Elephant Show An elephant show is performed in the morning from 09.40 to 10.30 hrs. The show begins with elephants bathing in the pond to cool themselves down and then mahouts would place a log harness on their backs. Finally, elephants will demonstrate their formidable forestry skills. Elephant riding and rafting are the most enjoyable activities. Elephant shows are performed at the following places:
Tha Phae Mae Taman is along Highway No. 107 (Chiang Mai-Fang) for 43 kilometres, turn left for 7 kilometres.
Pang Chang Mae Taeng is on the same route to Tha Phae Mae Taman. It is 9 kilometres from the entrance and is opposite to Mae Taman temple
Pang Chang Mae Sa is at Km. 10 of the Mae Rim-Samoeng route.
Chiang Dao Elephant Training Centre is around Km. 56. Coming from Chiang Mai, it is on the right. The centre trains young elephants on forestry skills and is open to the public daily at 09.00 and 10.00 hrs.
Mountain Biking This is a fun activity that provides both good health and a relaxed feeling. Mountain biking can be done on several routes in Chiang Mai including around the old city moats, Doi Suthep-Khun Chang Khian-Huai Tung Thao, Huai Nam Dang, Huai Nam Ru, and Mae Taeng.
Homestay at Ban Mae Kampong Ban Mae Kampong is some 50 kilometres east of Chiang Mai in Mae On district. The village is situated in a mountainous area with lush jungle surroundings. Visitors can experience real Thai village culture as well as enjoy several activities. Nearby attractions include beautiful waterfalls, a cotton weaving village and the Huai Hong Khrai Royal Agricultural Station.
Trekking Tours A great many of the tourists visiting Chiang Mai make enquiries about hilltribe trekking. Of particular interest to most are the six major hilltribes which inhabit the Northern Highlands. The largest group is Karen, followed by the Meo, Lahu, Yao, Akha and Lisu. They share animist beliefs and honour numerous forest and guardian spirits. Each tribe has distinctive ceremonial attire, courtship rituals, games, dances, agricultural customs, puberty rites, languages or dialects, aesthetic values and hygienic habits.
Popular ungle Treks, lasting from 2 to 7 days, take visitors through forested mountains and high valleys and meadows, and include visits to remoter high-altitude hilltribe settlements for overnight stays. The best guides are hilltribe youths who customarily speak English, Thai and at least three tribal dialects.
Treks commonly feature travel by foot, sometimes by boat, elephant-back, horse-back or jeep, frequently a combination of two or three modes of transportation. Three main trekking areas, in which there are many different routes, are as follows:
a) Chiang Mai Mae Taeng Route usually includes a raft trip down the Mae Taeng River.
The other major trekking areas in the North are Chiang Dao, Pai, Mae Chaem, Mae Chan, Ngao, Phrao, Wiang Pa Pao and Lampang.
Prospective trekkers are advised to shop around companies offering such tours for the best conditions. All treks must be registered with the Tourist Police. This is done for trekkersprotection. Avoid companies that do not abide by this law. Visitors are welcome to enquire from the Tourist Police to confirm which tour companies have negative or bad reputations, or visit the TAT Chiang Mai office to obtain a list of registered travel agents. Tourist Police is located at 75 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road, tel: 0-5324-8130 fax: 0-5324-8974
Also, avoid narcotics, essentially everything from oft drugssuch as marijuana to ard drugssuch as opium and heroin both during travel and at hilltribe villages. There are severe penalties for such usage. Valuables should be deposited in the safe of your hotel of guest house while you are trekking upcountry. Wear sensible clothing to protect your limbs and sleep under a mosquito net at night. Malaria is a real threat, and sensible precautions should be taken to avoid it. Visitors should remember to
a) Respect hilltribe beliefs and religious symbols and structures.
Bo Sang Umbrella Festival is held in January in Bo Sang Handicraft Centre. The festival features paper products, paper parasols in particular, cultural shows, a parade showing traditional ways of life, and several contests.
Flower Festival is held in February. The festival includes ornamental garden flower contests, floral floats parade in the morning and beauty pageants. The parade begins at Chiang Mai Railway Station and passes Nawarat Bridge and ends at Nong Buak Hat Park.
Doi Suthep Pilgrimage On the night of Visakha Bucha Day, worshippers gather to light candles and make the 7-kilometre pilgrimage up to the temple on Doi Suthep.
City Pillar Inthakin Festival is held to invoke blessings of peace, happiness and prosperity for the city and its residents. Buddha images are paraded around the city. It is held at Wat Chedi Luang for 7 auspicious days and nights in the 7th lunar month.
Yi Peng Festival is held annually on Loi Krathong day. It is a very interesting event of Chiang Mai. The festival features the release of lanterns into the sky to worship the gods. There are also fireworks, lantern contests, and beauty pageants.