Slightly north of Chiang Mai, Mae Rim is a rural retreat blessed with an abundance of natural attractions, wildlife experiences, Thai restaurants and a local market. The town centre provides a smattering of temples and museums, while the outer region reveals an elephant camp, farming areas and a tiger kingdom.
Things to do in Mae Rim
One of Mae Rim’s most popular areas is the Mae Sa Valley, which attracts numerous motorcycle tourists and adventure lovers with its waterfalls, eco-tourism and hiking trails. Stop off at the Mae Sa Waterfall in Doi Pui National Park for a dip in the swimming hole, before visiting the Elephant Nature Park to meet rescued elephants and take a jungle tour.
Slightly deeper into the valley you’ll find Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, a stunning expanse of rare Thailand plants, themed greenhouses and seasonal flowers. If you get hungry along the way, stop off at one of the many restaurants spaced out along Highway 1096, including Thap Rim Than Restaurant, where you can eat charcoal barbecued chicken.
Need inspiration for a day trip? Head to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a magnificently gilded temple with intricate statues and a white elephant shrine. If you prefer a day out on the links, visit Summit Green Valley Chiangmai to tee off on the picturesque 18-hole golf course, before enjoying a drink in the on-site clubhouse.
Hang out in the centre of Mae Rim to visit the fascinating Darabhiromya Royal Mansion Museum, home to artefacts from Chiang Mai’s royal family. It’s just across the river from Wat Pa Dara Phirom, an ornate Buddhist temple with stone lions and tropical gardens.
Getting around Mae Rim
Mae Rim is about 50 minutes’ drive from Chiang Mai International Airport, where you can pick up a rental car. The town centre is easily explored on foot, but you’ll need a private vehicle to venture further afield.