lOGO whITE

Chiang Mai Travel Guide For The First Time 2022

Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions, arguably second only to Bangkok in terms of popularity. Hill tribes, verdant jungles, elephant sanctuaries, and unusual food characterize this chilly mountain town.

There are approximately 300 Buddhist temples to see in Chiang Mai if you love visiting them. There are lots of night markets, as well as digital nomads who have made this northern Thai city their home.

Many digital nomads travel to Chiang Mai to stay for a few weeks but end up remaining for many months.

It’s a very livable city with a near-ideal mix of pace, affordability, comfort, culture, nature, and nightlife.

Spend a few days in Chiang Mai and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Visit Chiang Mai At A Glane

This Chiang Mai travel guide is rather lengthy. I’ve gathered a list of hotels, excursions, and other services for your convenience.

Hotels

Top-rated hotels in Chiang Mai’s Old Town, the most convenient neighborhood for first-time tourists.

Tours

Additional Services

Table of Contents

Chiang Mai Travel Restriction

Thailand Travel Restrictions

Chiang Mai travel rules have been changing regularly due to the present worldwide environment. Booking.com and airheart, two of our pals, have built websites that provide thorough information on travel restrictions across the world.

Check Booking.com or airheart for information on travel restrictions to Thailand before booking a vacation to Chiang Mai. If you do want to visit Chiang Mai, you should think to consider purchasing travel insurance that includes COVID coverage.

Read more at: Thailand Travel Restrictions

Thailand visa

Depending on your passport, you may require a visa and other paperwork to visit Thailand. To learn more about the criteria and to apply for a visa.

Read more on our topic Thailand Visa

Chiang Mai Quick View

Chiang Mai Silver Temple
Chiang Mai Silver Temple

Chiang Mai is Thailand’s largest city in the north. It was formerly the capital of the Lanna Kingdom and is now one of the region’s most culturally important cities.

The Ancient City, a 1.6 km walled and moated square in the city’s historical core, is home to around 30 Buddhist temples, some of which are as old as the city itself.

Don’t be fooled by the city’s historical and cultural attractions, as well-preserved as it is. In many aspects, Chiang Mai has modernized and grown well beyond the Old City’s borders. In recent years, it has become a refuge for travelers and digital nomads.

If you look around the travel blogosphere, you’ll see that many long-term travelers have spent time in Chiang Mai. I’m not sure when it all began, but I believe it has a lot to do with the city’s laid-back vibe and cheap cost of living.

If you’re taking a gap year and visiting Chiang Mai for the first time, don’t be shocked if you stay longer than planned. Quite a few individuals do. Chiang Mai is one such place.

Best Time To Visit Chiang Mai

Northern Thailand is best visited between November and February because of the weather.

It’s the wettest and coldest season of the year.

In early November, we traveled to Chiang Mai to attend the Yee Peng and Loy Krathong Festivals. It’s a well-attended festival that draws thousands of visitors each year, making it one of the most exciting occasions to visit the area.

November – February: As previously said, the best time to visit Chiang Mai is between November to February. With few wet days, daytime temperatures stay around 25°C (77°F). You may wish to organize your vacation around the Yee Peng Festival, which takes place in November. If you appreciate flowers, the Chiang Mai Flower Festival in February may be of interest to you.

March-May: The warmest months in Northern Thailand are March and May, with temperatures often surpassing 40°C (104°F). Songkran, or Thai New Year, is celebrated every April and transforms the city into a massive water battle.

June-October: The monsoon season in Northern Thailand is here, and it’s not the best time to visit.

Chiang Mai's Climate: Annual and Monthly Weather

I’ve put up the average temperature and yearly rainfall graphs below to help you better understand the weather in Chiang Mai. The recommended months to visit are highlighted in orange.

Temperature on Average

Chiang Mai Weather

Annual Rainfall

Chiang Mai Weathe

Travelling To Chiang Mai

We flew from Bangkok to Chiang Rai and stayed there for a couple of nights before catching the 3-hour Green Bus to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is the more popular of the two Northern Thai towns, therefore I think most visitors would fly or take a train there straight from Bangkok.

From Bangkok

By Air: Several airlines fly straight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in 1 hour and 15 minutes. You may use a flight aggregator like skyscanner.com to discover the most affordable flights. If you need to book private transport from the airport to your hotel, Klook is the place to go.

