Chiang Mai, Thailand: what to see, when to go and what to do in the evening

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Joel Fulleda

Author and references

Chiang Mai is a city located in the mountains of Northern Thailand and it is the largest, after Bangkok, in the whole country.
Its historic center is rich in remains that testify to its important cultural and religious past, such as the ancient walls and the moat. Chiang Mai is also home to hundreds of richly decorated Buddhist temples, including the th-century Wat Phra Singh and the th-century Wat Chedi Luang.
There is certainly no shortage of things to see and do, but it is not as chaotic as the capital: the atmosphere is very different ... more relaxed!


  1. Where it is
  2. What to see in Chiang Mai
  3. What to do in Chiang Mai: excursions and tours
  4. What to do in the evening: the best clubs for nightlife and nightlife
  5. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  6. How much does a holiday in Chiang Mai cost? Prices, offers and advice
  7. User questions and comments

Where it is

Chiang Mai is away 700 km from Bangkok and is located in a valley located in the most mountainous area of ​​the country, in Northern Thailand, on the banks of the Ping River.
Chang Mai is the most important city in the district of Mueang Chiang Mai, in Chiang Mai province, and is the seat of the district and provincial government.

How to reach us

From Italy or from the main European capitals you generally land in Bangkok and, from here, there are several solutions that can be adopted to reach Chiang Mai.
The fastest is definitely the plane (70 minutes for about € 40,00 round trip, Chiang Mai International airport, AirAsia companies, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Airways International), alternatively you can take the train where the The journey takes 12-15 hours (depending on the type of train) and the cost is € 12,00.
Again, by bus, where the journey takes more than 10 hours and the cost is € 5,00 (the cheapest, but inconvenient) and by car or motorbike, bearing in mind that you have to travel 700 km.

  • From the main European capitals: from Paris there is a direct flight with both Thai and Air France lasting 11 hours. From London the direct flight takes you to Bangkok in 11 - 12 hours, you can choose between three airlines: British Airways, Thai and Eva Air. From Berlin, on the other hand, you make a stopover in Vienna and from there you arrive in 10 hours with British Airways, or a stopover in Helsinki and then you reach Bangkok in 10 hours with Finnair.
    Compare flights to Chiang Mai - starting from € 399,86

What to see in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a little paradise and there are many things to visit: temples, markets like the busy Sunday Walking Street or the Night Bazar, natural parks or places like Thailand's highest peak, Doi Inthanon.
In addition, there are cafes and restaurants in every corner, guesthouses, resorts for every taste and the opportunity to do activities that will remain with you, such as excursions, meditation, Thai massages, conversation with Buddhist monks to, perhaps, appease your every curiosity. .

Here is the following all Chiang Mai attractions not to be missed.

1 - Wat Chedi Luang

Despite being ruined by an earthquake, the chedi of Wat Chedi Luang always remains majestic with its 60m high, the tallest in Chiang Mai.
It is a very active Buddhist temple, frequented by several monks, located in the historic center.

At the top of the staircase, in the four cardinal points, there is a Buddha in meditation protected by a niche, which dominates the caryatid elephants placed at the base of the structure.
The large chedi and the surrounding buildings (such as the two viharns) make the complex very impressive: absolutely not to be missed!

  • bus lines Chomtg and White, while the nearest stops are Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan, Putthisopon School and Treasury Pavilion. Or collective taxi for about € 1,00 - Get directions
  • by 8: 00 17 to: 00
  • 40 baht (€ 1,00)
  • Chiang Mai: Small Group Cultural and Temples Tour

2 - Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh is one of the largest and most spectacular Lanna-style temples in Thailand.
It means "The Lion Buddha Monastery" and its construction dates back to the 14th century.
The whole complex is made up of several buildings and the oldest is the golden main chedi, surrounded by figures of elephants, while the interior is rich in decorations.

Currently the temple is an important monastery, home to over 700 monks. It also includes well-kept gardens, ideal for rest and relaxation after exploring What Phra Singh.

