Get out of the city and indulge in ancient rock formations, bathe in hot springs or sip on a coffee next to a hidden lagoon…
Just south of the city, off route 108 in the sub-district of Doi Lo, sits Chiang Mai’s second ‘grand canyon’ style natural attraction. If you can’t afford a trip to the real thing, this one will do…for now. After a 30 minute drive along tight dusty roads, lined with rubber tree plantations, you are greeted with a beautiful view. Leave your car, stock up on water and head down the hill for a 10-15 minute hike to this natural wonder(let). Once you make your way around the twisty pathways, you are greeted by huge towering rock formations created by harsh weathering and differences in rock density that look almost alien. A great place to visit for those looking for a day out of town, exploring nature.
Open all year round
Mae Wang National Park. Entrance located in Yang Kram, Doi Lor and just follow the road.
Location: 18.517746, 98.739968
Pong Kwao Hot Springs
We were taking a meandering drive through the mountains behind Mon Jam with no destination in mind recently, and were feeling pretty lost in the middle of nowhere when we came across this extraordinary hot springs! Obviously a huge investment, there is a hotel, boarding houses, bungalows and lots of private spring huts. But what makes this special is that unlike many northern Thai hot springs, where you are pretty much sitting in a dark enclosure sweating and soaking, here there are a wonderful options so that you can share the experience with a group of friends. Clean, attractive open-aired (but walled for privacy) blue tiled pools are filled with local mineral-laden spring water and once the temperatures get a bit cooler, we fully intend to take a large picnic basket, a bunch of mates and enjoy this fabulous getaway. It is about an hour or so from the city.
1 Moo 3, North Samoeng Road, Samoeng
Location: 18.881962, 98.720789
Mae Oak Hu Reservoir
Known to locals as Paradise on Hill, this beautiful lagoon-like reservoir has recently become one of the province’s most secret but popular spot for tourists to cool off and escape the summer sun. Located past Doi Inthanon National Park, just off toward Mae Chaem, this secret location is packed with bamboo huts (rentable for just 20 baht an hour), a few rubber rings and the sounds of children laughing, splashing each other in the pristine spring water. Sit with your toes dipped in the cool water as you enjoy some local Thai food or sip on a coffee as you cool off and even do a bit of fish spotting. A great getaway for those wanting to escape the city, find some shade, cool off in some fresh water and really appreciate the natural beauty of Chaing Mai.
Open all year round
Drive up Road 108 towards Doi Inthanon, turn left at Checkpoint 2 towards Mae Chaem, then turn right onto Road 1088 until you see the signs. (Near Wat Thung Yao)
Location: 18.546664, 98.382708