When we traveled to Chiang Mai with kids, we found a great variety of kid-friendly activities that offer an unforgettable travel experience for the whole family. Read on for more info about what you can experience while in Chiang Mai with your family.
Things to Know Before Your Trip To Chang Mai With Kids
Before traveling to Chiang Mai with your family, you’ll want to be well-prepared so you can have a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here’s what you need to know:
Many nationalities can enter Thailand visa-free for a specific duration, but it’s always a good idea to confirm the latest regulations. You’ll want to check the specific visa requirements for your country while you’re planning your trip.
Vaccinations and Health Precautions:
It’s always a good idea to consult your family doctor for recommended vaccinations before traveling to Thailand. Just make sure that your family is up to date on routine vaccinations and there’s nothing you need to know about your destination.
You might also want to consider carrying a basic first-aid kit and insect repellent, and don’t any necessary prescription medications.
You never know what can happen when you’re planning travel with kids. Purchasing comprehensive travel insurance that covers health emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events can really give you some peace of mind. Just make sure the policy covers your entire family.
Weather and Packing:
It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast for Chiang Mai for your specific travel dates. You can also look at past year’s weather during the season you’ll be traveling, just to get an idea of weather trends. Pack clothing suitable for the climate. Things like lightweight and breathable clothes for the hot season and warmer attire for the cool season. Layers are always a good idea so you can add some or take some off as needed.
Don’t forget about the strong tropical sun. Make sure to pack sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
Currency and Payment Methods:
Credit cards are widely accepted in Chiang Mai, but it’s a good idea to carry some cash for places that may not accept cards.The local currency is the Thai Baht (THB). Make sure to familiarize yourself with the exchange rate and have some cash on hand for small purchases or just in case credit cards aren’t accepted.
While English is spoken in many tourist areas, Thai is the official language. It’s helpful to learn a few basic Thai phrases, but you’ll be okay if you don’t. You can always download a translation app on your phone if needed. Download it and get familiar with it before your travels.
Chiang Mai is a very safe destination for families, but it’s always wise to exercise caution and keep an eye on your kids and belongings, especially in crowded areas. Just to be safe, always familiarize yourself with emergency contact numbers and the location of the nearest embassy or consulate. We did not encounter any issues and felt very safe everywhere we went while in Chiang Mai with our kids!
Local Customs and Etiquette:
It’s always a good idea to learn about local customs and etiquette when traveling outside of the US. For example, in Thai it’s polite to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a temple and to dress modestly when visiting temples, covering shoulders and knees. The 5 of us got very accustomed to removing our shoes before entering any building, including our AirBnB and hotel rooms.
Food and Water:
Thai cuisine is delicious, but it can also be spicy. Be sure to ask for milder versions of dishes for children if needed. Be careful with street food, especially with sensitive stomachs and young kids. Opt for food stalls with good hygiene practices and always drink bottled water to avoid stomach issues.
Travel Itinerary and Documentation:
It’s a good idea to create a travel itinerary that outlines your daily plans, including addresses, contact numbers, and reservation details for a smooth experience. Here’s our itinerary for Chiang Mai.
Also, just in case, make copies of important documents, like passports, visas, travel insurance, and any necessary medical records.
Fun Facts About Chang Mai, Thailand
- After Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the second largest city in all of Thailand
- Chiang Mai’s City Center is surrounded by a walled moat, which is also called the Old City
- The city area of Chiang Mai is home to about 300 Buddhist temples
- There are about 200,000 people living in Chiang Mai City and over 1 million in the metropolitan area
- Chiang Mai is also home to Doi Inthanon, which is the highest mountain in Thailand at just about 2,500 meters high!
What to Pack For Your Trip to Chang Mai With Kids
This is our list of must-have items to take with you for a great trip!
- All-in-one International Adaptor
- Travel Towel
- Basic First Aid Kit
- Natural Anti-Bug Stick
- Waterproof Phone Case
- Waterproof Action Camera
- Reef Safe Sunscreen
- Power Bank: One of the smallest and lightest by Anker
You can also check out the full post about What to Pack for 3 Weeks in Thailand.
