Here are the TOP ways to tackle Chiang Mai on a budget
Find budget friendly activities in Chiang Mai. You heard it here first! Have some family fun on the cheap. We’ve put together this list of the best affordable activities for kids in Chiang Mai. Whether you live here or are a tourist in this beautiful city, you’ll definitely be able to stretch your baht that extra mile with these affordable attractions for kids in Chiang Mai.
(Looking for more?! Then you’ll love our post on FREE things to do with kids in Chiang Mai)
What are the cheapest family activities in Chiang Mai?!
Let’s get to it and see Chang Mai on a budget!
1. Cocoon Farm
The first budget friendly attraction in Chiang Mai is one you won’t hear about from any tourist guide books or shops which is a pity because it is so cool! At Cocoon Farm you’ll get to see the usual animal suspects with the added bonus of bunnies and a ‘white’ buffalo. The kids can feed the animals as well, but what’s really cool are all the activities you can do!
You can make your own tie-die shirt, dress, handkerchief, or learn to cook, or learn to farm. There is even an opportunity to learn how to weave traditional Thai silk!
Entrance to Cocoon Farm is a mere 50 baht per person and that includes one activity of your choice! Any other activity after that is also just 50 baht.
Cocoon Farm also has a lovely restaurant overlooking a lake so you can grab a bite to eat or a cool drink.
It is also a working silk farm which is so cool as you get to see the entire process of how Thai silk is made from worm to gorgeous woven goods.
Learn more about Cocoon Farm >> here
2. Play Mini-golf
Minigolf! It’s fun for the whole family. Everyone can play minigolf, grandma and grandpa too!
Chiang Mai actually has two 18 hole mini-golf courses. Always a nice way to send time with the kids, minigolf is also a nice activity for teenagers too.
Starting at 30 baht for children and going up to 100 baht for adults, minigolf is a budget friendly activity in Chiang Mai.
Find out where to play mini-golf >> here
3. Water slide fun at The Sun Water Park
While technically not in Chiang Mai, The Sun Water Park is just a 30-45 minute drive away in Lamphun. This small but just right water park has a special little kids’ splash zone with small water slides and two larger water slides for the big kids.
The best part – entrance is a crazy 40 baht during this time. Regular prices are also really cheap at 100 baht per child and 120 baht per adult. To save even more off regular prices, The Sun Water Park offers discounted rates after 4 pm.
Part of the huge swimming pool is covered to protect from the sun and there are seating areas spread out so you can always have eyes on the kids.
There are also snack shops and other shops to buy drinks or even rent pool floaties.
Learn more about The Sun Water Park >> here
4. The NARIT AstroPark and Planetarium
So get this, entrance to the AstroPark, the astronomy centre in Chiang Mai, is completely FREE! You can find more free activities to do in Chiang Mai here.
Once inside, all exhibits are included in the free price of admissions. There are a couple of add-ons that you can purchase that are both very affordable.
To see the Planetarium show for instance is perfect if you’re in Chiang Mai on a budget. It’s only 50 baht per adult and 30 baht per child! The show is an hour long.
The other add-on is really cool. The kids can get their creativity on at the Innovation Centre – Maker Space where they can learn to be chemists or engineers through various activities. Each activity is only 100 baht and needs approximately 1.5 hours. You will need to pre-book in most cases and different activities are offered different days and at different times.
Learn more about The AstroPark >> here
5. Elephant Poopoopaper Park
Explore the process of poo to paper! Elephant Poopoopaper Park is an eco-friendly, outdoor museum park where you can learn the exact process and take part in it too, of how poop can be processed into paper products.
The tour of their park is self-led with lots of information placards at each station and at interactive stations, like at the one where you get to make your own sheet of poo poo paper, there will be a guide.
You can also make your own souvenir at the end of the interactive experience or buy one from the gift shop.
Entrance is only 100 baht per person with kids under 4 free. Fair warning, if you purchase any crafts, food, or drink, it can easily get quite expensive.
6. See bugs at the Siam Insect Zoo
Just a few minutes from Elephant Poopoopaper Park, is an all time favourite for many kids in Chiang Mai. At the Siam Insect Zoo, you can get up close and real personal with bugs and reptiles.
The journey takes you through a museum where insects have been preserved. This is just a warm up to the real things! Once past this area is where things come alive, quite literally.
There will be all sorts of spiders, leaf insects, butterflies, caterpillars, scorpions, tarantulas, and even lizards to see and touch. Yep, I said touch. The staff will encourage you to hold all of the above mentioned which is pretty cool, or absolutely terrifying depending which side of the fence you’re on.
Entrance is 200 baht per adult and 150 baht per child. Children under 3 are FREE. It’s even more affordable if you are Thai. Then it is 80 baht per adult and 60 baht for children. If you are an expat, you can try to show your driver’s license to get Thai price.
