Chiang Mai, Thailand - description, tips, attractions

The province of Chiang Mai is considered one of the most popular among tourists. One of the factors that influences this is the presence of this place has a rich history and culture. Unlike the newly built resort towns, of which there are many on the map of the kingdom, here you can not only walk, but also spend a few days to see the sights.

According to seasoned travelers, to really get to know Thailand, you must at least once to visit Chiang Mai, because in this city the spirit of the kingdom is felt best.

The capital of the province and at the same time the center of all Northern Thailand is Chiang Mai Town. Next to the provincial town are Laos and Burma, which together make up the legendary Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia. This city is the fifth largest in the entire kingdom.

Chiang Mai on the map of Thailand

Not far from it is Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in the whole kingdom. Its height is 2,776 meters above sea level. It is the only place in the kingdom where it snows.

Since the city is located in the north of the country, the climate in Thailand is mostly temperate. At the top of Doi Intahanon is the coldest point in Thailand, where the temperature sometimes drops to minus eight degrees.

In Chiang Mai, as well as in the whole kingdom there are three main seasons:

  • Temperate season. Lasts from November to February. During this time, the heat subsides, although the nights are still warm. This period is considered the most suitable for holidays in Chiang Mai.
  • Hot. The season begins in March and lasts until the end of June. It is during this time that the heat rises to a maximum of 40 degrees. This heat contributes to fires in the jungle and surrounding areas. The city is periodically enveloped by a smokescreen coming from the burning forests. This is the worst time to visit the town.
  • The rainy season. Like the rest of the kingdom, Chiang Mai begins its rainy season from July to late October. A cold monsoon brings cooler weather from India and regular downpours.

These four months are the perfect time to visit the cultural capital of Thailand. It's not too stuffy during this time, the abundance of rain helps the vegetation recover, and even the air is cleaner.

© The highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon.

Despite the changeable weather, the nature of the city throughout the year remains picturesque and fascinates all who come there. On a map of the country, you can see that Chiang Mai is located among the high mountain ranges and green hills, next to the Ping River. In the mountains that surround the province there are many small villages where local settlers live. They are hidden in dense rainforests, but visitors to the kingdom can still visit them to immerse themselves in Thai culture.

 Population of the province

More than a million Thais live in Chiang Mai province, 170,000 of them in the capital alone. Chiang Mai's population is different in appearance from other Thais: people there are more swarthy, short and look more like the Chinese. But they differ not only in appearance, but also in character. Thais, in general, are known as a very smiling and friendly people. The locals in Chiang Mai seem like the ideal nation. Calm and friendly, they are ready to help anyone and everyone.

This small province is inhabited by various ancient tribes and nationalities with their own history and customs, whose small villages are not even marked on the map. They are mainly engaged in growing tea and rice, hunting wild animals and raising livestock. Other locals living in the main part of the village also devote a lot of time to agriculture. But the main profit for them, of course, comes from the tourist industry. In addition, the capital of the city is known throughout the world for the quality carpets, which are created by local artisans.

Most of the locals speak a dialect of Thai. But since the city is always full of tourists, the Thais switch to, quite acceptable English.

 History of the city

Chiang Mai is a city with a truly rich history dating back more than 700 years. It is considered one of the most important in all of Thailand. The kingdom of Lanna, which covers a vast part of northern Thailand, has always been prosperous, and the area where Chiang Mai is now located is surprisingly picturesque.

In 1296 King Mengrai founded a new city in the area called Chang Mai.


500 years after its founding, the city would be devastated and rebuilt. This happened during the power struggle between the princes of Lanna and the Burmese viceroys. After the reconstruction, in 1726 the city was repopulated by the inhabitants of the neighboring villages. The vassals of Siam ruled the life of the locals. The period lasted until 1939, when the last of the vassals died.

 How to get to Chiang Mai

The easiest way to get to Chiang Mai is by plane. The city is located three kilometers from the airport (Chiang Mai International Airport)From which you can take a cab. A cab, which officially belongs to the airport, will take you to the right place in town for 120 baht. Locals charge a little more for their services.

