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With two weeks to spend in Thailand, your options are plentiful. We’ve already taken a look at how you can fully dive into the culture of the country with two weeks there, taking in glittering temples, ruins of ancient kingdoms, traditional festivals, and more. Next, we’ll check out some ideas for a trip based around adventure. Forego flying into the capital for this one, and instead start your journey up north.
In the city, you’ll find countless museums, temples, markets, shops, restaurants, and more. If you’ve got a long trip to get to Chiang Mai, you’ll probably want to spend at least a day checking out the city and recovering from the journey. Here’s a short guide to Chiang Mai to help you figure out what to do. With just two weeks in the country, though, you’ll really have to hit the ground running on your second day. You won’t be able to do these all with another 3-4 days, but you can pick a few:
Elephants are an important part of Thai culture, and they’re also a huge part of the tourism industry. Not all elephant camps are created equal, so it’s important that you do some research before choosing a place to go. Read our guide about how to choose an elephant camp for more information.
One of the most popular activities in Chiang Mai is jungle trekking, with groups leaving the city every day during the busy months. You can choose one, two, or three-day treks. It doesn’t really seem worth it to just do a 1-day trek; I’d highly recommend only doing this if you have 2-3 days to spare. Read all about an amazing 3-day trek to see what to expect.
After trekking through the Thai jungle for a few days, why not fly through it? Sign up for a day of zip-lining, abseiling, sky bridges, and more with the folks at Jungle Flight in Chiang Mai. This takes a full day, as you’ll leave early in the morning and get back after dark. Make sure you arrange transportation – whether it be a bus or a rented motorbike – before the shops close for the night. This will assure you can hit the road in the morning and not waste any time.
For those who enjoy a good motorbike trip, the Mae Hong Son loop is a must. This famed bike trip is said to have 1,864 curves in the road as it winds around the northern hills. It can be done in as little as four days, but would be much more enjoyable with at least a week. We spent ten nights on the road doing the loop, stopping in Mae Chaem, Mae Hong Son, Soppong, and Pai. There’s a lot to see and do along the way, including plenty of fantastic viewpoints, beautiful temples, rushing waterfalls, giant caves full of bats, and a great art and music scene in the hippie Mecca of Pai. All of the bike shops in Chiang Mai know about the loop, and many of them sell excellent maps that can help you plan your route.
You could easily eat up two weeks in the north, but if you want to mix it up you can cut a few things out of that itinerary in order to fly south for a bit. Adventure seekers will want to catch a flight to Krabi. There are lots of options from here, but I’d recommend heading straight to Ton Sai. It’s not an island, but it sure feels like one. Spend a few days here rock climbing, kayaking, and slack-lining by day, and hanging out at the cool, chilled out bars by night.
While you’re down south, you might as well check out a national park. Your two best options will be Khao Sok or Ko Tarutao. If you’re headed back to Bangkok at the end of your trip, you’re better off going to Khao Sok as it’s more on the way. Those continuing south on a backpacking trip to Malaysia or Singapore can visit Ko Tarutao before crossing the border. Spend a few days exploring this former prison, where you can cycle, hike, spot wildlife, go into a cave, and relax on empty beaches – a rarity in Thailand.
As you can see, there’s a lot of room to mix this itinerary up. It’s possible to have some adventures around Chiang Mai, do a bit of the MHS loop, and spend a few days down south in two weeks, but it will definitely be a bit intense. To really do it all, it’s best to try and stretch your trip closer to three weeks. If that’s just not possible, pick 2-3 things that you really want to do and stick with those. However you break up this trip, it’s an amazing Thai adventure that you’ll never forget.