Share this page:

All you need to know to visit Chiang Mai

Northern Thailand
700 km from Bangkok
Province of Chiang Mai
Thai prononciation : Tchiang maï


Recomm. stay
2 à 4 jours


Practical guide to go and visit Chiang Mai

The city is considered as the capital of the North and is very popular with thai people. Chiang Mai is much quieter than Bangkok and has a lot of charm thanks to the town center framed by ramparts with 4 doors and bordered by moats that gives a very bucolic side to the city. According to several sources food in Chiang Mai is one of the most tasty and variedin Thailand. Strolling through Chiang Mai at night is also very pleasant. You can enjoy the many restaurants, music bars and a lively nightlife less boisterous than in Bangkok. There is also the famous Night Bazaar and the Walking Streets on Saturdays and Sundays for shopping and enjoying street food at low prices.

With its 300 temples, the city center, the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep that overlooks the city and especially the surrounding mountains where you can do many excursions and treks that allow you to meet mountain tribes, you have many things to do in Chiang Mai ! One of the great experiences to live in Chiang Mai is spend the day with the elephants but be careful not to do it anywhere! Important, boycott the places that offer you to ride on the back of elephants ! Elephant nature park is the best palce to go to spend time with elephants. I also recommend you to take one thai cooking class in Chiang Mai.
If you have the opportunity, try to come to Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong (in November) or Songkran (mid-April). These festivals are particularly nice in Chiang Mai especially Loy Krathong which is really beautiful here. Personally, I also like the Chiang Mai Flower Festival which takes place in February. However, it is imperative to book your hotel in advance (see here) for these occasions, otherwise you will have great difficulty finding a room.
Also note that air quality in Chiang Mai is very often very bad from end of February to mid-April. Wearing a N95 mask can be recommended (use website or applications to know the AQI level)

chiang mai

Accommodations in Chiang Mai

In Chiang Mai there are plenty of hotels and especially guesthouses. However, in high season, there is not that rooms available in guest houses. Booking in advance is highly recommended during Flower Festival (first week-end in February), Songkran (mid April) and Loy Krathong (november) !
Guesthouses in Chiang Mai are mostly concentrated in the old city center, on Moon Muang Road and near Thapae Gate. This is also the most pleasant part of Chiang Mai and is close to the most interesting temples in the city.

Find accommodation in Chiang Mai

My recommandations

People often ask me what accommodations I recommend in Thailand, here are my recommandations in Chiang Mai.

Hotel in Chiang Mai

Hotel in Chiang Mai

Hotel in Chiang Mai

Guesthouse in Chiang Mai

Hotel in Chiang Mai

Guesthouse in Chiang Mai

arrow_circle_right See all accommodations in Chiang Mai

Practical information about Chiang Mai

If you are coming from Bangkok, try to come with the night train. It is very comfortable. It's quite an experience! There are brand new trains, more modern and comfortable that I did not try yet. But book your tickets in advance to make sure you have a sleeper. You can book your trains tickets on line on this website (which I tested and approved).

If you have the opportunity, I recommend you come to Chiang Mai to be here on a Sunday and enjoy the Sunday Walking Street, for me, the best night market in Thailand.
On the surrounding peaks, like Doi Inthanon, the highest mount in Thailand, temperatures can be very cool in the winter, especially in the morning. Take a sweater and maybe a scarf in your suitcase.

How to go to Chiang Mai ?

Chiang Mai is the capital of the North so it is very easy to connect to Chiang Mai from everywhere in Thailand. Especially from the north, the center or from Isaan. From Southern Thailand generally, travelers use the aircraft to avoid very long train or bus journeys. From Bangkok Mochit Bus Terminal, buses depart very very often. Between public buses and VIP buses, you'll have the choice. Some international flights also land in Chiang Mai. A lot of travelers like to take the Bangkok - Chiang Mai night train but you have to book your tickets in advance to be sure to have a sleeper (you can book online HERE).

arrow_circle_right See all options to go to Chiang Mai

My selection of tours & activities in Chiang Mai

Live Thai rural life for a day Chiang Mai

Live Thai rural life for a day

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Spend the day in a small rural village near Chiang Mai and live a summary of the Thai local life in the countryside (rice palnting, breeding, cooking, traditions...).

Two days trek at Doi Inthanon and Ban Pa Pong Piang (Chiang Mai) Chiang Mai

Two days trek at Doi Inthanon and Ban Pa Pong Piang (Chiang Mai)

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Discover the nature and life of the Karen hill tribe at Doi Inthanon mountains near Chiang Mai. This tour will also take you to see the most beautiful rice terraces in Thailand!

