So you’ve had enough of temples, explored every hipster cafe in the old Chiang Mai city and are wondering what else there is to do in this city.
Speak to backpackers at the hostel and most would probably have elephant shows or a visit to the Tiger kingdom on their itinerary. But if you’re like us and visiting animals in captivity isn’t your thing, here are other exciting things to do in Chiang Mai — Not for the faint hearted!
Read Also: The Ultimate Chiang Mai Guide
1) Cliff Jump 10-20m into the Chiang Mai old quarry
Also known as the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon, this old quarry is an easy 40 minutes south west of the Chiang Mai Old City. On a hot sunny day, this is probably the best place to be in Chiang Mai. Have a go at jumping off cliffs into the cool blue waters 10-20m below (depending on rainfall). It definitely looks a lot scarier when you’re at the edge and landing in the wrong position could result in bruising. But if you swim well and land feet first, you’ll survive. There’s also bamboo rafts and tubes (฿50 to rent) in the quarry you can lounge in all day with a beer or coconut in hand. Slab on sufficient sunblock and expect to spend an entire day here.
How far from Chiang Mai Old City: 17km – 40 minutes by Motorbike
Entrance Fee: ฿50, parking is free!
*Pro-tip: Bring only the essentials as the lockers are pretty small and there are no shower stalls.
2) Zipline through the jungle alongside Gibbons
There’s a bunch of zipline adventure parks scattered around Chiang Mai but you just can’t miss out on the single longest zipline in Asia — Flight of the Gibbon, Chiang Mai! This company is an actual Gibbon conservation funded by the zipline riders and if you’re lucky (they’re wild afterall), you get to see them swinging off trees while you zipline your way across this beautiful rainforest. The cheeky park rangers made sure there’s never a single moment of boredom with their terrorising tactics while displaying total professionalism in safety.
How far from Chiang Mai Old City: 57km – Slightly over an hour drive away
Cost: S$143 (Includes pick up from your accommodation)
Pro-tip: Book via Klook and get US$3.50 (or SGD$5) off for first time users. Simply use our promo code “KLOOKTTI” on your mobile app. Click Promotions and enter the code.
3) Climb up the Sticky Waterfall
A 90 minute ride north of the Old city brings you to the Buatong Waterfalls. But this is no ordinary waterfall to travel such distances for. Nicknamed sticky waterfall, this is one you can actually climb up on — like Spiderman! The trick is with the help of the minerals in the water, coating the rocks resulting in a nice grippy surface. You probably won’t believe it till you experience this for yourself!
How far from Chiang Mai Old City: 58km – 1.5hours by Motorbike
Entrance Fee: Free
*Pro-tip: Climb only on the white surfaces as the dark patches usually mean there’s moss growth which can be really slippery!
4) White water raft through level 5 rapids
Monsoon probably isn’t the best time to visit any country but since we were there, we were delighted to hear that these are the best times for white water rafting — although the water was pretty brown. Most companies start up in the Maetaeng river, 1.5hour drive from the city. The guide promised level 3-5 rapids and we were pleasantly surprised there were more than a handful of exciting drops that made our heart race.
How far from Chiang Mai Old City: 25km (Maetaeng River)
5) Ride an ATV through mud and puddles
Whether it’s 4×4 or a manual single rider, ATVs are an exciting option for exploring the lush jungles in Chiang Mai. These are especially fun during the rainy season — just be prepared to get your shoes covered in mud!
How far from Chiang Mai Old City: 14km (Huay Tung Tao Lake)
Cost: ฿900 (Cheaper if purchased together with White Water Rafting)
*Pro-tip: Most adventure companies offer both White water rafting as well as ATV rides so book it as a package for a better deal!
6) Catch a Muay Thai Match
If you’ve never caught a Muay Thai match before, Chiang Mai is a great place to start! We caught a 6 set match which lasted for 3 hours. The first match was a little slow and ended with a very sudden knock out. It did get more exciting during the 2nd, with the 3rd being the highlight of both equally skilled fighters.
How far from Chiang Mai Old City: 1km (Both Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium and Kawila Stadium are just outside the Old City moat)
Entrance Fee: ฿600 – ฿2000 (VIP seats & free flow beer)
*Pro-tip: Unless you’re intending to get drunk at the match, the cheapest seats are a pretty good deal. The outer seats are tiered so you get an unobstructed view and be in midst of more locals as they enthusiastically cheer for their teams.
7) Take a shot of Scorpion Whiskey
If you’re taking the Golden Triangle tour (meeting point of 3 countries: Thailand, Myanmar and Laos), there’s an option to take a boat ride on the Mekong river which passes through Myanmar’s casino and stops at Laos, a tourist market. It’s honestly quite boring and worth giving a miss. But if you’ve somehow found yourself here, be sure to check out these badass looking bottles of scorpion infused alcohol! Most store owners are quite happy to offer you a sample shot and see how you react!
How far from Chiang Mai Old City: 250km
Visiting Chiang Mai?
Fly direct from Singapore to Chiang Mai with Scoot. Flight leaves on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays leaving Singapore at 12pm and Chiang Mai at 2:45pm!
Know of other adventure spots in Chiang Mai? Let us know in the comments section below!
ENFP, fuelled by yoga, the outdoors, adrenaline and anything that spells adventure. Follow her adventures on Instagram @cheriesyw.