Mae Rim is located in central Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand. This town is popular with tourists due to its tranquility, natural attractions, and scenic beauty. Many prefer visiting this town to slow down, reconnect with nature, and move away from all the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai.
If you’re looking for a laid-back holiday or just an escape from the business of Chiang Mai, then this destination is great to visit and slow things down. This guide will help you discover the town and take you on an adventure through this scenic town, its attractions, and natural wonders.
Mae Rim is exotically beautiful and an amazing place for thrill seekers and nature lovers. This Thai town has a variety of attractions and isn’t overly touristy.
Some of the best natural attractions are waterfalls and botanical gardens. There are plenty of museums and activities for tourists, and it’s best to stay in town for a couple of days so you have enough time to experience the magic of this town.
Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden is an exquisite garden with numerous indigenous and exotic plants. Set against a mountain backdrop, this botanical garden is a great place to relax and spend your day walking through the garden, picnicking, and strolling through the treetop canopy walkway.
The gardens are extensive, and exploring them entirely on foot is not recommended. You could take the trolley bus service, which stops regularly so you can wander through the gardens, or hire a car and do a self-guided tour.
If you’re looking for a good place for lunch, Pongyang Angdoi restaurant is just a short drive from the botanical gardens and offers some delicious dishes. You’ll also get to experience stunning views of the mountains.
The Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden is open from 8 am to 5 pm daily, and the entrance fee is 50 Baht for children and 100 Baht for kids. Cars are 100 Baht and motorbikes are 30 Baht.
The Tiger Kingdom is a tiger sanctuary offering visitors an intimate, personal experience with tigers. This sanctuary also has a breeding program in place to ensure the continuation of this species. Thailand has only two tiger sanctuaries, and the tiger kingdom is not only one of them but also among the pride and joy of northern Chiang Mai.
Tiger Kingdom also offers experiences with baby tigers, medium-sized tigers, and giant tigers. It also has a restaurant so you can enjoy a light lunch after your tiger encounter. Prices vary according to the type of tiger experience, but you can expect to pay between 500 Baht to 1300 Baht to interact with a tiger – providing tourists and locals with an experience of a lifetime.
Mae Sa Waterfall is located in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, and most people visit the waterfall to escape the midday heat and admire the waterfall. The Mae Sa Waterfall is made up of smaller waterfalls, around 9 or 10, that aren’t too far apart from one another.
You can hike to each waterfall, take a few photos or spend the day picnicking next to one of the waterfalls. There are also camping spots where you can camp overnight and spend another day or two exploring the waterfalls. Operating hours for the waterfalls are from 8 am to 5 pm, and the entrance fees are between 20 and 30 Baht for parking and 200 Baht for adults to enter Mae Sa Waterfall.
Wat Pa Dara Phirom Temple is a Buddhist temple in Mae Rim, close to Chiang Mai. This 100-year-old temple has a collection of artifacts, gemstones, and jewels. This temple has Yanna-inspired architecture and is created with intricate craftsmanship. There isn’t an admission fee to visit the temple, and you’ll need a reasonable amount of time to visit the temple and its surroundings.
Dara Pirom Palace Museum is the preserved residence of Princess Dara Rasamee and exhibits the royal history, articles, antiques, and royal correspondences between King Rama V and Princess Dara Rasmi. This museum showcases traditional rooms as they were during the royal period, and each room has different items displayed in their original condition.
Many items are musical instruments, tea sets, and personal items. When you visit this museum, you’ll not only get to see these items displayed but also get to learn about the interesting history that surrounds it.
Maerim Elephant Sanctuary has several rescued elephants from places like the circus and riding camps. At the sanctuary, you’ll get to spend the day feeding and bathing the rescued elephants. The elephants at this sanctuary are well taken care of and loved, and during your guided tour of the sanctuary, you’ll learn more about the elephants and their daily habits.
Compared to any other elephant camp, this one is relatively well-priced and costs roughly 1600 Baht per person, which includes transport, lunch, feeding, and bathing of the elephants.
Siam Insect Zoo is a rare and interesting attraction in Mae Rim. This museum has only been around since 2006 but is a popular spot for those with children. If you’re looking to learn more about insects, view specimens, and take a look at the breeding farm to understand more about the insects and their life cycle, this is the perfect place to visit. Admission is 80 Baht, and the insect zoo is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.