By Train: If you have the time, you should consider taking a sleeper train. It costs approximately the same as a low-cost airline journey and takes a little longer (about 13-14 hours), but the sights are nicer. Plus, there’s something romantic about taking a train across the country. On 12Go Asia, you may purchase train tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

By Bus: Traveling by bus is a little quicker – around 10 hours – and costs a little less than traveling by bus. If you prefer to travel by bus, 12Go Asia can help you purchase bus tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Powered by 12Go system

From Chiang Rai

We purchased tickets with 12Go Asia and traveled from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai on the 3-hour Green Bus. The VIP bus, which is a nice air-conditioned vehicle with a washroom and a waiter serving beverages, was our mode of transportation.

There were departures from Bus Terminal 1 in the city center at the time, but that no longer seems to be the case. All Green Buses seem to be departing from Bus Terminal 2, which is located 7 kilometers south of the city center.

In any event, you may look for bus tickets from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai on 12Go Asia

From Other Cities

We traveled to Chiang Mai by bus from Chiang Rai, but there are other options depending on your location. I recommend looking at 12Go Asia to see what route possibilities are available to you. You may use the widget below or click on the link.

Where Can I Exchange Money?

The Thai Baht is Thailand’s monetary unit (THB).

SuperRich Money Exchange looks to provide the best exchange rates in Thailand, based on what I’ve read online. We exchanged our currencies at a SuperRich in Bangkok and received excellent rates, much superior to those offered at the airport.

We exchanged enough money to last us the rest of our vacation, but Google Maps shows that there are a couple of SuperRich locations in Chiang Mai.

Another alternative is to use an ATM to get THB. The prices are competitive, with some even claiming that they are better.

If you intend on using your ATM, it’s a good idea to let your bank know ahead of time so that you don’t run into any issues. My ATM works in some machines but not in others in my instance.

Note: some ATMs will ask you if you want to continue “with or without conversion.”  NEVER choose “conversion” since this enables the foreign bank running the ATM to convert your money for you, generally at a terrible rate. Always go forward without converting.

Best Areas To Stay In Chiang Mai

Before our first trip to Chiang Mai, I assumed that staying in the Old City was the only way to be in the thick of things, but this isn’t the case. While the Old City is conveniently situated and handy, it is not your only choice for lodging.

To help you visualize where all of these suggested locations are, I’ve prepared the color-coded map below. An interactive version of the map may be found by clicking on the link. (Please note that the highlighted regions are simply estimates.)

RED – Old City

BLUE – Nimmanhaemin

PURPLE – Night Bazaar

GREEN – Riverside

Chiang Mai Hotel Map

Old City

The Old City is the city’s historical center and the beating heart of Chiang Mai. It’s a historic walled city that’s home to several temples, hotels, and restaurants, measuring roughly 1.5 square kilometers and bordered on all sides by a moat.

Sherloft is mostly a hostel, although it also has a few private rooms. Many young visitors I know want to stay in “Instagrammable” locations these days, and Sherloft is just that. For additional photographs and information, see my Sherloft Home & Hostel page.

Booking.com and Agoda are two sites where you may reserve a stay at Sherloft. If you want to remain in the neighborhood but don’t think this is the perfect spot for you, check out the following websites for more options: Agoda | Booking.com

Take a look at some of the best hotels in the Old City:

Nimmanhaemin

Nimmanhaemin, or just Nimman, is a hip neighborhood northwest of the Old City. It’s a bustling neighborhood with lots of trendy pubs and eateries. If you want to stay in a more modern area of town, this is the place to be.

1 Nimman Gallery is a boutique hotel located near the Maya Lifestyle Shopping Centre, right off Nimmanhaemin Road. Dark wood furniture and ethnic touches distinguish this Lanna-style hotel. Agoda can help you book a stay at 1 Nimman Gallery Hotel. If you want to remain in the neighborhood but don’t think this is the perfect spot for you, check out the following websites for more options: Agoda | Booking.com

Check out some of Nimman’s best-rated hotels:

Night Bazaar

A “night bazaar” region on the east side of the Old City, just before the Ping River, has a few night markets, including the city’s largest – Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.

Night markets in Asia are a lot of fun. The environment is bustling, and there are many shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities. The nightlife is fantastic, albeit the neighborhood may get packed at times.

On Booking.com or Agoda, you may look for hotels in the Night Bazaar neighborhood.

