Chiang Mai Travel Tips is created with budget travelers in mind, particularly those who will be arriving in Chiang Mai without a tour package in hand. It doesn’t mean that if you arrive in Chiang Mai on a tour, you won’t benefit from this website. But for free independent travelers, I have included tips on “getting there” for each sight, complete with Google Map illustrating its location, so that you can decide on the best option to visit them. Chiang Mai is reasonably small that you can reach most places within the Old City on foot. However, I would encourage you to also explore other places in northern Thailand, all the way to the Golden Triangle, if you have the time. For such excursions, the best way is to book a day tour. Within Chiang Mai itself, taxis are not plentiful. However, you can get around quite cheaply by hiring a tuk-tuk (motorized 3 wheeler) or take a songthaew (pickup truck with benches). From my experience in Chiang Mai (which I can’t say the same for Bangkok or Phuket), tuk-tuks and songthaews are a good option to travel around the city. You will certainly cut down on time otherwise spent walking.
Once you have settled down and are ready to explore Chiang Mai, we will have lots of fun together. You will find one of the most comprehensive articles describing all the tourist attractions of Chiang Mai right here. For each place that I describe, I will include some information on how you can get there, preferably on your own. For sights which are easy to visit through arrangement by the tour agency, I will mention that too.
Chiang Mai Entry Requirements
If you arrive in Chiang Mai via Bangkok, you would have cleared customs and immigration there. If you’re crossing the border to enter Thailand from Laos, then immigration procedures apply. Visitors of most countries holding a valid passport and a ticket for a return or onward journey are given 2 to 4 weeks entry permit on arrival. Citizens of Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden get a 90-day entry permit. You cannot extend your permit while in Thailand, so if you plan an extended stay in Chiang Mai, you need to leave and return before your permit expires. These can be extended at the Chiang Mai branch of the Thai immigration at Thanon Fang, just outside Chiang Mai International Airport.
Guide for First-Timers
If you are visiting Chiang Mai for the first time, you should start by visiting the places within the Old City. It is located to the west of Chiang Mai City. You can see the Old City on the map as the square section surrounded by roads and a moat. There is so much to discover within the Old City, that we greatly recommend you do a walking tour exploring the sights there. The experience will be well worth your visit. And when night falls, we have lined up recommendations of how you can experience the nightlife in Chiang Mai, from browsing its famous Night Market to attending cultural shows and enjoying the cuisine of Northern Thailand. There’s also information on what’s good to buy and what sort of activities you can join.
Chiang Mai is your base for discovering Northern Thailand, and we’ll …