Adventure Sports in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Activities and Sports

Chiang Mai is an energetic place, the kind of place where people go to experience something new and different. There's something about the city that encourages people to expand their horizons and try things they never thought they'd be capable of. Maybe you never thought you'd be the one to try your hand at rock climbing or river rafting but Chiang Mai might change your mind.

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Bamboo Rafting in Chiang Mai

The highlands of Chiang Mai are the watersheds for all of northern Thailand and many of the rivers that wind their way across southeast Asia have their birthplace right here. Rafting Chiang Mai can be a very rewarding experience, whether you crave a heart pumping run through boiling rapids or a leisurely float through hushed valleys. Cold water sprays in your face as you grip the paddle and fight the roaring current. You can't see your hands but you know your knuckles are white as you shoot through the surging water. Suddenly the bottom drops out of the world and you are falling for an endless second. Then it's over like someone flipped off a switch and you're left with nothing but the pounding of your heart, the trembling of your hands and the insatiable desire to do it again. Welcome to the thrill that is whitewater rafting, the closest thing mother nature has to a roller coaster.

Whitewater rafting in Chiang Mai is an experience that no one ever forgets. The powerful mountain rivers are riddled with rapids that run from grade two (moving water with occasional rocks) to grade four (large falls but not continuous; very difficult, powerful waves). Safety is always first priority and tours are available for all levels of experience. Almost anyone can participate; all you need is a basic level of physical fitness. Quality tour companies will provide instruction, safety gear and an experienced guide to take you through the waters. With all the precautions in the world rafting is still potentially dangerous so do a little research and make sure to go out with a company you feel comfortable with. Not all rafting in Chiang Mai involves rapids and adrenaline. For those keen on relaxation there are plenty of chances to float down the tranquil Ping River on board a bamboo float. Lazily poling your way downstream, enjoying the peace and quiet, maybe knocking back a beer or two lets you drift away from your worries and simply enjoy life.

Bamboo rafting is included with many treks and tours in Chiang Mai and there are also plenty of place where you can set up an all day trip. Most include lunch and maybe a stop at a hilltribe village.

Cycling in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is heaven for cyclists. It has all it takes to satisfy enthusiastic riders including beginners and the experienced. Discover new places beyond tourist tracks and cycle through green forests, lovely valleys, fruit orchards and rich farmland. Many routes will lead you to ancient ruins, vintage temples and hill-tribe villages. For those who want to appreciate more of the Northern charm, try the City Cultural Ride. It starts early in the morning, the same time as ordinary folks start their daily routines. Witness the close connection between villagers, monks, temples and local markets. It is something beautiful and hard to explain without seeing it yourself.

Chiang Mai has many active and professional tour companies that specialize in cycling tours providing good-standard bikes and top-class services. Basically they will start by evaluating your riding ability and then explain the route before taking off. Many off-road trails feature dirt paths in and out of jungles and downhill tracks for example. The tour leaders might modify some trips to suit riders’ skills. Proper introduction and safety awareness are both part of their operation. All these interesting rides happen in and around Chiang Mai area and can be done all year round come rain or shine.  

Day Trip: Mae Sa Valley

Mae Sa Valley is a green, forested area with one main road running through it and lots of tourist activities scattered along the road. The highway 1096 runs from Mae Rim (about 10KM from Chiang Mai) to the town of Samoeng which is a popular destination for motorbike day trippers traveling the Sameong Loop. Many people stop along the way at attractions in Mae Sa Valley while other travellers visit Mae Sa Valley just for the attractions.

  • Location: Mae Rim, Chiang Mai
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Other Adventure Activities

Chiang Mai has loads of other opportunities for outdoor thrills and excitement. Jungle Bungee is the only fully licensed and insured bungee jump operator in Thailand. New Zealand safety standards means you can feel confident taking the plunge. If you want to rise above it all try an ultralight trip with Chiang Mai Sky Adventures or a balloon ride with Oriental Balloons. To get your Dirty Harry fix head to the Lanna Sports Complex for an afternoon of target shooting.

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