Sacred Jungle Trail Trek up to Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai Chiang Mai

Sacred Jungle Trail Trek up to Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Trek up to Doi Suthep temple, the most revered temple in Chiang Mai with a guide starting from the monk's trail and then plunging into the jungle. You will come across a forest temple and hidden waterfalls.

How to get around in Chiang Mai ?

In Chiang Mai, there are almost all types of transport to get around (but no metro or tram): bus lines, songthaews, motorcycle taxis, samlaws (pedicabs) tuk- tuks and taxis. Red songthaews are the most used to get around the city and go to Doi Suthep. They are always cheaper than tuk-tuks. A ride in Chiang Mai will cost you between 20 and 60 baht.
Prefer to ride in vehicles that already have passengers otherwise you will pay less. To get to Doi Suthep, if you are not a group, hiring a red songthaews to go directly will be the most expensive option. There are specific red cars to the temple. They usually fill up at a stop near Chiang Mai Zoo. So ask a siongthaew to take you to Doi Suthep bus station and then take on another red vehicle to go at the temple (but you will have to wait because it will only leave when it has enough passengers). The ascent costs 40 THB per person. And back down to the zoo is 40 THB, to the old city gates costs between 60 and 70 THB depending on the door.
At Chinag Mai Bus Terminal 2 (Arcade), you can take a red songthaew at the banner "Minibus". They only leave when they are full and take you to Thapae Gate, for 20 baht. Same from the train station parking lot. From Chiang Mai airport, a taxi will ask around 120 baht to take you to the town and a songthaew will ask for 60 THB only and 100 THB to go to the Bus Terminal. There are now also very practical new ''Smat Buses"one line going to the airport.
Of course, you can get around in Chiang Mai with taxis, privatize a red car or use apps like GRAB, BOLT or Indrive to order a car with driver.
Note that there is a free songthaew between several hotels in the city and Central Airport Plaza, a large shopping mall near the airport. To go to the nearby cities, you have to take the yellow, white or green songthaews. Many leave the Warorot market. You can also use GRAB app (similar to UBER but UBER does not operate in Southestern Asia any more) to order a transportation.

My practical videos about Chiang Mai

Festivals in Chiang Mai ?

Here is a list of the main festivals taking place every year in Chiang Mai. I mention their dates as soon as they are official on Thai Festivals page.
chinese new year celebrations

Chinese New Year celebrations

This festival generally takes place in the month of February

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Chinese New Year celebrations

chiang mai flower festival

Chiang Mai Flower Festival

This festival generally takes place in the month of February

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Chiang Mai Flower Festival

festival de la fraise

Festival de la Fraise

This festival generally takes place in the month of February

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Festival de la Fraise

lanna saa paper festival

Lanna Saa paper Festival

This festival generally takes place in the month of February

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Lanna Saa paper Festival

chiang mai international balloon festival

Chiang Mai International Balloon Festival

This festival generally takes place in the month of March

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Chiang Mai International Balloon Festival

poy sang long

Poy Sang Long

This festival generally takes place in the month of April

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Poy Sang Long

visakha bucha day walking ceremony to doi suthep

Visakha Bucha Day Walking Ceremony to Doi Suthep

This festival generally takes place in the month of May

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Visakha Bucha Day Walking Ceremony to Doi Suthep

chiang mai city pillar shrine festival

Chiang Mai City Pillar Shrine Festival

This festival generally takes place in the month of May

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Chiang Mai City Pillar Shrine Festival

chiang mai yee peng festival

Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival

This festival generally takes place in the month of November

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival

chiang mai loy krathong & yee peng festival

Chiang Mai Loy Krathong & Yee Peng Festival

This festival generally takes place in the month of November

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Chiang Mai Loy Krathong & Yee Peng Festival

wat pan tao loy krathong candle ceremony

Wat Pan Tao Loy Krathong Candle Ceremony

This festival generally takes place in the month of November

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Wat Pan Tao Loy Krathong Candle Ceremony

