We wil be in Chiang Mai for two days/two nights in December, arriving in the morning of the first day on a sleeper train. Figuring out the itinerary for the first day was easy - just walk around the old city/moat area, see the main temples, visit the night market in the evening (we will be there over the weekend). The second day is proving a challenge. We would like to explore out of town, but we don't want elephant camps, tiger shows or village tours, and after Chiang Mai we will be going on a two-day trek up the Chiang Dao mountain, so a trekking tour on the second day is also out. Doi Inthanon looks interesting (if a bit touristy), but we also want to go to Doi Suthep in the late afternoon.
Is it doable to go to Doi Inthanon, visit the chedis, walk the Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail and be back in Chiang Mai in time to go to Doi Suthep, without rushing too much? And do we need to have a guide to go to Doi Inthanon, or is it enough to have a driver to take us there? I read somewhere that it is possible to get a guide for the Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail right there by the entrance, and that it is a lot cheaper than bringing one from CM. Has anyone on this forum done it this way?