Here are a few of the area’s best-rated hotels:

Riverside

The banks of the Ping River are lined with hotels, most of which are luxurious. They have better vistas and a more casual atmosphere.

You may simply stroll to the night markets if you stay near enough to the Night Bazaar area. A 10-minute Grab ride will take you to the Old City.

Booking.com and Agoda are good places to look for lodging in the Riverside region. Take a look at some of the best hotels in the area:

Chiang Mai Temples To Visit

Chiang Mai is home to approximately 300 Buddhist temples. Six of the most intriguing are listed below.

1. Wat Phra Singh

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

1. Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh Temple
Wat Phra Singh

In Chiang Mai Old City, there are a few Buddhist temples, but Wat Phra Singh is the largest and most magnificent. It was built in the 14th century, when Chiang Mai was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, and is known as “The Temple of the Lion Buddha.”

You may visit Wat Phra Singh on your own, just like any other temple in the Old City, but if you want to understand more about its history, you can arrange a guided tour with Klook or Get Your Guide.

Operating Hours: 6 AM-8 PM, daily

Admission: FREE (THB 50 for the main viharn)

Time to Spend: Approximately 1 hour

Klook.com

2. Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang

The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the temple grounds is this gigantic stupa. Because of its massive chedi, Wat Chedi Luang is known as “The Temple of the Great Stupa.”

An earthquake damaged most of the chedi, although it stood at 85 meters (279 feet) tall and 44 meters (144 feet) wide at its height, making it Chiang Mai’s tallest and widest building. Wat Chedi Luang was formerly home to Thailand’s famed Emerald Buddha.

Many of the guided trips that take you to Wat Phra Singh (Klook | Get Your Guide) also take you to Wat Chedi Luang.

Operating Hours: 6 AM-6 PM, daily

Admission: FREE

Time to Spend Estimated: 30 minutes to 1 hour

3. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep with golden morning sky, the most famous temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I’ve visited numerous temples in Thailand, and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of my favorites. It’s a breathtaking sight, gleaming gold against a brilliant blue sky.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is situated 15 kilometers west of the Old City atop a mountain. By songthaew, which you may get at the North Gate, it takes less than an hour to reach there.

For additional details, please see my article about Doi Suthep.

You may also take a guided tour of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which you can arrange via Klook or Get Your Guide. Because Bhubing Palace (Royal Winter Palace) and several hill tribe settlements are located in the same region, a few of those groups will also stop there.

Operating Hours: 6 AM-8 PM, daily

Admission: THB 50

Time to Spend: Approximately 2-3 hours

4. Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham

Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham
Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham

Wat Umong was the most distinctive temple I saw in Chiang Mai. It’s notable for its complex of tunnels dug out of an artificial mound, which is topped with a massive bell-shaped chedi (seen below). Inside the tunnels, there are several shrines with Buddha figures.

Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham is situated on the slopes of Doi Suthep Mountain, in a densely forested environment. It’s a tranquil and pleasant spot that isn’t as busy as Chiang Mai’s more renowned temples. It is, however, more difficult to reach. It’s around 4.5 kilometers west of the Old City, so the best way to get there is via Grab, a rental car. A guided tour is also available.

Operating Hours: 8 AM-5 PM, daily

Admission: FREE

Time to Spend: About 1 hr

5. Wiang Kum Kam

Wiang Kum Kam
Wiang Kum Kam

Wiang Kum Kam is a historic city that temporarily served as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom before being relocated to Chiang Mai. In the 16th century, the village was submerged in mud and silt until being unearthed in the late 20th century.

At the site, 42 monuments in different stages of repair have been unearthed. Wat Chedi Liam, the only old temple in Wiang Kum Kam that is still in use with resident monks, is shown below.

Wiang Kum Kam is around 7 kilometers south of the Old City, therefore the best way to get there is via Grab, a rental car. A guided tour of the site is also available.

Operating Hours: 7 AM-5 PM, daily

Admission: FREE

Time to Spend: 1-2 hours

6. Wat Pa Dara Phirom

Wat Pa Dara Phirom

Wat Pa Dara Phirom is a century-old royal temple located in Mae Rim, about 15 kilometers north of the Old City. It is regarded as one of the most important temples in Chiang Mai, however, it is less well-known among Western visitors. Much of this is due to its position.