Pong Yang Jungle Coaster And Zipline is an hour from Chiang Mai and popular with tourists, locals, and thrill seekers. One of the first activities you can do is take a ride on the giant swing. After the giant swing, you can ride the jungle coaster. To ride the jungle coaster, you’ll climb into an open cart and travel along the winding track through the green forest until reaching the end of the track.
Pongyang Jungle Coaster And Zipline also have a few other adrenaline-pumping rides and activities, including the zipline, jungle bike, quick jump, easy jumper, and slider airbag. This adventure park is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm and costs between 145 Baht and 1890 Baht, depending on the package you choose.
The Karen long-neck tribe is a culturally rich, unique, and fascinating village of long-neck women that originally came from Burma. This tribe is famous worldwide for the women who wear gold rings around their necks. In this tribe, those with the longest necks are considered the most beautiful.
The entrance to the village is 300 Baht, and in the town, you can take photos with the women of the Karen tribe and shop for souvenirs.
Mon Jam is a charming mountain retreat located north of Chiang Mai in the picturesque region of Mae Rim. Brought to life by the leafy hills of northern Thailand, this popular location offers a unique blend of tranquility, natural beauty, and cultural experiences.
One of the highlights of Mon Jam is its breathtaking landscapes. It’s among some of the best attractions north of Chiang Mai to find terraced fields, vibrant flower gardens, and fruit orchards that stretch as far as the eye can see. These picturesque vistas create a postcard-worthy scene and offer countless opportunities for stunning photographs!
Also, nature enthusiasts will be enchanted by the extensive network of hiking trails that crisscross Mon Jam. They’ll lead you through pristine forests, past cascading waterfalls, and to viewpoints where you can marvel at the panoramic vistas. From relaxing strolls to more challenging treks, there’s a noteworthy trail for every level of hiker.
Discover the Orchid and Butterfly Farm, an enchanting sanctuary where you can marvel at the native orchids and butterflies of Thailand. Lose yourself amidst a kaleidoscope of colors and scents while perusing orchid products and souvenirs, capturing a piece of this captivating experience to cherish.
For an elevated perspective, traverse the Canopy Walkway at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, a mesmerizing 400-meter pathway suspended above the lush treetops. Gaze in awe at the panoramic vistas of the surrounding forests and mountains while immersing yourself in the rich flora and fauna that thrive beneath your feet.
Another noteworthy cultural endeavor is the Nong Hoi Royal Project, a testament to the visionary King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s dedication to sustainable agriculture and improving the livelihoods of local farmers.
Engage in the vibrant world of organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and honey, indulging in their natural bounty. Expand your knowledge through educational activities and immersive tours, unveiling the profound impact of this royal initiative.
Mae Rim, meaning “river bank” in Thai, derives its name from its idyllic location along the Mae Sa River, a tributary of the majestic Ping River. This enchanting region was once home to diverse ethnic groups like the Karen, Hmong, and Lahu, who lived harmoniously with nature, practicing shifting cultivation.
The story of Mae Rim unfolds against the backdrop of a fascinating past. Established in 1874 as Khwaeng Mae Rim, it was a strategic response to new security challenges arising from the Bowring Treaty of 1855 with Britain, which opened the country to international trade.
Initially under the administration of Chiang Mai, then a vassal state of Siam, Mae Rim became a fully-fledged district (or Amphoe) in 1914 when Siam annexed Chiang Mai and made it a province of its own.
Thailand is a destination filled with culture and exotic cuisine. When visiting Mae Rim, you may want to try a few local dishes or visit one of the nearby restaurants for an evening meal. With so many eateries in this town, it can be difficult to decide where to eat; luckily, there are a few places that have the best food and views and are popular spots with the locals.
Steak Of The Day is an Italian restaurant just a short drive from the central city. This restaurant serves all the Italian classics and is known for its pannacotta. Steak Of The Day also serves several Thai dishes and has an impressive wine selection. Although this restaurant is more on the expensive side, it’s a good spot for an elegant lunch or dinner.
