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Chiang Mai

Everything You Need to Know About Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a land of misty mountains and colourful hill tribes, a playground for seasoned travellers, a paradise for shoppers and a delight for adventurers. On a trip to Chiang Mai, the curious traveller can expand their horizons with Thai massage and cooking courses. Others will be bowled over by the variety of handicrafts and antiques. The wild child will find plenty of lively nightlife, and the epicure can indulge in wonderful cuisine. Despite its relatively small size, Chiang Mai truly has it all.

Located 700 km (435 miles) north of Bangkok in a verdant valley on the banks of the Ping River, Chiang Mai was founded in 1296 as the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom. Today it is a place where past and the present seamlessly merge with modern buildings standing side by side with venerable temples. Not convinced yet? See our 10 Must See and Do list.

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First Time in Chiang Mai?

There is so much to see and do around Chiang Mai that it can seem a little overwhelming to first-time visitors. To simplify things, we’ve selected the absolute best of the best around the so-called ‘Rose of the North’. This includes the must-see attractions, must-try restaurants, the most comfortable hotels and the best places to go bargain hunting. We’re confident that our concise guides will give you all the information you need to plan a fantastic stay in Chiang Mai.

  • First Time in Chiang Mai? How to pick the right area for your hotel...

    Choosing a hotel in the wrong area can ruin your holiday so it's worth spending a couple of minutes looking at the pros Read More»

  • 10 Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai offers a diverse range of natural and cultural attractions – beautiful temples, hill-tribe villages to Read More»

  • 10 Best Hotels in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Hotels in Chiang Mai

    These Top 10 Chiang Mai Hotels is an eclectic mix, from a chic riverside retreat and Asian-style artist’s loft to Read More»

  • 2 Days in Chiang Mai

    You will be able to see and do a lot in two days in Chiang Mai thanks to its compact size, plentiful one- and even Read More»

  • 10 Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai’s dining scene offers a diverse blend of traditional northern Thai cuisine, regional Thai flavours and Read More»

  • 10 Best Shopping Experiences in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Shopping Experiences in Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai is one of the few places where you can visit a factory or artisan’s workshop, watch crafts people at work, or Read More»

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is quite a large place, with a lot of choice when it comes to hotels. Narrowing a choice of hundreds of properties down to just the one that’s perfect for you can be a challenge, but we think we can make it easier for you. We’ve picked out the best places in Chiang Mai according to a variety of budgets, locations and styles, so you can find the best hotel for your needs and preferences.

  • 10 Best Hotels in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Hotels in Chiang Mai

    These Top 10 Chiang Mai Hotels is an eclectic mix, from a chic riverside retreat and Asian-style artist’s loft to Read More»

  • 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Luxury Hotels

    The Best Luxury Hotels in Chiang Mai all have a certain charismatic air, a delightful sense of place, top-notch service Read More»

  • 10 Best Budget Hotels in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Budget Hotels

    The best budget hotels in Chiang Mai are sourced from all over town to ensure that anyone looking for a hotel that’s Read More»

  • 10 Best Hotels in Chiang Mai Old City

    10 Best Hotels in Old City

    The best hotels in Chiang Mai Old City follow a theme of classic Lanna-style architecture, gorgeous interiors and Read More»

  • 10 Best Chiang Mai Riverside Hotels

    10 Best Chiang Mai Riverside Hotels

    A stay on the Riverside in Chiang Mai is all about relaxation, and the finest hotels and resorts strive to provide the Read More»

  • 10 Best Hotels in Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

    10 Best Hotels in Night Bazaar

    Booking a hotel in the Night Bazaar area of Chiang Mai offers the ultimate in convenience. Shops, restaurants, spas, Read More»

Where to Go in Chiang Mai

The historical city of Chiang Mai is quite a diverse place, with different neighbourhoods have very distinct personalities. At its heart is the beautiful Old City. Outside its almost perfectly square moat and ancient city walls is the bustling Night Bazaar, the peaceful Riverside and the modern Nimman Road. If you want to be sure that you are getting everything you want out of your time in the city, you should check out our area guides to see which part best suits you.

