The Chiang Mai Zoo is a fantastic day out for kids young and old. The zoo houses over 400 animal species, including koalas, penguins, seals, hippos, flamingos, giraffes, zebras, elephants, pandas, camels, lions, tigers and much more. Other special exhibits at the zoo include a walk-through aviary, a freshwater aquarium and a snow dome. The zoo serves both Thai and international dishes, with various kid-friendly options.
Escape Chiang Mai’s heat by visiting Hang Dong Quarry, also called the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon. The canyon is about 45 minutes from Chiang Mai City. Visitors can swim in the turquoise water, relax on a bamboo raft or watch daredevils jump from the canyon ridges. On-site is The Tuang Thong Canyon View Restaurant, offering noodles, caffeine, smoothies, ice cream and adult beverages. Guests can also try the restaurant’s barbecued chicken or pick up a delicious coconut from a local stall.
Grand Canyon Chiang Mai, Hangdong, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 63 672 4007
If you find yourself in town on a Sunday, check out the Chiang Mai Sunday Market. The market is a fun and free activity to occupy a few hours. Check out the stalls selling hill tribe handicrafts, souvenirs and artwork, while sampling delicious local foods. It is advised to come early to avoid the crowds.
Sunday Market, Rachadamnoen Road, Si Phum, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Only a 20-minute drive by songteaw (a communal red taxi) from downtown Chiang Mai is Huay Tung Tao Lake. Hang out like a local, and relax in one of the bamboo huts overlooking the lake, with the majestic Doi Pui Mountains in the background. Children can swim in the lake for hours, spend time in a paddle boat or try delicious local snacks. And for mum and dad, it’s the perfect chance to relax in the shade of a private bamboo hut, read a book and enjoy cooling refreshments.
Elephant Nature Park is one of the most respected elephant conservation projects in the country. Elephant Nature Park is located in the surrounding Chiang Mai countryside and is home to more than 35 free roaming elephants, many of which have been rescued from dire situations. A day out at Elephant Nature Park is informative, fun and suitable for all ages.
Swing like a monkey across the trees on a Flight of the Gibbon ziplining adventure. You will see breathtaking jungle views and wildlife, while satisfying your adrenaline craving. Suitable for kids young and old, this tour is a great family outing. For those that would prefer to stay within Chiang Mai City, the company also offers Segway tours around the Old City.
Rally the troops, and climb the 300 steps up the Naga Serpent staircase to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most sacred temples in Thailand. This fairy tale-like temple sits on top of a mountain and is often covered in mist and clouds. The golden chedi spires glisten in the sun and prayer bells ring. The site has plenty of interesting things to explore. At the back of the temple, there are stunning views over Chiang Mai city.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Road Tambon, Su Thep, Chiang Mai, Thailand, +66 53 295 002
If you are travelling with fearless, adrenaline-seeking children and teenagers, head to the Chiangmai X-Centre. This one-stop-shop of fun offers road trail biking, ATV tours, indoor drifter karts, zorb balls, bungee jumping and paintball. This activity is best avoided with little ones.
The Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders is like no other activity. The dusty museum is the life work of a local husband and wife duo. On display are thousands of pinned creepy crawlies, including mosquitoes, moths, butterflies, stick insects, beetles and scorpions. There is also a small butterfly enclosure where, if you are lucky, you can watch cocoons hatch!