Travelling To Chiang Mai
Are you planning to travel to Chiang Mai, Thailand? This ancient city located in northern Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It is known for its rich culture, stunning temples, delicious food, and beautiful nature. In this ultimate guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know before traveling to Chiang Mai, including the best time to visit, where to stay, what to see and do, and tips for a smooth trip.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Chiang Mai is between November and February, during the cool and dry season. The weather is mild, with temperatures ranging between 20-25°C, making it ideal for outdoor activities. During this time, the air is clear, and the sky is blue, providing a perfect backdrop for sightseeing and taking photos. However, this is also the peak season, so expect crowds and higher prices for accommodation and activities.
From March to May, the weather gets hot and dry, with temperatures reaching up to 40°C. It is still possible to visit during this time, but make sure to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks from the sun. June to October is the rainy season, with heavy downpours and occasional flooding. However, the rain usually comes in short bursts, so it should not disrupt your plans too much. This is also the low season, which means fewer crowds and lower prices.
Where to Stay
Chiang Mai has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. The Old City is the historic center of Chiang Mai and is surrounded by a moat and ancient city walls. This area is home to many temples, markets, and street food stalls, making it a popular place to stay. There are also many guesthouses, hostels, and boutique hotels in the area, offering comfortable and affordable accommodation.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, consider staying in Nimmanhaemin. This trendy area is home to many upscale restaurants, cafes, and shops, as well as modern hotels and apartments. The area is also known for its nightlife, with many bars and clubs staying open until late.
Another option is to stay outside the city center, in the Mae Rim area. This area is surrounded by lush greenery and mountains, making it ideal for nature lovers. There are also many resorts and hotels in the area, offering a peaceful and relaxing retreat.
What to See and Do
Chiang Mai has a wide range of attractions and activities to suit all interests. Here are some of the top things to see and do in Chiang Mai:
Visit the Temples
Chiang Mai is home to over 300 temples, each with its unique architecture and history. One of the most famous temples is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, located on a mountain overlooking the city. The temple is accessible by car or cable car and offers stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside. Another famous temple is Wat Chedi Luang, located in the heart of the Old City. The temple dates back to the 14th century and features a massive chedi (stupa) that was once the tallest structure in Chiang Mai.
Explore the Night Markets
Chiang Mai is famous for its night markets, where you can find everything from street food to handmade crafts. One of the most popular night markets is the Sunday Walking Street, which takes place every Sunday evening in the Old City. The market stretches for several blocks and features vendors selling a wide range of goods, including clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs. There are also many food stalls selling local delicacies such as khao soi (curry noodle soup) and mango sticky rice.
Go on a Food Tour
Chiang Mai is known for its delicious food, and one of the best ways to experience it is through a food tour. A food tour will take you to the best local eateries and markets, where you can sample a wide variety of dishes. Some popular dishes to try in Chiang Mai include khao soi, a creamy and spicy curry noodle soup, and sai ua, a spicy northern Thai sausage. You can also try the famous Thai street food, such as pad Thai and mango sticky rice.
Take a Cooking Class
If you’re a foodie, consider taking a cooking class to learn how to make some of the local dishes. Many cooking classes will take you to a local market to shop for ingredients before teaching you how to cook several dishes. You’ll then get to enjoy the dishes you’ve made. Some popular cooking schools in Chiang Mai include Baan Thai Cookery School and Thai Farm Cooking School.
Explore the National Parks
Chiang Mai is surrounded by national parks, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers. Doi Inthanon National Park is home to the highest peak in Thailand and features stunning waterfalls, forests, and scenic viewpoints. Another popular park is Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, located just outside the city. The park features hiking trails, waterfalls, and stunning viewpoints overlooking the city.
Attend a Festival
Chiang Mai is known for its vibrant festivals and celebrations, which take place throughout the year. One of the most famous festivals is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, which takes place in November. During the festival, thousands of lanterns are released into the sky, creating a magical and unforgettable sight. The Songkran Festival, which takes place in April, is also a popular event. During the festival, people splash water on each other as a symbol of cleansing and renewal.
Tips for a Smooth Trip
Here are some tips to help you have a smooth trip to Chiang Mai:
- Be respectful of the local culture and dress appropriately when visiting temples.
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you and refill it at water stations to stay hydrated.
- Be cautious when riding motorbikes or renting a car, as the roads in Chiang Mai can be challenging to navigate.
- Bargain when shopping at markets, but do so respectfully.
- Take insect repellent with you, especially if you plan to spend time in nature.
- Learn a few basic Thai phrases, such as hello and thank you, to show respect to the locals.
In conclusion, Chiang Mai is a beautiful and fascinating destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in culture, nature, or food, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do in this ancient city. With this ultimate guide, you’re ready to plan an unforgettable trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand.