Tips for Visiting Chiang Mai in Thailand

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It’s no secret that Thailand is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. The beautiful plains and hills of the Golden Triangle in the extreme north of the nation add to the kingdom’s natural splendor.  Thailand has so much to offer that one visit is never enough; you will want to return again and again to discover more.

Travel north into Thailand, beyond the old walls of the Old City and into the maze of twisting lanes, and you’ll fall in love with Chiang Mai. 

Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions. It is well-known for its medieval temples, attractive mountains, pleasant weather, and beautiful scenery. In addition to having many fantastic restaurants, cafés, and pubs, the bustling city is full with fascinating places. On the outskirts of the city, however, are breathtaking scenery and traditional villages.

A Quick Overview Of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is Northern Thailand’s biggest metropolis. It was originally the capital of the Lanna Kingdom and is regarded as one of the region’s most culturally important cities.

Don’t be fooled by the city’s historical and cultural attractions, despite how well-preserved it is. Chiang Mai has seen extensive modernization and growth outside the confines of the Old City walls. It has, in fact, been a popular destination for travelers and digital nomads in recent years.

Chiang Mai is a place of mysterious mountains and vibrant hill tribes, a paradise for adventurous travelers. In this tranquil city, interested tourists can broaden their horizons by taking Thai massage and culinary classes. Others will be amazed by the array of handicrafts and antiques. There are also numerous nightlife venues and restaurants specializing in local cuisine.

What You Should Know Before Visiting Chiang Mai

Can’t wait to see elephants up close, learn to prepare Thai cuisine, and visit ancient temples? Now, hang on a second. Before visiting Chiang Mai, there are a few things you should know.

Here are some things you should know before visiting Chiang Mai to make your trip more fun, safe, and pleasurable!

It Is Quite Hot

Chiang Mai has high temperatures and heavy humidity throughout the year. Those who are not accustomed to the weather may struggle. Pack lightweight, breathable clothes, remain hydrated, and avoid the warmest portion of the day. If possible, schedule your travel to avoid the hot season, which lasts from around mid-March to June.

Pack Light

You should know what you should carry with you to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Keep It Light is the key here.  Once you get here, you’ll be able to find most of the things you might need. Because Thailand’s weather is so pleasant, you can get away with packing light. 

Make room in your bag for all the amazing souvenirs and outfits you’ll certainly pick up at the various stores across the area.

What Should You Bring to Chiang Mai?

The most important things to remember to bring on a vacation are your personal papers, including a passport card and a credit card. Chiang Mai-specific must-haves for your baggage or backpack include the following.

  • Clothes that are light, loose, and breathable
  • Pair of walking and trekking shoes
  • Clothing that covers your knees and shoulders
  • Protection against mosquitoes and the sun
  • Hat and sunglasses

Currency

Thailand uses the Baht (THB) as its official currency. There are several banks in Thailand where you may exchange currency.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai has three distinct seasons and is generally colder than Bangkok and the rest of southern Thailand. From April through June, the weather is hot and humid, reaching tropical highs of 40 degrees. The rainy season lasts from May to November. December marks the beginning of the cold season, which lasts until the end of February. It is the peak season for tourism in Chiang Mai. The midday temperature can still reach 30 degrees.

The rainy season in Northern Thailand lasts from June to October, so this is definitely not the ideal time to go there.

The best time of year to visit Northern Thailand weather-wise is from November to February. The average daytime temperature is 25°C (77°F), and there are few rainy days. Typically, the Yee Peng Festival occurs in November, so you may want to plan your vacation around this event. If you like flowers, you may want to travel to Chiang Mai in February to attend the Flower Festival.

The months of March through May are the warmest in Northern Thailand, with temperatures often surpassing 40°C (104°F). It’s not the most pleasant time to visit, but Songkran, or Thai New Year, is celebrated every April and transforms the city into a massive water fight.

Where To Stay?

Old City, Nimman, Santitham, the Night Bazaar, and the Riverside are the five most sought-after lodging options in Chiang Mai. Each area has its own style and is best for certain types of tourists.