Getting to Chang Mai With Kids
The best way to get to Chang Mai from most parts of the world is to fly. There are several international airports close to the city including Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) which is just 4 miles north of the city centre. This is the busiest and most popular way for tourists from most countries to get to Chang Mai.
Other nearby airports include Payao Airport (PYX) in northern Thailand and Lampang Airport (LPT) in the east. For those coming from within Thailand, coach and train services to Chang Mai are easily available, making it a convenient and cost-effective option.
The train network is well developed in Thailand and there are numerous connections between Bangkok and Chang Mai. Trains leave Bangkok approximately every two hours and the journey takes around 12 hours. We did not spend much time on the trains in Thailand, except for the city trains in Bangkok.
Transportation in Chang Mai With Kids
Getting around Chang Mai itself is fairly straightforward and there are plenty of transportation options, from Tuktuks and motorbikes to taxis and public buses. That said, the city centre is relatively small and pedestrian friendly, so you may find walking to be the most convenient way to explore the city. We walked most of the time unless we were headed outside of the Nimman area.
Make sure you negotiate fares before starting your journey to avoid misunderstandings. You can also consider renting a car with a driver if you plan to explore the surrounding areas or for longer trips. Either way, the fares are very affordable compared to the US.
Where to Stay in Chang Mai With Kids
Best Areas in Chiang Mai for Families
Choosing the right area of Chiang Mai to stay in as a family depends on your preferences and the kind of experience you’re looking for. Here are some of the best areas for families to stay in Chiang Mai:
Old City (within the city walls):
If you’re looking to experience the historic temples, markets, and cultural attractions of the Old City, you should definitely consider staying there. This area is amazling, filled with plenty of delicious restaurants and interesting shops. Regarding your accomodations, you can find everything from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious boutique hotels.
Nimmanhaemin Road (Nimman):
We stayed in this area because it was very hip and fun! If you’re looking for a modern and lively atmosphere, then Nimmanhaemin Road is the place for you. Famous for its art galleries, coffee shops, and boutiques, it offers a range of accommodation options such as hotels, serviced apartments and guesthouses. We spent a lot of time in the neighborhood, attending popup markets and other events.
A peaceful retreat away from the bustling city awaits you when you stay near the Ping River. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the serene surroundings while also benefiting from the spacious grounds of the nearby riverside hotels – perfect for families.
Night Bazaar Area:
This bustling neighbourhood is ideal for families wanting to explore nearby Old City markets and enjoy the range of delightful dining options, all within walking distance. Accommodation is of varying prices to suit different budgets.
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Mae Rim is the ideal destination for you. Lush countryside scenery provides a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for exploring attractions such as the Mae Sa Waterfall, Mae Sa Elephant Camp, and the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden. Upscale resorts and boutique hotels are also available for those seeking luxury.
Hang Dong, another suburban area, provides a more serene retreat still relatively close to downtown. Families can have a blast visiting the Grand Canyon Water Park or a night at the Night Safari. Additionally, a range of comfortable accommodation can be found here.
The Chiang Mai Zoo and Doi Suthep Temple can be found in the vicinity of the base of Doi Suthep mountain. It is a tranquil zone composed of hotels and guesthouses suitable for families to stay in.
Located on the opposite side of the river than the Old City, Wat Ket is the perfect spot for those looking for an escape from the busyness Chiang Mai’s many attractions. Aside from its tranquil atmosphere, Wat Ket is celebrated for its vibrant riverfront restaurants and delightful boutique hotels.
Each of these areas offers its own unique charm and advantages, so consider your family’s interests and priorities when choosing the best neighborhood for your stay in Chiang Mai.
Best Hotels and Other Accomodations for Families
Here are some of the best places to stay in Chiang Mai that are well-suited for families:
This townhome is in the heart of the city (Nimman) and perfect for any family! It’s close to shopping and restaurants as well.
