This is not our first time in Chiang Mai so we wanted to see something new. Our hotel staff suggested us to check out Huay Tung Tao Lake - it's not at all touristy and has restaurants where you can eat on the water.
How to arrive:
It's about 20min drive from Chiang Mai old town.
- By Sangthaew (local red "taxi"): You should book one as it's a bit outside the city, the ones you hail on the streets will not take you there. It cost about 400-600 baht in total, depending on how long the sangthaew has to wait there for you. If you are traveling in many people this is a good option.
- By Grab (Thai uber): you can call a Grab with the app, costs should be around 200baht from the old town. (Btw you can also get the Grab to pick you up near the gate)
- By Motorcycle: Take the northwest corner exit and follow the road towards Mae Rim direction, it's an easy ride on the highway, very beautiful once you take the turn on the left branch. Took us about half an hour but we weren't going super fast. (By car apparently it's just 20 minutes). We just followed the GPS but there are very detailed online instructions here which I found during my research in case anyone needs it.
- By Bus: You can also take a mini bus organized by some tour companies, you see them every where inside old town, they normally combine Doi Suthep Temple or Mae Rim with the lake in one trip. But it won't be so relaxing, I think it's better just to come on your own without a tour.
- Foreigners have to pay 50 baht to enter the park, but it'd be free if you can get there before 7am.
- We came here for lunch, the "floating restaurants" are around the small lake, we only saw locals here, many families.
- The food here is pretty expensive, tastes ok. But you can stay in the hut for as long as you want, we even took a nap here.
- You can also bring your own food and drinks to picnic at the area across from the restaurants, we brought our own fruits to the restaurant to eat but we also ordered food there so they seem to be ok with that.
- The park is very lush and green around the lake, so a walk around after the sun gets less hot was nice.
- You are now allowed to swim across the lake, but you can go in the water near the shore. The water itself is clean enough, it also has huge fish inside.
- The restaurants offer free wifi, but very slow. We brought our laptop to do some work it was great.
- Taab Mook Waterfall is nearby, if you feel like hiking.
- Bring your own cushions if you have issue sitting on hard surface or cross-legged, or if you are picky about the hygiene, of course the cushions they provide are used.
- Bring wet wipes and napkins, they sell them for 10baht but it's toilet tissue paper, not napkin.