Northern Thailand

Northern Thailand

The northern provinces of Thailand are incredible and unmistakable.  As visitors travel north from Bangkok and the surrounding flat plains, suddenly, they will be surrounded by rising mountains.  The mountains will continue to grow as travelers progress further north toward Thailand’s borders with Myanmar and Laos.  In addition to this drastic change in landscape, visitors will experience an equally drastic change in climate.  Leaving the often stifling heat of the central plains and gradually moving into a much more temperate climate.

Historically, the northern region of Thailand was known as the Lanna Kingdom, meaning “the land of a million rice fields”, due to the vast amounts of rice and other products grown in the fertile lands of the region.  For hundreds of years, the Lanna Kingdom was largely independent.  As a result, the styles of art and architecture as well as the cuisine and the festivals vary greatly from those in other regions of Thailand, making it inherently unique and set apart from the rest of the country.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is often referred to as the unofficial second capital of Thailand and proves to be a nice escape from the hectic and frenetic Bangkok.  Although the city is often teeming with tourists during the high season, it still manages to maintain a peaceful and relaxed vibe.  Many travelers agree that their time in Chiang Mai feels like one of the most authentic experiences throughout all of Thailand.

This authenticity can largely be attributed to the uniquely delicious cuisine as well as the different styles of architecture and art in this ancient northern city.  Originally the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, many ancient temples and buildings have been well-preserved among the more modern buildings that have sprung up in recent decades.  Just a short way out of the city, one with find themselves surrounded by lush, green countryside, mountains of epic proportion, beautiful forests and jungles, rushing waterfalls, and peaceful country villages.


Wat Prathat Doi Suthep

Wat Prathat Doi Suthep is a Buddhist temple located on top of a mountain in Chiang Mai province.  It is a truly sacred monument for all Thai people and is an excellent representation of the architectural style in northern Thailand.  This beautiful mountaintop temple is a perfect place to watch the sunset over the city of Chiang Mai and offers incredible panoramas of the city and the horizon.

Doi Pui

Doi Pui is one of the highest peaks in the surrounding area.  It is famous for its waterfalls among other natural beauty, but it is most popular among travelers for the Hmong Tribal Village.  Visitors to this village will catch a glimpse of what daily life is like for this hill tribe.  For a short time, they will be taken away from the modern world of technology and social media and will be immersed in a beautifully simplistic and traditional lifestyle.

Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s highest peak and is popular with travelers and locals alike.  It is surrounded by a huge national park with plenty of hiking opportunities as well as chances to see various waterfalls as well as surrounding jungle regions.

Elephant Nature Park

Elephant Nature Park is a elephant rescue and rehabilitation center near Chiang Mai.  Guests are welcome year-round to come volunteer and learn about these incredible beasts.  Guest will help to feed and bathe the elephants in addition to learning about the magnificent creatures through the eyes of their mahouts (elephant trainers).



The trekking available in Chiang Mai province in incomparable.  From the jungles to the mountains and the hill tribes that live there.  Adventure Asia offers all kinds of treks, one day or multiple days, easy or difficult.  There is also the option to combine your trek with other thrilling adventures like rafting and mountain biking!


A homestay in Thailand is a special an unique experience that you do not want to miss.  During this experience, you will be placed with a Thai family or a family from one of the local hill tribes and you will stay in their home, helping them with their daily work, and eating meals with them.  It is truly an authentic experience and a special glimpse into the daily lives of these people.

National Parks

Explore the many national parks in the region.  Swim in the waterfalls, hike along the many trails, and catch glimpses of the ample wildlife, birdlife, and plantlife that these regions have to offer.  The most popular national park in the region is Doi Inthanon National Park, but there are many more to choose from!

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai province offers a wide variety of attractions and activities to keep travelers entertained while moving through the northern region of Thailand.  The province’s capital city of the same name, Chiang Rai, is a small relaxed city with good value for food and accommodation.  The food is also known for being excellent and the city known for being underrated.  Though the atmosphere is slow and laid-back, Chiang Rai is a city worth getting to know! Historically part of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Rai has become a homebase for travelers that are venturing out of the city to explore other parts of the province.


Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun is a contemporary Buddhist temple just south of Chiang Rai.  Beautifully constructed, it appears to shimmer in the sun.  This is due to a complete covering of the temple with whitewash and clear, mirrored chips.  Construction began in 1997 and still continues today.  The temple also displays modern images from movies like The Matrix and from historical events like 9/11.

Tad Kwan Village, Park, & Waterfall

Enjoy a day exploring this beautiful waterfall and the surrounding areas.  Take an off-road journey via 4WD vehicle to the gorgeous swimming hole at the foot of the waterfall.  Drive through the beautiful surrounding areas and visit the local village to learn about their culture and way of life.

Doi Mae Salong

Visit one of the main attractions of the province.  Try native Chinese cuisine and enjoy the views of the beautiful houses and plant life surrounding you.  Look out over the many surrounding plantations and visit some of the local tribes that live nearby.



Hop in a longtail boat and cruise up the Mekong River.  Along the way, guests will travel through the waters that border both Burma and Laos as well as stop at a Laotian island where people can buy souvenirs. A good chance to ride in one of Thailand’s famous longtail boats and enjoy the beautiful scenery with friends!


Just outside of the city centre, travelers will cross the Mae Fah Luang bridge and travel through the beautiful countryside for about 1 km before reaching a cavern that contains a small but active Buddhist temple.


A homestay in Thailand is a special an unique experience that you do not want to miss.  During this experience, you will be placed with a Thai family or a family from one of the local hill tribes and you will stay in their home, helping them with their daily work, and eating meals with them.  It is truly an authentic experience and a special glimpse into the daily lives of these people.


Pai in northern Thailand is often compared to Bangkok’s infamous Khao San Road.  This is due to a large number of guesthouses popping up throughout the small town in recent years, surrounded by restaurants and bars where lively crowds tend to gather at all hours of the day.  One distinct difference between Pai and Khao San Road is that Pai is just as popular with locals as it is with foreigners, making it an energetic and fun little town year-round.  One more difference is that while Khao San Road is in the heart of a booming metropolis, tiny little Pai is nestled in a beautiful mountain valley, offering a quiet escape from the hectic downtown area and into the surrounding nature.


Ban Santichon

Ban Santichon is a small Chinese village.  Enjoy traditional Chinese food, music, and entertainment in this quirky little area.  Guests can also ride ponies and enjoy traditional Chinese tea while looking at the replica of the Great Wall of China.  Perhaps not the most authentic experience, but a wonderfully enjoyable outing while in the area.

Memorial Bridge

Though it is not as visually spectacular as some Thai architecture, this bridge carries deep historical meaning for Thai people.  Built by Japanese soldiers during WWII, all Thai tourists stop to take pictures at the bridge as it serves as one of the famous 762 curves in the road from Chiang Mai to Pai.

Wat Phra That Mae Yen

An ancient Buddhist temple, Wat Phra That Mae Yen sits atop a hill and offers spectacular views of the valley below.



Enjoy an amazing Thai massage at one of the local spas.  If you are really looking to indulge yourself, make sure to go to one of the spas that offer thermal soaks in Pai’s natural hot springs.


For those looking for the thrill of adventure, try white-water rafting! There are many different rafting excursions that you can enjoy during your stay in Pai.  Visit fossil reefs, waterfalls, and hotsprings on a one or two day rafting excursion!


The trekking available in Pai is well worth it.  From the jungles to the mountains, Adventure Asia offers all kinds of treks, one day or multiple days, easy or difficult.

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