Are you keen to explore the major cities surrounding Chiang Mai? If so, consider renting a car to travel to these various places – Lampang, Lamphun, Chiang Rai, Pai and Mae Hong Son. From driving times to major attractions, we have carefully compiled a travel guide with all the information you need to get to these locations from Chiang Mai International Airport.
Lampang, also known as “Horse Carriage City”, is one of the busiest trading and transportation centres in northern Thailand. Just like in period movies, you can expect to see many visitors travelling around town in horse carriages.
Some of Lampang’s major attractions are Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, a beautiful ancient Lanna-style Buddhist temple, and Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation, the world’s first elephant hospital in Mae Yao National Reserve. Located 101km southeast of Chiang Mai International Airport, the drive to Lampang is about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
If you prefer somewhere nearer, Lamphun is the next best location since it is only 38km away from Chiang Mai International Airport and takes 40 minutes to reach by car. Although Lamphun is a relatively small area, it is one of the oldest cities in Thailand with significant historical value.
To learn more about the history of Lamphun, you can visit Hariphunchai National Museum and Lamphun Community Museum at Inthon Yongyot Road. You can also head down to Mo Tun Lam Yai Noodle Restaurant to try their famous longan pork noodles.
#3: Chiang Rai
Located in upper Northern Thailand, the quiet town of Chiang Rai is often overlooked by travellers due to its relatively isolated location. Nestled between hills and mountains, the natural beauty and spectacular scenery of the lush greenery are perfect for outdoor lovers who want a respite from the bustling city. Covering a distance of 194km, it takes around 3 hours to reach Chiang Rai.
The most famous attractions in Chiang Rai are The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and Mae Fah Luang Garden.
Another place to slow down and enjoy the beautiful scenery is Pai, a hidden gem on the banks of the Pai River in Mae Hong Soon Province. Consisting of some of the most stunning natural attractions, such as Pai Canyon and Pai Hot Springs, visiting Pai is something nature-lovers should experience at least once in their lifetime. To get to Pai from Chiang Mai International Airport, one has to travel 134km through winding mountain roads which will take around 2 hours and 15 minutes.
#5: Mae Hong Son
Known as the “city of three mists”, Mae Hong Son is a remote town located close to the Myanmar border in the Shan Hills. Home to ethnic hill tribes like the Shan and Hmong, it is one of the most interesting regions due to its blend of Thai and Burmese culture. Some famous attractions worth visiting are Wat Phrathat Doi Kongmu and Ban Rak Thai.
Although it is the furthest away from Chiang Mai International Airport – around 5 hours and 30 minutes to travel a distance of 239km- the beautiful sights of Mae Hong Son deem it worthwhile.
We hope you have been inspired to visit Thailand to explore these different cities in Chiang Mai. For more recommendations on what to do around Thailand, visit https://tourismthailand.sg/ or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.