Terra & The Farmer’s Bar is situated across from the Four Seasons Hotel in Mae Rim. This vibey upmarket restaurant has a bar area for diners to enjoy drinks and tapas, as well as a greenhouse section where diners can relax and enjoy their meal in a beautiful setting. Terra serves the Mediterranean and northern Thai food, and most of the ingredients used in the dishes are locally sourced and organic.
North Restaurant is a seafood, grill, and barbeque restaurant. This restaurant is located in the four seasons resort and is popular due to the view of the rice paddy fields from the restaurant.
A reservation is required before visiting this restaurant, and it’s one of the more expensive dining options in town. The menu has a variety of dishes, and some of the signature dishes are ribeye wagyu, chocolate on fire, and crab linguine.
See Paak Restaurant is a family-run barbeque restaurant. This easy-going restaurant serves favorites like burgers, ribs, and chicken; all served barbeque style. See, Paak Restaurant is a great dining option if you’re looking for a more affordable restaurant and want to try a Western restaurant instead of having traditional Thai food.
Most tourists come via Chiang Mai. There are three main ways to travel from Chiang Mai to Mae Rim. And that is by car, taxi, or songthaew. The most affordable way to get there is either by renting a scooter (because there are so many places to see) or by songthaew, which thus takes approximately 30 minutes for a one-stop.
Still, the quickest way is by car, motorcycle, or taxi. You could also opt to take the bus, which departs from the Chang Phueak Bus Terminal every hour and takes about 30 minutes.
If you’re looking for tranquility and adventure, then you need to visit Mae Rim. This town is a breath of fresh air from the business of Chiang Mai. It will not be what you’d expect from a town not too far out from the city, and if you love the natural beauty of Thailand, then this is a great place to visit and explore.
As a seasoned traveler, I can tell you that the most convenient way to travel from Chiang Mai city center to Mae Rim is by taxi or a private car hire. However, if you’re on a budget, local songthaews, which are red trucks acting as shared taxis, can also get you there.
Mae Rim is known for its natural beauty and animal conservation parks. The Mae Sa Waterfall and the Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens are must-sees for nature lovers. Animal enthusiasts should visit the Mae Sa Elephant Camp or the Tiger Kingdom.
Mae Rim, like the rest of Northern Thailand, has three main seasons: cool, hot, and rainy. The cool season (November – February) is the most comfortable time to visit. The hot season (March – May) can get quite warm, while the rainy season (June – October) brings heavy rainfall but also lush green landscapes.
As a rule of thumb, pack lightweight and breathable clothing for the heat but also remember a light jacket for cooler nights. If you plan on visiting temples or religious sites, modest attire that covers your shoulders and knees is required.
For a unique local experience, consider a Thai cooking class or a visit to the local hill tribe villages. There are also opportunities for trekking, cycling, and other outdoor adventures in the beautiful surrounding areas.
Certainly, Mae Rim and the surrounding areas are a foodie paradise. For a real local experience, try the street food markets where you can sample dishes like Khao Soi, a northern Thai noodle curry soup, and Sai Ua, a spicy northern Thai sausage.
Public transportation like songthaews and tuk-tuks are available, but for more freedom and comfort, consider renting a car or a motorbike. Just be aware of the driving conditions and local traffic rules.
Visiting local temples or markets can offer a glimpse into local culture. Additionally, taking part in a traditional Thai festival, such as Loi Krathong or Songkran if you’re visiting during these times, can be an unforgettable experience.
Absolutely! The Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens is a fantastic place for a stroll, and the Mae Sa Waterfall is beautiful. For a unique experience, visit the Sticky Waterfall (Bua Thong) where you can actually climb the falls due to the mineral deposits providing grip.
Yes, English is widely spoken in most tourist areas of Thailand, including Mae Rim. Many tour guides, hotel staff, and people in the service industry will have some proficiency in English.
Mae Rim offers several local markets where you can buy Thai handicrafts, clothes, and other souvenirs. The Mae Malai Market is a great spot to shop for local products, while the Mai Rim Plaza is another good place for souvenir shopping.
Generally, Mae Rim is quite safe, but as with any travel, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings. Ensure your valuables are secure, and avoid isolated areas late at night. The emergency number in Thailand for police is 191, and for medical emergencies, it’s 1669. It’s advisable to have travel insurance in case of any medical emergencies or unexpected situations.
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