If you in Chiang Mai looking for adventure, here are some options:
I would call this a tiny little adventure. Elephant rides are usually done in a comfortable seat perched on top of the elephant. There are many elephant camps outside of Chiang Mai, near enough for a day trip combined with other sight seeing. One of the best is the Mae Sa Elephant Camp. Maria Sharapova visited here when she played an exhibition match in Chiang Mai. However, I recommend the National Elephant Institute in Lampang instead for a more ecological cause.
The National Elephant Institute was founded as the Thai Elephant Conservation Center (TECC). Subsequently in January 2002, in order to enlarge the scope of conservation efforts and address the issues facing Thailand’s elephants, the TECC was renamed the National Elephant Institute.
The main objective for the establishment of the new National Elephant Institute is to develop elephant conservation in a sustainable way and preserve local traditions for future generations. The Institute also aims to improve the tourism business, in which there is an extensive involvement of elephants in tourism-related activities, for the benefit of elephants as well as tourists.
The daily elephant shows demonstrate logging techniques by elephants, along with performances of elephant musicians and painters. There are 2 shows from Monday to Friday at 10:00 and 11:00 hrs. On weekends and public holidays, there is an additional show at 13:30.
The Institute also offers a homestay programme in the mahout village and welcomes tourists who are interested in studying and experiencing the life of a mahout and his elephant.
Mountain Biking and Cycling
If you’re looking for cross-country mountain biking, Chiang Mai is the ideal base. The mountains and national parks around Chiang Mai offer many scenic and adventurous trails for the mountain biker. Many tour operators offer downhill rides of varying difficulty levels. You can check with Mountain Biking Chiang Mai (Tel: +66 081-024-7046) To cater for the less adventurous or less skilled, there are also easier cycling trips in the countryside along paved country roads.
For more info on bicycle hiring and riding, check with Velocity on Chotana Road, and Top Gear on Chang Moi Road are also helpful. The CM Bicycle Club regularly meets for rides every Sunday morning at 7 am at the Thaphae Gate.
Other Adventure Activities:
There is a artificial rock wall right in the middle of the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai, at Rock Climbing Plaza. You can check with the climbers there about rock climbing around Chiang Mai or call Tel: 053-820 776-8.
In the jungle! Call 053-298-442.
White Water Rafting
Check with Contact Travel. Tel: 053-277-178
Call X Centre at 053-297-700
Operated by Chiang Mai Sky Adventure. Tel: 053-868-460