You can Book HERE
Located right on the Ping River, this luxurious resort boasts family-friendly activities, such as a kids’ club and a fantastic pool. Its central location makes it a perfect base for discovering all the attractions of the city.
You can Book HERE
This hotel is renowned for its lavish gardens, monumental pool, and commodious rooms. It has an excellent Kids’ Club, making it the perfect option for parents travelling with kids.
Book your stay HERE
Tamarind Village, a boutique hotel situated in the Old City, is the perfect place to get away and relax. It boasts traditional Thai architecture and family-friendly accommodations, along with a tranquil courtyard pool.
Book your stay HERE
With stunning views of the river, this luxurious resort is the perfect destination for a peaceful retreat. You can enjoy their spacious rooms and the swimming pool for fun-filled family days. There’s also great access to Chiang Mai’s many attractions.
You can book your stay HERE
This modern hotel, nestled in the center of the city, offers large rooms perfect for families and a refreshing swimming pool on the rooftop. Its ideal location just steps away from the buzzing Night Bazaar and other exciting sights make it a great choice.
Book your stay HERE
A charming boutique hotel situated near the Night Bazaar, Rimping Village offers family-friendly accommodations and a beautiful garden setting.
Book your stay HERE
Where to Eat in Chang Mai With Kids
Zoe in Yellow Pub
This restaurant serves a variety of Asian-inspired dishes, like noodle or rice dishes as well as salads. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available. Plus they have plenty of space outside for kids to play.
Kati Cafe – French Toast
Kati Cafe is a great place for families to enjoy some delicious cuisine. They have a variety of Thai dishes as well as international fare. The menu features a selection of salads, rice dishes, soups, curries, noodles, stir-fries and much more. They also have a great french toast!
Kids can also enjoy milkshakes, smoothies, hot or cold drinks and desserts. There are plenty of choices available for kids and the restaurant offers a comfortable atmosphere with bright decor and fun accessories.
This restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating and serves a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The menu includes traditional Thai favorites, likenoodle dishes, curries, and stir-fries. They also offer Western favorites, like pizzas and burgers, which are great for kids. This is great spot for families and kids because offers a variety of activities and games, like coloring books, puzzles, and balloon art.
Dive into a variety of delicious organic dishes made with local ingredients like rosemary chicken, spaghetti, Thai green curry, and more! The restaurant also runs special classes teaching kids about the different kinds of herbs and spices used in cooking. They can try their hand at creating their own dishes and take home a Ginger Farm souvenir. With a spacious outdoor garden and pond, kids can take in the true Thai nature while running around and exploring.
Milk & Madu
The restaurant offers a wide variety of traditional Thai dishes as well as western-style dishes and desserts like pancakes and waffles. The atmosphere is inviting and family-friendly, with plenty of space for families with kids to spread out and relax. The staff is friendly and helpful, always taking the time to explain the dishes to children and answer questions. Kids can even order their own dishes off the menu or order from the “Kids Menu,” which offers Happy Meals and other fun choices. And, of course, the restaurant serves its signature drinks – Milk and Madu – which are worth trying for a sweet treat.
This eatery, renowned for its genuine Northern Thai eats such as Khao Soi and Gaeng Hang Lay, has a charming rustic ambiance that enhances your meal. Not only is the food tasty, but there are plenty of fun activities and options for kids that will keep them entertained. From coloring pages to Thai snacks, your little ones are sure to have a great time at Huen Phen.
Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak
This restaurant specializes in Northern Thai curries and includes a number of dishes that are appropriate for kids. Dishes range from mild to medium heat, so you can find something for everyone in the family. They have many classic Thai favorites, like Pad Thai, spring rolls, and fresh spring rolls. The menu is reasonably priced, and you can enjoy your meal while admiring the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
Riverside Bar & Restaurant
This restaurant is a great place to take kids. It has a good selection of food, both Thai and international dishes, and a wide range of fruit juices, alcoholic drinks, and snacks. The atmosphere is fun and family-friendly, making it a great place for a relaxed meal with the kids. There is a large outdoor area overlooking the river, as well as plenty of seating indoors, and live music on some nights.
