Chiang Mai (Thailand)

Chiang Mai Travel Guide and Trip Resources


Thailand's more chilled out second city

Chiang Mai is the most culturally significant city in the (far) north of Thailand. A short flight or 10-ish hour drive from Bangkok, the two cities are world's apart in terms of atmosphere, size (compare its population of 150k with Bangkok's 8 million!) and surroundings. Yet Chiang Mai is regularly seen and labelled as Thailand's second city of importance after the capital. And for good reason too.

When Thai King Mengrai founded the city in the 13th century he picked a great place for it. Chiang Mai is situated in a lushly green area and is surrounded by mountains. Nowadays the man-made cityscape is no less impressive with temples scattered all around - there are literally hundreds of them. Most famous (not just in the city but in all of Thailand) is the all-around gold plated Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. It also offers fantastic views but that does come at a cost: getting here can be a hassle and you will have to climb 300 steps to reach the temple.

Back inside the middle of the city you will find the old part of Chiang Mai, surrounded by city walls and with a history dating back to the 14th century. This is a nice area to wander around in, with some old shops and good restaurants. Next to the old town lies the Night Market, where from the beginning of the evening crowds gather to spend the evening and hundreds of stalls sell everything you could probably possibly imagine for prices so low you wouldn't think of it. This is also where you should go for a drink or something to eat, you can find great Thai food here.

The bottom line is: Chiang Mai is fun, more laid back than Bangkok and with a wealth of cultural sights. Definitely worth a visit! [Review by travelindicator]


You can find the best hotel deals in Chiang Mai here.

Key info

  • Chiang Mai is a city in Thailand. It has a population of 148,477, is situated at an altitude of 1027ft and the best airport to fly into is CNX (Chiang Mai International, Chiang Mai)
  • The currency used in Thailand is the Thai baht (THB)

Chiang Mai Weather

Historical average maximum temperature per month (℉):

84 90 95 97 93 90 90 88 88 88 86 82

Historical average rainfall per month (inches):

0.3 0.2 0.5 2 6.2 5.2 6.3 9.3 9 4.8 2.1 0.8

More Chiang Mai travel resources

There are lots of great sources on Chiang Mai out there (better than us?! keep in mind our goal here is to give you the basics - we are happy to redirect you to other places that cover these destinations more thoroughly than we can!). This one from CNN describes 10 essential Chiang Mai experiences, while NY Times did their usual piece on 36 hours in the city. We are partial to Frommers, Lonely Planet and Wikitravel while more tailored and sometimes local sites that we found useful are Tourism Thailand, 1 stop Chiang Mai and Finally, Nomadic Matt summarises much better than us what you need to know about the city.

We of course searched for some interesting Chiang Mai travel blogs, and a whole lot of them popped up. Some of the better ones were Kimberly Chan with lots of wonderful photos, Miss Tam Chiak, Jessie on a journey on Chiang Mai beyond the guidebook and finally the smart local.

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