A non-touristy thing to do in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai 7 Day Itinerary
April 24, 2016
Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai
What to see in Chiang Rai ? ….Beyond the Golden Triangle
March 24, 2017

Top 10 Things to do in Chiang Mai with Kids

Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand is an amazing travel destination for families. It offers something for all family members, from soft adventure activities to opportunities for cultural exploration. The great thing about travelling to Chiang Mai as a family, is that the local culture here is so kid-friendly. Kids are welcomed everywhere, and always with a warm smile 🙂 Based on years of experience travelling with families around northern Thailand, here are our Top 10 Things to do in Chiang Mai with Kids !

1. Siam Insect Zoo

Is an interactive, educational and fun experience for creepy crawly lovers. It hosts an impressive collection of live insects and specimens from the insect world. From scorpions to beetles, it’s great for kids, as you don’t only see insects in a glass encasement, but can pick up specimen boxes. There’s even a small selection where you can hold live ones on your hand!   A guided tour is available where a staff member will show you around and offer explanations about the different insects. For more info visit – Siam Insect Zoo

2. Mae Ngat Dam & Resevoir

Mae Ngat Dam is not very well known (even by locals!) but is such a fun outdoor and nature activity for the family.  The dam is around 1 hours drive from Chiang Mai city in Sri Lanna national park. The area is so peaceful and tranquil and a great place to come and relax and experience the natural beauty of  the Chiang Mai countryside. You can take a longtail boat trip across the dam to reach some floating bamboo houses (where you can stay overnight) and have some lunch on a floating restaurant which overlooks the dam. There’s also kayaking and swimming activities here, and a huge inflatable slide – its such a fun water activity for kids and adults alike. so remember to bring swimsuits and a change of clothes. For reviews about the dam you can read more here

3. Bua Tong ‘Sticky’ Waterfalls

There are many beautiful waterfalls in the outlying countryside of Chiang Mai. A popular one is Bua Tong waterfall, otherwise known as ‘sticky waterfalls’. The natural formation of limestone makes the waterfall ‘sticky’ and therefore easy to climb.The whole family can enjoy playing in the water amidst beautiful scenery and lush nature.

Bua Tong waterfall Chiang Mai

Climbing up Bua Tong waterfall Chiang Mai

4. Poo Poo Paper Park 

The Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park in Chiang Mai is a wonderful educational space for children to learn about how paper is made from elephant dung ! This outdoor museum park is located 30 minutes north of the city in Mae Rim. You can walk around independendently or there are guided tours at various time slots during the day. The guided tours go around 8 different pavillions of the park, to explain and demonstrate the different stages of the paper making process. Children can also get hands-on and have a try too ! There’s a small adobe-house cafe and gift shop where you can purchase paper and crafts made from recycled elephant dung. The Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park is fun for both adults and kids and an all-round family friendly activity in Chiang Mai.

5. Art in Paradise museum

Art in Paradise is a modern, and fun museum which is an ideal place for kids of all ages to visit in Chiang Mai. This interactive museum features more than 130 amazing 3d paintings, where you can pose as part of the life size 3d artworks. Create surreal and funny images, such as running away from King Kong or driving a gondola in Venice. Whichever 3d scene, you’ll come away from Art in Paradise with a lot of funny pictures, that are sure to make the whole family laugh.

6. Elephant Sanctuary

Elephants are one of Chiang Mai’s biggest attractions.  Historically, they were used as work animals in the forest for Thailand’s once burgeoning logging industry. The destruction of their natural habitats over the years, led to the decline of the elephant population, and in turn, gave rise to elephant tourism in Thailand.

The unique chance to get up close and personal with these beautiful giant mammals, is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that adults and kids will treasure. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the ethics of elephant tourism and which elephant camp to visit. For more information about this check out – How to choose the Best Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai

Things to do in Chiang Mai with Kids

Visit to Elephant Camp with Kids

7. Huay Tung Tao Lake

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and get out into the nature, this is a great place to escape. Located about 30 minutes drive from the city. Huay Tung Tao Lake is a huge man made reservoir, where you can swim, fish or just lie down and enjoy the beautiful surrounding nature. It’s needless to say the kids will enjoy the water and vast open green space. It’s a nice place for a relaxing lunch, by the water’s edge are bamboo huts, from which you can sit and order food, from any of the nearby restaurants. There are some shaded areas around the lake where it’s nice to take a stroll or ride a bike, bikes are available for hire at the entrance of the lake.

8. Indoor Play Areas

If you want to stay cool for a few hours, Chiang Mai offers several great indoor air-conditioned play areas for kids. All major shopping malls such as Central Festival and Maya have one, as do the big supermarkets, Big C and Tesco Lotus Supermarket.

9. Hill tribe villages

If you want a cultural thing to do with your kids, why not get out into the countryside, to discover northern Thailand’s Hilltribes? These are ethnic minority groups that traditionally live in mountainous areas, each with their own unique culture, customs and language.

Homestay with children

Homestay with children

A common picture in any hill tribe village is that of children playing in the dirt together, whilst a grandmother smokes a pipe on the terrace.  It’s a cultural delight, to simply watch how daily life goes by in a village. Why not stay longer, and spend an overnight in a village? Staying at a hill tribe homestay is a once in a lifetime cross-cultural experience to be shared as a family.

Imagine watching and learning about how a hill tribe family live and work. Sharing daily rituals together such as cooking over a fire pit, and eating rice wrapped in a leaf. Or waking up to the sound of chickens, participating in household chores such as feeding the pigs, or visiting the family’s rice farm. In our experience it’s a cultural eye-opener for both parents and children,  and a life changing event. If you are interested in arranging  homestays in Chiang Mai  please contact us.

10. Go Beyond Chiang Mai

Travel Beyond Chiang Mai, into the hinterlands of rural northern Thailand, and here you will find endless opportunities for cultural adventure. There’s plenty to keep the kids interested, from the pristine nature and waterfalls, to animals and friendly locals. The further you go the more authentic it gets. If you have several days, it’s travelling to Chiang Rai or Mae Hong Son province – one of the least touristic places left in Thailand. Travelling outside the tourist bubble of Chiang Mai, lets you discover together as a family, what the real northern Thailand is about. To find out how you can do this, just contact us

Read More ….. After an exhausting and fun day out with the kids you’ll need a relaxing place to stay, check out or 10 Best Family Friendly Hotels & Resorts in Chiang Mai 

And here are some other useful articles about Things you can do with kids in Chiang Mai >>>

Wagoners Abroad – Family Friendly guide to Chiang Mai

An Epic Education – Chiang Mai with kids

BKKKids – Top 20 Activities for kids

Do you have any ideas for Things to do in Chiang Mai with kids? If so, please let us know in the comments below, thanks !


  1. Helene Trager-Kusman says:

    I just came back from Chiang Mai and loved visiting an Elephant Sanctuary. There were kids of all ages with us and they all had a great time- even the 3 year old!

  2. Michelle says:

    These look amazing! I have only heard of the elephant sanctuary, didn’t know there were so many kid friendly options! Thanks for sharing.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks Michelle. Yes, there are a ton of kid friendly things to do in Chiang Mai – that’s what makes Chiang Mai such a great destination. And this list is only a small sample of whats available 🙂