Chiang Mai travel guide, most beautiful city in Thailand.

Chiang Mai is undoubtedly one of the most underrated cities and a must-visit place in Thailand.

Chiang Mai is one of the most beautiful and largest cities in the northern province of Thailand. A gorgeous city is famous for its ancient temples and can be a perfect holiday destination for you and your family. Located on the bank of river Ping which is also a part of the Chao Phraya River is bound up with old Lanna Kingdom culture.

The city is divided into four internal parts, Nakhon Ping, Sriwichai, Mengrai, and Kawila. Surrounded by beautiful hills and rivers, the city is one of the major tourist destinations for Buddhists. You need to know some information to make your Chiang Mai travel easy and memorable.

Chiang Mai has an old vintage style of architecture that was inspired by the Lanna Kingdom. The city is famous for its Buddhist temples, every temple has a unique design. One can easily mesmerize by the local Karen tribe, beautiful hills, and the traditional touch of the city, so let’s get to know more about Chiang Mai.

Things to know

Time zone: Chiang Mai (GMT+7)

Currency: Thai Baht (THB), (Current exchange rate)

Languages: Thai

Country calling code: +66

Tourist police helpline: (+66) 2308-0333, Hotline 1155

Tourist assistance: 1337 (ext. 9)

How to reach Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is well connected by road and air, you will get plenty of buses to the city from various cities in Thailand. It is one of the biggest cities in Thailand and has an international airport. You will easily get a flight from Bangkok, some of the major airlines also provide direct international air services to Chiang Mai.

How to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Bangkok to Chiang Mai is approximately 686 kilometers and it takes around 8 to 9 hours drive to reach. There are multiple ways to reach Chiang Mai from the capital city of Bangkok. Let’s find out the best options for you.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai flights

There are lots of flights available to Chiang Mai and the travel time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Chiang Mai Airport is one of the important airports in northern Thailand. If you are in Bangkok, Phuket, or any big city in Thailand, you will get a flight to Chiang Mai. Thailand’s favorite airline Thai airways fly almost every day and the cost is also approximately USD $30- 36 based on the season and time. 

Bus services from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

chiang mai travel

Apart from a flight, you can opt for a bus which will take approximately 10 hours to reach and it will be a primarily overnight journey. Most of these sleeper buses start in the evening time and drop in the early morning. You will find a lot of online or offline agencies to book these bus services either from Bangkok or Chaing Mai. Most of these sleeper buses are comfortable for an overnight journey.

This is one of the best options for budget travelers or backpackers. It costs you approximately USD 10- 15. An overnight journey will save you one-night hotel or hostel costs. Most of these buses have sleeper beds and tiny washrooms and the journey will be comfortable. These buses will take a stop for food and also provides water bottle and snacks.  

Bangkok to Chiang Mai train

The third long and comfortable option to reach Chiang Mai is by train. In case you have time in hand then apart from the bus, you can opt for a train ride to go Bangkok to Chiang Mai city. Trains take almost 11-15 hours based on their schedule. But a train journey is more comfortable than a bus ride as you will find different classes like the first class with A/C compartment, second class and also Non a/c compartment.

There are some overnight trains, which you can use instead of staying in a hotel. Train cost depends on which class you are choosing but it will be more or less starting from $15 to $60. You can book these trains online or at the stations. But we will suggest you book tickets a day prior.

This journey is going to be very scenic and like a bus ride, you can also choose an overnight journey so you can save some accommodation costs here, the train services are available throughout the day.

Online ticket booking in Thailand

Flights: Thai Smile / Thai Airways

Bus: 12go

Train: Thailand railway

Chiang Mai weather (Best time to visit Chiang Mai)

chiang mai travel

Chiang Mai’s weather remains hot like other cities but the best time to visit Chiang Mai will be from October first to April end as the temperature remains cool and windy. But at the same time from January to March the city is covered with smoke as this is the burning season, as farmers burn their crop fields for the next season and vehicle pollution is also a part causing this smoke.

If you want to know when is the coolest time in Chiang Mai then it will be from December first week to January end. The hot season starts after mid-April and the monsoon is during June. So when you are planning a trip to Chiang Mai, please keep the weather in your mind.

How to roam around Chiang Mai?

If you want to explore the city in your own way then renting a vehicle either a car or bike will be preferable but before that, you should carry an international driving permit, or else you may end up paying a heavy penalty if traffic police. 

If you are not a good driver then suggest you ride the red taxi called songthaew or Grab a taxi to roam around. Even there are private cabs available which you can take. So traveling around Chiang Mai is as easy as any other developed city.

Motorbike rental

To rent a motorbike will be preferable as if you roam in and out of the city you will find roads are curvy and steep and bike charges start at USD $7- $12 per day. In Some places, you may find cheaper ones but check the bike condition as old bikes may cause trouble while driving in the mountain area. Always take a video and picture of your bike before leaving the rental shop.

Bike rental shops in Chiang Mai

Mango bike rent (Website)

Address: Srithana Condo 2 Siri Mangkalajarn Rd Lane 1, Tambon Su Thep, Chiang Mai (location)

Contact: +66877 280515

Cat motors (Website)

Address: 197 1 Ratchamanka Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Chiang Mai (location)

Contact: +66907 299090

Bamboo bikes (Website)

Address: Somphet Gold Place, 70/20, Chaiyapoom Rd, Mueang, Chiang Mai (location)

Contact: +66926 183239

Best places to visit in Chiang Mai

The diverse culture and magnificent landscape make Chiang Mai one of the most touristic places in Thailand. There are some beautiful places around the city you should not miss when you are in Chiang Mai.

  1. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (location)
  2. Doi Inthanon (location)
  3. Chiang Mai old city temples, Chiang Mai old town (location)
  4. Wat Chedi Luang (location)
  5. Wat Phra Singh (location)
  6. Wat Phan Tao (location)
  7. Elephant nature park (location)
  8. Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall (location)
  9. Bor Sang Umbrella Village (location)
  10. Kayaking and Water Rafting in Mae Taeng River (location)

Where to stay in Chiang Mai’s old city?

Over and years Chiang Mai has grown into one of the top tourist hubs in Thailand. There are a number of hotels and hostels available for budget and luxurious stays. Though I have mentioned all the budget and luxurious hotels in a separate article in detail still i am going to name a few here so that you can book your comfortable stay there.

If you are a budget traveler then Chiang Mai old town is the best option as there are many budget-friendly hostels available inside the city which is very easy to access. Here are a few recommendations for you to make your Chiang Mai travel easy, I had gone through these hotels while planning for my trip to Chiang Mai.

  1. Tamarind Village (location)
  2. Rimping Village Chiang Mai (location)
  3. Nai Boutique House (location)
  4. We Briza Hotel Chiang Mai (location)

Best resorts in Chiang Mai

These are a few best resorts recommendations in Chaing Mai for a luxurious stay 

  1. Na Nirand Resort (location)
  2. Panviman Resort (location)
  3. Shangri-La Chiang Mai (location)
  4. The Inside House (location)

Important apps to download

Grab app-based taxi

Android iOS

Grab an online food app

Android / iOS

Google translate

Android / iOS

Please write your thoughts below in the comment box. If you have a Chiang Mai Travel story to share, please mail us at

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