If you’ve never been to Chiang Mai… You MOST definitely should. The beautiful sights, the smorgasbord of cafes, the creative night markets (definitely more creative than the ones in Bangkok in my opinion)…
There’s just so much to do in Chiang Mai that most don’t even know about! It’s good for lovers, but did you also know that it’s the perfect place to bring your little family to too?
Your kids (and hubby/wifey) are not likely to forget the family time you’ll have in Chiang Mai. Make the most picture-perfect memories here, and gather up some souvenirs for su casa (your home)!
It’s more affordable and convenient these days too, with low cost carrier flights to get you there – and not forgetting Klook services like airport transfers, private car charter, city-to-city transfers and more!
Ready to find out more about your new favourite holiday destination? We’ve included some must-goes, and all-time-favourites – all kid-friendly, of course! Read on and get inspired to start booking your year-end holidays. 😛
This itinerary will cover the best of Chiang Mai for a family vacation within 5 days.
From Singapore, Scoot Tiger Air and SilkAir offers direct flights to Chiang Mai (CNX) from SGD $295 (round-trip).
From Malaysia, AirAsia offers direct flights from MYR 569 (round-trip).
How to get around Chiang Mai?
To fully enjoy Chiang Mai with the kids along, you should most definitely look into hiring a car to get around. Whether you would rather have a private chartered car or prefer driving around yourself (only if you’re confident on foreign and mountainous roads) – getting around can be simple!
a. Private car with driver (From USD $45.49 / approx. 1400 Baht for per day)
Klook makes it simple with this competitive service that includes a private chartered car service that’s affordable. It also comes with a local driver that’ll help with your itinerary, while making getting around extremely convenient and comfortable.
b. Car rental without driver (From USD $33.21 / approx. 1022 Baht per day)
If you enjoy driving around personally and are confident on unfamiliar roads, you might want to consider renting a car from Europcar Thailand, or Sixt. It’s tried and tested! (Prices vary depending on the car model chosen.)
c. Airport and City Transfers (From USD $9.75 / approx. 300 Baht)
If you’re not keen on hiring a car to get around and only require a private airport transfer or city transfer, the simplest way to do it would be via Klook.
PS: You’ll also need a local Sim Card to get around, whether it’s to use Google Maps for directions, or to Instagram your family moments away! (From USD $4.25 / approx. 131 Baht)
Eat with the ‘giraffes’, then shop and have dinner at Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
Note: The most affordable flight to Chiang Mai is Scoot (from SGD295 for a round trip), and earliest flight is at 8.25am, which means you’ll reach Chiang Mai at 10.40am. After collecting your luggage, you will likely leave the airport by 12pm where you’ll hop onto your car (rented/chartered) and head to lunch! We will also be using Arch39 Art & Craft Hotel as the default hotel for this itinerary.
What could be a better welcome lunch than one at this cute giraffe-themed cafe! Take your first fun family photos together with the big giraffe hats, enjoy some good grilled cheese sandwiches, and have some dessert!
PS: Once you’re done eating, you might want to head back to the hotel to freshen up and rest a little before heading out for a round of shopping and dinner at the night market!
Photo Via Googgig_jintisa, Muayy, Markpatiphan
After lunch with the giraffes, here come the dinosaurs! Walk off your lunch and do a small exploration around this mini Jurassic Park. Take plenty of fun photos with the dinosaurs and teach your kids a little bit about these ancient ‘monsters’.
There are also other activities available such as a small petting zoo, pony rides, bouncy castle, and arguably the best playground in Chiang Mai. Guaranteed to be a fun family activity!
Photo Via Mootong31, Kingkilogo, Zorbastears
At On Cloud Nine, sweet treats are an everyday affair. With various Instagrammable photo spots here, your family travel photos will look extra cute!
The sweetness in the cafe doesn’t just stop at the decorations – the desserts on the menu are as delightful as well. Enjoy their signature Unicorn Bubble Tea and colourful shaved ice desserts. Giraffes, dinosaurs and unicorns? What more could the kids ask for!
Photo Via Bo.nuus_
Here’s something even parents will enjoy, it’s time to get started on your night market shopping! It’s quite fun shopping here. Apart from clothes (even small ethnic costumes for your kids too!), you can find ceramic homewares and other great souvenirs to bring home.
Don’t forget to have dinner here too, the street food here is top notch! You can also choose to duck into one of the small eateries along the way. (FYI, massages here are really cheap, we got a 1h Thai massage for 150 Baht. If you’re able to come out one night without the kids, you could come back here for it!)
Photo Via TripCanvas
Once you’re tired after all that shopping and eating, it’s time to head back and rest up for a full day tomorrow.
Experience farm life, lunch on a train, and dinner in a Japanese Bamboo Garden
Note: Make sure to leave the hotel by 9.30am!
