Use Chiang Mai as a base
I would definitely recommend spending a little week in Chiang Mai. Use the city as a base to explore the nearby mountain areas that are actually located all around Chiang Mai.
The city is located in an elongated valley between beautiful mountains. Alternatively, you can also take a couple of nights in the mountain areas and make your own little round trip. Remember that there is entrance at national parks and at several of the temples.
➡ See the best travel deals here
➡ Find the cheapest flight tickets to the destination here
Thailand is waiting
See Chiang Mai and surroundings with your own driver
There are many options, where you basically rent a car with a driver, leave early in the morning and return in the late afternoon.
If you come to Chiang Mai during periods of public holidays - Thai holidays - then you need to be prepared for traffic a bit à la
Bangkok. Therefore, it is often a good idea to leave early.
See a great deal on flights to Chiang Mai - click on "see offer" to get the final price
Get around with a Songthaew
When you go around Chiang Mai, you can with great advantage use the local minibuses 'songthaew'. In the central part of Chiang Mai, they are red and they are stopped by waving them to the side. It typically costs between 20 and 30 baht - about 5 kroner - per person to drive in the city, so it is cheap and efficient.
Songthaew has no fixed routes; you simply drive where the customers want. But it is a good idea to be prepared for the fact that the driver does not necessarily understand English, so have a translation ready. Also, not everyone is used to looking at maps, so it should be a clear and distinct destination.
I would not recommend anyone to try driving themselves. It is associated with great risk, and if an accident occurs, then it is always the foreigner's fault.
202 2 is a blast of a travel year! See here why and how
Go to the lesser known Saturday market
Every Saturday there is a market that transforms the central part of the old city into a very lively pedestrian street that clearly surpasses the ‘night market’ that many come to Chiang Mai to see.
The Saturday market is filled with local artists, mountain tribesmen and representatives of the huge handicraft production found around Chiang Mai.
Travel deals: Lush and tranquil Thailand
… And the large market Kad Luang
There is also the fantastic Kad Luang - The Big Market - which is both a market for fresh food, clothes and gold and a place for good local experiences. If you are visiting Kad Luang, then it is nearby to stay in the area and visit the café Thamel Coffee.
You enter through a store and up a small staircase, and an international Asian environment will open up. They have super good food, coffee and healthy drinks.
An evening visit to the old Riverside restaurant just off the Ping River is also a must. A super good and very popular place. Super delicious Thai and international food at good prices. There is often live music, where you can also get a good insight into the pretty good music scene that is found in Chiang Mai.
Here you will find good deals on accommodation Visit the many temples
In addition, there are many exciting historical sites. These are temples like Wat Umong Temple and Meditation Center as well as Wat Lok Moli; a super beautiful, smaller temple by the north wall.
Temples like the great beautiful Wat Pra Sing and Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan are very central in the history of the city and definitely worth a visit.
When you get a little up in the heights, a visit to Wat Prahat Dio Suthep is definitely a must too.
See all our travel deals to Thailand here Chiang Mai Old Town
Chiang Mai's old town is surrounded by a moat and a city wall, both of which are reasonably well preserved. The old town is 1 km2 and it is interesting to walk around the old town.
It is a good idea to buy a local SIM card so that you can have signal and internet access from your phone - also just to be able to use Google Maps.
Remember that both for city walks, visits to shopping malls and especially in temples, it is expected that you are nicely dressed. That means no beachwear in Chiang Mai.
Khao Lak, Thailand: Turtles, cooking school and rafting The hot springs east of Chiang Mai
The hot springs in Sankampang are an amazing experience. Especially on the weekends, a lot of Thai families come and have fun. The Samkampang area also houses a giant artisan area, where you can see, among other things, how handmade umbrellas are made in good old Lanna style. It's very souvenir-like, but still a really good experience.
It can really be recommended to continue east through beautiful agricultural areas to Ban Mae Kampong, which is a small village in the mountains that makes great coffee. There are also some pretty good restaurants in this part of Chiang Mai, such as the organic Oh Ka Jhu that can be recommended.
