What You Need to Know About Trekking in Chiang Mai

Trekking in Chiang Mai

The jungle-covered hills surrounding Chiang Mai are a trekker’s dream. With stunning scenery, unbelievable vistas, unique cultural attractions and hidden hill tribe villages, trekking in Chiang Mai is a truly memorable experience.

What’s Available

While there are some trails you can access and walk on your own, if you’re wanting the full experience you’ll need to book a trekking tour with an operator. These tours vary in length and difficulty – you can find easy, half-day hikes or choose to go wild with a multiple-day, overnight trip – but all show you the beauty of Northern Thailand. If you’re dreaming of exploring the hills make sure you book a tour at least one full day in advance but earlier if possible. Especially during the high season, from around November to the end January, spots fill up and you don’t want to be left stuck in the city.

Where to Go

There are excellent trekking options throughout the north but a few areas stand out in particular for their accessibility, awe-inspiring nature and unique village communities. Around Chiang Mai these include the areas north and south of the city along with the area around Doi Inthanon, located a couple hours south of the city. Just north of Chiang Mai in Mae Taeng, for example, guests can go one a 1-day trek through some of the most scenic trails in northern Thailand visiting picturesque villages before enjoying a wild ride whitewater rafting down the river, relaxing with a unique bamboo raft ride and even getting up close and personal with some incredible elephants. Intrigued? Click here to learn more and reserve your spot!

Not exciting enough? There are also 3-day treks in Mae Wang available for those who really want to explore the hills and connect with the locals. Along with all the activities included in the 1-day tour, adventurous travelers on these treks will get the opportunity to stay overnight at a homestay with a Lahu hill tribe family and even sleep in a rugged jungle camp. Learn more here.

Also please read our detailed overview of all our trekking tours in Chiang Mai.

What to Bring

Of course, what you need to prepare and take on the treks depends on where you’re going, what activities you’re doing, how long you’ll be gone and what the weather is like (during the rainy season of June, July and August a raincoat or plastic poncho is a must!) but the items below are good to keep in mind when packing for your adventure.

If you’re going on a day trek don’t forget to bring:

  • A swimsuit
  • A change of clothes
  • Walking shoes plus sandals or flip flops (that can get wet)
  • A towel
  • Personal toiletries, including toilet paper
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect you from Thailand’s harsh sun
  • Any prescription medication you require, such as an asthma inhaler or other medications, and a basic personal first-aid kit with plasters, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, etc

If you’re staying out overnight also don’t forget to bring:

  • Multiple pairs of shorts, socks and t-shirts that you don’t mind getting dirty
  • A long-sleeved shirt and long pants (nights in the hills can be quite cool especially during the winter season of October, November and December)
  • Personal toiletries, including toilet paper
  • A flashlight
  • Personal first-aid kit (plasters, etc)

Water and food are provided on trips, but it’s also always a good idea to bring your own water bottle with you.

Of course, don’t forget your camera to capture the magical memories you’re sure to be making as you discover the secrets of the mountains – it’s sure to be an experience you’ll never forget!

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