Things to Do with Kids in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second city, might not have a beach to offer, but there are plenty of fab things to do with kids – even if you don’t get out into the hill country around it. Here are some of our favourite things for kids to do in Chiang Mai.

Give an Elephant a Bath

There are a million and one animal attractions around Chiang Mai, but most involve cruel training and are environmentally unsustainable. At the Elephant Nature Park, however, visitors help feed and bathe elephants that have been rescued from illegal logging or harsh conditions: and even little kids can give a baby elephant a cuddle.

Go Zorbing

X-Centre, Chiang Mai, is an all-round adventure zone, with several activities that are perfect for kids aged nine and above. Zorbing, or rolling down a slope strapped into a gigantic inflatable ball, makes for excellent fun; karting, paintballing, and off-roading as a passenger are also on offer; children over 35kg (75lb) can even try a bungee jump!

Coloured umbrellas in Bo Sang, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Visit an Umbrella Factory

The little village of Bo Sang, outside Chiang Mai, is Thailand’s umbrella capital, making gorgeous, brightly coloured umbrellas from paper that’s crafted in-house. A trip to a factory lets kids see the whole process from the get go, from paper pulp through to finished product.

Meet a Monk

Want to learn about Buddhism? On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 5-7pm, at the Buddhist University’s Chiang Mai campus – the ancient temple Wat Suan Dok – student monks are available to chat to visitors and answer each and every question about Buddhism. Kids are very welcome, and it’s a great thing for thoughtful kids to do in Chiang Mai.

Go Zipwiring

Want to whizz through the rainforest canopy on a high wire? Chiang Mai makes an excellent zipwiring spot – and Flight of the Gibbon has an impressive 5km of ziplines to try. Anyone over one metre tall can have a go, although children too light to speed down the wires will ride in tandem with a guide. (Don’t expect to see any wildlife: the noise of the wires scares it away.)

Go Whitewater Rafting

One great bonus of Thailand’s dramatic rainy season? The rivers swell. The Mae Teng river, with rapids typically at Grade 3 and Grade 4, is a little too white for very young children, but tweens and teens will love the drama.

Visit an Orchid Farm

There are several orchid farms in Amphoe Mae Rim, a rural suburb of Chiang Mai. Aspiring artists will love the bright colours and rich scents: the Bai orchid farm has butterflies too!

Take a Cooking Class

Thai is one of the world’s great cuisines, and a cooking class is one of the best things to do with kids in Chiang Mai, especially one that begins with a trip to a colourful Thai market. Thais love children, and a custom cooking course makes an excellent daytime activity.

And… Obviously, Check Out a Temple

There are more than 300 Buddhist temples (“wats”) in Chiang Mai. A few choices? The part-ruined Wat Chedi Luang is great for scale and atmosphere; Wat Chiang Man is Chiang Mai’s oldest temple; and Wat Phra Singh is a blaze of light and colour.

Headed out? Check Agoda for great deals on Chiang Mai hotels.

Looking for more Asia family travel? Check out my posts on the top ten things to do in Hong Kong with kids and things to do in Bali with kids.

9 Responses

  1. Tim France says:

    Thanks for this great post. One place you might also like to try out is the Little Penguin Kids’ Cafe in Chiang Mai ( It’s billed as a fun and safe space for under-fives to play and learn, and a comfortable spot for their mums and dads to relax and have lunch etc. Kids certainly love the play area with a mini high street design, and I can vouch for their coffees 🙂

    • Theodora says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Tim. And, thank you for the tips for littlies. With an older child, I tend to neglect the under-fives…

  2. mehroo says:

    hello, I quite liked what I saw on your suggested activities for kids in chiang mai. We are planning a trip there in late dec. We have 5 nights and 6 days to spare, should we spend them all in CM? someone mentioned a drive to Chiang Rai? Do u think we should spend a night there? thank you for this article.

    • Theodora says:

      The White Temple at Chiang Rai is supposedly amazing, but with only six days, depending on the kids’ ages and inclinations, I’d be inclined to do more getting out into nature — an overnight trek into the jungle, sleeping out in the forest is an incredible experience — or possibly explore Pai as a side-trip rather than Chiang Rai. I say that because the main feature of Chiang Rai is the White Temple and it’s quite easy as a child to get bored of temples…

  3. Tom says:

    Hello Theodora,
    Me, my wife and 8 years old son Wilson will be going to Chiang Mai for 10 days and so I want to ask you if you can plan a trip itinerary for us.
    Also for now I have used this to plan a rough itinerary.
    What do you think of it?
    I am sure you will surely reply me with a good planned itinerary.

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for your comment. Planning a detailed trip itinerary is actually a lot of work, as I imagine you’ve found out, and something that many bloggers charge for as a service: an in-depth, hour by hour itinerary for ten days’ holiday takes about two days work to do. I’m not current enough on Chiang Mai and the surrounding area to fairly do this for you, but Lauren Juliff at is — so if this is a service you’d be prepared to pay for, do drop her a line – lauren AT neverendingfootsteps DOT com.



  4. Robyn says:

    How about teaching your kids about recycling and learn how to make paper from “POO”?! Our kids love it. Check out more information at

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