Phuket Sandbox: Travel diary from the reopened Thailand
Doi Inthanon west of Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon is an absolute must and you should leave early. It is best to drive from the city around 05.30. Doi Inthanon is Thailand's highest mountain, and on the way down you should stop at Wachirathen Waterfall. It is also a good place to enjoy a little grilled pork or chicken with traditional sticky rice.
Op Luang National Park can easily be visited in conjunction with Doi Inthanon if you are fresh. The park is located southwest of Chiang Mai and is ideal for an afternoon visit. It is a prerequisite that you feel like hiking and maybe also are fresh on climbing quite easily. They have a beautiful walking route which takes about an hour. If you climb up to the vantage point, it's all worth it.
Travel deals: Visit Bangkok, River Kwai and Khao Lak Head to Chiang Dao north of Chiang Mai
Chiang Dao is an impressive mountain located 80 km north of Chiang Mai. It is perfect for you who like to go trekking with accommodation. It is also for you who want to experience the different ethnic groups without having to go to a tourist trap, or on a longer trip close to the border with Myanmar.
Travel deals: Cruise in Thailand Are you into trekking?
Trekking is in my opinion Chiang Mai's biggest attraction. A good start is to book the program via Chiang Dao Nest, as they have both accommodation and the absolute best trekking trips.
Often - especially in December - it is completely cloudless here, and after a full day of trekking, it is an unforgettable experience to lie on a bench outside in the evening. With a cool Chang beer and eyes fixed directly on the Milky Way with no light pollution at all, this is an almost magical feeling.
A two-day trip to Doi Angkhan is definitely one of the highlights of Northern Thailand. You reach an altitude of 1900 meters in a fantastically beautiful nature. Accommodation can be booked at, for example, Doi Angkhan Nature Resort close to one of the royal agricultural projects. But remember to book well in advance as it is a highly sought after area.
Travel deals: Cruise in Asia's wonderful surroundings Where are you going to live?
Momondo you can easily and clearly find your hotels. But it is always good to get some insider tips on where you should actually live. Therefore, I have described a few hotels below.
If you want to live in an area where it is not purely tourism based, I definitely recommend the west town. A bid here could be
Lotus Hotel Pang Suan Kaew. It is a super well centrally located hotel which is part of the Kad Suan Kaew shopping complex.
There is a lot of conference activity on site, and in terms of guests, a lot of Asian and American guests come by. The place has one of the probably most undisturbed and 'rural' swimming pools in Chiang Mai city itself.
Kad Suan Kaew is home to many different activities. From dance school and bowling center - mostly for Thai teens - to Harris Fitness Center and a sea of fine Thai restaurants serving indoors
streetfood in a good and clean way.
Find the best prices on car rental here
Stay in the mountains
Of other hotels in the same area can be mentioned, for example
Furama Chiang Mai og Chiang Mai Orchid.
A slightly longer hike in the mountains is definitely also recommended. For my wife and I are
Belle Villa Resort only about 50 minutes drive west of Chiang Mai one of our favorite getawayplaces.
In addition, there are many options - depending on need and economy - to stay overnight in Chiang Mai. It is also possible to rent an apartment. However, they typically have to be rented for at least 3 months, but since they are available from 7.000 baht up to 50.000 baht per. month, then it can well be considered - especially if you are considering taking a long-term vacation in Chiang Mai.
See much more about traveling in Thailand here
Thailand, is rightly a definite holiday favorite, and Chiang Mai can clearly be recommended. Really good trip!
Travel deals: The dream trip to Thailand
What to see in Thailand? Sights and attractions
The White Temple, Chiang Rai Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai Wat Arun, Bangkok Damnoen Saduak - the floating market in Bangkok Railay Beaches, Krabi James Bond Island, Phuket The Great Buddha, Phuket Khao Sok National Park, Surat Thani
This post contains links to some of our partners. If you want to see how it goes with collaborations, then you can tap here (in Danish).