Check out more >> here
7. Go bowling!
Bowling is always a great way to spend quality family time and in Chiang Mai on a budget, it is so affordable. Starting at only 50 baht per game you can bowl your hearts out!
Shoe rental is a mere 30 baht per pair and they also have socks in case you forget yours and food and drinks for sale. The food is very reasonably priced as well.
It’s such a fun time!
8. Visit a local hot spring
The San Kampaeng Hot Spring is about a 45 minute drive away. It’s a beautiful place with many options to enjoy the therapeutic hot spring waters.
You can simply dip your feet in the stream, or go for a swim in it, or enjoy a private bath house the whole family can enjoy together. Each has a different price point (dipping your feet in the stream is free though).
What’s also neat is that you can buy eggs and cook them in the hot spring and eat them as a snack!
The San Kampaeng Hot Spring also has a playground and you can stay overnight in a cabin or a tent if you wish.
Entrance is 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children. Thai price is 40 baht per adult and 20 baht per kid. As an expat you can get local price if you show your driver’s license.
Learn more about the hot spring >> here
9. Go caving
On the way to the San Kampaeng Hot Spring, is Muang On Cave. It’s a great opportunity for a little adventure at minimal cost.
Entrance up to the cave is only 30 baht for adults and children are free! You first hike up to the cave entrance, and then down into the cave below. Afterwards, you have the option of climbing up to the top of the cave and enjoy the viewpoint.
Oh, and there are wild monkeys to see too!
10. Visit one of the many cafes
There are SO many great cafes for kids in Chiang Mai! You’d almost need a lifetime to visit them all (although we are on that mission for you!)
For those families in Chiang Mai on a budget, they’re all really affordable to go for just a drink, breakfast, brunch, lunch… any excuse really!
Most of our recommendations have playgrounds or play areas for kids or are child-friendly in other ways. There are cafes located all around the city so there’s bound to be one near you!
Find a kid-friendly café near you >> here
11. Ride at Wildside
Wildside is a fabulous affordable option for kids in Chiang Mai. It’s a pump track and bike trick practice place with ramps where kids are speed around.
If you bring your own bikes, it’s only 50 baht to play ALL day! They even have a small play area and sand pit for kids too.
If you don’t have your own bicycle, you can rent one for 200 baht for an hour, and then 50 baht per hour after that, so still, pretty good.
You can also find other places to ride bicycles here, and many options are free.
12. Check out Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden
Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden has so much to offer. From easy hikes, to a Natural History Museum, to botanical gardens, it’s got lots of experiences everyone will enjoy.
You can easily spend most, if not all of the day here if you truly wanted to experience it all in one day.
There’s also a canopy walkway that is very popular.
Entrance is only 100 baht per adult (over 60 years old is FREE entry) and 50 baht per child0 But get this, children under 12 are FREE! Local Thai price is 40 baht per adult and 20 baht per child. Show your Thai driver’s license to get local price.
13. Check out a local swimming pool
There are loads of pools in Chiang Mai. We’ve done our best to create a listing of swimming pools that are kid-friendly. Here are the most affordable ones being less than 100 baht per person:
Find out more about other pools >> here
14. See dinosaurs!
This is a bit of a tricky one and affordability depends on your personal thoughts. IF you have local ID such as a driver’s license, then The Hidden Village Dinosaur Park is pretty decently priced. At 100 baht per adult and 50 baht per child (children under 100 cm are FREE), that’s fine for many family budgets.
However, if you cannot get local price, it’s 200 baht per adult and child (children under 100 cm still free). This could still be well within your means though.
At the park you can see prehistoric plant life, enjoy a great playground, ‘ride’ a dinosaur, play in a bouncy castle or indoor soft play area and of course, interact with moving dinosaurs!
15. Go bamboo rafting
At only 400 baht per raft (which can fit 4 adults) including a ‘driver,’ you get an incredible ride down a local river through nature.
And you get to see elephants along the way!
Bamboo rafting is a great day trip. We have lots of other recommendations here for day trips with the family from Chiang Mai.
Learn more about bamboo rafting >> here
16. See Chiang Mai’s ‘Grand Canyon’
This is Pha Chor Canyon and it’s the perfect addition to a day trip to bamboo rafting mentioned above. They are located within the same region and can be combined into a big day trip.
We do recommend doing the Pha Chor Canyon first, as you will earn that dip in the river!
Located within a national park, entrance is 100 baht per adult and 50 baht per child. You cannot get local Thai price at any national park, but local price is 20 baht for adults and 10 baht for kids.
See more >> here
17. Swim at the other ‘Grand Canyon’
There are 3 ‘grand canyons’ in Chiang Mai which makes it so darn confusing. This grand canyon is GrandCanyon (no space) and is located right next to the other more well-known Grand Canyon (with space). Very original naming, huh?
