The trekking industry in Chiang Mai offers an impressive variety of itineraries, with over two hundred agencies covering nearly all trekkable areas of the north. Most treks include a ride on an elephant and a bamboo-raft excursion, though the amount of actual walking included can vary greatly. A few operators offer something a little different. Eagle House runs the standard type of trek, with elephants and rafting, but to carefully chosen quiet areas and with an educational bent, and passes on a proportion of costs towards funding projects in hill-tribe villages. Moving upmarket, the Trekking Collective can arrange pricey but high-quality customized treks from one to five days and can cater for specific interests such as bird-watching; it too is involved in community programmes to help tribal people.

Meanwhile, Chiangmai Green Alternative Tours, an eco-friendly and culturally sensitive operation 100m north of TAT at 31 Thanon Chiangmai–Lamphun, offers a fascinating diversity of worthwhile nature field trips. Sharing the proceeds with knowledgeable local guides, they can take you up Doi Suthep, Doi Inthanon or Doi Chiang Dao on one-day or multi-day trips, including bird-watching specialities.

For a wide range of adventure tours, including whitewater rafting on the Pai River, trekking, cycling and kayaking, a long-standing, general agency is Contact Travel, based at Tasala to the east of town.

If you just fancy a gentle paddle up and down the Ping River in town, kayaks can be rented from Wat Faham on Thanon Fa Ham (B100). For those with a head for heights, Flight of the Gibbon offers full-day rainforest canopy tours on zip lines and sky bridges in the hills to the east of town.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Thailand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Off the tourist trail in Southeast Asia: 5 underrated cities

Off the tourist trail in Southeast Asia: 5 underrated cities

Modern Bangkok, historical Hanoi and tourism-boom town Siem Reap — home to the world-famous Angkor Wat temples — are some of Southeast Asia's best drawcards…

21 Nov 2017 • Marco Ferrarese insert_drive_file Article
Video: a 1 minute guide to Thailand

Video: a 1 minute guide to Thailand

Whether you're planning a two-week holiday or an epic backpacking trip, Thailand remains one of our readers' favourite destinations, and with good reason. Th…

01 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right