The family will have a lot of fun here. You can explore the farm and interact with the animals at the animal farm such as ducks, rabbits, goats, cows, buffalo, geese, chickens and a turkey. (They also have peacocks, cockatoos, colourful parrots who will try to talk to you!)
Before all of that though, remember to grab breakfast first. The food here is actually pretty good! (They even have a cafe opened in central Chiang Mai.)
PS: If you’re here on a weekend from 11am to 12pm, there’s a super cool mudslide open for kids to play at!
Photo Via Nichagel, Qiangchiangmaitravel, Oh_apple, _michelle_sss
This is a one-of-a-kind experience that will stay with the family for life. In this quaint resort, you’ll be able to dine in an actual antique train. Enjoy the food, and take all the photos you’d like!
There’s a ton of other things to do in the area including a petting zoo with deer, other antique vehicles like fire trucks that kids can jump in and explore, rice paddies to explore through a bamboo walkway, and even a lifesized Captain America.
Photo Via Koradon, Manvichan
Bring the family for dessert at this beautiful cafe set amidst the lush rice paddies. A wooden bridge leads the way through the fields and it makes for some really gorgeous family photos.
If mommy and daddy need a perk-me-up, good coffee is available here. For the family, try their desserts! How about Baffles? (Waffles in a bowl with yummy toppings!) The place is quite quirky too, from their cutlery to their desserts. 😛
Photo Via baankaiho
The family would be getting a little tired by now with all the non-stop excitement. While you won’t want to waste your precious holiday time sleeping, how about taking a ‘rest’ at Art in Paradise?
All you need to do is stroll through the gallery with the kids, and take some fun and memorable photos before you head on over to dinner!
Photo Via Fashazni_sha, Bredsig, Thedorandiary
After spending all day playing with the kiddos, how does spending time in a little Japanese bamboo garden with some yummy mochi sound to you? If you like that, you’ll love Nekoemon, a small Japan-themed cafe with its very own bamboo forest and garden that looks similar to the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine from Kyoto.
It’s picture-worthy, and the food’s good too!
Photo Via Joy_huahin, Pinkic, Pang1240, Pattie_kld
Make sure you’re around for one weekend to check out Chiang Mai’s famous walking streets. Whether it’s Wualai on Saturday, or Thapae on Sunday – both will give you tons to discover.
Both kids and parents will enjoy snapping up some new clothes, toys, or even snacking on the yummy market food before heading back!
Photo Via TripCanvas
Once you’re done with your shopping, head back to wash up and rest!
Spend an incredible day at Thailand’s Little Switzerland and see the hill tribes!
Note: Make sure to leave your hotel by 8am for breakfast.
All you need to know about this place is that there’s an amazing fusion menu, including granola pancakes that look so delish… Local porridge with organic brown rice served with organic omelette, and don’t forget the bagels!
PS: Once you’re done with breakfast, make sure to stop at a 7-11 to stock up on snacks and water for the upcoming drive to Doi Ang Khang! You might want to prepare an activity pack for your kids in case they get restless during the car ride too.
Photo Via Jiwliucafe, Wirassawin
The drive to Doi Ang Khang will take about 3 hours, but the sights and local experiences available here truly make the journey more than worth it. It’s called Little Switzerland due to its resemblance to the Swiss Alps too!
There are a few pit stops to make when you’re here:
Royal Angkhang Station Project (Exquisite cold climate floral landscape, and stumble on photogenic locals along the way.)
Strawberry Farm, ไร่สตรอเบอรี่บ้านนอแล (Sweet strawberries, glorious views and steaming sweet corn!!!!!)
Ban Nor-Lae (Gaze down on Burmese valleys at the Thai-Myanmar border, and buy some indigenous handmade crafts from the locals.)
Apart from the fresh mountain air, you’ll see colourful plants along the road up the mountains, and strawberry, peaches, pears, persimmon farms and more. (And during the winter season, you’ll find Japanese Sakura (cherry blossoms) blooming in late November, while Praya Suekrong (Thai cherry blossom) blooms from late December to early January.
PS: Make sure to stop for lunch at Angkhang Club to sample the hill tribe specialties!
Photo Via TripCanvas
If you’re keen to taste local Northern Thai food, TongTemToh pretty much gives you the experience you’re looking for. First up, you simply have to order the red pork curry here. It was so delicious, we couldn’t stop ourselves and had to order extra curry! (Make sure to order less spicy curry if the kids can’t take spicy food.)
You can even find exotic local food like fireant eggs on the menu here too!
PS: This will have been a super tiring (but super fruitful!) day of travel, personally tried and tested. Once you’re done with dinner, we highly recommend heading back to the hotel to rest!