GrandCanyon (no space), is the more affordable option for an entire family. It is only a 50 baht entry fee to swim per person and they’ve added a floating inflatable water park as well. To use the inflatable section and all other water sports toys is only 150 baht per person.
It’s a great alternative to its neighbour Grand Canyon which is typically well over 300 baht per person.
18. Ride the train to Lamphun
It’s 5 baht per adult, 3 baht for children and kids under 3 are FREE!
The only issue is that once you are in Lamphun (a 40 minutes car ride away) you are pretty well stuck there unless your children are older and you bring your bicycles with you. It is possible to take your bikes onto the train and ride back to Chiang Mai (I’ve done it and it’s about an hour ride depending on where you live).
You can also take a songtaew back, which would be the most affordable at about 30 baht per person. Any more, and they are trying to rip you off. Locals take the songtaew all the time.
Or, you can stick around Lamphun until the train ride back (also 8 baht). Click the link below to find out how we spent our time!
Learn more about Lamphun >> here
19. The Night Safari
There are 3 different ticket options for The Night Safari which (when tourists are around) is a very popular attraction.
The most affordable ticket is the Walking Zone ticket. This gives you access to the 3 km walking trail through the jungle and around the lake where you can see a plethora of animals. Sometimes, if you time it right, you may even get to see the Tiger Show at the end!
The other ticket option includes a safari which takes you through various ‘regions’ in Africa and Asia seeing some animals that naturally live there. It is a much more expensive option, but lick the link below to learn more!
Find out more about The Night Safari >> here
20. Visit an ancient city
You can visit the original Lanna (northern Thailand) capital city before Chiang Mai was declared the capital city. It’s called Wiang Kum Kham and is located just a few minutes drive south of the moat.
There are over two dozen ruins and temples to see and you can do it by a ride in a horse and buggy! It’s only 200-400 baht per carriage ride and the whole family can fit in one. The guides can usually speak some English, but not much. They will let you get out at each stop and explore all you like!
It’s a great opportunity to learn about history as all the information placards are in English and Thai. There’s even a history museum too that’s only 10 baht entry.
Learn more about the ancient city >> here
21. Visit Huay Tung Tao Lake
Spend the day relaxing in a bamboo hut over hanging Huay Tung Tao Lake. You can swim, feed the fish, play with some sheep, and climb up GIANT gorillas!
You can also ride your bikes around the entire lake or go for hikes.
There are restaurants too and paddle boats. In the cool season, you can also camp here!
Entrance is only 50 baht and children are usually FREE.
See more things to do at the lake >> here
22. Enjoy the cheapest water park in Chiang Mai
It’s not big, but my goodness did they pack a lot into a small space at Spicy Noodle Water Park. They’ve got it all for ages barely walking and up! They’ve even got a ball pit.
Floaties can be rented and even swim suits too. The restaurant serves up cheap and nice food, but it’s mostly Thai food.
Entrance is just 50 baht to swim! Free if you are a watchful guardian.
Learn more details >> here
23. See the Royal Park
]The Royal Park Rajapruek is home to the most beautiful gardens in Chiang Mai. The grounds are enormous so there are a few ways to get around. One is to walk, the other is to rent a bicycle, and the third is to take the tram.
The Royal Park also has a big outdoor playground, a butterfly observatory, a Mars station, one of the most gorgeous temples in the city, and more!
Like The Hidden Village, there are mixed opinions on affordability here. IF you have Thai ID, entrance is 100 baht per adult, 70 baht per child, and children under 100 cm are free. Tourist or foreigner’s price is 200 baht per adult and 150 baht per child. Children under 100 cm are still free.
See more details >> here
24. The zoo!
Chiang Mai has a wonderful zoo that also has an aquarium. The aquarium comes at an extra and much greater ticket price than the simple entrance to the zoo itself, so we don’t recommend that if you are on a budget (or in general really. It’s not very well kept).
Entrance to the zoo is 150 baht for adults and 70 baht for children. Children shorter than 135 cm are FREE! Local price is 100 baht per adult and 20 baht per child and you CAN get Thai price by showing your driver’s license.
This gets you access to nearly all animals exhibits. The exception being the panda zone which has an extra cost.
There’s also a Snow Dome where you can experience ‘snow’ and very cold temperatures and a small splash pad and water park for kids. Both are an additional cost. Click the link to learn more about costs.
Find out more about extra costs >> here
25. Visit Tweechol Garden and Petting Zoo
Tweechol Botanic Garden is a lovely place to go for a morning or afternoon. Located on enormous grounds, you can rent bicycles to get around or walk.
You can meet and feed animals at the petting zoo, you can swing around in the playground, you can visit museums, find your way through a hedge maze, and so much more!
Entrance is also reasonable at 86 baht per adult and 43 baht per child.