  • Chiang Mai Old City

    Chiang Mai Old City

    Chiang Mai has great food and fantastic shopping, but its lofty peaks, lush forests and mighty rivers of Chiang Mai Read More»

  • Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

    Night Bazaar

    The main venue for shopping in Chiang Mai, the Night Bazaar is a must-visit. Located at the intersection of Chang Khlan Read More»

  • Chiang Mai Riverside

    Riverside

    The understated elegance of Thailand’s second city shuns the development of five-star hotels along its riverbanks in Read More»

  • Nimman Road (Nimmanhaemin)

    Nimmanhaemin Road, as well as the surrounding area that’s normally just called ‘Nimman’ – is by far the coolest Read More»

  • Tha Pae Gate

    Tha Pae Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai and is part of the crumbling city wall which once acted Read More»

  • Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

    Doi Suthep

    Doi Suthep is a constant part of life in Chiang Mai. This mountain overlooks the city from the northwest, providing Read More»

What to See and Do in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is most famous for its beautiful ancient temples, though there is much more to see and do. The striking mountainous landscape around the city provides a lot of wonderful natural attractions and is home to two tribal villages. In the city itself, there are unique museums, fantastic spas and beautiful gardens and parks to enjoy. Check out our pick of the best things to see and do around Chiang Mai to get the most out of this cultural capital of Thailand.

  • 10 Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai offers a diverse range of natural and cultural attractions – beautiful temples, hill-tribe villages to Read More»

  • 10 Must-See Temples in Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai is not exactly short of a temple or two. There are over 300 ‘wats’ scattered throughout the city and Read More»

  • Chiang Mai Night Safari

    Chiang Mai Night Safari

    Modeled after a similar attraction in Singapore, this expansive park features three animal zones and a range of Read More»

Where to Shop

Bargain hunters rejoice! Chiang Mai has among the best selection of street markets of anywhere in Thailand. It’s also home to many unique handicrafts and designers, offering goods very different from those available elsewhere in the country. While perhaps a little lacking in malls, the city has a real artisanal vibe and a greater variety of boutique stores. If you like shopping and you want to find something other than the usual big brands, you’re going to love Chiang Mai.

  • 10 Best Shopping Experiences in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Shopping Experiences in Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai is one of the few places where you can visit a factory or artisan’s workshop, watch crafts people at work, or Read More»

  • Central Festival Chiang Mai

    Central Festival Chiang Mai

    Central Festival Chiang Mai is the first full-scale lifestyle shopping centre and the forms part of a triad of new Read More»

  • Sunday Walking Street Market

    Sunday Walking Street Market

    At Sunday Weekend Walking Street, Chiang Mai comes to life in a vibrant spectrum of art, crafts, music and food – with Read More»

Tours & Activities

Seeing everything that Chiang Mai has to offer in a short time is quite an ambitious goal. An organised tour can certainly make things simpler. With one of the day trips and excursions from the following pages, you get your transport arranged for you, expert local guides to help you understand the wondrous sights and an optimised itinerary to help you get the most out of limited time. Take a look at our tours of the best sites around the city.

  • All Tours in Chiang Mai

    Make the most of a visit to this beautiful part of the Thai Kingdom with an organised tour that takes all the hassle out Read More»

  • Top 10 Tours in Chiang Mai

    Top 10 Tours in Chiang Mai

    The vast expanse of Chiang Mai’s lush, forested mountains offers a refreshing escape for those in search for tranquility Read More»

  • Chiang Mai Day Trips & Excursions

    To truly enjoy Chiang Mai you shouldn’t consign yourself to the city. Instead, try to get out into the surrounding area Read More»

Featured Stories

  • Wat Phan Tao

    Wat Phan Tao is a beautiful wooden temple with a decorated garden area. Sitting next to the famous Wat Chedi Luang this Read More»

  • 10 Cheap Things To Do (or even Free!)