chiang mai ping fai festival

Chiang Mai Ping Fai Festival

This festival generally takes place in the month of December

arrow_circle_right Plus d'infos sur Chiang Mai Ping Fai Festival

Other places to see in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Zoo Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Zoo
just before the several kilometers rise up to the Doi Suthep mountain, it mainly famous because of its pandas couple and their baby. It is very large and has many animal species.
Wat Pan Tao Chiang Mai
Wat Pan Tao
and its magnificent Lanna style teak building which was a royal residence before being transformed into a temple.
Wat Chiang Man Chiang Mai
Wat Chiang Man
this is the first temple built in Chiang Mai and therefore the oldest one in the city.
Wat Suan Dok Chiang Mai
Wat Suan Dok
not particularly interesting to visit but like in Wat Chedi Luang you can meet the monks to discuss with them
Wat U-Mong Chiang Mai
Wat U-Mong
(the one just outside the city. There is another temple with the same name attractive in the city center ). In the forest, with underground sanctuaries, in the nature and with one little lake, Wat U Mong is a very relaxing place.
Wat Ched Yod Chiang Mai
Wat Ched Yod
just a little outside of town on the the highway,he has beautifully preserved stucco carvings.
Wat Chedi Luang Chiang Mai
Wat Chedi Luang
with its beautiful chedi. Here, you can meet and chat with buddhists monks in a dedicated spacee
Wat Buppharam Chiang Mai
Wat Buppharam
which has certainly a historical and architectural interest but is best remembered for his statue of Donald
Wat Lok Molee Chiang Mai
Wat Lok Molee
small temple that is often missed but has a large brick chedi and beautiful a wooden hall.
Doi Inthanon Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon
It is the highest mountain in Thailand and also one very interesting national park near Chiang Mai's. People like to go there especially for treks, discovering nature, birds, flowers, waterfalls, mountain villages and rice fields. And of course the two pagodas on the summit.
Huay Thung Tao Lake Chiang Mai
Huay Thung Tao Lake
This reservoir with mountains in the background is located about ten kilometers from the center of Chiang Mai and is a good place to relax with family, enjoy the lake and its activities (swimming, pedal boats, kayak ...) and eat good food. The restaurants serve very good Thai food at very affordable prices that you eat in small huts.
Wat Phra That Doi Kham Chiang Mai
Wat Phra That Doi Kham
This temple full of charm is perched on a mountain and little known by foreign tourists. But is quite interesting and offers among other things a beautiful view over the valley where you can see the Royal Park Rajapruek. A nice place to couple with the visit of Rajapruek floral park .
Royal Park Rajapruek Chiang Mai
Royal Park Rajapruek
This large floral park dedicated to King Rama IX is about ten kilometers from Chiang Mai. There are many plants and flowers including a charming orchid garden. The best time to visit it is from December to February when many flowers are blooming. You will also find a nice royal pavilion there.
Huay Kaew Waterfall Chiang Mai
Huay Kaew Waterfall
It is the easiest waterfall to reach from Chiang Mai city. Located at the foot of the Doi Suthep mount, it can be a pleasant stop after visiting the perched temple. Just be aware that at the end of the dry season, the water level can be very low and therefore the waterfall far less interesting.
Wat Phra That Doi Saket Chiang Mai
Wat Phra That Doi Saket
This temple stands on a hill 27 kilometers outside Chiang Mai and looks a bit like Wat Phra That Doi Suthep with its golden chedi but is smaller and less touristy. A little further up, there is a temple which offers a magnificent view of the surroundings especially during the rainy season.
Grand Canyon Chiang Mai
Grand Canyon
Natural Canyon filled with fresh water, 18 km from Chiang Mai, the place hosts two parks, a large waterpark with plenty of elements including inflatable ones and another quieter, more beautiful and cheaper where you can also swim and cross the canyon on a zippeline.
Muang On Cave Chiang Mai
Muang On Cave
The interior of this cave on the road from Chiang Mai to San Kamphaeng Hot Springs is really impressive. This is a stop that I recommend you to do before diving into the hot mineral water pool a few kilometers further or when you go to see Bo Sang handicraft village.
Bhubing Palace Chiang Mai
Bhubing Palace
The interior of this royal palace can not be visited but people come for its gardens, its rose garden, its reservoir, its winter flowers, its centenarian ferns... Not a must visit in my opinion but that will interest flowers and plants lovers and it is not far from Doi Suthep temple.
Wat Ton Kwen Chiang Mai
Wat Ton Kwen
This small temple and its wooden hall located about fifteen kilometers from Chiang Mai does not lack of charm. Very fe tourists go visit it. Foreigners are really not numerous to go there since many of whom are unaware of its existence but it is a nice quick stop to add on the road to Rajapruek Park or Wat Phra That Doi Kham.
Wat Ban Den Chiang Mai
Wat Ban Den
This gigantic temple about fifty kilometers from Chiang Mai city located in the Mae Taeng district is quite famous. There are many buildings and amazing statues sometimes flashy colors. Many people say it is the most beautiful temple in the area. I have a different opinion but go there to make yours.
Kuan Im Chokchai chinese temple Chiang Mai
Kuan Im Chokchai chinese temple
You will not find this surprising little Chinese temple in any travel book guide. However, it is worth visiting it for its dragon and tiger statues crossed by corridors with colorful murals. An amazing visit that may change to all what you saw during your stay in Chiang Mai...
Wiang Kum Kam Chiang Mai
Wiang Kum Kam
Wiang Kum Kam is an ancient city in which there are ruins of temples that are 5 or 6 centuries old and others a little more recent. It is especially a god site for bike rides in its small streets, to discover its temples. Little known to tourists, this is not a must visit in Chiang Mai but a place that I personally like.
Warorot Market Chiang Mai
Warorot Market
It is the largest and most frequented market in Chiang Mai. On 3 floors in two large buildings separated by a street, there are many things to buy and tourists come for the curiosity to visit this amazing big market.
Wat Muen Ngoen Kong Chiang Mai
Wat Muen Ngoen Kong
Little known temple but not lacking in charm. It has a lovely lanna-style ordination hall, a golden chedi and a reclining Buddha in one of its halls.
Elephant Poopoo Paper Park Chiang Mai
Elephant Poopoo Paper Park
It's a nice place to visit especially with kids that shows you its process of turning elephant dung into paper. You can get your hands dirty and there are workshops to create products based on this paper.
Pha Chor Grand Canyon Chiang Mai
Pha Chor Grand Canyon
This canyon located a 1 hour drive from Chiang Mai. It is famous for its rocky walls with columns shaped by natural erosion over centuries. People sometimes call Pha Chor, the Grand Canyon of Thailand despite its rather modest dimensions.
Wat Luang Khun Win Chiang Mai
Wat Luang Khun Win
This temple lost in the jungle more than a 1h30 drive from Chiang Mai is a real little hidden gem that for the moment very few foreign tourists know about and yet it is worth a visit. Be careful, its access is a bit complicated, especially the last 5 kilometers of a dirt track in the forest.
Khlong Mae Kha Chiang Mai
Khlong Mae Kha
A small portion of the Mae Kha Canal in the city of Chiang Mai has been cleaned up and renovated and became since 2021 one of the new popular places in the city. Not the most unmissable visit in Chiang Mai but a charming place that hosts more and more events.

