Things to do in North Thailand

Never a dull moment in the North of Thailand

The Things to do pages contain information about things to do and about sights in a selection of destinations in the North. It features information about trekking, rafting, cooking courses, boat trips, ziplines, Buddhist temples, cycling tours, samlor tours, markets, botanic gardens, handicrafts, ruined cities, national parks, waterfalls, heritage houses, waterparks, hot springs, museums and more. We update this section regularly. Have fun!

Doi Inthanon Vachirathan Waterfall things to do
The Vachirathan Waterfall in Doi Inthanon

Great activities in Chiang Mai

You can easily spend a week in Chiang Mai without being bored. Apart from the Buddhist temples and markets Chiang Mai offers something for everyone: cooking courses, trekking, national parks, great cycling, botanic gardens, ruined cities and much, much more! Chiang Mai has a lively art scene and is the handicraft capital of Thailand.

Man in tribal dress Things to do
The Hmong silversmith
Gilded chedi and monk Chiang Dao
Phrathat Doi Chiang Dao Abbey

Chiang Dao, one of our favorites!

Chiang Dao has a lot of offer. Apart from the third highest mountain in Thailand, there are waterfalls, magnificent temples, tribal villages and great scenery. We recommend staying at least one night in or near Chiang Dao.

Don’t miss out on Chiang Rai

Many people visit Chiang Rai on a day tour out of Chiang Mai. This really doesn’t do justice to this exciting destination apart from the fact that you spend most of the time in a vehicle. Chiang Rai has lots of things to offer: fascinating tribal culture, stunning mountainous landscapes, the infamous Golden Triangle just to name a few. Chiang Rai is also the jump off point for trips into Shan State in Myanmar.

White temple with tree leaves Temples Chiang Rai
Wat Rong Khun in the afternoon
Station with two cars in front about Chiang Mai a la Carte
Lampang Railway Station

Lampang, the “unseen” destination

You can visit Lampang, nicknamed the Horse Cart City, on a day tour out of Chiang Mai. We recommend to stay one night in this delightful city on the Wang River. Lampang is a destination for people who are interested in authentic Lanna culture. There are magnificent temples, Heritage Houses, the best walking street markets in the North and……horse carts.

Mae Hong Son, the Shan capital

Mae Hong Son is usually a stopover for people who do the so-called Mae Hong Son Loop. It’s a charming town that will keep you busy for at least a couple of days. The drive from Chiang Mai to Mae Hon is very mountainous and scenic. Mae Hong Son has some striking temples with Shan and Burmese influences and the atmosphere of the town is very laid-back.

Two boys in colorful dress
Poy Sang Long
Old chedis at Buddhist temple Things to do
Chedis of Wat Jong Soon in Mae Sariang

Go native in Mae Sariang

Mae Sariang is a small town in the south of Mae Hong Son Province. It used to be known as Muang Yuam in the past. It still is surprisingly an off-the- beaten-track-destination but there are lots of things to do. Mae Sariang is one of our favourite destinations in North Thailand.

Enjoy a boat trip on the Salawin River and visit the hill top temples of Mae Sariang.

Back in time in Lamphun

Lamphun is a small town about 30km from Chiang Mai. It is known as the longan (lamyai) capital of North Thailand. There are some stunning temples and wonderful rural countryside. If you are looking for authenticity Lamphun is the place to go.

Man with bicycle taxi
Driver K.Annej in Lamphun
Gingerbread house things to do
Wichairacha House in Phrae

Phrae: undiscovered and charming

Phrae is a lovely and charming town that is much less-known than the above destinations. If you really want to experience the authentic Northern Thai culture and atmosphere this is the place to go. Phrae has an interesting story and plenty of interesting sights such as beautiful heritage houses and Buddist temples to keep you very entertained for a a couple of days. You won’t regret it.

The Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle (สามเหลี่ยมทองคำ)is a famous and notorious area in Northern Thailand. The “physical” Golden Triangle is the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers.

The term “Golden Triangle” though refers to a much larger area that overlaps the mountains of these three countries. It has been one of the most important opium exporting areas of the world since the 1950s.

Sunrise on a river with a boat
Sunrise on the Mekong at Chiang Saen
railway bridge things to do in Pai
Tha Pai Memorial bridge

The Best of Pai!


Pai is a small town on the Pai River in Mae Hong Son province in northwest Thailand. Over the past two decades, Pai has become a major tourist destination. It started out as a popular place for backpackers in the 1980s until local tourists discovered this charming town about twenty years ago. About ten years ago Pai started to attract more adventurous visitors from China and other Asian countries.