Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand, after Bangkok, and one of its most interesting destinations, mainly for its relaxed atmosphere and the fact that it is one of the main cultural hubs of the country. It is a cosmopolitan city, featuring the same contrasts that can be seen in Bangkok in terms of tradition Vs modernity, but here there is this feeling of being in a more authentic and genuine environment, where you truly understand why Thailand is called the “Land of Smiles”. It is undoubtedly a mandatory destination to include in a Thailand travel itinerary. In this Travel Guide of Chiang Mai, you’ll find several useful tips to help you plan your trip the best possible way.
Chiang Mai is located in the north of Thailand, about 800 km from Bangkok, in a mountainous area with dense forests.
How to get to Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai can be reached from Bangkok by train (12 hours of travel), bus (11 hours) or plane (flight of 70 minutes). Both the train and the bus trip can be made overnight which is the best option if you’re looking to save one night of accommodation in a hotel. You’ll also be able to enjoy the day visiting the city instead of waisting it travelling across the country.
For more info check out: How to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok
Accommodation in Chiang Mai
The central area of the city, known as “Old Town” is the heart and the main tourist centre of the city. This is where you can find a large variety of accommodation for different budgets, from Hostels to more upscale hotels. Depending on the type of accommodation you chose, the rates may go from €2 per night up to €800 per night. The intermediate accommodations will be within the range of €15 to €40 per night in a single room.
For longer stays, the modern neighbourhood of Nimman, 10 minutes by car/motorbike from the center, can be a good option. Here you’ll find fully equipped and very comfortable apartments for rates as low as €16 per night.
For more info check out: Where to stay in Chiang Mai
What to do in Chiang Mai
The city is filled with temples scattered all over the city and worth visiting, but also with opportunities for more adventurous and outdoors activities such as trekkings in the forest that surrounds the city, cliff diving in the Grand Canyon or zip-lining. The countless original cafes scattered throughout the city, as well as the peaceful city park are also excellent options to spend some time. You’ll always have something to do, that’s for sure!
For more info check out: What to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand
What and where to eat in Chiang Mai
If there’s one thing that this city has in abundance, as in so many other cities in Thailand, are places to indulge insome delicious Thai food. From the most humble street food stalls and typical restaurants on every corner, to more sophisticated and modern restaurants and cafes.
Some of the most popular dishes to find here are the Pad Thai (Thailand’s official dish), fried rice with chicken, Khao Soi or Massaman Curry. If you’re not a big fan of spicy food, then don’t forget to say the magic words: “No spicy“!
Transports in Chiang Mai
It is quite easy to move around the city and although there are no public buses or subway, there are several other transport options, such as the Tuk Tuk, the Songthaew, the traditional taxis, or alternatively, you can always rent a bicycle or a motorbike.