Photo Via Doublej_jaja_, TripCanvas-1
Dine amidst flowers, climb a waterfall, visit a hotspring AND learn about poopoopaper?!
Note: Do leave your hotel by 9.30am. Remember to bring a spare change of clothes (and toiletries if you intend to shower) too. You’ll be getting wet at Bua Thong Waterfalls. Shower facilities are available there, as well as Sankampaeng Hot Springs.
Get your day started and enjoy family breakfast amidst the blooms at the hillside Galae Restaurant. With a photo-worthy floral backdrop accompanying your meal, it’s a lovely place to start your day at. Don’t forget to snap some photos!
Photo Via Aeiiaeii, T90478
I mean.. Poopoopaper will be something your kids will continue to talk about for awhile, laughs guaranteed.
Jokes aside, Elephant POOPOOPAPER Park is an eco-friendly, naturally built, outdoor museum park that’s a memorable adventure full of laughter and fun for the whole family – and with truly unique photo-taking opportunities too. Here’s where you’ll find “genuine eco-tourism, history and culture; artisans; local crafts; education, fun and one-of-a-kind shopping!”
Photo Via Lady_koi, Chloe_maerz, Lovely_minbbo, Ladolcemare
Ever thought you’d get to climb a waterfall? We didn’t either. It’s easier than it looks since the rocks are really quite ‘sticky’, due to naturally occuring sediment that has given the rocks its ‘sticky’ texture.
The whole family will have tons of fun at this interesting waterfall. And in case you’re worried, it’s not challenging at all. Even kids are able to climb up and down this waterfall – we saw many local and foreign kids having fun here!
Photo Via Travelwithpd
After climbing up and down the sticky waterfall and having a blast with the family, it’s time to relax and find some zen. We highly recommend indulging in a hot spring soak (at least a foot soak!) to rejuvenate you. Don’t worry that the kids won’t be able to take the heat of the springs, there are different areas with varying levels of heat with mild ones suitable for kids too.
TripCanvas Tip: We bought a basket of eggs (comes with soy sauce) to cook in the hotsprings, and some Burmese pumice stones that were on sale near the entrance, and had an enjoyable and really relaxing time. #highlyrecommend!
Photo Via TripCanvas
Surprise the kids with dinner at the Smurfs’ hometown (or the closest we’ve ever found to it)! Tucked away in the countryside, dine by the little mushroom clay houses in Leafy Greens, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
At night, the place lights up, casting a magical atmosphere on the entire area, which is made even better with the tender steak and wine in the cafe!
Photo Via Kiki_927, Beauchalee, Behrne
End it with colourful cuisine, and fun discoveries around Nimmanhaemin Road!
Note: The earliest and most affordable Scoot flight from Chiang Mai is at 4.55pm. This means you do have a few hours to make the most of your remaining time in Chiang Mai before heading to the airport! (Be sure to reach the airport at least 3 hours before your flight, which means leaving around 1pm.)
Walking into this restaurant feels a little like you’re walking into a mysterious jungle cafe, with it’s gorgeous natural settings. The family will enjoy the creative food here.
Applying traditional Thai colouring to different types of rice, and using colourful fruits and vegetables in the menu – the food is both delicious, and highly instagrammable!
Photo Via Khun_ying_cocos, Witchong_-1
Nimmanhaemin Road is famous for its cafes, boutique shops and fun discoveries. Strolling around this area is something relaxing to do, with different discoveries waiting.
If you’re looking to shop, Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center might interest you with its plethora of shops ranging from affordable boutiques to designer Thai brands.
Otherwise, a slightly quirkier non-shopping option might be the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders! It’s a quaint and unique private museum filled with natural discoveries that’ll intrigue most.
PS: Feel free to duck into any of the cafes along Nimmanhaemin Road for lunch before heading back to your hotel to grab your luggage.
Photo Via TripCanvas
2 Recommended Stays under $50
1. Stylish with cute features for the kiddos! – Arch39 Minimal Art & Craft Hotel
This is absolutely perfect if you are travelling with kids. The little ones will have an absolute field day just playing in the room. Just look at how spacious the room is (can fit up to 6 pax, and oh-so-affordable!)
Apart from climbing on the rock wall or hanging in the net, you could even dedicate one bed solely for the kid to indulge in some good ol’ bed-jumping! It’s also perfectly located in Chiang Mai’s old town, so you can easily head out to the local areas and cafes.
Photo Via Kwangsuparhat
2. If you’re looking for one with a kids’ club… – Kokotel Chiang Mai Nimman
The best thing about this hotel is its location. If you haven’t heard of Nimmanhaemin road, google it! Here’s where there are tons of cafes and things to do in the area.
The next best thing about this hotel? It is clean, spacious, comfortable and comes with a kids’ club too (if you need to leave them there so you can steal off for some alone time)! Need we say more?