Parents’ Travel Guide: What to Do in Chiang Mai

Take in the best of Thai culture with our guide to a family vacation filled with delicious food, beautiful views and plenty of relaxation.

Aug 22, 2014
  • Lush Fields of Chiang Mai at Four Seasons
  • Resident water buffalo at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
  • Wild Asian elephant in Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Pool at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
  • Satay at Sala Mae Rim restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
Gorgeous and exotic with lush rice fields, Thailand makes for the ideal family destination.
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Meet the resident water buffalos while exploring the Resort or taking part in the rice planting activity.
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Riding an elephant is one of the most fantastic and unique vacation experiences your kids can have.
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Enjoy some time lounging at the 66-foot infinity edge pool, surrounded by picturesque views.
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Dine on satay and other northern Thai specialties at Sala Mae Rim restaurant.
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Set in the Mae Rim Valley, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai is the place where you and the family can immerse yourselves in authentic Thai culture.

Chiang Mai, often called the Rose of the North, is the country’s cultural capital. It is also a verdant oasis, just a one-hour flight from Bangkok. Whether you go in April to join in on the celebration of the Thai New Year or in November for the Loi Krathong festival of lights celebration, your family is in for a treat.

Why go

  • Relaxation. Chiang Mai makes for the perfect place to enjoy family bonding time at a relaxed pace.
  • The cultural capital. This city envelopes the spiritual and artistic heart of Thailand, making it a must-visit for a taste of Thai culture.
  • Rich history. Stroll by more than 300 Buddhist temples—many dating back to the 13th century—in the area of the old walled city on the Ping River, a major trading route.

What the kids will love

  • The exotic setting. Surrounded by rice fields and picturesque views, the kids will love exploring a new culture.
  • Exploring the area. They can get out their energy and feed their curiosity as they make their way through 32 acres of sprawling grounds.
  • Engaging with the culture. The Gecko Club at the Resort provides plenty of opportunities to learn about Thai culture, from constructing Sa paper fans and umbrellas to dabbling in Thai language classes.
  • Meeting the animals. The kids will love visiting Tong, the Resort’s resident water buffalo. For the more adventurous, consider signing up for an elephant camp through the Resort.

What you will love

  • Luxurious accommodations. Enjoy spacious pool villas with seamless inside-outside living.
  • The infinity pool. Set in the middle of a rice patty field, you can enjoy scenic views all around as you relax poolside.
  • A round of golf. Take a five-minute drive from the Resort for and unforgettable game of golf at world-class Summit Green Valley Country Club.
  • The Spa. Immerse yourself in treatments inspired by ancient Thai rituals that are sure to rid you of any stress. An added bonus: the Spa recently introduced treatments for kids.

Look for

An afternoon celebration. Every evening around 5:00 pm, gather around the Resort’s lower pool to watch the procession of gardeners heading back home through the rice fields. Many are smiling, some dance, some wave, some even play traditional drums. It is a small celebration of their hard work each day, and guests are welcome to join!

Eat this

Dine in

  • Enjoy lunch at Terraces, with a perfect location in the open air just beside the main swimming pool. Kids will love the crispy spring rolls and noodle soup with prawn wontons.
  • Elephant Bar is the go-to spot for an afternoon tea under large Thai umbrellas with beautiful views all around.
  • For great views and authentic Thai cuisine, head to Sala Mae Rim. Try the pad thai goong (wok fried rice noodles with prawns), gai hor bai toey (fried marinated chicken wrapped with pandanus leaves) and tom kha gai (chicken soup with fresh coconut milk and galangal).

Dine out

  • Baan Suan restaurant. Enjoy Thai cuisine in this quaint restaurant with scenic views all around.
  • Ginger & Kafe. Whether you want to go for an afternoon tea or a delicious Asian fusion meal, this local hot spot provides a fun and relaxing atmosphere for the whole family.
  • The Duke’s Grill & Bar. This up and coming restaurant is perfect for families, as it serves a range of dishes with excellent service. While you’re there, be sure to try one of their delicious pizzas.

5 family to-dos

1. Elephant trek. Get you very own elephant, at least for the day, at Elephant Life Experience. You’ll get hands-on mahout (elephant driver) training and trekking, and you can enjoy a picnic in the jungle.

2. Mountain biking. Wake up early, choose a complimentary bike the Resort’s Health Club and explore the Mae Rim neighbourhood, which boasts charming villages and the local temple, Wat Pa Darapirom, where you can offer food to the monks.

3. Be a local farmer. In the land of a million rice fields, you can learn how rice is planted right alongside the farmers. Wearing the traditional mor hom, your family will learn about rice in Thai culture and learn the process hands-on. Join in on this experience every Tuesday and Saturday morning.

4. Family cooking class. Sign up for a family cooking class at the Resort’s Cooking School, where the kids will be inspired to cook for you back at home. Group classes are in the morning and private classes in the afternoon, so make your reservation and get to cooking!

5. Hit the road. Chiang Mai has so much to discover on foot, especially with the kids. Wander around Chiang Mai’s old city to take in northern Thai history and culture before heading up Doi Suthep mountain to visit the most sacred temple in the North, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Pay your respects to a holy relic of the Lord Buddha and enjoy a panoramic view of the city from the top, also the perfect spot for watching the sunset. After dark, try a Chiang Mai Night Safari—a fun and unique chance to see some of the region’s rare predators in a safe environment.


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