  • collective taxi or bus. The line is the White, while nearby stops are Wat Phrasingh, Wat Prasat and Technical College - Get Directions
  • by 6: 00 20 to: 00
  • free admission, you pay 20 bath (€ 0,50) only for access to the central chedi
  • Chiang Mai - day tour of Temples and Handicrafts

3 - Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Man was the first temple in the city, the oldest in Chiang Mai and is located in the old part.
It was founded by King Mengrai in 1297 and, precisely because of its antiquity, it is particularly revered by Buddhist faithful.
It contains several statues of the Buddha of great importance and its chedi, very beautiful and characteristic, is called the "chedi of the elephants", because it is literally surrounded by elephant sculptures that seem to emerge from it.

  • collective taxi or bus. The line is Piang_Luang, instead the nearest stops Noppawit Electricity, Wat Chiang Yuen and Opposite Choomchon Ban Muang Ngai School - Get directions
  • by 6: 00 17 to: 00
  • free entry
  • Chiang Mai: Old City 4-Hour Bike Tour

4 - Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Il Doi Suthep temple it is 13 kilometers away from Chiang Mai ed it is considered one of the holiest temples in the city.
This religious center stands on top of a mountain at 1.000 meters high, in Doi Suthep natural park and is known as the "Temple of the White Elephant".
It can be reached via a staircase, a trek along a mountain path or a funicular: once you reach the top, you will find yourself in front of a splendid example of majestic Lanna architecture.
One of the most interesting things about the temple is the cloister formed by the two viharns and in the center of which stands the great golden chedi, with beautiful statues of the Buddha around it.

  • collective taxis (€ 10,00 round trip) and then you have to walk the long staircase, or take the cable car - Get directions
  • by 6: 00 20 to: 30
  • 30 bath (€ 0,80)
  • From Chiang Mai: Doi Suthep and Hmong Hill Tribe Chiang Mai: 4-Hour Wat Umong & Doi Suthep Tour From Chiang Mai: Doi Suthep Excursion (1 day)

5 - Wat Pha Lat

Wat Pha Lat is a fascinating temple and can be reached with a short trek of about 40 minutes, or by road. If you come from the forest it is much more impressive, as you will walk in a wonderful territory, with water mirrors that reflect the green of the jungle and statues of the Buddha that emerge among the trees.

The temple is a complex of structures dating back to different eras and not much is known about its history. The fact is that being immersed in the lush jungle makes it very characteristic.
The main entrance is decorated with a large golden peacock, while a staircase leads to the river, escorted by two elegant snakes. Wat Pha Lat is currently the residence of the monks.

  • it is 15 minutes from Chiang Mai and can be reached by collective taxi or by your own vehicle (car or motorbike) - Get directions
  • by 6: 00 20 to: 30
  • 30 bath (€ 0,80)
  • Chiang Mai: Small Group Cultural and Temples Tour

6 - Chiang Mai Markets

Thailand is home to markets: both at night and during the day you will find everything, from fruit and vegetables to ready-to-go food, or street-food stalls where you can eat on the fly for a few tens of bath.
Chiang Mai's markets are now one of the main tourist attractions and the night markets are often crowded with tourists.

There are three main markets in Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, very varied, not very traditional and very tourist oriented. There are many souvenirs, food and various objects; The Saturday Night Market, the Saturday evening market, mainly dedicated to food; Sunday Night Market, open on Sundays and mostly for tourists. There are handicrafts and dedicated food areas.

  • I recommend collective taxis, they are cheap and fast. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar Get Directions / Sunday Night Market Get Directions / Saturday Night Market Get Directions
  • Sunday Night Market - Sunday 17:00 - 22:00 / Chiang Mai Night Bazaar - Monday to Sunday 15:00 - 23:00 / Saturday Night Market - Saturday 16:00 - 2:00
  • free entry

What to do in Chiang Mai: excursions and tours

What to do in the evening: the best clubs for nightlife and nightlife

Chiang Mai's nightlife will seem almost non-existent to you since it is not the ideal city for nightlife. Just think that most of the clubs close at midnight, due to an imposed ordinance.
Few are exceptions, either because they have special permission, or simply have decided to break the rules.

The fun is concentrated in the Old Town area, within the walls, in three places: Nimmanhaemin Road, along the river in the Nawarat Bridge area and the whole quadrilateral where there is the famous Zoe in Yellow bar.