Krua Khun Kung
The atmosphere of this restaurant is lively and fun, and the decorations are very colorful. The restaurant also has a playground and a kids’ corner to keep kids busy while parents enjoy their meal. There is also plenty of outdoor seating to get away from the hustle and bustle of the street, while still enjoying the vibrant atmosphere.
Rustic & Blue
The restaurant offers a variety of Western and local fare. The sushi is a popular choice, and the salads and other appetizers are always fresh and delicious. The atmosphere is inviting and very kid-friendly, with plenty of colorful, handcrafted furniture, ample menu options, and most importantly, a full-fledged playground complete with slides and rock walls. Kid-sized portions and prices are also available.
This restaurant has a variety of delicious Thai specialties, including classic favorites like curries, noodles, and stir-fry dishes. It also features a wide range of international dishes that are sure to please everyone in the family. They have a variety of kid-friendly options, such as milkshakes, ice cream, and kid-sized portions of classic Thai dishes.
What to See in Chang Mai With Kids
Elephant Sanctuaries in Chiang Mai, Thailand are a must-see for anyone interested in learning more about the majestic beasts and making a positive impact on their conservation efforts. These sanctuaries offer visitors the chance to directly interact with elephants, learn more about what it takes to care for them, help support their conservation, and even feed and bathe them.
Wat Inthrawat Temple
This is an incredible place to visit for its beauty and history. The temple dates back to the 14th century and is an example of a fine example of Lanna architecture. The grounds of the temple feature a large stupa, pavilions, and courtyards that are decorated with colorful frescos and murals.
Chang Mai, Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful and mesmerizing waterfalls in the world. Magnificent and spectacular waterfalls including Mae Kaeng, Huay Kaew, and Saiyok Noi offer the chance to experience one of nature’s most stunning miracles. Witnessing these falls in person is a captivating experience and a great way to reconnect with nature.
Chiang Mai Zoo
This zoo is renowned for its wide range of animals from all around the world, making it a great destination for animal lovers. It’s home to a vast array of species and an impressive variety of attractions including a Freeze Room, mini-train rides, an aquarium, and a 4D theatre.
Doi Suthep Temple
Doi Suthep Temple is a must-see for any visitor to the region. This incredible temple rests atop a mountain and provides stunning views of both the surrounding jungle and Chiang Mai in the distance. It is also the most sacred temple in Chiang Mai and serves as an important pilgrimage site for local Buddhist monks. The temple is easily accessible and is only a short drive or cable car ride away from the city.
Art in Paradise 3D Art Museum
The Art in Paradise 3D Art Museum is a unique and unforgettable experience. The museum features life-sized 3D paintings, sculptures and interactive artworks. Visitors are invited to pose and play with the illusions, allowing them to explore an expansive and imaginative world of art. The 3D artworks guarantee to create memorable photographs as they are perfect for inspiring creativity and taking funny selfies. Plus, as the museum is conveniently located near the center of Chiang Mai, it’s a great way to spend a few hours during your Thailand vacation.
Chiang Mai Night Safari
Chiang Mai Night Safari is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed. It’s the world’s first nocturnal zoo, which offers a unique chance to explore the mysterious nighttime world of wild animals. You can observe over a thousand animals under the stars and moonlight, including elephants, monkeys, tigers, and more.
Siam Insect Zoo
Siam Insect Zoo is a unique and fascinating attraction. Not only does the zoo have an impressive array of insects and reptiles, but it also provides an educational experience. Visitors can learn about the various types of animals, their behavior, and their ecosystem. The zoo also provides a hands-on experience with its many interactive exhibits.
Chiang Mai Science Museum and Planetarium
This is a great place to learn about science and astronomy. With more than 400 interactive science exhibits, this museum allows visitors to explore and experiment with various scientific topics, from physics and chemistry to robotics and the environment.