    Chiang Mai is a cheap city despite the amount of tourists visiting yearly, and especially compared to other Thai cities Read More»

  • 10 Best Local Restaurants

    Chiang Mai is a local food heaven within a country often touted as having the best cuisine in the world. Chiang Mai is Read More»

  • 5 Best Spa in Chiang Mai

    The best spas in Chiang Mai are sanctuaries of health and well-being. From the moment you enter, right through your Read More»

  • Huay Tung Tao Lake

    Huay Tung Tao is a large lake with bamboo huts to relax in while overlooking mountains of Doi Pui. Huey Tung Tao is Read More»

  • Mon Jam

    Mon Jam is a beautiful mountain top viewpoint and restaurant that has views over the Mae Rim Valley and Royal Project Read More»

Where to Go at Night

Chiang Mai’s nightlife varies from the classy to the carefree. Chill out at bustling backpacker bars, sip cocktails on rooftops, enjoy live music at reggae, blues and rock venues or dance the night away at high-energy discos. There are even a few night markets for those who prefer shopping to partying. Whatever kind of evening you’re looking for, you’ll find something to suit you here. Check out our nightlife pages to see what’s happening after dark around your hotel.

  • 10 Best Night Spots in Chiang Mai Old City

    10 Best Nightlife in Old City

    The Old City in Chiang Mai is best known for its refined culture and relaxed ambiance during the day, but at night the Read More»

  • 5 Best Rooftop Bars in Chiang Mai

    5 Best Rooftop Bars in Chiang Mai

    Here’s our five favourite rooftops in Chiang Mai, from golden oldies 24 floors up, to swish new terraces with shisha and Read More»

  • 10 Best Nightlife Experiences in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Nightlife Experiences in Chiang Mai

    Here are some of the finest nocturnal pursuits in Chiang Mai; an electic concoction of activities and entertainment Read More»

Where to Eat

Chiang Mai’s dining scene is outstanding. The choice available is excellent, ranging from first-class fine-dining restaurants with international menus to little local joints specialising in the area’s unique and tasty cuisine. Chiang Mai food is especially remarkable, with an emphasis on small shared dishes. Don’t forget to try to delightful khao soi while you’re here! With our helpful guides, you can find the best eateries in town to suit your budget, preferences and location.

  • 10 Best Chiang Mai Food

    10 Best Chiang Mai Food

    Like its art, language and cultural heritage, Chiang Mai food is distinct from its cousins to the south and east, Read More»

  • 10 Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai

    10 Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai’s dining scene offers a diverse blend of traditional northern Thai cuisine, regional Thai flavours and Read More»

  • 10 Best Resaurants in Chiang Mai Riverside

    10 Best Restaurants on the Riverside

    Many of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai are located along the Ping River in the Riverside district of Chiang Mai. Read More»

Chiang Mai Maps

Chiang Mai Maps

Our interactive map displays all available hotels with photos, facilities and guest comments as well as attractions, Read More...

Chiang Mai Events and Festivals

Events and Festivals

Chiang Mai’s festivals and events largely celebrate its wealth of cultural, artistic and natural heritage. Yee Peng is Read More...

Chiang Mai Weather

Chiang Mai Weather

With its more Northern latitude and higher elevation, Chiang Mai enjoys a cooler climate than the stifling central Read More...

Chiang Mai International Airport

Chiang Mai International Airport

Chiang Mai International Airport is the main air hub linking northern Thailand with Bangkok, Samui and Phuket as well as Read More...

Chiang Mai Train Station

Chiang Mai Train Station is the first (or last) port of call for hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit the

Read More...

Chiang Mai Bus Station

Chiang Mai Bus Station welcomes millions of passengers to the city every year from all over the Thailand. Most of the

Read More...

Around Chiang Mai

  • Chiang Rai

    Chiang Rai

    Chiang Rai City is a sleepy provincial town with a pleasant atmosphere. Relaxed and down to earth, it offers many Read More»

  • Pai

    Pai

    Tucked deep in a valley, surrounded by walls of mountains, Pai seems to exist in its own time zone. Here, nature is your Read More»

  • Mae Hong Son

    Mae Hong Son

    Home to the famous backpacker town Pai, Mae Hong Son boasts more than 80% of virgin forests and attracts a steady flow Read More»

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