Wat Pa Dara Phirom is approximately a 40-minute drive from the Old City and is best visited by rental car. On our way back to Chiang Mai from Pai, we stopped here. It’s a beautiful temple that’s definitely worth the effort.

Operating Hours: 9 AM-5 PM, daily

Admission: FREE

Time to Spend: 1-2 hours

Things To Do In Chiang Mai

1. Attend the Yee Peng and Loy Krathong Festivals

2 Weeks In Thailand Itinerary

Every year, around November, the Yee Peng Festival attracts thousands of people to Chiang Mai. It is distinguished by the release of enormous paper lanterns into the night sky at the same time.

The Loy Krathong Festival, which takes place around the same time as Yee Peng, entails the releasing of floating leaf containers with candles down a river.

The Yee Peng Festival is a popular event, with tickets on sale as early as January. If you want to buy tickets or need assistance arranging your trip, check out our Yee Peng Festival guide.

2. Enjoy a Khantoke Dinner and Showa

Khantoke Dinner
Khantoke Dinner

Khantoke is a traditional Thai Lanna feast served to visitors on special occasions. It strictly refers to the spherical pedestal tray that serves as a dining table throughout the meal.

Since 1971, the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center has been providing khantoke meals with traditional Thai Lanna dance displays.

3. Take a Food Tour

Chiang Mai Food Tours

We like doing food excursions. It’s one of the finest ways to discover hidden hole-in-the-wall restaurants that locals like but don’t always appear on Google.

 These are the kinds of venues you’ll encounter on A Chef’s Tour’s food tour. You’ll be transported to some of Chiang Mai’s top local markets and cafes to sample northern Thai specialties like sai oua (sausage), larb (pork salad), and nam ngiaw (chicken soup) (Shan noodle soup). Check out my essay about Chiang Mai’s Northern District.

Get Your Guide also does cuisine excursions in Chiang Mai: Option 1 | Option 2 | Option 3

4. Zipline through the jungle

Chiang Mai Zipline Through The Jungle

Chiang Mai is a famous destination for ziplining and other adrenaline-pumping sports. There are several adventure parks to pick from, each providing a variety of activities such as ziplining, white water rafting, bungee jumping, and more.

Click on the links for a list of adventure-filled activities in Chiang Mai (Klook | Get Your Guide).

5. Treat Yourself to a Spa Treatment

Chiang Mai Spa Massage

One of the nicest things you can do in Thailand has massage. Why not treat yourself to a massage or spa treatment in Chiang Mai for a day of relaxation and pampering?

Ren had a massage at  Let’s Relax Spa and stated it was the nicest massage she’d ever had.

Others Massage and spa treatment packages are available in Chiang Mai via Klook and Get Your Guide.

6. Enroll in a Thai Cooking Class

Chiang Mai Cooking Class

Cooking courses are among the most popular things to do in Chiang Mai, which is not surprising given how wonderful and well-known Thai cuisine is.

We had a great day learning how to create famous Thai meals like pad thai, green curry, and Thai iced tea at Lanna Smile Thai Cooking Class. The same lesson is available on Klook.

They’re booking sites for culinary classes, so they offer a lot of options. For other classes in Chiang Mai, click here

7. Visit a Night Market

Chiang Mai Night Market

Night markets play an important role in Thai culture. The Night Bazaar neighborhood in Chai Mai is the city’s largest night market, although there are others to select from across the city. You might get some ideas from this wonderful post on the best night markets in Chiang Mai.

Ploen Ruedee Night Market, a lively western-style night market near Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, is seen below. It’s a more sophisticated night market that serves a variety of different cuisines

8. Take a Bike Tour

Chiang Mai Bike Tour

Renting bikes or embarking on a bike tour is a great way to get to Chiang Mai. Many of the temples included in this book are a few kilometers from the Old City, so renting bicycles may be a useful method to get about. You may schedule a bike trip via Klook or Get Your Guide if you want to go on one.

9. Watch Muay Thai in REAL-TIME!

Muay Thai Fight: Us Vs. Burma

If you like combat sports, you may want to attend a live muay Thai event. Kickboxing bouts may be seen in Chiang Mai at the Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium or the Thapae Boxing Stadium. They’re provincial stadiums, so they’re not as huge as Bangkok’s Lumpinee or Rajadamnern, but I’ve heard the matches are competitive and entertaining to watch.

Because stadiums may become packed, it’s best to get tickets ahead of time. Klook tickets to Thapae Boxing Stadium may be purchased by clicking on the link.

