Chiang Mai is the northern capital of Thailand. There are many things to do in Chiang Mai with teenagers. Chiang Mai is known as the outdoor action capital of Thailand for families. The close proximity to the northern jungles of Asia makes it perfect for outdoor adrenaline activities. Chiang Mai is 700 km (435 miles) north of the capital Bangkok . Chiang Mai has a long history, founded in 1296 as the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom. Today it is a place where east meets west, where high rises and temples co-exist.
Know before you go. Our top Chiang Mai travel tips
Travelling to Chiang Mai can be such an enriching experience for the whole family. There are so many things to do in Chiang Mai and having the best place to stay in Chiang Mai and wander is extremely important. Here we’ve got some information to get you planning your family vacation to Chiang Mai to make it completely hassle-free.
Where to stay in Chiang Mai
You’ll never be short of options for your holiday accommodation in Chiang Mai. In Chiang Mai, you find a range of hotels, apartments, and hostels. You will be sure to be able to find something to fit singles, couples, families, and groups on every budget. If you’re not keen on any of our picks below or have specific needs, we recommend using Trip Advisor and Expedia to find the best prices in Chiang Mai
Budget: Accommodation with gardens, outdoor swimming pool, and free wifi. Each room at Pha-Thai House has a seating area and refrigerator. Free bottled water is provided daily. Pha-Thai House is a 7-minute walk from Wat Phra Singh Temple, while Chedi Luang Temple is a 10-minute walk away
Mid Range: Located on the river a short walk from the old town is the WeBreeza Hotel. This hotel offers family-sized rooms and an indoor pool. Bike hire and tour desk is available for all guests
Luxury: Rooms and suites feature tasteful design, teak flooring, and private courtyards or balconies. Flat-screen cable TVs, free WiFi, and coffee machines. The Anantara Chiang Mai Resort has a well-equipped fitness centre and offers yoga and aerobics classes. A true piece of luxury in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Airbnb alternative for your stay
If you prefer a home away from home-style accommodation in Chiang Mai then Air BnB is the best choice for you. There are so many options for singles, families, and budget-friendly options as well. Check out the map below to find the perfect Chiang Mai Airbnb
How to get to Chiang Mai
Being the biggest city in the North of Thailand, Chiang Mai is connected by highways from the south and north, long distant buses, trains and planes all bring people daily to the city.
Plane: The Chiang Mai Airport is the fourth busiest airport in Thailand. Chiang Mai airport is the major airport in the Noth of Thailand. The airport is serviced by both international and regional budget carriers. Book your Chiang Mai flights with CheapOair today
- You can book your transfer from the airport to Chaing Mai hotels today
Buses: Buses arrive in town daily from destinations such as Bangkok and Chiang Rai. Buses from Bangkok take 10 hours while Chiang Rai is 3 hours away. You can book all your Thailand buses with the experts at 12go Asia.
Train: A popular way to get to Chiang Mai is by the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok. The train leaves Bangkok Station in the evening and has you in Chiang Mai mid-morning. You can search for all Thailand trains with Trip.com
Driving to Chaing Mai from Bangkok or Chiang Rai is easy. There are new highways from each city leading to Chaing Mai. You can pick up a rental car at any major airport in Thailand. Book your rental car in Thailand today
How to get around Chiang Mai
There is a local bus network you use, we recommend that you download the GRAB app and use it (Grab is the Asian version of UBER). You will find plenty of taxis, just make sure you ask if they turn the meter on otherwise you may have a big surprise
Using your phone in Chiang Mai
Relying on Wi-fi when you are traveling can be hard. Making calls and staying in contact with who you need is a top priority. Plan your trip out and order your sim before you leave home to stop any stress about traveling, data, and calls.
Things to do in Chiang Mai with teens
Now that we have gone through all the family travel essentials for your family holiday to Chiang Mai with teenagers here are all the very best things to do in Chiang Mai for families.
