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Cycling fun in Chiang Mai | © Connie/Flickr
Cycling fun in Chiang Mai | © Connie/Flickr

The Best Cycling Tours in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Picture of Iona Proebst
Updated: 20 January 2018

Keen to explore the very best of Chiang Mai on the saddle? Here, we list the top cycling tours in Thailand‘s northern gem.

Bike Historic Old City Tour

A perfect introduction to the beautiful city of Chiang Mai – the Bike Historic Old City tour gives you the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Chiang Mai while visiting some of the city’s ancient temples. You’ll visit Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai’s oldest temple, the famous Wat Chedi Luang and stop at Thae Pae Gate and Sompet Market.

The relaxed pace of this tour, around the backstreets of the old city, makes it suitable for families with young children.

Chiang Mai Food Adventures by Bike

With the Chiang Mai Food Adventures by Bike tour, you no longer have to choose between eating and exploring – you can do both! Embark on a culinary journey, discovering authentic Northern Thai cuisine, as you stop at a variety of food markets and street stalls to taste the local delights. Be sure you leave some room in your belly as the tour ends with tea and dessert, served on the banks of the Ping River. The team promises to provide something tasty for everyone and also caters to vegetarians.

Chiang Mai Night Ride

See the ancient city of Chiang Mai in a new light on this magical night tour with Spice Roads. This easy 13km trip takes 3 hours and gives you the chance to ride in cooler temperatures and with less traffic. You will see how people really live as you cruise the back lanes (sois), check out the night markets and appreciate the local temples – illuminated at night.

The Doi Lom Challenge

Fancy a biking challenge, with plenty of hills thrown in? Then the Doi Lom Challenge is for you. This four-hour tour covers 36km, travelling by dirt road through the greenery at the foothills of Doi Lom Hill. En route you’ll stop at a Karen minority village and at a Hmong hill tribe community where you will take time to learn about their unique cultures. After which it’s an intense uphill climb all the way, taking in the stunning scenery before a paved road takes you back down again.

Our Colours of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai or the ‘Rose of the North’ has long held a special appeal to visitors and the Our Colours of Chiang Mai day tour is a perfect way to discover some of the city’s hidden gems.

The first stop is the historic settlement of Wiang Kum Kam, the former capital of the Lanna Empire. These temple ruins date back hundreds of years and offer an interesting insight into Chiang Mai’s past. Next stop is at a local temple where your guide will tell you about its history and give an insight into Buddhism, Thailand’s primary religion.

The Lanna Empire was also famous for its ceramics and you will get the opportunity to visit a pottery enterprise and watch how they work. Next, you’ll visit the McKean Rehabilitation Centre, which was once a leper colony, and is now committed to helping disadvantaged people. You’ll also refuel at a local bakery and market as you sample local snacks.

The tour route comprises of quiet roads and views along the Ping River, with plenty of stops to rest, refresh and take in the tranquil atmosphere.

Electric Bike Tours – Half Day Lanna Countryside

Want to take part in a cycling tour but worried it will be too strenuous? Well, help is at hand in the form of an electric bike tour with Chiang Mai Bicycle.

On the Half Day Lanna Countryside tour you get to experience the Thai countryside without having to ‘tire’ yourself out. Over a relaxed 4.5 hours you will travel 27km, on mainly traffic-free, flat and paved roads. You will cycle through traditional villages, with wooden stilt houses, and lush rice fields. You’ll also stop at a local school and may even encounter some of the local water buffaloes.

A Pilgrimage Across The Holy Mountain

This tour takes you on a pilgrimage up Doi Suthep mountain, taking in the famous views from Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, cycling past the Royal Winter Palace and a Hmong hill tribe village. You’ll then continue downhill, via dirt roads, winding through fruit orchards and forests to Huay Tung Tao Lake. Here, you are in for a treat as you get to experience a local favourite and enjoy lunch in a stilted bamboo hut over the water.

On this tour, you’ll travel 32 km, over six hours, with an even split of uphill and downhill cycling. However, don’t worry if you don’t want to cycle up the mountain as there is the option to travel by support car.

Off Road in the Nam Phrae Hills

Chiang Mai Bicycle appeals to thrill-seekers with this off-road tour. With a total of 19km of mostly unpaved roads, including lots of hills and 10km of single off-road track, you don’t need to be an experienced mountain biker but you do need to be in good shape and be ready for an adventure. You will get to explore the hills of south Chiang Mai, see rice fields and teak plantations and experience an authentic area of the city where traditional lifestyles are still thriving.

Chiang Mai Countryside by Bike

This tour combines two cities in one, as you not only spend the day cycling through the Chiang Mai countryside, you also bike around the historic city of Lamphun. Your day starts with a train ride from Chiang Mai to Lamphun, once the capital of the Mon Kingdon, where you visit Wat Phra That Hariphunchai. You then bike through the beautiful countryside and along the foothills of Doi Suthep, visiting many interesting sites along the way; including a beekeeping centre, the famous wood carving village of Ban Tawai and the forest temple, Wat Umong, before making your way back to Chiang Mai city.

This tour is considered suitable for intermediate cyclists and covers a picturesque 57km through country lanes and paddy fields.