Chang Mai, Chiang Mai or Chiang Mai (Thailand) is a city in the north-west of the country, almost 700 km from Bangkok. Among the largest cities in Thailand, Chiang Mai takes 5th place, it is inhabited by about 170,000 people.
There is a lot of information on the Internet that Chiang Mai is very developed and comfortable for living. Indeed, it is considered the cultural capital of Thailand, various exhibitions, festivals, concerts, competitions are regularly held here. But still, Chiang Mai is rather an ordinary provincial Thai town in which there is no sea and sea beaches, no skyscrapers and not so many shopping centers.
And many tourists say that Chiang Mai has changed dramatically in the last decade. Most of the current population is Chinese, throughout the city there are inscriptions in Chinese, and many of them are not even duplicated in Thai or English.
So why do so many tourists visiting Thailand travel to Chang Mai and even live there for a long time? This is a city with an airport, it is a very convenient starting point for trips to the sights of Chiang Mai.
Temples – Major Chang Mai Attractions
There are a lot of temples in Chiang Mai, and almost all of them are concentrated in the square of the Old City. To visit you need to choose the most interesting and unique sights of Chiang Mai – those that are better to see on their own, and not as part of tour groups. After all, it is in leisurely walks that all the amazing beauty of the shrines of Thailand opens.
When visiting local temples, remember: you can’t enter them with bare shoulders and knees, shoes before entering must be removed.
The most impressive temple complex of the Old City is considered Wat Chedi Luang. From four sides of the world majestic steps lead to it, guarded by stone naga snakes.
The main stupa was built in the XV century, its height was 90 m, and its diameter at the widest point was 54 m. Over time, the building partially collapsed and was never restored. But now this pagoda remains the largest in Chiang Mai: in height it rises to 60 m, and the base has a width of 44 m.
A special attraction of Wat Chedi Luang is the 3 figures of the monks – 2 wax, and 1, according to the living body of the monk Acharn Mun Bhuridarto. More than 40 years ago, during meditation, he entered a state of enlightenment, and his soul went on a journey through other worlds, and his body was waiting for her to return.
At the beginning of the 20th century, new viharns were built next to this stupa, in which the ancient statues of Buddha were placed.
On the territory of the temple complex there is a Conversation club: under the awnings there are special places where you can calmly talk with the monks about religion and life.
- Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai is located at 103 Phra Pok Klao Road | Phra Singh.
- The attraction is open to visitors daily from 6:00 to 18:30
- Entrance fee is 40 baht.
On the same street, next to Wat Chedi Luang, there is a shrine of architecture not quite typical for Chang May and Thailand.
Wiharn Wat Pan Tao (XIV century) is built of teak darkened from time to time, and its three-story roof is supported by huge wooden columns. On the roof there are stylized naga snakes, and the entrance is guarded by lions.
“Wat Pan Tao” means “Temple of a Thousand Furnaces.” The name is explained simply: before there were furnaces intended for the manufacture of metal statues of Buddha.
The entrance is free.
In the Old City, there is another interesting religious attraction – the ancient temple of Wat Chiang Man.
This shrine, according to tourists, is a real place of power. Do not come here as an ordinary photo object in Chiang Mai – the temple is lively, you can communicate with him and ask for something. You always want to stay here, although there are usually more visitors than other similar attractions in Chang May.
To the right of the entrance is a viharn, in which there are 2 ancient shrines very important for Buddhists: a bas-relief marble Buddha and a statue of the Crystal Buddha. The last Thais are endowed with the magical ability to bring the rainy season closer.
Behind the viharna is an original pagoda mounted on the backs of elephants.
- Where to find: Ratchaphakhinai Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
- You can visit this attraction any day from 6:00 to 17:00
- Free admission.
What else to see in Chiang Mai, experienced travelers recommend that this is Wat Phra Singh Temple. This attraction is located at the end of Phra Singh Street, we can say that the street just goes into a large temple site. Address: Singharat Road | Phra Sing Subdistrict, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Numerous ancient Buddha statues, a 14th-century library in a red-gold wooden building with a high white base, and 2 huge golden stupas, as if carved from giant gold bars, are the main attractions of Wat Phra Singh.
You can go to all rooms, they are open daily from 6:00 to 17:00. And you can walk around the territory at any time of the day. Moreover, an evening walk will bring even more pleasure from what you see: the gold of the temples looks especially impressive in night light.
Entrance to Wat Phra Singh is free, and to enter the temple, you need to pay 20 baht. Although you can try to enter not from the main entrance, but from the side – usually there is no charge for anyone there.
In Chang Mai there are 2 temples that are known as Wat Umong. The first, Wat Umong Maha Thera Chan, is located in the Old Town and is not particularly remarkable. The second, Wat Umong Suan Phuthatham, is very unusual – it is tunnel.
Going around the sights nearby Chiang Mai, you should definitely see this temple monastery. He settled in a forest near Doi Suthep Mountain, about 1 km south of Chang May University. It is inconvenient to travel on foot, and far away, you can rent a bike or bike, or take a taxi.
