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3 Days in Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai: Suggested Itineraries

By Viator, June 2015

4.5 29 Reviews | Add your review

Temple-hopping, river rafting and elephant trekking are just some of the activities that make Chiang Mai northern Thailand’s most popular destination.

Day 1: Walls and Temples
The large square you see on a map doesn’t just define central Chiang Mai, it constitutes a must-see attraction in itself: the city’s walls, still intact at numerous points and ringed by a moat. The city it surrounds is renowned for its beautiful temples. In the center, Wat Chedi Luang is impressive even in partial ruins, while Wat Phra Singh, with its murals and intricate gold decorations, is the most popular. But if you really want an extravaganza in gold, head out of town to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, a 600-year-old temple in a commanding mountainside location. A traditional Khantoke style dinner with entertainment makes a great end to the day.

Day 2: Slow or Fast
Today has a two-speed setting. If you’re looking for a gentler pace, visit fascinating hill tribes living as they have for centuries after watching majestic elephants at work. Or, if you want to see those four-legged creatures put 4x4's to shame, an elephant trek is an amazing way to explore the jungle near Chiang Mai. After a stop-off to visit a hilltribe village, raft down the Ping River before slowing the pace down again with a visit to an orchid farm. At night, say farewell to Chiang Mai with a visit to the Night Bazaar and stock up on gifts at a market which attracts vendors from the entire region.

Day 3: Chiang Rai and Mae Sai
Head even further north oo Chiang Rai. More gorgeous temples await, not forgetting that this is also the gateway to the notorious “Golden Triangle,” where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. The Hall of Opium Museum outside of Chiang Rai concentrates on the human cost of the region’s illegal drug trade but makes a surprisingly compelling visit. Take a boat along the churning waters of the mighty Mae Khong River before heading to the bustling border town of Mae Sai and its busy markets. 

Tours & Tickets

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Chiang Dao Elephant Jungle Trek and Ping River Rafting Tour from Chiang Mai

4.5 star rating: Recommended 103 Reviews

For the truly adventurous! Approximately 37 miles north of Chiang Mai, situated on the banks of the Ping River, is Chiang Dao Elephant Camp. In an unspoiled ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $79.14

Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle Day Tour from Chiang Mai

4 star rating: Recommended 37 Reviews

A chance to visit the famous Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet! An early morning drive through beautiful scenery, with a stop ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $86.02

Viator Exclusive: Elephant Conservation Experience in Chiang Mai

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 7 Reviews

If you adore elephants, you’ll love this private full-day tour from Chiang Mai. The day trip focuses on local conservation efforts, and it’s a Viator Exclusive ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $51.61

Long-Neck Karen Hill Tribe Tour Including Elephant Ride from Chiang Mai

4 star rating: Recommended 16 Reviews

Ride an elephant through the forest on a day trip from Chiang Mai! After watching majestic elephants at work at Maesa Elephant Camp, hop aboard and enjoy a ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $83.87

Private Tour: A Glimpse of Myanmar and the Golden Triangle Trip from Chiang Rai

4.5 star rating: Recommended 6 Reviews

Get a taste of Burmese culture with a private tour from Chiang Rai across the border to Tachileik, Myanmar (Burma). Stop for glittering temples, local food and ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Rai, Thailand
Duration: 8-9 hours

From USD $88.89

Chiang Mai by Night: Private Tour including Buddhist Chant, Thai Dinner and Night Market

4 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

See Chiang Mai come alive at night on this private evening excursion! First, head to one of Chiang Mai’s most magnificent temples to hear monks chant. Then ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $53.14

Morning Buddhist Almsgiving and Temples Tour in Chiang Mai

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Gain insight into the spiritual life of Thai Buddhists in Chiang Mai on this early morning tour with a knowledgeable private guide. Join devotees who provide ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $43.20

3-Day Chiang Mai and Golden Triangle Tour Including Doi Mae Salong

Discover the charm of northern Thailand and the notorious Golden Triangle – the meeting point of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) – on this three-day tour ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights

From USD $582.50

Private Tour: Hill Tribes and the Golden Triangle Tour from Chiang Rai

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Start your full-day privately guided excursion to Mae Chan to visit the Yao and the Akha hilltribe villages from Chiang Rai. Your private guide offers you ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Rai, Thailand
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $77.42

3-Night Chiang Mai Tour: Mountain Bike, Wat Doi Suthep and Whitewater Rafting

Experience northern Thailand's rural charm on an action-packed adventure with day trips by minibus from Chiang Mai. Climb the staircase to Wat Phrathat Doi ...  Read more

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

4 days, 3 nights

From USD $380.00

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