Chiang Mai Travel Guide

Chiang Mai is Thailand's second city after Bangkok and perfectly blends the ancient cultural traditions of the Lanna region with a modern burst of partying. It is a must for all travelers.

Worth It?
Absolutely, for a taste of the old and the new served up in the unique style of northern Lanna culture.
What to Do
wander the narrow lanes of the old quarter, pop into Buddhist temples, chat with a monk, feast on traditional northern Thai cuisine and party as hard as you want.
Best Time to Go
there's really no bad time to visit Chiang Mai, although the end of the rainy season from August to October can be a bit soggy.
How Long?
At least a week, although many visitors simply never leave.
Trivia
Chiang Mai was the original capital of the huge Lanna Kingdom which reigned during the 1300s.

Known as the Rose of the North, this fun and friendly city offers no end of things to see and do. Most visitors focus on the moat-enclosed Old Quarter with its wealth of guesthouses, bars and tasty northern food. This is the original city core, established in the 1300s by King Mengrai, but it still thrives with an energy rarely found outside Bangkok.

Chiang Mai's most important and ancient temples, such as Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang, are among the best of the dozens of Buddhist havens that dot every corner of the Old Quarter. On Sundays, the road leading from Tha Pae Gate (the main gate in town) turns into a wonderful pedestrian walking street market.

Little bars and restaurants can be found all over the old quarter, but head down to the Ping River for a relaxing break from the urban bustle. Riverside pubs and restaurants are a great way to wind down after a day of sightseeing. The popular Night Bazaar is the perfect way to end a day.

There are also countless attractions worth seeing just outside of the city center. The towering mountains of Doi Suthep flank the western edge of the city, and a trip up the cool slopes to Doi Suthep Temple is a major highlight for any visitor.

Small traditional villages surrounding the city are home to local craftspeople and a great way to experience the old style of northern Thailand. Ban Tawai is where to look for wood carvings, while Bosang is famous for its parasols.

Travel to Chiang Mai - Getting There

Chiang Mai is a major hub for travel to northern Thailand. It's international airport handles dozens of daily flights from around the country and several Asian destinations. The train reaches its terminus in Chiang Mai, and there are buses arriving hourly from every corner of Thailand.

Chiang Mai Things to Do

Chiang Mai Attractions

The Old Quarter
enclosed by a moat and crumbling walls, this kaleidoscope of local life and tourist amenities is the best place to focus your time and energy.
The Ping River
boat rides offer a unique view of riverside life, and an evening meal along its banks is a must.
Doi Suthep Temple
on a clear day you can see this iconic mountainside temple from the city so don't miss the chance to drive up there and see it for yourself.
Sunday Walking Street
a plethora of local individuals congregate every Sunday to sell whatever cool little idea they can think up minus the traffic.
Night Bazaar
every night this section of the city turns into a shopper's Mecca, with stalls selling everything from t-shirts to priceless antiques.
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