Chiang Mai is the nature and adventure hotspot of Thailand. So it only makes sense to experience in the most fun way possible. For example, mountain biking through jungle paths and peaceful quiet countryside roads, discovering secret caves with thousands of bats and dipping your feet in refreshing waterfalls on the way.
If that sounds exciting, this article is for you!
Mountain biking in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai city and its surroundings are diverse, green and wild. And for those who enjoy riding bicycles, there’s no better way, how to discover it all than on a bicycle.
Mountain biking is very popular in the city, as there are interesting jungle paths to ride though, great asphalted roads for picking up speed, as well as exciting downhills and uphills to really boost your energy.
Plus, there are so many exciting objects within the 50 km radius of Chiang Mai, that can be reached within a few hours of a scenic bike ride. And the best part – there’s a route for any kind of rider, from easy ones for beginners all the way to advanced tracks to challenge mountain biking professionals.
Taking a guided mountain biking tour
The best way to go about mountain biking in Chiang Mai is taking organized biking trips guided by the local professionals.
That way you get to go on the best routes that only locals know about, you’re always safe as you’re guided with a professional. Going with a tour also guarantees to get proper quality bicycles which is essential for these kinds of adventures.
I went on a trip with Trail Head. They offer several exciting routes with different difficulty levels. Since I don’t have too much of MTB experience, I chose the Sticky Waterfall Explorer tour with a difficulty level – easy.
It was an exciting full-day experience, riding about 4 hours through the rural roads of Chiang Mai. The first half of it was a dirt path, twisting through lush jungle. The second part was an asphalted road with some shot uphill and many pleasant downhills. A real “wind-in-my-hair” experience!
My experience of the tour
The day started by being picked up at my guesthouse and taken to the main office for coffee and helmet fitting.
Then together with our guide and bikes, we were driven to the starting point of our MTB route about 25 km outside Chiang Mai.
The ride then began with testing out bicycles, learning about using gears and doing the warm-up drive to the local river, where we’d be taken across in a local boat to start the real ride.
What’s really great was that a car is following most of the route, carrying cold water and anything else needed along the way.
The first main stop of the day was a cave deep in the jungle. Walking in the darkness of the cave felt like the real adventure of the day, because thousands of bats started to circulate above our heads, just woken up from their sleep.
After the jungle cave, we continued 15 km more to the famous Sticky Waterfall, which as the perfect endpoint of the trip. It’s a place where you’ll be able to cool off in the water and climb upwards the whole length of the waterfall? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
As the name of the waterfall hints, it’s unique due to the fact that the cliffs are not slippery there and you’re actually able to walk all over it without slipping even once.
Leave all your stuff at the locker by the entrance of the waterfall and go test out climbing the waterfall for yourself!
Who is this tour for?
MTB tours of Chiang Mai will be a great fit for anyone who enjoys riding bicycles, professionally or for fun.
But even though the tours rank from easy to difficult, you still have to be in a moderately good physical shape to be able to enjoy them.
However if you have never done offroad mountain biking at all, this might not be the best idea where to start.
Trail Head provides exceptionally good bicycles, for adults as well as kids, so this kind of trip is a great idea for adventurous families with kids.
The tour costs 1990 THB per person and includes a hotel pick up and drop off, full equipment, a great guide, and lunch.
The tour usually starts at around 8:30 AM and lasts for about 6 – 8 hours.
This and other tours can be booked directly with Trail Head on their website.
What to bring?
Bring some cash for snacks for the morning part of the trip and 20 THB for the locker rental at the waterfall. Water will be provided to you, so no need to bring that.
What else to bring:
- bug spray
- change of clothes
- raincoat, if your going during the rainy season and don’t want to get soaking wet.