Sankampaeng Hot Springs
Sankampaeng Hot Springs in Chang Mai are an unforgettable experience. It’s located in a natural valley that is home to some of the most spectacular views of Northern Thailand. The hot spring pools are filled with hot, natural spring water that are temperature controlled, making it a perfect place for relaxation and rejuvenation.
@mrsblinks Part 1 of taking our kids to an ethical elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. What a perfect day ✨🐘 📍Elephant Freedom Project #ethicalelephantsanctuary #chiangmai #thailandwithkids #familytravel ♬ Au Revoir – Sweet After Tears
There are many activities to enjoy, including foot-soaking and swimming in the natural warm water pools, medical-grade mud bathing, and mineral therapy. It is also the setting of a traditional Lanna ceremony, where locals gather to pay respects and offerings to the guardian spirit of the hot springs. With its stunning scenery and incredible natural healing benefits, visitors to Sankampaeng Hot Springs are sure to have an unforgettable experience.
What to Do in Chang Mai With Kids
Sunday Night Market
Visiting the Sunday Night Market is a must. The market sprawls across the open-air grounds and features vendors of all kinds selling an abundance of food, clothes, jewelry, and souvenirs. The atmosphere of the market is lively and welcoming. It’s a great place to mingle with the locals and get a feel for the culture of Chiang Mai.
Nimman Popup Markets
This is a great place to visit for anyone looking for a unique shopping experience. This vibrant market is full of exciting vendors that offer an variety of goods ranging from traditional Thai items like textiles and carvings to souvenirs and clothing. The atmosphere of the Nimman Markets is pleasant and welcoming. You’ll feel safe and secure while perusing the wares of the various vendors. The prices are much more reasonable than many other more touristy markets, making it a great spot to pick up a few souvenirs or gifts for friends and family.
Live Music Shows
Chiang Mai, Thailand is one of the best places in the world to go for live music. With its vibrant nightlife and stunning scenery, visitors to the city can look forward to a taste of culture and music that they won’t find elsewhere. From traditional Thai music and modern Thai pop covers to electronic music events and indie rock gigs, Chiang Mai has something to offer every music lover. It’s also incredibly affordable to attend live shows in Chiang Mai.
Zaab E Lee Cooking School
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind cooking experience in Thailand, then Zaab E Lee Cooking School in Chiang Mai is the place to go. Not only will you get the chance to explore the exciting flavors and spices of Thailand with professional, experienced chefs, but you’ll also get to experience it in a beautiful, culturally-inspired setting.
Zaab E Lee is well-known for its unique and delicious recipes, and its dedication to teaching students the traditional methods of Thai cuisine. Plus, you can take part in hands-on classes in an authentic cooking environment, giving you the opportunity to put your culinary skills to the test.
Elephant Freedom Project
This a wonderful place to visit for anyone who wants to learn more about these majestic animals. Visiting this project will give you a great opportunity to get close to elephants and learn more about their environment, habits, and conservation efforts.
The project is accessible to all, and provides lots of activities such as elephant trekking, mahout training, and bathing the elephants. You will not only get the chance to observe and interact directly with the elephants, but you will also gain invaluable knowledge and support their conservation efforts. Plus, he peaceful surroundings of the lush green hills and crystal-clear rivers provide an idyllic backdrop to your visit, making the entire experience truly memorable.
Swimming at Water Parks
The city is known for its stunning natural beauty, and its beautiful water parks are the perfect way to spend the day. From thrilling water slides to lazy rivers and wave pools, the parks have something for everyone. The incredible water parks feature interactive splash pads and special areas for younger children, plus plenty of food and beverage options.
If you’re looking for an amazing experience that you won’t soon forget, the Monkey Center in is the perfect choice. Not only can you get up close and personal with some friendly primates, but you can also learn a thing or two about the importance of conservation and wildlife protection.
The center offers a variety of guided tours and shows for visitors to enjoy, giving an insight into the daily lives and behaviors of the macaque monkeys. You can also purchase snacks and souvenirs at the shop nearby, making it a great way to support local businesses. Plus, with its accessible location and friendly staff, you can be sure you’ll have a safe and enjoyable visit.