Chiang Mai with kids - pin it for later

About Chiang Mai Thailand

You can find Chiang Mai about 700 kilometers north of Bangkok near Doi Inthanon Mountain in the province of the same name. It is the largest city in the northern region of Thailand. Chiang Mai means “New City” and was founded in 1296. The rapid growth of Chiang Mai in old times is attributed to its strategic location on major trade routes at their crossing of the Ping River.  We loved this city.

Additional Chiang Mai is a popular destination for Western expats and if you plan to stay here longer you will find great community of worldschoolers.

The two things we found distinctive about it apart from its picturesque charm, were the number of Western Expats and the gridiron form of the fortified old town.  

About this Article

In this article, you are going to learn about things to do in Chiang Mai with kids. We have included all the major attractions and activities as well as others you may never heard of. We have included the, official website where applicable, open hours, google map location and entrance fee where applicable. Continue reading to discover all the best things you can do with your family in this land of foggy mountains and intriguing hill tribes.

How to get to Chiang Mai from the Thai Capital, Bangkok

While 700km seems far away, it is pretty easy and fast to get there. You have three options as far as transportation is concerned:

Getting to Chiang Mai by train

Take a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: The sleeper train is perfect for family travel and means you avoid having to find a hotel room as soon as you arrive in the new town. The one-way trip takes around 13 hours, which means you will arrive in Chiang Mai at around 7 to 9 AM. The sleeper train is usually in high demand, so get an advance ticket.  

Note if travelling by rail, consider including visit Ayutthaya on your itinerary since it is on the train route from Bangkok.

Getting to Chiang Mai by plane

Flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: This is, of course, the fastest trip, even taking transfers and airport time into account. In Bankok, we had a connection flight from Muscat, and in Chiang Mai, we used prebooked private transport to get to our hostel. Flights from the capital to Chiang Mai typically take around an hour and a half.

Getting to Chiang Mai by bus

Bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: Taking a bus from the capital to Chiang Mai means you will spend the night on the road. Buses leave Bangkok to Chiang Mai at Khao San Road as well as the north bus station and south bus station. This journey will take 11 hours. You can also book advance tickets to avoid missing out on the seat.  We would choose the train over the bus – even the deluxe overnight buses aren’t true sleepers so you won’t arrive as relaxed as you will after the rail trip.  

chiang mai arcade bus station

When to Visit Chiang Mai

The answer is very simple almost anytime but not February to April when due to burning grass which causes great pollution. Read our detail post about the best time to visit Chaing Mai.

How many days do you need in Chiang Mai?

Most of the visitors spent in Chiang Mai 2-3 days which is enough to see all the temples and old town but not enough to enjoy all the attractions.

We have spent in Chaing Mai five days and it seems to be just about right. You can as well treat Chaing Mai as a base to explore North Thailand, and visit Chiang Rai or travel to Pai. We enjoyed both – Pai was a great place to visit with kids, and Chiang Rai stayed in our head as a place with crazy temples. From Chiang Rai we headed to Laos and travel on a luxurious slow boat to Luang Prabang

What to do in Chiang Mai with Kids

See some Temples

You can’t move in Chiang Mai old town without almost bumping into a number of Bhuddist temples. Chiang Mai has more than 300 Buddhist temples. The most important and worth seeing are:

Top Temples in Chiang Mai’s Old City:

Best Chiang Mai Temples outside the Old City Walls:

Visit the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Thailand is known for its majestic elephants, and seeing these animals is usually high on the list of any family that visits the country. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is the most excellent place to see these animals. It is located only an hour from the city of Chiang Mai. The girls loved splashing in the mud with the elephants, as well as feeding them.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary - girls feeding elephant

Chiang Mai Zoo

The Zoo sits at the foot of Mount Doi Suthep. The sprawling zoological garden boasts a wide range of both indigenous and international animal species. However, the star attractions are the pair of Giant pandas that you pay extra to see. Additional charges are as well for visiting the aquarium.

See Panda in Chiang Mai Zoo
Panda in Chiang Mai Zoo – photo credit Chiang Mai Zoo

The zoo operates a shuttle bus that helps visitors explore the grounds. Though the zoo seems a bit rundown, the kids still enjoyed seeing the animals especially, again, the elephants.

