Five places to go for the Weekend Getaway around Chiang Mai

May 15, 2017

You're tired of the daily schedule and chaotic city traffic? Need a break from all stress and frustration? Take some time off and head to somewhere where you can stretch your legs, and enjoy a peaceful weekend amidst serene surroundings. It’s the perfect way to relax and recoup over a weekend! Check out these getaway places around Chiang Mai, you will not regret it.

1. Hiking up to Wat Phalad Doi Suthep

Wat Phalad is a hidden temple nestled in the forest just a few kilometers down the road from Doi Suthep, it's also called "The secret jungle temple of Chiang Mai." You must hear a lot about the most famous temple Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai but if you are looking for something more special than all that crowded, touristy attraction, I urge you to try out Wat Phalad. To head there you can also drive all the way up, but just forget about the convenience and get yourself some exercise with the Monk's trail, it will be a nice adventure. It's a bit difficult to find the start of the trail, but you can follow the GPS coordinate "18.796570,98.942719", you can drive all the way up to the starting point.

Link for the map

Once you get here you will see a map on the green board, there are some other things on the way for you to choose to stop by. After that, just follow the orange scarf that the monk tied on the tree. The trail is a bit rough and rocky sometimes so you'd better have the proper shoes and you're going to the temple so make sure you wear appropriate clothes or have something to cover your shoulder and your legs.

Beautiful hidden temple in the jungle

Some people also come here to meditate

2. Camping at Doi Pui Campsite

For camping fans, this place is a perfect choice. Located not too far from the center of Chiang Mai, yet it will still give you a true camping feeling. To reach the campsite, we suggest renting a motorbike and driving up yourself. It’s cheap and super fun. You just need to follow the sign up to Doi Suthep, drive past the temple and Hmong Village. From the point that you see Bhubing Palace, make a sharp right turn and follow the small dirt road. From here, the road is a single lane and pretty rocky, so you should drive slowly and be careful. It will take a total of 40 mins to 1 hour to get to the campsite. But before you reach there you will also pass an amazing viewpoint where you can see the Hmong Villages and beautiful sunset.

Beautiful sunset at Doi Pui viewpoint

Some tips for you: They have a tent for rent (around 250 Thai baht / 2~3 people and some extra for a pillow, mattress, and sleeping bag), not many shops here, just a small local Thai restaurant which is open from 9 am - 5 pm and a coffee shop also closed in the evening so you'd better prepare some extra food. The place has an area for a campfire but you have to ask the officer there first. There are so many places on the way so you might want to start in the morning, save the sunset for the viewpoint, and end up at the campsite. The campsite is closed during the rainy season in Chiang Mai.

Doi Pui Camping area

Link for the map

3. Sticky waterfall

Also known as Bua Thong Waterfall, one of the most unique places you need to go. The waterfall is not really popular with tourists because it's a bit far from the center, which makes it an ideal place for a relaxing day. Why it's called sticky waterfall is because of the secret limestone here, the rocks are not slippery at all, you can climb up easily even without shoes, yet still has some spots with the moss that you shouldn't step in. There are 5 levels, you can sit down and enjoy the surroundings in any of them.

Climbing at Bua Thong Sticky Waterfall

Once you reach the top, look for the sign to Nam Phu Chet Si. It is a small shrine hidden in the jungle. It is an easy walk from the Sticky Waterfalls, not many people visit this place, except some religious locals.

This is a perfect place to cool down all the hottest days of the year and have some fun exercise. It will take around 2 hours drive to get there, it's a pretty easy road though. Just follow the map link below.

Link for the map 

4. Huya Tung Tao Lake

If you want to hang out like a local, this is the place for it. The lake is about 15 km from the old city, all city road so it's easy even if it's your first drive. You need to get to Huay Kaew road, go past Maya Mall and turn right when you meet canal road. From here just go straight till you see the sign of Huay Tung Tao lake on the left, make a left turn and go straight. You will see the ticket booth, it's 50 Thai baht/person. After the ticket booth, you should turn left to take a ride around the lake.

