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Updated by Joanna James on Dec 17, 2018
Headline for Extraordinary Things to do in Chiang Mai – Verdant Hills of Thailand
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Extraordinary Things to do in Chiang Mai – Verdant Hills of Thailand

Chiang Mai home to ancient hill tribes and herds of elephants is certainly to be admired. Elephant back jungle treks, cave dwelling monks and many more astounding experiences are yours to discover.

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Visit an Elephant Camp

Visit an Elephant Camp

Pic: Training Camp for Elephants via Wikimedia Commons , Public Domain

Thailand's largest convergence of the Asian elephant is found in Chiang Mai; there are many elephant camps set up to protect these innocent mammals. Visit one and opt to stay overnight as a volunteer. You will be able to learn a few skills from the mahouts, take the gentle giants to the river for baths, help with feeding time and simply observe the lifestyles of these free roaming animals freed from the shackles of bondage.

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Trek to Mae Ya Cascade

Trek to Mae Ya Cascade

By Thanongsuk harakunno (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Mae Ya Cascade falls from a height of 250 metres. It's located in the Doi Inthanon Park and requires a 10-minute hike through the jungle to get there. Make sure to take along the camera for the waterfall cascading onto the rocks below with the lush green jungle all around is quite a sight to capture. Elephant camps in Chiang Mai offer treks deep into the mountain forests on the backs of elephants or you could opt for a good guide and trek the distance on foot. Either way, the experience is quite rewarding especially once you approach the stunning falls.

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Meet the Nomads of Thailand

Meet the Nomads of Thailand

Photo by Mariamichelle via Pixabay CC0

Trek into the hills of Chiang Mai and you will come across the Nomad settlements of hill tribes. The women are distinguished by the collection of copper rings that seem to have elongated and shaped their necks. The Long Necks – as they are called, is one of 4 hill tribes found in Chiang Mai. Living as Nomads these people originate from Tibet and China. As such they are not considered Thai citizens and are not allowed to move out of settlements. The tribes, however, are fascinating to encounter, learn about the gentle ways of these people, their simple lifestyles and purchase unique souvenirs handcrafted from local material. Quite the experience you can learn more about these tribes by booking accommodation in the hills of Chiang Mai. Look for recommendations online and choose the perfect location; there are many helpful blogs as well as The Vacation Gateway.

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Plan a Trek across Chiang Mai

Enhance your Thailand vacation with some outdoor adventure in Chiang Mai. Ideal for all tourists including families with children a trek across the hills will put some perspective back in an otherwise tech-savvy lifestyle. You could start off by staying a day or two at one of the hill tribe villages. Learn how traditions are adhered to and enjoy simple but delicious meals. On your trek across the mountains, you will come across a variety of flora and fauna and enjoy the exultations of breathing in fresh mountain air.

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Exploring Doi Inthanon

Exploring Doi Inthanon

By Lester Mathias Andersson (Photographed during a day trip around Doi Inthanon) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

One of Chiang Mai's most scenic enclaves this park is studded with all manner of flora. Enjoy the invigorating atmosphere, stunning views across the hill tops and colourful flowers that seem to cover all open spaces. Expert guides are available in order to savour a comprehensive expedition across the park. You could map out some of the areas lush waterfalls and plan treks to the best of these.