Chiang Mai, an ancient capital city, is surrounded by fortified walls. All the tourist attractions, plenty of street food and tour operators are within or near the walls, surrounded by a moat. My day consisted of back to back tours involving elephants, ox, ethnic shows, flowers, a leisurely drift by raft down river, and getting a glimpse of village life. When I got back, I explored the ancient city further and ventured a little beyond to find a private hospital to get my second rabies vaccine for just $15.
It’s possible to ask for a custom tour by combining multiple interests from different tours together. Especially in the very competitive tourist hot spots where every operator competes for business, they will either figure something out, or find an operator that offers your request because there are likely other tourists that also want the same itinerary.