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Chiang Mai 7 Day Itinerary
Do you have 7 days or more in Chiang Mai? Not sure how to plan your time? Here are some suggestions for a 7 Day Itinerary in Chiang Mai. They combine sightseeing in Chiang Mai city with travel through rural northern Thailand. If you visit Chiang Mai, then you should make time to see the provinces of Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. These rural provinces are where you can get to experience the real northern Thailand, away from the tourist crowds.
Days 1 & 2 ) Chiang Mai City
After arriving in Chiang Mai, you’ll want to spend the first couple of days acclimatizing and enjoying the sights around Chiang Mai city. Here are some of the most popular ‘bucket-list’ activities in Chiang Mai. You’ll want to make sure you cover some of these over your first couple of days in Chiang Mai. Depending on what your interests are , you could choose from…..
‘Bucket-List’ Activities >> Pick and Choose from >>
- Elephant camps (Full Day / Half Day)
- Cooking school (Full Day / Half Day)
- Temples in the old city (Half Day)
- Doi Suthep temple (Few hours)
- Borsang Handicraft centers (Few hours)
Less Touristy Activities >> Pick and Choose from
If you want to spend your days in Chiang Mai doing something less touristy, and a little bit more authentic, here are some ideas of less-visited sites. You could also check out our Non-Touristy Things to do in Chiang Mai post for more ideas.
- Hilltribe villages – Get out of the city to explore the lush countryside and rolling hills, where Thailand’s ethnic minorities, known as hill tribes live. There are seven major hill tribe groups which are an important part of northern Thailand’s culture. A few villages have been set up for the purposes of tourism, but there are plenty of authentic villages to be discovered. Our 1 Day Hilltribe tour, combines the best of both, travelling with a local hill tribe guide, to non-tourist areas, where you can visit the hill tribes in a respectful and authentic way.
- Monk chat – As the name suggests, you get to chat to a monk, ask him questions about Buddhims and life as a monk. Held at various locations around the city (Wat Suan Dok: Mon,Wed,Fri 5-7pm) (Wat Umong: Mon, Wed, Fri 5.30-7.30pm) (Wat Chedi Luang: daily 9am-6pm)
- Doi Suthep Temple at dusk – Most tour groups visit during the day, we like to visit at dusk after the crowds have gone. It’s so much more serene, you might even catch the hum of the evening chants by the monks, making it really feel like a religious place of worships, not just another Chiang Mai tourist attraction
- Bua Thong waterfall- Otherwise known as ‘Sticky waterfall’ around an hours drive north of Chiang Mai city, is a beautiful staircase of limestone, with water cascading down it, but the amazing natural phenomenon here, is that you can climb it without slipping, hence the name ‘sticky’. Not many tourists venture here, mainly popular with expats and locals as a half-full day trip out of the city.
- Pa Pong Pieng – Around 1.5 hours drive from Chiang Mai, this relatively unknown locale, is an impressive postcard scene of rolling rice terraces against a mountain backdrop. This area is home to the Karen hill tribe who farm rice and other crops. The best time to visit is during the rainy season (June-Sep) when the terraces are a lush green, or during October just before harvest time, when the terraces will turn golden-yellow.
Days 3 – 7 ) Travel to Chiang Rai or Mae Hong Son
After a couple of days enjoying Chiang Mai city and the tourist sites around it. You’ll want to head out of the city and into the rolling hills and mountains, this is where you’ll get your first taste of the real northern Thailand.
You could travel to Chiang Rai, which we recommend taking 3-4 days trip for. You can get more information at What to see in Chiang Rai
OR you could travel to Mae Hong Son, which will take 5-6 days. You can find more information at Mae Hong Son Loop Travelogue