Chiang Mai is best known for its more laid back atmosphere, but it also offers plenty of action filled adventures just outside the city. Did you know that you can fly by a microlight or participate at a survival jungle trek? Many of these activities are not really publicized among travel agents or brochures.
Check out these ten activities that will get your heart pumping:
White Water Rafting
White Water Rafting is not only a breathtaking experience, but also a lot of fun you can easily do with your family and friends. With the stunning scenery of the lush and unspoiled rainforest, you will navigate down the thrilling different rapid levels of the Mae Taeng River. For the ultimate kick – go for the ‘Full Moon Rafting Experience’: yep, this trip will take you down the river at night led by some very experienced guides.
Tiger Kingdom is located in Mae Rim, about 45 minutes from the Old Town of Chiang Mai. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for being so close to these fantastic animals. You can bottle-feed the baby tigers or – if you’re brave enough – petting the big ones! The park is very well maintained and the staff is very friendly and professional. You can also hire your own on-site photographer so you can interact and have fun instead of focusing on your camera.
Rock Climbing and Caving at Crazy Horse Buttress
Granted! The name sounds already kind of weird but the rock is among the most popular climbing spots in Thailand. It may look a bit intimidating when you’re standing at the base, but don’t worry, the rock features different climbs for every skill level, speaking that also beginners can start here.
If climbing is not really your thing or you want to add an adventure after you conquered the rock then explore the Furnace Cave nearby. Be ready to be covered in mud, as a lot of crawling and twisting is required.
Ziplining through the Jungle
Always dreamed of being Tarzan for a day? Here is your chance to prove yourself: several companies around town offering a variety of zipline adventures – from abseiling, riding a ‘flying bicycle’, walking across skybridges to ‘flying’ hundreds of metres from tree to another. Safety is guaranteed and professional guides accompanying you from start to finish. Don’t forget to bring mosquito repellent or you will end up with dozens of mosquito bites.
What is more exciting than riding off-road with your own ATV? Prepare to get dirty from head to toe and ride through different paths, rivers and the forest. It’s an exciting and unique way to see the countryside of Chiang Mai from a whole different angle. There are various companies offering different tour packages from half-day tours to even multiple-day tours.
Trekking though the lush forests is an exciting and very popular activity in Chiang Mai. There are lots of different treks around town to choose from: take for example a walk around the small trails of Doi Suthep, starting from the same named temple (Wat Doi Suthep) and explore the small villages in its surrounding. Not enough yet? How about a jungle survival trek where learn basic survival skills like building your own shelter and cooking in the jungle?
Taking a microlight brings sightseeing to a whole new level. A microlight is a small, light aircraft with 1-2 seats, designed to fly at slow speeds. Think of a hang glider with seat and engine. The views over Chiang Mai and its countryside are extremely stunning and you should add a flight with a microlight definitely to your bucket list! Flights are available at a duration of 15-30 minutes.
If you love to get the ultimate adrenalin rush, you shouldn’t miss out on bungee jumping. There are two established companies just outside of Chiang Mai offering jumps from 50 metre high towers. Choose between two options to end your jump: above ground or over water with a quick splash at the end. For more fun: try a tandem jump with a friend!
Hot Air Balloon
You want to take your flight experience a step further after trying the microlight? Take a hot air balloon! Start early in the morning and float over the countryside just after sunrise. The flight takes a bit more than one hour, with a delicious breakfast and champagne toast after landing to complete your adventure.
Mountain biking is yet another great way to explore the different terrains of Chiang Mai. For a relaxed day trip, drive along the scenic rice paddies, temples and farms towards Hang Dong. If you’re into an action-packed challenge, take your bike directly through the forest, ride down steep hills and muddy trails that will make your palms sweaty!