The territory of Wat Umong Suan Phuthatham is large – 13 acres of land in the forest, and the part where the monks live is “fenced” with orange ribbons on the trees.
The temple itself is a few underground tunnels, at the end of each there is a niche with a Buddha statue. In the niches, twilight and silence reign, which is conducive to prayers and meditation. And although the tunnels are small – you can inspect them in 15 minutes – in the niches you usually want to linger and sit a bit.
Tunnels can be passed through and through and exit from the opposite side of the entrance. Therefore, having swollen at the entrance, it is better to take shoes with you so that you do not have to come back.
At the entrance to the tunnels there is a kind of “cemetery”, where old Buddha statues stand in disarray, slowly scatter and go into the ground.
Above the tunnels rises a large chedi, covered with a piece of orange fabric. A beautiful staircase with a railing in the form of two futuristic kites leads to it.
There is a meditation center at Wat Umong. It is in demand – there are regularly held retreats (in English), which are visited by many Europeans.
There is also a picturesque pond with an island in the center. You can go there by a special bridge, from which it is very convenient to feed ducks, catfish, turtles. You can buy food here, a bag costs 10 baht.
- The attraction is open to visitors daily from 6:00 to 18:00.
- The entrance is free.
Tourists do not know very well about Wat Phrathat Doi Kham, but the inhabitants of Chang Mai highly respect this shrine.
Wat Phratat Doi Kham is located 10 km southwest of the center of Chang May, on Mount Doi Kham, (location: Mae Hia Subdistrict). Public transport does not go there, so you need to get by taxi or rented bike. You can exit to the parking lot at the very top of the mountain, or you can drive to its base and climb up a long staircase.
The most unique attraction here is the chedi of 687 year of construction, the entrance to which is guarded by mythical golden snakes. The complex has an open gallery with various statues of Buddha, a collection of gongs and bells. The central figure of Wat Phrathat Doi Kham is a snow-white Buddha statue standing on a natural elevation 17 meters high.
Wat Phratat Doi Kham has a spacious outdoor terrace with benches and a swing under a canopy. There are also many places where you can make beautiful panoramic photos of Chiang Mai and the natural scenery of Thailand.
- Visiting attractions is possible daily from 8:00 to 17:00, but better on weekdays, when there are few people.
- Entrance for foreigners is 30 baht.
Chiang Mai Zoo
Chang May Zoo is considered one of the best in Thailand and Southeast Asia, one of the ten most interesting zoos in the world.
The Chiang Mai Zoo area is huge – up to 200 acres. You can move around on foot, on a monorail or on an open bus. You need to pay for the fare, it is more profitable to take an unlimited ticket, which allows you to use any transport as much as you like during the day.
Chiang Mai Zoo inhabits about 7000 animals. Mostly they live in enclosures surrounded by ditches with water, and only some predators are behind bars.
The pride and attraction of this nature reserve are pandas, which come from the most distant provinces of Thailand. Pandas are passive animals, but they always go to feeding (at about 15:15), and it is at this time that it is better to visit their pavilion.
Chiang Mai Zoo has the largest aquarium in Asia. It looks like a tunnel with a length of 133 m, in which 20,000 fish and other inhabitants of the deep sea live.
- The zoo is located at 100 Huay Kaew Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand. You can get there by minibus for 40 baht or by taxi for 100 baht, or you can use a rented car, bike or bicycle.
- Chiang Mai Zoo is open daily from 8:00 to 17:00.
- Official website: www.chiangmai.zoothailand.org.
The cost of entrance tickets for adults and children over 5 years old, respectively (indicated in baht):
- to the zoo – 150 and 70;
- to the pavilion with pandas – 100 and 50;
- 520 and 390 in the aquarium;
- aquarium snorkeling – 1000 and 500;
- domestic bus ride – 20 and 10.
When going to the zoo, stock up on nuts and fruits – they will be needed to treat animals.
Chang Mai Markets
The sights of Chiang Mai and Thailand include colorful markets. There are several of them in Chang May, and most of them are designed for tourists. Each of the markets listed below should be visited at least once – even if you don’t make purchases, it will be interesting to just walk and see.
When making purchases, be sure to bargain – the price can be thrown off by 30%. And buy precious jewelry only in large stores.
The colorful Chang May Night Market is located at the intersection of Tha Pae and Chang Klan.
They offer various consumer goods: factory bags, clothes, watches and mobile devices (fakes of popular brands). In the central trading building, you can find interesting handmade souvenirs, paintings by local artists, carvings. Here prices are higher than in daytime street shops.
There is a food area, many cafes and bars. The selection of dishes is huge. The food court is clean, everything is very tasty.
- Open Night Bazaar from 18: 00-19: 00 until midnight.
- It’s better to come by 19:00, then you just don’t get there.
Ploen Ruedee Market is located near the center of Chang Mai.
