Where/What is Mae Taeng?
Mae Taeng valley district is found at the north of Chiang Mai, peacefully nestled between the mountains. Even though it’s a short 40km drive from the city centre, it feels like we were transported to another world as the picturesque countryside surrounded us. There’s lots to see and do here!
Our Hotel: Le cocotier Resort
If you are figuring out where to stay in Chiang Mai, and don’t mind living in the outskirts for a few days, this recommendation is definitely for you. Located at a quiet corner of a beautiful laid-back village is Le Cocotier Resort, a relaxing enclave that is perfect for resting in between our adventures in the Mae Taeng valley. With its minimalist design and lush garden setting, the resort is one with nature. This is our second time here and we love this place! With the sliding doors doubling as full-sized windows, the spacious rooms are built for guests to enjoy maximum mountain views. Even the bathroom features a view of the scenic rice fields. We booked the Deluxe Mountain Room, which comes with a queen-sized bed and 2 traditional mon khwan (Thai triangle mats). The mats were perfect for lazy afternoons with a book. The resort staff are also really friendly and attentive, making sure that we had a great stay with them.
Le Cocotier has so much nature at its doorsteps so it’s only natural that it offers a variety of adventurous activities, such as cycling and kayaking. We will write more about that later! Right now, we will proceed to list out all the awesome places to visit in Mae Taeng.
1. Elephant Nature Park
Hidden in the lush greenery of Mae Taeng, almost 1.5 hours of drive from the airport, sits the majestic Elephant Nature Park. As we drove through the winding mountain roads leading up to the location, we almost missed the unassuming entrance to the big park. The park is a whopping 250 acres of wildlife and we had to make sure we didn’t miss the turn. This elephant park is low-key, and we see that as a good thing. Many of the profiteering elephant parks in Thailand have big eye-catching signs with the intention to lure passers-by in to watch elephants doing things that elephants should not be doing.
Read our full review here!
2. Lunch @ Stay Wild & Cafe
After the morning out with the dogs and elephants, we were definitely hungry but we had no lunch plan. Lining the streets were signs to Stay Wild & Cafe, and after a quick Google search, it seemed like the perfect place to have lunch. We were right!
Located above a gushing river, the cafe is part of a resort and is a great place to unwind from the morning. There are different seating options – the usual chairs or traditional Thai mats. We chose the latter to relax nearer to the beautiful river.
We had Pineapple Rice (180 baht) and simple stir-fried pork noodles (100 baht). The price is a little steep, but the portions were huge and the food was delicious. Along with the chill-vibes, we would say it’s worth it to lunch here!
- Plenty of parking space just outside the cafe
- Opening hours: 0900 – 1800hrs
- Telephone number: +66 894416365
- Facebook page
- Address: Kuet Chang A. Mae Taeng Chiang Mai
3. Cycling in the valley
Exploring a place on two manual wheels is a special experience and more so in Cho Lae sub-district, where our resort is located. P’Three, the in-house adventure guide, recommended us cycling routes we could take and off we went with the resort’s quality mountain bikes. Cycling here is enjoyable and manageable as the roads are flat and it’s a great way to feel the pulse of local village life. Friendly locals smiled at us at every turn, the mountain views were wow and the intricate flowers that lined the streets had us appreciating the little details of nature.
Halfway, we kind of got a little lost so we had to figure it out as we went along. Before we knew it, we stumbled into the most breathtaking place – HUGE rice fields with majestic mountains as the backdrop. It was so much fun cycling through the narrow dirt paths while enjoying the golden dusk.
- Bicycle rental fee: 300B per person for half a day
- You can find our cycling route here.
- We cycled through a temple where there were bathrooms and snack stalls. If you would like to visit the temple’s interior, appropriate dress is required. Check out our guide on travelling in Thailand if you are not sure about what that means.
4. Mae Ngat Dam
The Mae Ngat Dam, located about 1 hour north of Chiang Mai city, is a multi-purpose dam built mainly for hydropower and irrigation, but also fish farming and recreational houseboats. It’s a serene and idyllic place that’s great for hanging out with nature. We went kayaking and had lunch at Mountain Float, a cosy houseboat deep into the dam. Later we also took a short drive to another viewpoint where we were rewarded with vast views of the expanse.
Read our full review here.
In Le Cocotier Resort, there are 3 small ponds filled with fishes of various sizes and breeds. Together with P’ Three, our guide for the kayak expedition, we used traditional bamboo fishing rods and some fish feed to catch a few tilapias. It was an amazing experience to fish amongst the vast rice fields, and Jason caught his first fish in less than 5 seconds!
6. Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls
“You can CLIMB the waterfall??? Huh???”
What a gravity-defying waterfall, this one. Unlike the typical waterfall attractions where visitors could swim in pools at the foot of the falls, Bua Thong Waterfalls take it up a notch because you can literally climb them from bottom to top. You have to try it yourself to truly understand what we are talking about!
Read our full review here.
7. Kramfiene Cafe
We finished up our Mae Taeng trip by grabbing a quick coffee from this wonderful, random and cute hole-in-the-wall coffee joint on the way back to Chiang Mai City. Soak in the stunning mountain views while you are at it as well. Their iced coffee was smooth and delicious, a perfect perk-me-up. Hot drinks start at 40B while iced drinks go for 45B up.
- Opening hours: 0700 – 2200 hrs
- Facebook page
Did you like our Mae Taeng itinerary?
Mae Taeng is a beautiful area filled with lush greenery and local agricultural flavours. It’s the perfect place to relax and reconnect with nature. You can spend 3 well-engaged days exploring and enjoying what Mae Taeng can offer! We hope that our itinerary helped you in your planning and consideration. Also, if you are interested to know about our photography and our gear, do feel free to check out our article on our journey with our Fujifilm X-T200 camera, through which we took all these photos that you see in this itinerary! Have a fun time in Mae Taeng and let us know in the comments how was the experience like for you!