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Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
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Plan Your Trip to Chiang Mai: Best of Chiang Mai Tourism

Thailand's "Rose of the North"
You could spend your whole vacation just exploring Chiang Mai's famous city center, where the remains of ancient walls encircle over 30 temples. Energetic travelers can climb 300 stairs to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, an ornate Buddhist temple in the hills. But don’t just explore historical sights—witness Thailand’s vibrant present at the Night Bazaar where you can master the art of haggling. The Botanic Garden is also a great place to soak up some local culture and to breathe in the delicate fragrance of Thai orchids. 

Travel Advice

Essential Chiang Mai

Traveler Guides

Chiang Mai Is Great For

Colorful bazaars and markets

Cooking up a storm

Chiang Mai Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Chiang Mai

Walk. There are over 300 temples in Chiang Mai – so visually it is an interesting place for a wander. Allow time in your planning to just ‘be’ in the city, walk around, have a coffee, find a little bar, explore the many bookshops and local markets. Don’t fill all of your time with planned activities.
Chiang Mai has some wonderful tournaments during the year which are great times to visit, like the Cricket 8's around Easter, the town comes alive and the atmosphere is excellent. Also October/November for golf, there is an amateur golf tournament run by Golf Asian, another great week for a sports enthusiast. I enjoy going to both and will be back again this year for golf.
Please be careful when you are crossing a street here as there is no "pedestrian right of way.” The vehicle will win and you will then perhaps need more than a pharmacy.

In the words of those who've been there before ...

Kirsty S
Chiang Mai isn’t known as the “rose of the north” for nothing. Its beauty and charm are evident in almost every corner of the city and in the natural landscape that surrounds it. As such, it’s the perfect destination for couples looking for a combination of adventure, culture and relaxation, all set against a backdrop of some truly spectacular scenery.
Chiang Mai has something for everyone: from temples to college-town nightlife and touristy bars; delicious street food to boutique restaurants; from luxurious spa treatments to adventurous excursions to nearby mountains, rivers, elephant parks, and hill tribes; from massage & massage training to muay Thai - as a spectator or as a participant!; from vegan restaurants to American comfort food; from hostels galore to luxury hotels...
Food, night markets, shopping, culture, handicrafts, history... what else would you want? It's all here in Chiang Mai.

What is the best way to get there?


The most common way for foreign visitors to get to Chiang Mai is by air. It is possible to fly directly into the Chiang Mai International Airport from nearby Southeast Asian cities, but this is generally not an option. Most travelers will connect via Bangkok. Fortunately, air travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai can be extremely cheap.

For detailed information on getting to Chiang Mai, including alternative modes of transportation, please refer to this article.

Do I need a visa?

Thailand has many bilateral agreements in place with other nations that allow visa-free travel. To check if your country is on that list please check here.

If your country is not listed, you will need to apply for a visa at your nearest Thai embassy. You can check here for more information on visas.

When is the best time to visit?

Winter: Late November through to mid-February are the cooler months to be in Chiang Mai. You will find you may need a jacket and jeans at this time of year. Some of the pools in Chiang Mai can be quite cold if they don’t get the sun. The days are still warm and pleasant. From mid-February onward, it starts to warm up and it’s unlikely you’ll need warmer clothes unless you are going into the mountains.

Chiang Mai also, unfortunately, suffers from air pollution in certain months due to crop burning. Please check out our forums to keep up to date on the situation.


There are more than 300 temples in Chiang Mai. Visually, it is an interesting place for a wander. Allow time in your planning to just “be” in the city, walk around, have a coffee, find a little bar, explore the many bookshops and local markets.


To get around town you will usually use a songthaew or a tuk-tuk. Songthaews are red trucks with bench seats along the back and a cover over the top. The rate is 20B per person (young children don’t pay). Flag one down and say where you want to go. If the driver says no, it is probably because they are not going in your direction or on a set route. You can also negotiate to hire a tuk-tuk by the hour or to do a specific trip. Negotiate with the driver. Tuk-tuks will charge you between 60B and 100B for trips around town. They seat three comfortably.

For more detailed information on getting around, you can refer to this article.

On the ground
What is the timezone?
Indochina Time, GNT +7
What are the voltage/plug types?
220 Volts / 50 Hz. Plugs are Type A, B, C, F (https://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/)
What is the currency?
Thai Baht
Are ATMs readily accessible?
Are credit cards widely accepted?
Yes and no. The cards accepted can vary widely but if you intend to visit street stalls or use tuk-tuks/motorcycle taxis, it is useful to have cash.
Is it easy to find a bank?
Tipping is not customary in Thailand, there is absolutely no mandatory requirement to tip anyone, but small gratuities for great service are very much appreciated.

Are there local customs I should know?

The King
The king is very highly regarded in Thailand, as evidenced by the pictures displayed everywhere. Do not say or do anything disrespectful of the king or the royal family, even to the extent of stomping on a Thai coin or banknote which has been dropped and is rolling/blowing away. (It bears an image of the King's head, and is highly insulting to be touched by your feet.)
Royal anthem
Before each performance at movie theatres, the Thai Royal Anthem — known as Phleng Sansoen Phra Barami (เพลงสรรเสริญพระบารมี) or sometimes more simply as "Kha Wora" — is played. It is mandatory to stand up while it’s playing.
Temples and Monks
When visiting temples, dress conservatively. Women particularly should wear long skirts or trousers and cover their shoulders and knees. Many temples do not permit photography.
Remove your shoes
Always remove your shoes when entering temples (the same rule applies when entering a person's home), and do not sit with your feet towards the Buddha. Sit either cross-legged or with your feet tucked behind you.
No nudity
Thai people are very modest in nature, and public nudity is frowned upon even on beaches.
Frequently Asked Questions about Chiang Mai

We recommend staying at one of the most popular hotels in Chiang Mai, which include:

If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Chiang Mai between June and August, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between December and February.