The view is stunning since the lake is surrounded by mountains and there are a lot of activities here like ATV adventures around Doi Suthep, jungle zipline, swimming, or swan riding... And another thing here which will make your day is the bamboo huts fringe the water around the lake. They turn out a great place to have some food and chill, there is plenty of Thai food you can order, especially the fish is freshly caught from the lake.

Huay Tung Tao is certainly not only a good place for families or a group of friends to hang out, but also for you only with a book while safely housed in a bamboo hut sitting atop the water.

Chilling in those little huts by the lake

5. Mae Wang National Park

Running out of things to see around Chiang Mai? I will give you one more option here: Mae Wang National Park.  The park covers an area of Pa Mae Cham, Pa Mae Khan-Mae Wang, and Pa Chomthong National conservation forest in Chaingmai with 700 Square kilometers of area, 45 km southwest of Chiang Mai. It takes about one hour and 15 minutes drive.

This place is famous for Pha Chor Canyon, Rubber boat and bamboo rafting on the Wang River (Mae Wang), or you can also visit some elephant camps here, they offer elephant ride through the jungle.

How to get there: From Chiang Mai city, take highway no.108 (Chiang Mai – Hod) for about 21 kilometers, turn right to Mae Wang district along with rural highway no.12039 and no.10240 (Mae Win – Bo Kaew) for about 36 kilometers arriving at Mae Wang National Park.

Tips: The best time to go there is from October - March, it's not too hot for the canyon and the river is quieter than the rainy season. There aren’t that many places to eat and drink around the Pha Chor Canyon but you can find plenty of food along the river in the bamboo shacks. Unfortunately, there are limited ways to get to Pha Chor Canyon. You can hire a taxi from one of the tourist offices in Chiang Mai or rent a scooter and drive there by yourself.

Some useful Thai phrases for the trip you should know:

Phrases Thai Transcript Word by Word
Where can I buy a ticket?  ซื้อ ตั๋ว ได้ ที่ไหน  sʉ́ʉ dtǔua dâi tîi-nǎi  to buy, ticket, can, where?
I want to buy a ticket to ...  ฉัน / ผม อยาก ซื้อ ตั๋ว ไป…  chǎn / pǒm yàak sʉ́ʉ dtǔua bpai I,to want,to buy,ticket,to go
How much is the entrance ticket ? บัตรเข้า ราคา เท่าไหร่ bàt-kâo raa-kaa tâo-rài entrance ticket, to cost, how much?
Please take me to ... ไป ที่… bpai tîi to go, at
Please stop here. จอด ที่นี่ jɔ̀ɔt tîi-nîi to stop, here
Please use the meter. ใช้ มิเตอร์ ด้วย chái mí-dtə̂ə dûuai to use,taximeter,also
Where is the restroom? ห้องน้ำ อยู่ ที่ไหน hɔ̂ɔng-nâm yùu tîi-nǎi the toilet, to be, where?
Where are we? พวกเรา อยู่ ที่ไหน pûuak-raao yùu tîi-nǎi we, to be, where
May I have a bill เก็บ เงิน ด้วย gèp ngəən dûuai to pick, money, please
What am I not allowed to do here? ที่นี่ มี ข้อห้าม อะไรบ้าง tîi-nî mii kɔ̂ɔ-hâam à-rai-bâang here, to have, prohibition, anything?
How long does it take to go there?  ใช้ เวลา นานเท่าไหร่ châi wee-laa naan-tâo-rài to use, time, how long?
Could you take a photo for me? ถ่ายรูป ให้ หน่อย ได้ไหม tài-rûup hâi nɔ̀ɔi dâi-mǎi to take a picture, for, please, can?
May I have a menu? ขอ เมนู kɔ̌ɔ mee-nuu  to ask, menu
May I order some food? ขอ สั่ง อาหาร kɔ̌ɔ sàng aa-hǎan to ask, to order, food
I would like to order … ฉัน ขอ สั่ง chǎn kɔ̌ɔ sàng I, to ask, to order
Not spicy, please. ไม่ เผ็ด mâi pèt not, spicy


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