Day Trips From Chiang Mai

1. Elephant Nature Park

Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary

Elephant Nature Park is Thailand’s best wildlife reserve. The park has about 30 elephants, mainly rescued from the tourist or illicit logging sectors.

The park offers a Visit & Volunteer program where visitors may spend a day or a week working with elephants. More photographs and facts about Elephant Nature Park in my article.

It’s a fantastic and fulfilling experience.

We booked directly with ENP, although Klook may provide a tiny discount

2. Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon National Park

Thailand’s tallest peak, Doi Inthanon. Its 2,565 m (8,415 ft) top gives the most stunning views of Chiang Mai.

In honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, the park has various waterfalls and hiking routes.

Since Doi Inthanon National Park is nearly two hours distant from the Old City, guided tours are best booked via Klook or Get Your Guide.

3. Chiang Dao Caves

Chiang Dao Caves

If you want to go spelunking in Chiang Mai, you should head to Chiang Dao Caves. It’s a 12-km network of shrines and stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Chiang Dao is 75 kilometers north of the Old City and is best reached by rental car. There are lovely hiking paths in the vicinity that you may explore with a guide. You may take a guided trip if you don’t want to use a rental car.

4. Chiang Rai

The Golden Lion In Singha Park Chiang Rai
The golden lion in Singha Park, Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is a three-hour bus ride from Chiang Mai. Many visitors to the area visit both.

Not as huge as Chiang Mai, Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple) is one of Thailand’s most intriguing and unusual temples.

Choose from Klook (option 1 | option 2) or Get Your Guide’s day excursions to Chiang Rai. If you want to stay longer, you can take the bus alone.

Thai Food Guide

Thailand is one of the best places to go if you want to eat well. Most people are familiar with pad thai, but if you want to learn more about Thai food, check out our Thai food guide, which includes a list of 45 must-try meals in Thailand.

Where To Eat In Chiang Mai

Check out our post on 12 must-try restaurants and street food stalls in Chiang Mai if you’re seeking outstanding local food. Four of our favorites are included below, but be sure to read the whole article for additional photographs and information

1. Khao Soi Khun Yai

Khao Soi Khun Yai

Expect to pay about THB 35 per khao soi bowl.

A bowl of khao soi should be the start of every journey to Northern Thailand. Crispy and soft egg noodles in a creamy, curry-like sauce prepared with coconut milk are the typical northern Thai dish.

We had khao soi in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai multiple times, and our favorite was at Khao Soi Khun Yai. It was thick and creamy without being too sugary, and it tasted great.

2. Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak (Cowboy Hat Lady)

Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak

Expect to pay about THB 30 for a modest khao kha moo order

If khao soi is Chiang Mai’s most renowned dish, this food booth may be the most popular. Part of it has to do with the fact that this tough woman is wearing a 10-gallon cowboy hat.

She’s been dubbed the Cowboy Hat Lady and is said to be a Chiang Mai icon known for delivering some of the greatest khao kha moo in town.

Braised pig leg cooked in Chinese five spice and served over rice with a medium-boiled egg is known as khao kha moo. Cowboy Hat Lady’s khao kha moo is very wonderful and fall-off-the-bone tender.

3. Suki Koka

Suki Koka

Expect to pay about THB 40 per suki order.

This bowl of Thai suki was one of our favorite things to eat in Chiang Mai, and it was located in the same cluster of food vendors as the Cowboy Hat Lady.

Suki Koka’s Thai suki is made up of veggies cooked with mung bean noodles and a combination of seafood or your choice of meat and is served wet or dry. It’s made with a ton of cabbage fried quickly in a wok over high heat to preserve it crisp while imparting that lovely smoky wok hei taste.

It’s one of the most popular cafes in this cluster of North Gate food vendors, along with Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak. Don’t leave Chiang Mai without trying both of these restaurants.

4. Cherng Doi Roast Chicken

Cherng Doi Roast Chicken

Expect to pay about THB 80 for a kai yang nung krob order

Cherng Doi should be at the top of your list if you’re craving kai yang or roast chicken. Kai yang is a renowned Isaan cuisine that has spread throughout Thailand. A whole chicken is often divided and pressed flat before marinating and gently grilling over a low charcoal flame.

Cherng Doi Roast Chicken is known for offering some of Chiang Mai’s best kai yang. The flesh was soft and delicious, and the skin was wonderfully crisped. Delicious!

