Chiang Mai is not only a place for individuals and couple travellers, but an exciting destination for adventurous families that love outdoor actions, paired with cultural trips and sports. The wide array of captivating activities ranges from trekking hills over interactive museums to Muay Thai. Here are the top activities for families in Chiang Mai:
Elephant Poopoopaper Park Chiang Mai is a fantastic open air museum which showcases the production of paper made from elephant dung. There are eight different stations around a circular path of which each describes one of the steps needed to produce the paper. Your kids will be actively involved in the paper making process as the friendly staff shows how to use the tools and machines. Don’t worry, although there are piles of elephant poo everywhere, it’s not smelling at all. Your kids can even create their own wallet, notebook, passport holder or greeting card made from the recycled paper (for a small fee). There is a coffee shop which serves delicious oversized chocolate chip cookies (they call it Poopoo Cookie) and a gift shop which offers a great souvenirs and gifts.
Open: daily, 09:00-18:00 Entry: 100 THB (kids below 5 yrs. Free) Location: Mae Rim, north of Chiang Mai
Just about 50m away from the aforementioned Elephant Poopoopaper Park comes one of Chiang Mai’s most popular attractions – the Tiger Kingdom Chiang Mai. It’s here where you can encounter tigers up-close which is definitely an once-in-a-lifetime experience for young and old. You can choose between cubs (a few weeks), small tigers (2-4 months), medium tigers (5-8 months) and big tigers (9-12 months). The prices depend on the tiger’s size and range between 420 (for adult sized tigers) to 1900 THB for a combination of all sizes. Kids usually love the cubs and small tigers. Every visitor has 15 minutes in the compound with direct enclosure to the tigers. There are always trainers around who make sure that the tigers always stay calm. After the encounter you’re free to explore the rest of the area for as long as you want.
Open: daily, 09:00-18:00 Entry: 420-1900 THB Location: Mae Rim, north of Chiang Mai
Who said museums are boring? Art in Paradise is the ideal place for kids to visit in Chiang Mai. This interactive museum features more than 130 amazing 3D paintings spread over two stories, from small canvas to two storey artworks. The paintings require a mix of imagination and involvement from the viewers to get really the best possible experience. Whether it’s running away from King Kong, walking across wobbly bridges or driving a gondola in Venice, Art in Paradise Chiang Mai surprises with lots of great pictures. We recommend to come before 12:00 as it gets quickly afterwards. Allow yourself at least 2-2.5 hours to discover the museum properly.
Open: daily, 09:00-21:00 Entry: 300 THB Location: next to Shangri-La hotel and Pantip Plaza mall
Muay Thai, or Thai Boxing, is a big part of the Thai culture and one of the things one shouldn’t miss out. Muay Thai fights usually take place after 21:00 but why don’t you bring your kids to a training session? Many gyms offer classes dedicated for kids with focus on building up endurance (pad work, jumping rope and/or running) and first steps in the ring. Hong Thong Muay Thai is a well reputed gym which offers daily classes for kids from 17:30-19:00.
Price: from 300 THB (single session) Location: towards Hang Dong, 150 Moo 2 Middle Ring Road.
Elephant Riding at Maesa Elephant Camp
Elephants have been part of Thailand for the last centuries. The Maesa Elephant Camp offers a lot of fun for families and kids in Chiang Mai; whether it’s riding an elephant for 30-60 minutes, doing, visiting the elephant nursery, a basic mahout course or bathing the elephants, rest assured everyone will have a lot of fun.
A great alternative way of exploring Chiang Mai! Doing a Segway tour allows you to visit the most important sites and places in a short amount of time, as you don’t have to deal with the busy traffic – and your kids will surely love to navigate the Segway around the streets and alleys, speaking excitement will win over potential boredom.
Tour start: from 10:00 (diff. timings) Price: from 1999 THB Location: 29/4-5 Kachasarn Road, Thapae Gate
Chiang Mai has a series of stunning parks around, of which most feature great trails for trekking. There are also numerous waterfalls around, such as the ‘Bua Thong Sticky Waterfall’ (at Sri Lanna National. Park), where the surface provides enough grip to easily walk the rushing multi-tiered waterfall up and down.
Here is a selection of parks:
Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park – 7km from Chiang Mai
The park was initially created as an international horticulture expo from 1st November 2006 to 31st January 2007 in honour of King Bhumibol’s 60th anniversary of accession to the throne. Each garden features a different theme such as the Bonsai Garden or the popular Orchid Garden. The incredible Ho Kham Royal Pavilion is the park’s centrepiece and a stunning reflection of perfect Lanna style architecture. You can rent a bicycle (20 THB/hour), opt for the electric bus which allows you to hop on and off at any time (20 THB/adult, 10 THB/child) or a private tour with guide (600 THB).
Open: daily, 08:00-18:00 Entry: 100 THB for adults & 50 THB for kids Location: 65 M.1 Suthep Road, towards Hang Dong.
The Butterfly Farm offers thousands of beautiful exotic flowers and plants which recreate the ideal conditions for butterflies to grow. A great place to encounter butterflies in their natural surroundings.
Open: daily, 07:30-17:00 Entry: 20-60 THB Location: 3/1 Moo 7, Samoeng Road, Mae Rim, north of Chiang Mai. (No website).
Although famous for its night safari, this theme park opens already by noon and offers as well day safaris which are definitely not less spectacular. Inspired by the famous Night Safari in Singapore, Chiang Mai Night Safari offers several ‘zones’ (e.g. the Jaguar Trail), shows (e.g. the Tiger Show), the interactive ‘Digital Zoo’ and a resort, consisting of six different houses. The night safaris start at 18:30, with separate English and Thai versions.
Open: daily, 11:00-21:30 Entry: 100-800 THB Location: 33 Moo 12, Tambon Nongkwaii, towards Hang Dong