People go to Chiang Mai to see famous monuments such as Tha Phae Gate, as well as to enjoy its many popular attractions like Chiang Mai Zoo. The city is also known for its rich culture and cafés. Learn about the local heritage of Chiang Mai at top landmarks like Wat Phra Singh and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and CentralPlaza Chiang Mai Airport are other popular sights to see.
Nightlife is one of Chiang Mai specialties and the city really comes alive after dark. The options span a wide range of tastes, styles and budgets. Dance parties, rooftop bars, chilled-out lounges with live music, cultural shows, street shopping and an electrifying gay scene all sum up the gist of what’s available. Explore Bangkok by night and get a taste of what it’s all about.
Shopping in Chiang Mai is an experience everyone should try. The sheer variety of shopping options is enough to make your head spin. The city is rightfully famed for its collection of markets, but there’s a growing number of air-conditioned megamalls and ancient retail enclaves, so whatever you’re looking for you have a good chance of finding it in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai's restaurants offer a wide range of food, second only to Bangkok. Naturally it's a good place to sample northern Thai food: in particular, hunt down some khao soi, yellow wheat noodles in curry broth, traditionally served with chicken (gai) or beef (neua), but available some places as vegetarian or with seafood - see listings below. Another local specialty is hang ley, Lanna-style pork curry. There is also a wide range of excellent international food restaurants, from cheap hamburger stands to elaborate Italian eateries.
Chiang Mai is a city in mountainous northern Thailand that dates back to the 1200s. Its Old City area still retains vestiges of walls and moats from its history as a cultural and religious center. It's also home to hundreds of elaborate temples, including 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang, adorned with carved serpents Chiang Mai is a study in vibrant contrasts-here, ancient temples (over 300) are as much of a draw as trendy bars, hotels and restaurants. You'll also find adventure activities (like white-water rafting tours) and a wide range of spas.
Although the city (thesaban nakhon, "city municipality") of Chiang Mai only officially covers most parts of the Mueang Chiang Mai District, with a population of 127,000, the city's sprawl extends into several neighboring districts. The Chiang Mai metropolitan area has a population of nearly one million people, more than half the total of Chiang Mai Province.
The city is subdivided into four khwaeng (electoral wards): Nakhon Ping, Srivijaya, Mengrai, and Kawila. The first three are on the west bank of the Ping River, and Kawila is on the east bank. Nakhon Ping District includes the northern part of the city. Srivijaya, Mengrai, and Kawila consist of the western, southern, and eastern parts, respectively. The city center—within the city walls—is mostly within Srivijaya ward.
Chiang Mai has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw), tempered by the low latitude and moderate elevation, with warm to hot weather year-round, though nighttime conditions during the dry season can be cool and much lower than daytime highs. The maximum temperature ever recorded was 42.4 °C (108.3 °F) in May 2005. Cold and hot weather effects occur immediately but cold effects last longer than hot effects and contribute to higher cold related mortality risk among old people aged more than 85 years.
According to Thailand's Tourist Authority, in 2013 Chiang Mai had 14.1 million visitors: 4.6 million foreigners and 9.5 million Thais. In 2016, tourist arrivals were expected to grow by approximately 10 percent to 9.1 million, with Chinese tourists increasing by seven percent to 750,000 and international arrivals by 10 percent to 2.6 million. Tourism in Chiang Mai has been growing annually by 15 percent per year since 2011, mostly due to Chinese tourists who account for 30 percent of international arrivals. In 2015, 7.4 million tourists visited Chiang Mai. Out of these, 35 percent were foreign tourists. The number of tourists has increased with an average rate of 13.6 percent annually between 2009 and 2015. The major reasons that have made Chiang Mai a tourist attraction are its topography, climate, and cultural history.
Chiang Mai is estimated to have 32,000–40,000 hotel rooms and Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) is Thailand's fourth largest airport, after Suvarnabhumi (BKK), Don Mueang (DMK), and Phuket (HKT). Planning is underway for a second airport with a capacity to serve 10 million annual passengers.
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) aims to market Chiang Mai as a global MICE city as part of a five-year plan. The TCEB forecasts revenue from MICE to rise by 10 percent to 4.24 billion baht in 2013 and the number of MICE travellers to rise by five percent to 72,424.
