Located in the North of Thailand, Chiang Mai offers a relaxed, fun atmosphere whilst being home to historic sights and temples. We share these Chiang Mai Travel tips, perfect for those heading to Thailand for the first time.
Best time to visit Chiang Mai
The best time to visit Chiang Mai is between October to March. This is when the weather is at its coolest and you can enjoy a light breeze in the winter months. April is the hottest month in Chiang Mai whilst the rainy season runs between June and the start of October. No matter what time of year you are visiting Thailand, Chiang Mai needs to be in your Northern Thailand itinerary because of its rich culture, fascinating history, and amazing cafes and restaurants.
You could choose to visit Chiang Mai for one of the festivals celebrated in the city, with the Loi Krathong and Songkran festivals being the most popular.
Getting to Chiang Mai
Although some Asian countries do offer direct flights to Chiang Mai, most visitors visit the city via Bangkok. From Bangkok to Chiang Mai, the quickest option is to fly, with flights costing around 1500B for return tickets when booked in advance. For a more scenic route, you can take an overnight train to Chiang Mai whilst buses are available for under 500B but take up to 12 hours.
Getting around Chiang Mai
A lot of the attractions in Chiang Mai can be found in the Old City, an area surrounded by water and an easy place to walk between attractions. You can also see Songthaews across the city, a local form of transportation that looks like a truck, often red. Download the grab app or use taxis to get to places further afield and use the shuttle but between the airport and the city.
Typical prices in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is a great place for budget travelers. You can stay in a fantastic hostel in a great location for as little as 440B a night whilst private rooms start at 1000B. Even the mid-range and luxury hotels have great offers in the off-season, with 4 and 5-star hotel rooms starting at 2500B.
Street food can be found for under 100B, sit-down meals in local restaurants will cost around 200B per person and most bars offer beer for under 150B. There are plenty of cool cafes in Chiang Mai but expect to pay at least 300B for brunch or lunch.
How to save money in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is an affordable place to stay and there are plenty of ways you can enjoy the city on a budget. Firstly, compare accommodation. Chiang Mai has plenty of hostels available but if you plan on spending here for an extended period of time, check out the apartment rentals for more space and better prices than hotels. Eating the local food, whether it is street food or in a local restaurant, is always going to help you save money and 7/11 is a great choice for those looking for quick, easy meals on the go. Browse the discounted tour prices on Get Your Guide or Klook, we will leave some links in the description, but these sites are great for discounted entrance tickets or affordable day trips to the nearby national park or to Chiang Rai. The purchasing souvenirs, make sure to barter for the best prices, visit in the low season and take advantage of the happy hours or smaller, local bars.
Best things to do in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is home to many, many temples that you can explore, with the most popular all being found in the Old City. Head out to the national park to see Doi Suthep and explore Doki Inthanon National Park. Explore the markets and make sure to try the famous northern dish Khao Soi. Spend a morning at the Grand Canyon and spend afternoons relaxing in one of the many cute and quirky cafes. Head to the Night Bazaar in the evenings or enjoy a cocktail from a rooftop bar. Our 3-day itinerary in Chiang Mai shares how you can see the best sights in just a few days.