Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

1. Where is Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is the most important cultural city in northern Thailand. Chiang Mai is 700 km (435 miles) north of Bangkok, in the middle of the highest mountains of Thailand.

2. When should you visit Chiang Mai?

You can visit Chiang Mai at any time; however, it would be better to visit Chiang Mai during festival time to enjoy the colorful culture here.

3. Festival in Chiang Mai

Loy Krathong (so-called Yi Peng)

Held on the full moon day of the 12th lunar month of Thailand, the full moon day of the 2nd month of the old Lanna calendar. In the solar calendar, this day usually falls in November. Thousands of people attend this festival every year, they make lanterns from banana leaves (Krathong), decorated with flowers and candles, and then drop on the stream of the city. For further information about the annual festival day, please contact us.


Held in mid-April (around April 13-15.) during the traditional Thai New Year. Chiang Mai is also one of the most popular places to attend this festival. A series of interesting religious activities are held every year, including parades taking place around Chiang Mai old town, rituals taking place at temples, people coming prayers, water drops and a Miss Songkran pageant.

4. How to get to Chiang Mai?

By plane

From Bangkok, you can fly direct from low-cost airline AirAsia, Nok Air. In addition, you can also fly with Bangkok Airway, this is a high-quality airline so the price is also higher than the other two. Flight time from Bangkok - Chiang Mai is about 1:10 minutes.

Chiang Mai Airport is about 3 km southwest of the city, only 10-15 minutes by car. The price of the taxi by a trip from the airport to the city is about 120 baht (can carry up to 5 people). If you take a metered taxi, the fee will start at 40 baht plus a service fee of 50 baht. The taxis operate from the exit on the north side of the station, after taking your luggage and passing through the customs, you walk into the reception room and turn left. Alternatively, you can ride a tuk-tuk or songthaew for 50-60 baht per person.

By bus

Traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Every day, there are air-conditioners of class 1, class 2, and economy class buses departing from the Northern Bus Station in Bangkok (Mo Chit 2) to Chiang Mai (8 am to 9 pm). Call 02 936 3600, 02 936 2852, and 02 937 8055 for updated bus information.

With state buses, they will stop regularly in all small towns. The trip usually lasts about 10-12 hours at a cost of 200 baht. You can consult the bus schedule and fares at www.transport.co.th

There is also a VIP car company, Nakhonchai AirBus, with 21- and 32-seat vehicles. The car runs non-stop to welcome guests, the car has wide seats and provides snacks. It takes about 9 hours, about 550 baht.

When you arrive at Chiang Mai, the bus will take you to the Arcade Bus Station, you can easily catch the waiting Song Cardo near Station No. 3, kindly note that the more crowded Song Cardo the cheaper. Maybe they will say a high price, but please bargain. Prices will range from 50-100 baht depending on the location in the city. At the furthest points, it’s only about 150bath.

Trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Every day there is a train from Bangkok (Hua Lumphong Station) to Chiang Mai, time to travel about 12-15 hours. You should choose soft sleeper seats and the latest trip to have more opportunities to admire the two sides of the road.

Day trips will depart from 8:30 am, 2nd class tickets are about 281 baht, and third class (121 baht). The difference between classes is the seats in the cabin. You should take the latest train to 22:00. See timetables and fares at www.railway.co.th/ Major stations accept payment by Visa / MasterCard. Payment by card is quite safe because SRT is a state-owned company.

5. Moving Chiang Mai

Red truck taxi is also known as Song Thaew, Tuk Tuk, Taxi is available 24/7. If you need to move around Chiang Mai city, just use any means you want (Like waving a taxi in Vietnam) then show the driver the destination, ask for prices, and bargain.

Grab: you can use the application to call the car, which will be cheaper and more convenient.

Motorcycle: If you travel for 4 days, you can rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai.

6. Hotels in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai has many cheap motels, suitable for all types of guests.

If you love the ancient, choose 2-3-star hotels with prices ranging from 1000-3000 baht/night in the Old Town (this area is popular to Westerner and you can get Free pick up if you book an optical tour in Chiang Mai).

If you are young and dynamic, choose Hostel in the Nimman area, the price ranges from 100-800 baht/night depending on the room type and location. It is cool in Chiang Mai in the evenings, so it is not necessary to get air-conditioned rooms.

7. What to visit in Chiang Mai?

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

18 km from the city, the temple is located on the slopes of Mount Suthep at an altitude of 1,073. Here you will admire the great gilded stupa and can be seen from the city on clear days. The pagoda was built in 1383 during the Lanna period. The road to the temple is 309 Naga steps. If you are not strong enough to climb these steps, you can go by elevator for only 30 baht.

White Temple “White Temple” or Wat Rong Khun

Located in the city of Chiang Rai, about 200k northeast of Chiang Mai. The temple is really different and unique from other yellow temples in Thailand, this temple is completely covered with white paint, the color symbolizes the purity of Buddha, the temple was built, designed by famous Thai architect and artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat. The entrance fee is THB50 per person.

Blue Temple “Blue Temple” in Chiang Rai

The Blue Temple, also known as Wat Rong Seua Ten, is located in Rong Suea Ten, in the Rimkok district, about 15km from the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun. It is a recently built temple but has not completed yet. The temple is designed on a beautiful deep blue background with a large white Buddha image. The reliefs in the temple are reminiscent of the unique style of the White Temple “Wat Rong Khun. You don’t have to pay for the entrance fee for the Blue temple.

Black House or Baan Dam

In Thai, Baan means House and Dam means Black. The Black House was built and designed by Thawan Duchanee, a famous Thai designer, artist, and architect, a friend of Chalermchai Kositpipat, who built the White Temple. The Black House is not only a huge architectural block but also a place to store and preserve artifacts of traditional Thai people; and more importantly, everything is put on pure black color. Entrance fee is THB 80 per person.

Wat Chedi Luang Temple

The temple is located in the city of Prapokklao Road. The unique thing of this temple is the unique architectural features of the Lanna dynasty and the art (Bac Thai). Wat Chedi Luang is famous as one of the temporary places of worship of the Emerald Buddha, now worshiped at Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok. Opening hours: 8.00-17.00.

Mae Sa Elephant Camp

Mae Sa Elephant Camp is surrounded by the lush forest canopy, tucked away in the picturesque valley. The camp is located about 30 km north of the city. Mae Sa is home to more than 70 domesticated elephants along with its caretakers. Every day, elephants bathe and frolic in the river, feed, and perform a series of exercises. Here you will be able to ride an elephant around the camp, learn about the life of elephants, and enjoy the natural scenery. In addition to a short day trip, you can also try basic idol training courses, this one is only for those who specialize. The course will teach you about animal biology, health requirements, body language, as well as commands, painting, bathing, and handling elephants. The entrance fee is THB 120 per person.

Karen Ethnic

Visiting Northern Thailand, you should visit the village of long neck ethnic people. There are 2 ways to reach them: Visit Padung village in Chiang Dao cave area, or on the way from Chiang Rai to Mae Sai.

In Chiang Mai, you should also try adventure game, Jungle Flight.

8. Estimated budget

  • Motorbike rental: 200baht/1 day
  • Playing Jungle Flight: 2400baht
  • Chiangmai Zoo: 100baht/person
  • The winter palace on Doi Suthep: 50batht/person.
  • Buy Thai sim: 100baht
  • Tuk tuk: 75baht/person
  • If you visit during the festival, the cost of buying lights to drop some festive nights: 120-150baht (30baht/small light and 40baht/large light with bonus candles)
  • Laundry: 65 baht/1.5kg

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