Elephant Nature Park
Located an hours drive from Chiang Mai is the Elephant Nature Park and it has to be one of the very best things to do in Chiang Mai with teens. Elephants are big business in Thailand. Just make sure that you research the most ethical adventure your teenagers can have.
Elephant Nature Park has a huge area for the Elephants to roam and interact with each other. There is no Elephant riding allowed but you are able to feed these majestic beasts while you watch them roam freely. A real treat is to spend the night at the Nature Park with teenagers and help out with the Elephants. You can read our related article about our visit to Elephant Nature Park with kids here
The 8 Adventures experience is located just near the Elephant Park. 8 Adventures run ATV tours, White Water Rafting Experience and canoeing tours for the best family vacations with teens. The ATV tour takes you into the mountains of Northern Thailand where you will ride through rivers, up mountains and explore waterfalls. The White water rafting is a thrill a minute as jump and bumps your way down the rapids. 8 Adventures have the highest safety standards and every person does a full safety briefing before setting off their designated adventure.
Book your 8 Adventurers ATV experience today before you arrive
North Gate Night Market
Located at the North Gate of the Chiang Mai old town is the night market. Thailand is all about night markets in every town. In Chiang Mai, there are more than 4 different night markets every night. The North gate Night market has a good range of Thai foods at a great price. You can pick up some great Pad Thai, Satay Sticks, and fresh fruit juices. You can easily feed teens on holiday for 100 baht. There is plenty of seating at this lively night market.
Chiang Mai Zoo
I was a little torn about this attraction. Straight off the bat I will say only visit this Zoo if you have never seen a Giant Panda. The Giant Pandas are well looked after in the modern air-conditioned enclosure. The Giraffes have a really big open enclosure where you can feed the bananas. The zoo has a wide range of animals as expected. Other parts of the zoo raised red flags with us, especially the tiger feeding. The tigers looked drugged and reacted very slowly to the meat being feed to them.
Flight of the Gibbon
Boasting to be Thailands number one zipline. Flight of The gibbon allows teenagers to experience the jungle of Northern Thailand from an elevated view. The Flight of the Gibbon Zipline course is designed in conjunction to the stunning rainforest scenery and produces a fun and adventure experience. Flight of the Gibbon is the longest established Zipline course in Thailand.
Book your thrilling Flight of the Gibbon tickets today before you arrive
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Go fly in Chiang Mai
50fly is an indoor trampoline park in Chiang Mai. It is a world of fun for teenagers in Chiang Mai. You bounce jump, do flips and flops. You can play trampoline sports such as volleyball, balloon tag, basketball. for the more adventurous there is even rock climbing, an obstacle course and a trick pit. If you have younger kids there’s a special play area for them to have fun. Prices are charged by the hour.
Book your trampoline fun at 50FLY today before you arrive
Game fishing in Chiang Mai
The North of Thailand is not a destination one envisages when thinking of catching big fish. Images of offshore boats and blue waters usually spring to mind. Chiang Mai has positioned itself as a destination for big game fishing by developing a number of businesses that stock lagoons full of monster fish.
This may be the perfect time for teenagers in Chiang Mai to try something new and exciting like game fishing. Below you will find some options for this experience
- GoBee Fishing Park – Stocked with catfish species including the Amazonian Red-Tailed Catfish and the Mekong Giant Catfish.
- Dreamlake Fishing – stocked with Giant Siamese carp or Chao Phraya catfish. In addition to a range of imported fish species from around the globe
Book your Big Game family travel fishing experience today before you arrive
Do I need travel insurance in Thailand?
We always say if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. Get your travel insurance now to protect your epic holiday in Thailand from any small hiccup.
For Australian travellers, we recommend Fast Cover Travel Insurance
For worldwide travellers, we recommend AXA Travel Insurance
Grand Canyon Water Park
The always hot and humid weather in Chiang Mai lends itself to water-based activities. The Grand Canyon water park is a load of fun for teenagers visiting Northern Thailand. The Grand Canyon offers enough activities to easily fill in a whole day. You can choose from such family fun activities like the 10-meter water slide, Jump into the water off trampolines, try ziplining, wakeboarding, and a floating adventure park. There are always lifeguards on duty. You can hire a towel and lockers during your stay. The onsite food court will feed the teenagers and keep everyone full of a wide variety of foods.
Book your Grand Canyon Water park tickets today before you arrive
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Located on a hill overlooking Chiang Mai is the famous Doi Suthep temple. The temple is 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Chiang Mai. From the temple, you will get amazing views of the city. You get dropped up below the temple and have 309 colourful steps to climb to reach the entrance.
The gold plated Chedi (is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics) is the holiest area of the temple grounds. This site is full of pagodas, statues, bells, and more. The temple is said to have been founded in 1383. These are the sort of cultural sites that make enrich your travelling with teens experience.
Wat Chedi Luang
Located dead bang in the middle of the city is Wat Chedi Luang. The site covers nearly a whole city block. At its peak in the 14th century, the chedi at this site measured 60 metres across at the square base and 80 metres. Thailand’s most sacred religious relic of the Emerald Buddha where once store here. According to ancient legend, the Chedi was erected at the centre of the city to mark the centre of the universe. This temple is huge and sort of reminds you of an Asian pyramid.
Located right next door is The Wat Phan Tao, one of the older temples of Chiang Mai. Wat Phan Tao, meaning “temple of a thousand kilns was used to cast Buddha images for other temples most likely the Wat Chedi Luang which is next door. The wooden interior of this temple is quite unique. in Thailand.
Day trips from Chiang Mai for teenagers
One of the most popular day trips from Chiang Mai is to the White Temple near Chiang Rai. The White Temple is a privately owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple. It is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular attractions in all of Thailand.
The site is more than just one temple, there numerous things to see including a waterfall and various places of prayer, The real highlight is the bridge and the white temple. This site with its intricate designs is believed to have cost nearly 2 million Australian dollars to build. You can hire a car and drive the 172 kilometres to the temple or you can go on an organized tour.
Shopping in Chiang Mai with teenagers
Chiang Mai has a great mix of modern shopping experiences in Malls and famous Thailand market scenes. Nonetheless, the Chiang Mai shopping scene has something for the serious shopper all the way to the souvenir shopper.
Wualai Street on the South side of the city near Chiang Mai Gate is well known for the walking market on Saturday evenings. You will find street performaers and stall selling food and handicrafts. Vieng Ping Night Bazaar is situated inside a two storey building. This night bazaar specialises in locally hand crafted items.
There are 5 major shopping centres in Chaing Mai that combine western and eastern shopping. Brans like H&M, Marks and Spencer, McDonalds and KFC mix with local brands and stores selling evertrhing under the sun. Please find details below
- Kad Suan Kaew – featuring fashion stores, cinemas, 10 pin bowling and international food court
- Maya – 5 story modern shopping centre
- Centre Festival Shopping Centre – Ice Rink, Imax, designer stores like H&M and food court with Subway & local food,
Escape Rooms in Chiang Mai
For those new to Escape Rooms, this is a quick run down. An escape room, also known as an ‘escape game’, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Escape rooms may consist of a large, single room, or span multiple rooms. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. This sort of challenging activity makes fun vacations for teens.
Cinemas in Chiang Mai
A perennial favourite with teenagers in Chiang Mai whether visiting or residents is the cinema. Chiang Mai like any major city in Thailand has a wide range of cinema’s for you to attend. Below you will find a list of the best cinemas in Chiang Mai.
