The second largest city in Thailand and economic center in the northern part of the country, visiting Chiang Mai is quite a different experience when compared to visiting Bangkok. As the former capital of Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai surrounded by mountains and full of tradition. Here, the climate is cool and flowers bloom during all four seasons. The city is full of ancient temples with white walls, red roofs, and golden cornices, exuding a style of architecture that is unique to the area. Monks can often be seen in the temples and are quite friendly to visitors, often engaging in discussions about Buddhism and the local culture.
Chiang Mai Old City is a neat square area surrounded by moats. The main attractions in the Old City are: Wat Phra Singh, the Big Buddha Temple, Wat Phan Tao, Wat Chiang Man, the Chiang Mai City Arts and Culture Center, Anusawari Sam Kasat, and the Sunday Market. The Tha Pae Gate, Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Chang Khlan Road, Talat Warorot and Mae Ping River are located east of the old town. Thanon Moon Muang Street is located along the moat in the east as well and is home to many cheap Chiang Mai hotels and restaurants. The Chiang Mai Post Office and Chiang Mai Railway Station are both in this direction too. The Suan Dok Gate, Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai University, The Nimmanhaemin Art District, Chiang Mai Zoo, Wat Umong, Chiang Mai Night Safari, and Doi Suthep-Pui National Park are located in the west of the old city. In the south, visitors can find the Chiang Mai Gate, Suan Prung Gate, Saturday Bazaar, and the Sbun-Nga Textile Museum. Chiang Mai International Airport is in the southwest of the old city. Chang Puak Gate, Wat Ku Tao, Wat Jet Yot, Chiang Mai National Museum, Chiang Mai Stadium, Huay Teung Thao Reservoir are all located in the north.
The period from October to February is peak tourist season in Chiang Mai. During the cool seasons from November to March, Chiang Mai's climate is very pleasant. It is moderate in temperature and rarely rains, but at night, it might be a good idea to carry a light jacket. From February to March each year, the air quality is poor because farmers often burn fields on the mountains to prepare for the growing of new crops during this period. The rainy season generally lasts from June to October, though its impact on Chiang Mai is smaller than that in the central and southern Thailand. During the rainy season, the air is cool and the scenery is beautiful, but rain often comes without prior notice. It’s important to note that the rain during this time may affect the city’s night markets. During this period, please pay special attention to the weather forecast and carry rain gear.
Although Chiang Mai is a relatively small city, the tourism service industry is very well developed. There are many hotels in Chiang Mai of various grades. The old city of Chiang Mai is the preferred accommodation area for tourists because of the local temples and night markets are located her, and there’s easy access to transportation, dining, and entertainment. Staying here, you can really feel the leisure and kindness of Chiang Mai. If you want to find a quieter place to stay, you might choose hotels located near Chiang Mai University and Nying Man Road where there are also many stylish shops. There are many well-known hotels near the Changkang Night Market and on the banks of the Mae Ping River.