Out Door Activities In Chiang Mai
For many of us, during a visit to North Thailand, the most popular outdoor activity might be the leisurely sipping of an ice-cold Beer Singha or Beer Chang as we watch the world stroll by. However, for those visitors who enjoy a bit of sport or adventure (perhaps combined with that cold drink??) there are also plenty of options.
Was it Mark Twain who remarked that golf was "a good walk ruined"? Those addicted to this illness are well catered for with a choice of four testing courses - Gymkhana Club, Green Valley Golf Club, Lanna Golf Course and The Royal Chiangmai Golf Club. Equipment, caddies, trolleys and refreshments are available to visitors who are always most welcome. So golfers, do challenge the par at some of these lovely Chiangmai courses.
Recently new to Chiangmai is The Peak rock climbing center on Changklan Road (almost adjacent to the Night Bazaar and next to the Chiang Inn Hotel). There are 20 Climbing routes on the Mountain Wall (which rises to a height of 4 storeys) and professional instructors are there to guide and belay all climbers. So whether you are an experienced or novice rock-climber, there is challenge and fun in this newly fledged Chiangmai activity.
Should your preference be to go "UP" the easy way and come down the ... well, to come down ... may we suggest the Bungy Jumping venue at Mae Rim (just off the main road about 20 minutes from Chiangmai). For a sheer "rush" of adrenaline, this adventure activity will have more than your Bungies jumping with pure excitement. The jump-site is the only licensed one in Chiangmai (fully insured) and the platform is suspended over a picturesque pond. A restaurant (from where admirers may watch you jump) completes the needs for an exhilarating adventure session.
Going even higher, a lovely yet exciting way to have an overview of Chiangmai is by Microlight. Lift-off is from the Doi Saket area (to the east of Chiangmai city) and each flight lasts approximately 20 minutes. In sunshine with blue skies and a refreshing breeze, passengers will soar to views of Chiangmai's landscape which are a photographer's delight. Little wonder the pilot regards his occupation as unadulterated pleasure rather than work.
If you are into riding -- whether equine or pachyderm - Chiangmai has the answer. Experienced horse-riders may avail of the Thai Army Cavalry facilities at the Mae Rim Road army base where the stables are open Saturday & Sunday evenings at 4.00 p.m.
Elephant riding, for both the young and not so young, is a delightful "soft-adventure" experience. Under the expert hand of an experienced mahout, the gentle giant will take you along forest tracks, across bubbling streams and up mountain slopes for journeys as little as 1 hour or for a full day if you so desire. A great way to see nature aboard nature! Elephant camps are located from Mae Sa, to Mae Taeng, to Mae Wang so there are various venues from where you may "hitch" an elephant ride.
Rather faster than the stately elephant, Chiangmai Speedway offers go-karting on a specially designed 600 meter racing track. Situated on the Hang Dong Road, the Speedway offers 4 kart versions to cater to all ages and experience (including single and double karts). This is a high-revving, noise and bluster fun experience and an opportunity to test driving skills in a safe environment. Open daily from 10.00 a.m. until dusk (floodlighting if there's a nighttime race), there is also a "pit stop" restaurant for ice-cool refreshments and snacks (and parking for your less-than-fun vehicle).
Early each Sunday morning sees a gathering of Mountain Bike enthusiasts at Thapae Gate before they set off on one of their various tours. The tour can be something as leisurely as cycling around the Moat or to other parts of the city. Chiangmai is gifted with a network of scenic roads which meander along river-bank or climb picturesque, wooded valleys. Mountain Biking can be as relaxing or demanding as you wish and, the beauty of it is, you set your own pace to see some of the most interesting places and panoramas in Northern Thailand. You may even book tours at The Wild Planet Chiangmai tours from a selection of itineraries, for 3 or 4 days duration.
Chiangmai and Northern Thailand are "adventure playgrounds" (especially during the cooler months November-February) for those who like to hike, trail-walk or trek. This is really down-to-earth traveling and enjoying the flora and fauna of nature from close up. You may take simple walks alone or with friends but, if you are wishing for a selection or itineraries) cover a wide range of areas and usually include overnight stays with Hilltribe villagers or forest rest-houses.
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