Teenagers are not the easiest travel companions. They can be moody and often miss their friends back home. Finding activities they enjoy can perk up a teenager and help them forget their homesickness. Here are some fun things we did with our teens in Chiang Mai.
Go on a temple walk
Teens might complain about this at first, but the wats in Chiang Mai are really cool. And, even better for us parents, they are all free. Spend a morning (afternoons are often too hot) wandering around the old city of Chiang Mai popping into interesting looking temples. Be sure to hit Wat Chedi Luang with its ancient crumbling stupa and Wat Sri Suphan, the often over looked silver temple, located outside the old city walls along the Saturday Walking Market route.
Visit a Night Walking Market
There are Saturday and Sunday night walking markets. We prefer the Sunday market for its food options. Go early (around 5 pm) to the Ta Phae gate for shopping. Teen girls will love the selection of harem pants and jewelry. Then head up Ratchadaemeon for food. We love the chicken kebab and spiral potato from Wat Phan On and the bacon wrapped mushrooms and honey grilled chicken at Wat Samphao.
Art in Paradise
This 3D interactive museum is so much fun. We spent several hours in this museum taking hundreds of pictures of ourselves in the art. My teens couldn’t wait to post the photos on instagram.
We didn’t visit here this time around, but three years ago we all played with the small tigers and my husband went in with the biggest tigers. Teens over fifteen can go into with the larger tigers, but under 15 can only go in with the small tigers. Some people are opposed to this type of establishment. We refused to go to Tiger Temple near Bangkok because of its reputation for poor treatment of its tigers. The Tiger Kingdom tigers seemed well treated and not drugged.
On this trip we rode elephants in Pai instead, but Chiang Mai has several places nearby to ride elephants and we rode them as part of a trek near Chiang Mai three years ago. Some places offer riding with a seat on top of elephant, other offer bareback riding. Some also offer bathing with the elephants. Two out of my three teen daughters loved getting in the water with the elephants.
Chiang Mai Zoo
The Chiang Mai Zoo is an OK zoo, but it has pandas! The zoo’s entrance fee is cheap, only 150 baht. It costs extra (100 baht) to see the panda, but it is worth it. Also, you are allowed to feed many of the animals. We fed the hippos and giraffes. We also paid to go into the penguin enclosure to feed the penguins fish. Penguins are my youngest daughter’s favorite animal. She was so excited to get to feed them. My middle daughter loves pandas, so we tried to arrange for her to volunteer with the pandas for two days for a reasonable 5000 baht fee, but they are trying to breed the pandas, so the program was on hiatus when we were there – boo!