  • Old City. The Old City is ideal for first-time visitors, budget backpackers, foodies, and sight-seeing tourists since it is close to the neighborhood and contains the majority of the old temples and historical attractions.
  • Nimman. Nimman is loved by young tourists, expats, and digital nomads because of its abundance of hip cafes, pubs, and stores. The area is especially popular because of the exciting nightlife it offers.
  • Santitham. Santithan, which is renowned for giving visitors a taste of local life. This place is ideal for relaxing and getting away from the bustling life since it offers numerous inexpensive hotels and less visitors.
  • Night Bazaar. Night Bazaar is a paradise for those who like shopping and going out to parties since it has hundreds of shops, dance clubs, and beer bars. The proximity to the Old City and the old temples also makes this a desirable location.
  • Riverside. Riverside is ideal for family vacations because of its calm and pleasant ambiance. This neighborhood offers several luxury resorts and hotels, making it ideal for visitors looking for a good view of the Mae Ping River as well as a variety of luxury hotels.

Modes of Transportation in Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is accessible by any of the following six modes of transportation: the Songthaew (truck taxi), tuk-tuk, rental motorcycle, bicycle, rental car, or taxi/ridesharing.

  • Bicycle is a popular method to explore the ancient city and neighboring areas. Your hotel may simply hire or provide you with a complimentary bike. And if you need to hire a bike, the Any-wheel bike-sharing system is widely available.
  • Rental car is rather pricey. You must have a credit card or enough cash on hand to make the deposit.
  • Taxis and ride-sharing services such as Grab are other popular ways to move about Chiang Mai. You may quickly call a cab on the street or prepare for the ride by downloading the Grab app.
  • Songthaew is the most common form of public transportation in Chiang Mai. The trucks have two seat lines in the rear, thus the name Songthaew (meaning “two lines” in Thai).
  • Tuktuks are a little more costly than Songthaews, but they provide a more authentic and enjoyable experience. Check the distance before attempting to negotiate the price. Before entering a tuk-tuk, it is always a good idea to have some tuk-tuk safety tips, such as negotiation and verifying the distance, in order to avoid frauds.
  • The best way to get around Chiang Mai quickly is to rent a motorbike. There are many places near where you are staying that rent out motorbikes. Riding a motorcycle through the jungle and forests of Chiang Mai on a calm road will be a very enjoyable experience.

What To Do And See In Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is home to a wide variety of attractions, from historic sites and Buddhist temples to lively night markets and a large zoo. Stunning works of art, like as the snake sculptures at Wat Chedi Luang, and national parks, such as Doi Suthep-Pui, with waterfalls and ideal forest surrounds, can be found in this Thai mountain city.

You may shop for locally manufactured arts and crafts as well as cuisine from all over the world at the Warorot Market. Even at night, you can go on a tour through an animal park. This city is like a dream movie’s wonderland come to life.

Where And What To Eat In Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai’s cuisine and dining scene give visitors a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure. Most of the curries that are common in Thai restaurants are absent from Chiang Mai’s menu, but there is an abundance of robust, savory meats and veggies. The soups here feature a clear broth rather than using coconut milk, and the meal is often greasier than in southern Thai cuisine. Common ingredients include chicken, pig, seafood, eggplant, bamboo shoots, and cabbage. Sticky rice, also known as kaho neow, is a basic food, and the flavor palette is more limited.

Northern pork and ginger curry, khao soi or hot northern Thai noodle soup, Sai Oua (a local sausage), and Nam Prik (a Northern Thai chili dip) are just a few things to try while you’re here. here are at least sixty restaurants in Chiang Mai that have earned a Michelin Star, so you won’t have any trouble finding a place to dine that caters to your preferences here.

How Much Does It Cost To Stay In Chiang Mai?

If you’re looking for an affordable place to live, Chiang Mai is just as good as the rest of Thailand. You may easily stay within your budget in this city since it is far less expensive than Bangkok and because there is an abundance of street food, the city center is walkable, and the lodging is affordable. However, costs vary depending on aspects such as lodging, transportation, and activities.

Wrapping Up

Chiang Mai is Northern Thailand’s historic capital, with century-old temples, bustling night markets, and some of the greatest coffee shops in the nation. Chiang Mai is the finest spot to see Thai culture outside of Bangkok because of its genuine atmosphere. Explore not just the city itself, but also the outlying areas like as mountains, parks, and rice field valleys. 

To make your vacation more enjoyable take into account the following tips before going to Chiang Mai. 

Chiang Mai has so many places to visit, so what are you waiting for? Pack your luggage and get to Thailand right now!

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