Chiang Mai Night Safari

It’s more a Zoo than Safari. Probably the best part is a tour was a bus ride through savana and feeding giraffes. We enjoyed as well Tiger Show which was fascinating, we learned about natural their natural habitat. It was even better than Night Safari in Singapore.

When visiting with kids you can always stay in Chiang Mai Night Safari Resort which provides convinient access to Night Safari. located in Hang Dong.

Visit Chiang Mai Canyon

The Chiang Mai Grand Canyon located in Hang Dong Quarry offers a great escape from the city heat. It is located only 45 minutes from the city centre and you and your kids can swim in the turquoise water, watch daredevils jump from the ridges, or chill on a bamboo raft. The onsite restaurant is children friendly and offers coffee, noodles, smoothies, ice cream, and is licensed for alcohol. Try delicious coconuts from the local shops nearby or the restaurant’s barbecued chicken.

Water park in Chiang Mai Canyon
Photo credit Grand Canyon Park

The Sunday Market in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Sunday market is a fun place for you and your kids to fill up a few hours of your Sunday mornings Around the market, you can find stalls selling hill tribe handicrafts, artworks, as well as other souvenirs. The market is also one of the great places to sample delicious local dishes. During our Thailand travel we found Sunday Market in Chaing Mai one of the best markets in Thailand.

chiang mai market

 It is recommended to come early as the market is very big and if you want to explore all you should start early.

Visit Huay Tung Tao Lake

This lake is a 20-minute taxi drive from downtown Chiang Mai. A visit here offers you a chance to hang out like the locals, and chill in one of the numerous bamboo huts along the lake with Doi Pui Mountains in the background. The lake is safe and shallow, which means kids can swim or ride in a paddleboat. There are also some delicious local snacks. For mum and dad, this is a great opportunity to relax in one of the private bamboo huts, enjoy cooling refreshments and pull out that book you packed.

Enjoy the Flight of the Gibbon Chiang Mai

Our Chiang Mai course picks up from Chiang Mai city and is situated about a one-hour drive southeast of town in the beautiful Mae Kampong Village. For safety reasons, the only requirements are that participants need to be at least 1 meter (3 feet, 3 inches) tall to fit into the harness properly and cannot be more than 120kg (264Ibs). We regularly have guests as young as 5 years and up to 70

Please dress comfortably. Sports shoes or other shoes that will not drop off easily are highly recommended. Please do not wear flip flops, excessive or dangling jewelry. You will be in a full body harness suspended high up above the ground, so dress appropriately.

From November to March it is a little cold in Chiang Mai in the mornings (yes, it gets cold in Thailand). Please bring something to keep yourself warm until the day heats up.

From April to October it is the rainy season in Thailand so please bring a raincoat and/or a change of clothes (we sell rainwear on-site at reasonable prices). It doesn’t rain every day during the rainy season, however it’s good to be prepared.

Please bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent if you are sensitive. Generally, there are not many mosquitoes, but it’s good to be prepared.

Hats can be worn to and from the course, however a helmet must be worn by every guest while on the course.

Flight of the Gibbon zip lining adventure simply involves visitors swinging like apes from trees to trees, in a thrilling excursion. What age?

Have fun in Chiang Mai X-Center

If you are traveling with little daredevils, Chiangmai X-Center is could be the most unforgettable place your kids will remember for a long time. The one-stop-shop of fun features ATV tours, road trail biking, zorb balls, indoor drifter karts, paintball, and bungee jumping.

View Map

Official Website:


Visit The Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders

Visiting the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders is an unforgettable experience, especially for the kids. This family-owned museum and displays thousands of pinned insects including moths, mosquitoes, butterflies, beetles, stick insects, and scorpions. There is a small butterfly enclosure where visitors can butterflies and moths emerge from cocoons, and the lower floor is totally dedicated to mosquitos. Our girls beside looking at all the bugs were excited to see dinosaurs egg.

Enjoy Elephants Poo Poo Paper Park

If you children want a silly experience they will be able to brag about forever, they are going to love Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park. What basically goes on here is learning how to make paper out of elephant poo.

The entire park has been beautifully designed and after a guided tour you can hone your skills of poo-papermaking, you decorate paper gifts such as diaries and bookmarks.

Chiang Mai with kids – Pin it for later

chiang Mai with kids - pin it for later

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