Chiang Mai Points Of Interest

I’ve made this map to assist you to navigate so you can get a better feel of where everything is. To see an interactive version of the map, click on the link. On this map, you’ll find pins for all of the sites mentioned in this guide.

Getting Around In Chiang Mai

If you’re staying in the Old City, you can easily travel about on foot. However, there may be situations when you must go farther.

Songthaew

Chiang Mai Songthaew
Chiang Mai Songthaew

The cheapest and most prevalent mode of transportation in Chiang Mai is by songthaews, which are red vehicles with two rows of seats. If you’ve traveled to the Philippines, you’ll recognize these as public jeepneys.

I just rode it once to go to Doi Suthep, and I believe they cost at least THB 30 every trip.

You may hail any passing songthaew and inform the driver of your destination. If he’s heading in that route, he’ll give you the fare and instruct you to get in the rear. If not, you will have to wait for the next one.

I don’t have much experience with these, but for further information, see this fantastic article on public songthaews.

Grab

While songthaews are the least expensive mode of transportation, they are not the most convenient. When Ren and I wanted to go someplace outside of the Old City, we used Grab.

Grab is more costly than Songthaews, but it is still a good deal, particularly because our hostel provided us with offer codes.

We took seven Grab trips in all, and the average cost was just over THB 51 each ride, with the most costly journey being THB 85 from our hostel to the airport.

If you’re not going far and don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of public songthaews, Grab is a great option.

Chiang Mai Itinerary (How many days to stay)

Day One

  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
  • Bhubing Palace
  • Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham
  • Wat Phra Singh
  • Wat Chedi Luang
  • North Gate Food Stalls

Day Two

  • Elephant Nature Park
  • Khantoke dinner and show at Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center

Day Three

  • Chiang Dao
  • Wat Pa Dara Phirom
  • Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
  • Ploen Ruedee Night Market

Budget/ Expenses Summary

Chiang Mai is not a pricey city. Hostel rooms may be rented for as little as USD 3 per night, and meals can be purchased for less than USD 2 for each dish. Its low-cost reputation contributes to its popularity as a tourist destination and a shelter for digital nomads.

Assuming you’ll be sharing mid-range lodgings with one other traveler, a daily budget of THB 850-1,000 per person should be enough. This includes your lodging, transportation, food, and pocket wifi rental. Here is a short breakdown of costs:

Accommodations

This varies depending on the individual. We reserved a private room in a nice but low-cost hostel for about THB 1,070 per night. If you stay in a dorm room, you can expect to spend substantially less.

Meals

Again, this is subjective, but based on our experience, I’d guess THB 150 per person per day is enough. Many full lunches are available for THB 50 or less.

Rental of Pocker Wifi

If you share the cost with one other person, you’ll each pay about THB 75 each day.

Transportation

We didn’t use it very frequently, but the cheapest method to travel about Chiang Mai is to take a public songthaew, which costs at least THB 30 every trip. We used Grab more often, which was still reasonably priced. Assuming you’ll be commuting modest distances by songthaew and Grab, a daily budget of THB 100 should be enough.

Total

This works out to THB 860 per person each day. Please keep in mind that this is a rough estimate and does not include tour or shopping expenditures. Because tours will use the majority of your cash, you may add any activity expenditures to this figure. Ren and I are middle-of-the-road travelers who appreciate fine dining and drinking, so the suggested budget is a fair starting point for us. Adjust as needed depending on your travel habits.

Travel Tips

1. Book your Trip with Sygic Travel

Sygic Travel: Travel planners are divided into two groups: those who like it and those who do not. If you appreciate it as much as I do, Sygic Travel will be beneficial to you. It is a free travel planning tool that assists you in creating effective itineraries. I’ve been using it for many years, and it’s available for free on iOS and Android.

2. Rent a Wifi Pocket Device

We didn’t use it very frequently, but the cheapest method to travel about Chiang Mai is to take a public songthaew, which costs at least THB 30 every trip. We used Grab more often, which was still reasonably priced. Assuming you’ll be commuting modest distances by songthaew and Grab, a daily budget of THB 100 should be enough.

3. Plan ahead of time for the Yee Peng Festival.

If you’re heading to Chiang Mai for the Yee Peng Festival, you’ll need to plan ahead of time.

