From serene and picture-perfect beaches to breath-taking mountaineous views, a country’s natural resources and beauty is often seen as one of its best assets – such is the case for Thailand. While it is known of its busy Bangkok metropolis and street-food, Thailand also prides itself in its lush greeneries, rich traditions, and vibrant communities. An advocate of sustainable tourism, it has preserved its natural resources while equipping its communities with tools and skills to attract tourists, especially in its mountainous regions in Northern Thailand.

A hub for sustainable tourism in the country – and arguably in the region, Chaing Mai have undoubtedly developed itself as a model destination in for those wanting to indulge in nature’s glory – giving visitors a perfect backdrop full of natural and cultural wonders.

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To visit Chiang Mai is to fully experience Thailand’s concept of the 7Greens, which represents Green Heart, Green Logistics, Green Attraction, Green Activity, Green Community, Green Service and Green Plus.

Through the 7Greens, which the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) introduced, Thailand brings together different sectors in addressing climate-change related challenges and creating a pattern for sustainable tourism. For the eco-oriented traveler, this means having a more immersive experience basking in nature, learning about heritage, while helping preserve them.

So if you’re planning to visit Chiang Mai and you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas to help you fill out that itinerary you’re planning:

Interact With Elephants

Travelers who wish to feed, bathe, and pamper the gentle giants can make their goals come true in Chiang Mai. At the Patara Elephant Farm, you can spend a day taking care of mother elephants and babies. Chiang Mai is also home to the Elephant Nature Park, where you can spend up to two days with an elephant herd. You can also learn about elephants’ personal behavior and history at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.

Visit A National Park

If you’re after nature’s raw visual spectacle, Chiang Mai’s national parks would be a feast for your senses. Doi Inthanon National Park, nicknamed “The Roof of Thailand,” is a must-visit as it is home to a number of waterfalls, trails, villages. The crowning glory of this place is no other than a perfect spot for a sunrise selfie: Doi Inthanon Summit, which is Thailand’s highest peak at 2,565 meters above sea level.

Get Immersed In Local Communities

Community-based tourism in Thailand lets you participate in hands-on activities like traditional fishing, preparing local cuisine, and local crafts. A plantation called Akha Ama Coffee, for example, lets you interact with a local Akha hill tribe as you learn about a coffee bean’s journey from farm to cup. Another unique destination you can try is the Jim Thompson Farm where you can witness the nitty-gritty of the silk-making process.

Go On A Volunteer Vacation

Sparing some time to volunteer can make your experiences more meaningful, something that you can achieve with the help of grassroots organizations. Trash Hero Chiang Mai, for instance, lets you join group clean-ups by local and Thai joggers, walkers, and bikers. You can also join their education program, where you can help teach zero-waste, sustainable lifestyle in schools.

By visiting these sustainable tourism hotspots and participating in these activties, lifting people and protecting the planet become a part of your #THAImazing story. It becomes your heartwarming way of discovering your very own Thailand.