- Central Festival Mall Cineplex – State-of-the-art Major Cineplex with multi-screen cinemas showing the newest blockbuster movies in both English and Thai. Address: Major Cineplex: Central Festival Mall,#99, M. 4, T. Fah Ham, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50000
- SFX Cinema -The cinema has a luxurious feel and shows the latest English and Thai films. Address: SFX Cinema: Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall, #55, M. 5, Huay Kaew Rd., T. Chang Phuak, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50300
10 Pin Bowling in Chiang Mai
10 Pin bowling is a great family activity to do with teenagers. There is nothing like a bit of family competition and 10 pin bowling in Chiang Mai is just the thing. Strikes, Spares, gutter balls are all part of the action. To be honest the weather in Thailand is very hot and indoor activities like bowling are a great option. Find a place to bowl below.
- Lanna Bowling Centre – Sri Poom Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Buddy Bowl – 21 Huay Kaew Rd, Tambon Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand.
Going to the Gym in Chiang Mai
Fitness is very important to a lot of teenagers these days. Working out is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. Just because one is travelling it does not mean you need to stop working out.
In Venice, you can go to a number of Gyms that sell passes ranging from a day to a week and a month. Day passes start at 16 euros a day while a week pass costs 45 euros. You can find a list of Gyms in Venice at the Trainaway fit website
Bike Riding in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai bike riding is a popular family activity when travelling with teenagers. Bike riding allows you to experience your location either in town or out in the surrounding areas. You will find bike tours are the best way to go if you want to get an up-close and personal experience of the city. You will either have a guide to point out all the important attractions or a map to follow. The bike tours will take you on a Chiang Mai family vacation 2 wheeled adventure. Alternatively, you can find locations that hire bikes and let you explore on your own.
Book your family fun bike tour in Chiang Mai today
Frequently asked questions about Thailand
For Thailand there are four associated plug types, types A, B and C. Plug type A is the plug which has two flat parallel pins, plug type B has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin and plug type C has two round pins. Buy your c-type adaptor here.
Tourist Police: 1155. Thailand Emergency Services (Fire, Ambulance): 191.
English proficiency is low among the local population, and English will only get you by for the very bare day to day essentials, If you’re worried about being able to understand buy a Langogo translator.
We don’t recommend that you drink the tap water in Thailand. Buy your travelling water bottle with filter today
When dining at smaller, street-side restaurants and cafes in Chiang Mai, leaving behind your small change is sufficient enough as a tip. At higher-end restaurants, a 10% gratuity is standard tipping etiquette.
The official currency of Thailand is Baht. We suggest you get a Transferwise Money card prior to leaving to save on withdrawal fees. You can transfer money from your home country into Thai Baht
Our ultimate travel guide for parents. Use our top tips to keep your teenagers safe when travelling
Where are the best places to stay in Chiang Mai with teenagers
At the top of the article, we suggested some accommodation choices. If you are looking for a wider variety of choices please find below an interactive map from Booking.com for you to find you perfect stay in Chiang Mai.
Weather in Chiang Mai
Due to the northern location of Chiang Mai, there are three seasons Hot, Cool and Rainy. The cool season lasts from early December to February. This is the most pleasant time to visit with daytime temperatures reaching a maximum of 30°C.
From March till June the weather is at its blistering hottest with temperatures reaching 40 degrees. If the heat does not kill you the humidity may. The wet season commences in June and continues on until late October. The temperature on average hits 32°c during the day. It rains almost every single day during the rainy season. Chiang Mai weather is certainly not for everyone
We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has you inspired to visit Chiang Mai with teenagers. There are so many things to do in Chiang Mai with teenagers that will have you entertained for your family’s whole stay in Chiang Mai. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Thailand click through to our Thailand Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.
We know because we go! Travelling with older kids has just as many issues as travelling with younger kids. Use our Travel with Teenagers Destination Guides from all over the world for your next family holiday inspiration.
Some more travel inspiration for your trip to Thailand
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband, traveler, and chief destination marketing manager at Wyld Family Travel. Having been to over 35 countries worldwide he knows a thing or 2 about traveling with kids and now traveling with teenagers. He has been writing first-hand, expert travel guides on this website for over 6 years and has featured on numerous other popular well-known websites. When he is not talking, dreaming, or planning travel he can be found working in disability support.