Tourism has also brought benefits for the local community of Chiang Mai. For example, tourism has played a tremendous role in promoting arts and crafts market in Chiang Mai. Tourists have increased demand for traditional crafts and art forms that has resulted in the incentives for the local artists to enhance their work thus adding to the prosperity of the sector. Moreover, there are great opportunities for agritourism in Chiang Mai. The factor analysis illustrates three types of agri needs, activities and shopping, facilities, services and location and the last one attractions and environment. Agritoursim is a type of business that a farmer conducts for additional farm income. Farmers, through the promotions of agricultural products, provide enjoyment and educate public about farming and agriculture.
The inhabitants speak Northern Thai, also known as Lanna or Kham Mueang. The script used to write this language, called the Tai Tham alphabet, is studied only by scholars, and the language is commonly written with the standard Thai alphabet. English, Chinese, and Japanese are used in hotels and travel-related businesses.Museums
• Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center
• Chiang Mai National Museum, which highlights the history of the region and the Kingdom of Lan Na.
• Highland People Discovery Museum, a showcase on the history of the local mountain tribes.
• Mint Bureau of Chiang Mai or Sala Thanarak, Treasury Department, Ministry of Finance, Rajdamnern Road (one block from AUA Language Center). Has an old coin museum open to the public during business hours. The Lan Na Kingdom used leaf (or line) money made of brass and silver bubbles, also called "pig-mouth" money. The exact original technique of making pig-mouth money is still disputed, and because the silver is very thin and breakable, good pieces are now very rare.
• Bank of Thailand Museum
• MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, a museum of contemporary art which opened in 2016. It is one of only two museums of contemporary art in Thailand, with the other museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bangkok, considered somewhat more conservative in tastes than MAIIAM.Dining
Khan tok is a century-old Lan Na Thai tradition in Chiang Mai. It is an elaborate dinner or lunch offered by a host to guests at various ceremonies or parties, such as weddings, housewarmings, celebrations, novice ordinations, or funerals. It can also be held in connection with celebrations for specific buildings in a Thai temple and during Buddhist festivals such as Khao Pansa, Og Pansa, Loi Krathong, and Thai New Year (Songkran).
Khao Soi is a Northern Thai noodle curry dish found mostly in Chiang Mai. Khao Soi is usually presented in a simple bowl, with fresh lime wedge, shallots, and pickled cabbage.
Chiang Mai hosts many Thai festivals, including:
• Loi Krathong (known locally as Yi Peng), held on the full moon of the 12th month of the traditional Thai lunar calendar, being the full moon of the second month of the old Lanna calendar. In the Western calendar this usually falls in November. Every year thousands of people assemble floating banana-leaf containers (krathong) decorated with flowers and candles and deposit them on the waterways of the city in worship of the Goddess of Water. Lanna-style sky lanterns (khom fai or kom loi), which are hot-air balloons made of paper, are launched into the air. These sky lanterns are believed to help rid the locals of troubles and are also used to decorate houses and streets.
• Songkran is held in mid-April to celebrate the traditional Thai New Year. Chiang Mai has become one of the most popular locations to visit during this festival. A variety of religious and fun-related activities (notably the indiscriminate citywide water fight) take place each year, along with parades and Miss Songkran beauty competition.
• Chiang Mai Flower Festival is a three-day festival held during the first weekend in February each year; this event occurs when Chiang Mai's temperate and tropical flowers are in full bloom.
• Tam Bun Khan Dok, the Inthakhin (City Pillar) Festival, starts on the day of the waning moon of the sixth lunar month and lasts 6–8 days.
Bangkok enjoys a tropical monsoon climate, meaning that it has 3 main seasons: hot season from March to June, rainy season from July to October, and cool season between November and February. In one of the hottest cities in the world, expect daytime temperatures to be over 30°C for most of the year. An exception to this fact is when you visit in late December and early January.
The 2 periods – April to May and September to October – are when Bangkok is at its most humid. The southwestern monsoons arrive between May and October, bringing unsettled, cloudy skies. For many people, this is a welcome respite, though flash floods often occur in the outskirts and low areas of the city.
A number of bus stations link the city to central, southeast, and northern Thailand. The central Chang Puak Terminal (north of Chiang Puak Gate) provides local services within Chiang Mai Province. The Chiang Mai Arcade bus terminal northeast of the city centre (which can be reached with a songthaew or tuk-tuk ride) provides services to over 20 other destinations in Thailand including Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, and Phuket. There are several services a day from Chiang Mai Arcade terminal to Mo Chit Station in Bangkok (a 10- to 12-hour journey).