It’s a popular event, with thousands of visitors traveling to the city to compete for a limited number of tickets.

Tickets sell out fast, so reserve yours and organize your vacation as soon as possible. Ticket sales have been known to begin as early as January.

4. Select the Best Elephant Sanctuary

Chiang Mai is well-known for its elephant rehabilitation clinics. However, not all of them are legal. Many masquerades as “sanctuaries” to attract visitors, yet they continue to participate in harsh acts.

If you hear about any facilities that allow elephant riding or compel the elephants to do stunts like headstands or painting images, it is NOT the sanctuary for you.

People are entertained because they are ignorant, yet tourism-related activities are founded in harsh practices such as elephant crushing and the use of bullhooks to control the animals.

If you care about animals and don’t want to promote elephant abuse, visit Elephant Nature Park, a real refuge and rescue facility. It’s one of Thailand’s finest and most respected.

5. Look for Chiang Mai Travel Packages.

Several websites provide discounts on tours and other travel-related services.

In Chiang Mai, I recommend Klook or Get Your Guide. They include a variety of bargains on excursions, performances, pocket wifi rentals, airport transfers, and more.

6. Purchase Travel Insurance

We don’t always acquire travel insurance, to be honest. It is dependent on where we are going, how long we will be gone, and what we will be doing.

If we’re simply going out to dine and shop, we won’t be able to obtain it. However, if we want to engage in any physical activity, we will undoubtedly do so.

We purchased insurance covers for our trip to Chiang Mai in case we were seated on (or spat on) by a naughty elephant.

We purchase insurance via SafetyWing.

They’re both well-known travel medical insurance carriers that many digital nomads rely on. For additional information, see my post on why we get travel insurance.

You may acquire a free quotation from SafetyWing by clicking on the links.

7. Rent a Car

If you’re used to driving in Thailand and wish to go outside of the city center, renting a car is the most convenient option. There are numerous intriguing places outside of the city boundaries, so having a rental vehicle will allow you to explore on your own.

8. Bring the Right Power Adapter

Thailand’s electrical outlets normally have a two-pronged round or flat plugs, either Type A, Type B, Type C, or Type F. Bring the appropriate power adapters for your gadgets. The standard voltage is 220V, and the frequency is 50Hz.

Have a good time!

I’m no expert in Chiang Mai, but I hope this guide helps you plan your vacation. I’m simply going to share a few of the things I discovered throughout our stay there.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the comments box below.

Thank you for visiting, and have a wonderful time touring Chiang Mai and northern Thailand!

Our Gears

These are some of the items we took to Chiang Mai. For a comprehensive list of our travel stuff, see what’s in our bag.

(Note: The links below are Amazon affiliate connections.)

Canon G7X Mark Iii
Canon G7X Mark III
Osmo Mobile 4
Osmo Mobile 4
Powercube
PowerCube
Best Harem Pants
Best Harem Pants

Last Thoughts

This article includes affiliate links, which means we will get a small profit if you purchase them at no additional cost to you. We only suggest items and services in which we have firsthand experience and a strong belief. We much appreciate your assistance in producing more of these free travel guides.

Thank you very much!

Share this article:

– read more –

Related stories

Patong Beach in Phuket

Patong Beach 2022 I What to Do in Patong Beach?

What to do in Patong Beach? Patong Beach is the most popular beach resort town in Phuket, with a 3 km long beach and an immense choice of hotels, restaurants and shops, and legendary nightlife. What makes it so attractive to many is often what other people dislike most about it. Patong can be big

Best Things to Do in Phuket

Best Things to Do in Phuket

What are the best things in Phuket? Phuket (/ˌpuːˈkɛt/; Thai: ภูเก็ต, [pʰūː.kèt] (listen), Malay: Bukit or Tongkah) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of

Thailand ENDS Test & Go

BREAKING: Thailand ENDS Test & Go and Sandbox

Thailand intends to discontinue its divisive Test & Go entrance program, instead choosing the simpler categories of “vaccinated” and “unvaccinated” for foreign visitors entering the

Pool Villa in Phuket

Best Pool Villas in Phuket

Pool Villa In Phuket – Which Is The Best? Staying in one of Phuket’s beautiful pool villas with views of the Andaman Sea is without

Best Hotels in Phuket

Best Hotels in Phuket

Best hotels in Phuket: Which are they? Here are our top picks for the best hotels in Phuket. We stayed and loved them all, and