Weather & climate in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai has a humid and dry tropical climate, temperate. It is hot to hot all year long with possible waves of freshness in December-January during which it happens that temperatures drop below 20 ° C in the morning in the lowlands (between 14 and 18 ° C rarely less) and below 10 ° C (see barely above zero in the most extreme cases) on the peaks of the surrounding mountains. The monsoon begins in May and ends in mid-October. The rainiest months are August and September. But the monsoon remains here less abundant than in the South of the country at the same time.

The best months to go to Chiang Mai are from November to April knowing that in March, April and May, it is very hot (average around 34 ° C in the warmest of the day but it happens regularly that it is 40 ° C and over). It is not directly related to the climate although the lack of rain amplifies the phenomenon but in March, the quality of the air is regularly very bad in Chiang Mai because of the fields burning in the neighborhoods. It sometimes already starts at the end of February and pollution reaches such levels that wearing an N95 anti-particle mask is often recommended.

arrow_circle_right See weather forecast in Chiang Mai

When to go to Chiang Mai ?

quand partir à Chiang Mai

How to ask in Thai to go to Chiang Mai ?

I want to go to Chiang Mai / Yak paï ti Tchiang maï.
Where is Chiang Mai ? / Tchiang maï you ti naï ?
A little tip for the guide ?
If website has helped you prepare your travel in Thailand, do not hesitate to give me a small tip by clicking on the button below. Thanks a lot !

Traveling in Thailand
arrow_circle_right Find an hotel
arrow_circle_right Guesthouse Thailand

arrow_circle_right Travel by train
arrow_circle_right Travel by bus
arrow_circle_right Domestic flights
arrow_circle_right Boats in Thailand
arrow_circle_right Transports Bangkok

arrow_circle_right Visa rules
arrow_circle_right Health advice

transports thailande
Transports in Thailand
Type your departure city, your destination and the date of your trip.
Powered by 12Go Asia system
hotels thailande
Find accommodation in Thailand

All COVID-19 restrictions for coming to Thailand lifted from October 1 !

all covid-19 restrictions for coming to thailand lifted from october 1 !

We have been waiting for it for months, hoping it will happen on July 1, but it will finally be October 1, 2022, when Thailand will lift the last COVID restrictions to enter the country. From this date, it will no longer be necessary to show...

arrow_circle_rightarrow_circle_rightarrow_circle_right Read post