shining down is? Is it at the same place as Chiang Dao or are they unrelated

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    Re: Daytrips around Chiang Mai

    Quote Originally Posted by strider View Post
    I'm curious where that temple in the first picture with the beam of light shining down is? Is it at the same place as Chiang Dao or are they unrelated
    Betti is away on holiday at the moment-I am sure she will reply when she returns-or if she logs in while away.

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