5 Places in Northern Thailand You Have to See to Believe

Thailand may be best known for its tropical islands and turquoise Andaman Sea, but there’s so much more stunning – and completely unique – scenery to this country than simply beaches, especially in the north.

Here in Chiang we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to outdoor adventures, beautiful surrounding and a wide variety of natural landscapes – from riverside rice fields, to jungle-covered mountains and almost everything in between.

Choui Fong Tea Plantation

Choui Fong Tea Plantation
Photo from Choui Fong Tea Plantation

Imagine green terraced rice fields you’ve come to expect in Southeast Asia and picture them with tea instead. In the northern province of Chiang Rai you can visit nearly 400 acres of perfectly maintained, terraced tea fields at the Choui Fong Tea Plantation. Along with plenty of photos, you’ll also leave with fresh tea grown on site.

Bua Tong ‘Sticky’ Waterfall

Bua Tong Waterfall
Photo by Kzoop

Just over an hour outside of Chiang Mai city, the Bua Tong waterfall is unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced. There are tons of waterfalls in Southeast Asia and, after awhile, they start to all blend together and look relatively the same. Not so here. Not only is the Bua Tong waterfall odd to look at, the round rocks are light in color with water cascading over them, but you can actually walk up the fall. Yes, you read that correctly. Due to a unique calcium deposit, the limestone rocks aren’t slippery even when wet and you can literally walk up the waterfall to the top as water splashes past your feet.

Chiang Mai ‘Grand Canyon’ 

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon
Chiang Mai Grand Canyon

You’ll think you’re in another world, certainly not tropical Thailand, when you visit the Chiang Mai ‘Grand Canyon’ south of the city in Hang Dong. This striking manmade quarry has gotten more popular with visitors over the years with its red rocks and brilliant blue/green waters but still is relatively unknown…even by the locals!

Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon
Photo by FMJRey

As Thailand’s highest peak at 2,565 meters, Doi Inthanon and the surrounding national park are home to a variety of different landscapes, climates, and must-see spots including waterfalls, nature hikes, and two beautiful twin chedis (pagodas) built overlooking the land to honor the 60th birthdays of Thailand’s King and Queen. Doi Inthanon is an easy day trip from Chiang Mai, located about two hours south of the city, or you can also spend the night in the national park in camping and rustic bungalow accommodation options.

Mae Hong Son’s 1,864 Curves

Mae Hong Son Loop
Photo by Christel Ryan Cruz

Route 108 from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, a province to the northwest of Chiang Mai, is a dream drive with luscious jungle backgrounds. The road offers unbelievable views as it winds its way up through Northern Thailand’s mountains and around 1,864 curves. If you’re prone to motion sickness, this will be a rough ride, but the natural beauty all around is truly something special. Many people rent a motorbike to do the Mae Hong Song “loop” starting and ending in Chiang Mai stopping at little villages along the way but you can also piece your ride together with minibuses and songthaews (shared taxis).

All of these incredible places in Northern Thailand can be easily reached before or after your yoga retreat in Chiang Mai – just ask us how!

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