But you can choose a cheaper way to travel - a trip by bus. Buses are better to choose the tourist type. They move faster and the ride is more comfortable. Intercity buses to Chiang Mai are divided into three types: VIP, first class and second class. The conditions of the trip depend on the class.

Trains in Thailand, too, should not be afraid. Rail transport in the country is quite developed. In this case, the trip will cost you inexpensive. However, the direct train to Chiang Mai only from the capital of Thailand.

Bangkok-Chiang Mai train schedule

train numberTrain typeDeparture timeArrival time
9Special Express 8:3020:30
109 Rapid 14:3005:10
11Special Express 18:0006:15
1Special Express18:10 07:45
13Special Express19:3509:45
51Express 22:0012:45

For more information about Northern Line schedules and costs, visit the official website at

  City transport

In the city itself, too, you can ride different types of public transport. There are not as many as in the capital. The Thais mostly travel by their own transport or by sungteo.


There are also buses running around the city. In addition, as in other cities in the country, you can order a cab, a tuk-tuk, or rent a motorcycle, bicycle, car.

 Attractions and interesting places

The province of Chiang Mai attracts both experienced tourists and newcomers. There really is a lot to see there: natural beauty, distinctive tribes living in the jungle, and, of course, old temples and architectural buildings.

You can either see it all on your own or use the services of one of the guides. For those who choose the first option, it is worth reading the list of the most interesting places to visit.

Museum of Natural Wonders

Founded by an entomologist, this museum features a vast collection of various tropical insects and minerals. It also features mysterious natural objects collected by that entomologist.

© Museum of Insects and Natural Wonders.

Doi Suthep Temple

One of the most famous Buddhist temples in all of Thailand. This building, built as far back as 1328, is considered the trademark of the province.

© Wat Pratatat Doi Suthep Temple.

Zoo and Aquarium

The zoo was built in 1955 by an American. Later there was also completed a huge underground aquarium, which is home to more than eight thousand different sea creatures.

© Chiang Mai Zoo.

National Museum

The museum is one of the most important in the north of the kingdom. The exhibits in its halls reflect the rich culture of Lann and the surrounding northern provinces.

© Chiang Mai National Museum is the largest museum in Northern Thailand.

Night Market

There are several night markets in the city. But the really interesting one is located near the river. It sells almost everything, but it attracts tourists mainly with various handicrafts sold there by local artisans. This is definitely the best place to buy souvenirs.

© Chiang Mai: Night Bazaar.

Also in the city you can just have a good time. There are plenty of places to party, from clubs and discos, to go-go bars and places with live music.

 Accommodation in Chiang Mai

The province is a great place to stay for a long time. The province has a lot of cheap housing, and there are plenty of houses, townhouses, and rooms to choose from in the city and surrounding areas. In addition, in the city, of course, you can check into one of the hotels, the cost of which depends on their level.

© Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai Hotel 5*.

A room in a hostel, for example, can be rented for 250-500 baht per day, rent for a month will cost 5-7 thousand baht. Renting an apartment or condo 4-7 thousand baht, pay for water and light separately. The cost of rooms in the hotel will be 5000 - 25000 baht a week, from the proposed conditions, 2 stars and above.

 Tips for tourists

  • Despite the fact that Chiang Mai is located in a country with a hot climate, the nights here can sometimes be very cold. Therefore, experienced travelers are advised to bring a sweater or jacket along with light clothing and bathing suits.
  • But going to the temple, be sure to cover your legs and shoulders. This is required by the local dress code.
  • When choosing which of the local dishes to try first, you should definitely pay attention to the Chiang Mai sausages.
  • Of all the different types of transportation in Chiang Mai, it is better to prefer cabs with meters. This will help you save money on travel around the city and avoid being cheated.
  • In the city there is often a lot of traffic jams, so when you go somewhere, be sure to leave in advance to make time.
  • Remember that in Chiang Mai, as in all of Thailand, it is customary to haggle both with tuk tuk drivers and at local markets.

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