Cooling Off: Best Places To Go Swimming In (And Around) Chiang Mai

When the weather’s hot and the sun’s beating down, you need somewhere to escape for a cool, refreshing dip. We’ve put together a list of the best places to swim in Chiang Mai to save you the hassle of searching them out. Think of this as your lifesaving list that will save your life when the temperature soars!

The Grand Canyon

This flooded, disused quarry is a great place to head for a day trip. Not only can you cool off in the fresh water that now fills the quarry site, you can also have some fun on the inflatable obstacle course and zipline run. There’s plenty of space for sunbathing around the lip of the ‘canyon’ and they’ve got a great restaurant cooking up traditional Thai dishes at a reasonable price.

We hit up the Grand Canyon Water Park every Monday and Friday with a ticket price of 850 THB. Comes with free LEO beer, transportation and you can read more about it by clicking the image below!

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon obstacle course tour

River Tubing

If you’ve been to Vang Vien in Laos for a visa run then you’ll probably know this concept already. You’ll be driven out of town to a drop-off point on the river, then jump into inflatable inner tubes that carry you gently back towards civilization. Pack some beers and snacks and this turns into a brilliant, laidback party day with friends. The river water is just cool enough to keep you refreshed but make sure you take plenty of sunscreen for the exposed bits!

Several tour operators offer river tubing, so ask around at any of the agencies in town. You can expect to pay around 1000 baht, or $30 US, for a day on the river but prices are negotiable so always ask if there’s a discount on offer.

Huay Tung Lao Lake

Go to the Thai seaside! Or as close as you can get to it in Chiang Mai. Huay Tung Lao lake is only about 20 minutes from Chiang Mai but it feels worlds apart. Bamboo huts line the lake shore and the water is filled with excited children and splashing locals. There’s a road that circumnavigates the lake for anyone crazy enough to want to go jogging, and there are plenty of restaurants where you can kick back with a long lunch and a few beers in between dips.

Entry to the lake is only 20 baht ($0.60) and the surrounding scenery is gorgeous. To get to Huay Tung Lao, head north out of town on route 107 and turn left at the junction with route 121.

Mae Ngat (Knott) Dam

The lake above Mae Ngat (also called Mae Knott) dam is a popular place to head for a bit of relaxation time. The water here is calm and clean, and there are several hotels lining the shore so you can choose to stay overnight if the mood takes you. Rent a kayak to explore the hidden corners of the lake or just flop on the beach and chill out!

There’s no entry fee so you can enjoy this one for free. Take the 107 north out of town and turn right on route 3038. It’s a bit further than the other places we’ve listed so grab a free mates and charter a red songthaew truck to make the most of the day. That way you won’t spend a fortune on taxis and you can enjoy a few beers over lunch!

Bodega Chiang Mai Thapae Pool Parties!

Our last choice is the best one by far! When temperatures soar, head to the pool at Bodega Chiang Mai Thapae to cool off and chill out. It’s the best hostel with a pool in Chiang Mai, and is home to the friendliest bunch in town. The all-day kitchen serves up great food and drink and if you’re after a taste of the high life then check out the poolside cocktails. Just make sure you warn your liver first, these badass drinks pack a punch!

Bodega Chiang Mai Thapae is at 60 Thapae Soi 3, in easy walking distance of the Old Town. Head here for a chilled out day relaxing by the pool before checking out the city’s best nightlife in the evening. Win win!

Thapae Grand Opening cannonball into the pool