1 - Zoe in Yellow

Zoe in Yellow is a well-known club in the area, one of the most popular. It is a bar with a dance floor, where you can drink at reasonable prices and have fun. Alternatively, you can just simply dine.
The place is very chaotic and fashionable especially among tourists, but also full of Thai boys and girls. Small drawback, it is open until midnight! Like everyone else ...

  • Type: bar and night club - Website
  • Address: 40/12 Ratvithi Rd, Chiang Mai - Get directions
  • Average cost of entry / consumption: free admission / Cocktail: from € 5,00

2 - THC Rooftop Bar

THC Rooftop is a very popular bar especially with tourists. Its position and location is very suggestive, since is located on a panoramic roof, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city and Mount Doi Suthep. It is a good place to dance, drink alcohol and eat Thai cuisine.

  • Type: Bar - Facebook page
  • Address: 19 Mun Mueang Rd, Chiang Mai - Get directions
  • Average cost of entry / consumption: free admission / Cocktail: from € 5,00

3 - North Gate Jazz Co-op

A well known pub among jazz lovers, where you can have dinner or a drink. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, the place is outdoors on Chang Puak square. During the evening, several quite prepared musicians alternate.

  • Type: ristopub - Facebook page
  • Address: 91 / 1-2 Si Phum Road, Chiang Mai - Get directions
  • Average cost of entry / consumption: free admission / Cocktail: from € 5,00

4 - Spicy

Spicy is perhaps one of the very few nightclubs open after midnight: it's practically a nightclub. In fact, many guys, when Zoe closes in Yellow, they head here. Like the latter, there are many people, there is dancing, having fun and having a drink.

  • Type: Disco - Facebook page
  • Address: Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai District - Get Directions
  • Average cost of entry / consumption: free admission / Cocktail: from € 5,00 - 6,00

5 - Roots Rock Reggae Bar

The place is welcoming and the atmosphere is relaxed. Basically there are groups that offer reggae music.
It is perfect for a different night out and the drinks are cheap, which never hurts!

  • Type: Bar, Pub - Facebook page
  • Address: 40/12 Ratvithi Rd, Chiang Mai - Get directions
  • Average cost of entry / consumption: free admission / Cocktail: from € 4,00

When to go? Info on climate and best time

  • Weather: tropical with three seasons. The cool season (from December to February) coincides with the high season, temperatures min 15 ° (in the evening) max 30 °. The hot season (March to late May) has high temperatures (40 °) and a high humidity. The rainy season starts from the end of May with the monsoons that bring the first rains, and lasts until November. Intense tropical storms can occur in these months. The peak of rains occurs in August and September.
  • Best time: from December to January is the coolest and ideal period, with little rain.
  • Period to avoid: the summer, with August the wettest month of the year. Then the hottest months, ie those that go from March to May, although advantageous on an economic level.
  • Advice: In winter bring light clothes for the day, a jacket and a sweater for the evening; in summer light clothes, raincoat, trekking shoes, sweatshirt for the evening. To enter the pagodas you need to take off your shoes and wear not too low-cut clothes. Don't forget first aid medications, sunscreen and insect repellent.

How much does a holiday in Chiang Mai cost? Prices, offers and advice

Thailand is cheap: eating street food costs € 1,00 / 2,00, for a two-course lunch or dinner in a medium-level restaurant it costs € 5,00 / 6,00 per person.
A night in a budget hotel can cost around € 10,00; while if you stay in a house, for example for a week, you will not spend more than € 20,00 for shopping.

For travel, the figures are always low: € 2,00 / 3,00 to travel around 6 km, but if you use collective taxis (absolutely recommended) you spend less. The important thing is to negotiate the price first, since it is not fixed and could deceive you. A good idea is to rent a moped to get around Chiang Mai, for € 4,00 - 5,00 per day.
Entrance fees to museums and attractions are around € 1,00 / 2,00.

Flights are the sore point. The cost ranges from € 450,00 - 600,00 (not in August or Christmas) and, if you look carefully, there may be good offers.

Therefore, considering a cheap flight and the daily expenses mentioned above, a holiday in Chiang Mai costs about € 900,00 per person for 15 days. As a couple, you can spend less than € 2,000.

  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 9,00 per room -
  • starting from € 375,00 -

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