The state railway operates 10 trains a day to Chiang Mai Station from Bangkok. Most journeys run overnight and take approximately 12–15 hours. Most trains offer first-class (private cabins) and second-class (seats fold out to make sleeping berths) service. Chiang Mai is the northern terminus of the Thai railway system.
Chiang Mai International Airport receives up to 28 flights a day from Bangkok (flight time about 1 hour 10 minutes) and also serves as a local hub for services to other northern cities such as Chiang Rai, Phrae, and Mae Hong Son. International services also connect Chiang Mai with other regional centers, including cities in other Asian countries.
The locally preferred form of transport is personal motorbike and, increasingly, private car. Local public transport is via tuk-tuk, songthaew, bus, or rickshaw. New electric tuks-tuks were introduced into the city in June 2017.
As population density continues to grow, greater pressure is placed upon the city's transportation system. During peak hours, the road traffic is often badly congested. The city officials as well as researchers and experts have been trying to find feasible solutions to tackle the city's traffic problems. Most of them agree that factors such as lack of public transport, increasing number of motor vehicles, inefficient land use plan and urban sprawl, have led to these problems.
The latest development is that Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) has approved a draft decree on the light railway transit system project in Chiang Mai. If the draft is approved by the Thai cabinet, the construction could begin in 2020 and be completed by 2027. It is believed that such a system would mitigate Chiang Mai's traffic problems to a large degree.
The largest hospital in Chiang Mai City is Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, run by the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University. The Ministry of Public Health does not operate any hospitals in Chiang Mai City, with the closest one Nakornping Hospital, a regional hospital in Mae Rim District and is the MOPH's largest hospital in the province.
To reach for the city of Bangkok there are two main airports, one running in the North and another from the East of Bangkok. It is the Suvarnabhumi Airport that locates itself 25 km to the east and the Don Muang Airport located 24 km to the north catering to domestic and international flights in abundance.
Suvarnabhumi airport has direct and easy connectivity to the city by taxis, buses, and Airport Rail Link that is a high-speed train service in downtown Bangkok. There will be round the clock availability of roadway services from outside both the airports to drop you to your final destination.
The roadway services offer you with buses and taxis that get you wherever you wish to be in Bangkok. There are three bus terminals considered to be the major ones, the Northern Bus Terminal- Mochit, the Eastern Bus Terminal-Ekkamai, and the Southern Bus Terminal-Sa Tai.
The buses will take you not just round the city but also to Pattaya, Krabi, Phuket, etc. cities neighbouring Bangkok. If looking out for taxi services, then do know that the taxis run according to the metered price so confirm the prices before the journey.
Bangkok has great rail connectivity throughout Thailand and also to other neighbouring countries. Hua Lamphong serves as the main railway station of the city to travel to neighbouring countries and many other parts of Thailand. There is another railway station, Thornburi station that connects the city from within for travelling to the local parts of the city.
2D1N Trek Adventure Chiang Mai | 3 Days 2 Night Trek Mea Wang Adventure Tour | Chiang Rai Day Trip from Chiang Mai including Golden | Chiang Rai One Day Tour from Chiang Mai including White Temple | Doi Inthanon National Park Full Day Tour | Elephant Safari Tour One Day | Elephant Safari Tour One Day & Karen Long Neck | Elephant Ridding 25 minutes Minimum 2 pax | Eagle Track By Gold Package 35 Platforms | Flight of the Gibbon Chiangmai | Hot Spring and White Temple Tour Chiangmai | Thai Elephant Conservation Cente | One Day Walk with Elephants Chiangmai | Trek Tour One Day Bath the Elephant Chiangmai | Trek Tour One Day Sanpatong | Trekking in Less Tourist Area Mae Taeng Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Zoo Tour Minimum 2 pax | Chiangmai City & Temples Tour | Chiangmai Temples & City Tour Minimum 2 pax | Doi Suthep and Hmong Hilltribe Tour | Doi Suthep and Phuping Palace Half Day Tour | Thai Handicraft and Silver Tours | Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiangmai | Elephant Show and Orchid Farm Minimum 2 pax | Home industries Sankampang (Minimum 2 pax Tours | Hot Spring San Kham Phangy | Private tour Doi Suthep
Chiangmai Night Safari (Minimum 2 pax Tour | Khan Toke Dinner at Khum Khan Toke Minimum 2 pax Tour |