Here you can buy interesting clothes, souvenirs, jewelry.
There are “street food”, international and national Thai dishes, beer, smoothies from different fruits on the market. All establishments are located around the central recreation area.
The recreation area includes a place for dancing, a stage with live music.
- Address: Chang Klan Road | Opposite Mosque.
- Ploen Ruedee is open all days of the week except Sunday, from 18:00 to 23:45.
On Saturdays, merchants set up tents with a wide variety of goods at the southern gates of the Old Town.
Of all the city markets, this one most suits the definition of “Chang Mai landmark”, since it is here that you can find many really worthy handmade: figurines, paintings, brightly painted umbrellas, scarves, Thai national clothes, toys, bags, rice paper lamps, crafts made of wood. If you really liked something, you need to buy right away: good things don’t last long.
The food here, of course, is also available. The choice is huge, everything is very tasty, clean and at a reasonable price.
- Where to find: Wua Lai Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
- Open Night Market Walking Street on Saturdays from 16:00 to 23:00.
- It is advisable to arrive no later than 20:00, since then there may not be any free tables.
Cad Luang, which means “Big Market”, has settled in Chinatown, near the Ping River, between Thapae Road and Chang Moi Road. It is a traditional Thai market for locals.
Warorot Market is an extensive three-story building that sells a variety of things, and a basement with kiosks selling food products. You can find almost everything here: gold, household appliances, shoes, fabrics, clothes, fashion accessories, Thai cosmetics, personal hygiene items, souvenirs, jewelry, Buddhist paraphernalia, a huge assortment of fresh flowers, seasonal and imported fresh fruits, dried fruits, spices, spice. Here you can have a tasty meal or just try any Thai food.
Prices on the Warorot Market are lower than on other markets in Chang Mai, but you still need to bargain.
- The market is open daily and around the clock.
- Outlets located in the building are open from 05:00 to 18:00. Later, with the onset of darkness, food trade takes place next to the building.
How much is housing in Chiang Mai
If you plan to stay in Chang Mai for only a few days, then the best solution would be a graying in a hotel. A hotel room, like in any other city in Thailand, in Chiang Mai is best booked in advance. The most convenient area for short-term settlement is the square of the Old Town. A few examples to navigate the cost of a double room in a 3 * hotel (price is per day):
- S17 Nimman hotel – from $ 70;
- hotel Royal Peninsula Hotel Chiangmai – suite from $ 55, deluxe room – from $ 33, superior room – from $ 25;
- Hotel Nordwind Hotel – from $ 40.
If you intend to stay in Chang Mai for a long time, then it is more profitable to rent an apartment or apartments in a condominium (condo). In Thailand, this is the name of any apartment building with a common territory (garden, pool, gym, laundry) or without it. Apartments with kitchens are: studio (room and kitchen are combined) and a full apartment.
The price of an apartment depends not only on its features, but also on the area in which it is located. In addition, such housing costs the cheaper, the longer the rental period: in Chang Mai few rent apartments for a month, at least 3 months in advance. As elsewhere in Thailand, the cost of housing depends on the season: in December-January, prices are higher and more difficult to find an apartment, and in April-June, prices fall and the choice of housing is greater. In the high season and for a short period, the condo can be rented at this price per month (indicated in baht):
- a condo without a kitchen for 6000 – 8000, but at the same time for water, electricity, sometimes the Internet needs to be paid separately;
- studio apartment for 9000 – 14000;
- a full-fledged one-room apartment in the center for an average of 13,000, in areas remote from the center for 10,000;
- apartments with 3 bedrooms in the center for an average of 23,000, in areas remote from the center for 16,000.
Nutrition Features in Chang May
If you like Thai dishes, then you can safely buy them from the macaques. The prices for tourist cafes and restaurants in Chang May are approximately the same as in other popular cities in Thailand. In a mid-level restaurant, a 3-course dinner for two people will cost about 550 baht. You can order Thai and European cuisine at the following prices (in baht):
- Pattay – from 50;
- paste – from 100;
- salads – from 90;
- soup “Tom Yam” – from 80;
- spring rolls – 50-75;
- steak – from 90;
- pizza – 180-250;
- fruit dessert – 75;
- cappuccino – 55;
- ice cream – 80.
Travel around Chiang Mai
Transport here is necessary only for those who want to not only get acquainted with the main attractions of Chiang Mai, but also to explore the surrounding area.
Songteo (covered pickups) travels all over the city, a route is written on each car, the journey costs from 40 baht. Red and burgundy pickups drive along city streets, cars of other colors go to the suburbs of Chang May.
Tuk-tuki is a three-wheeled vehicle in which 3 people are placed by force. They drive along city streets, stand at popular attractions, bus stations, railway station, airport. The average trip price is 80-100 baht, more expensive in the evening. You need to pay for the whole knock-knock, and not for the passenger, so such a trip is justified if you have 2-3 people.
Near the bus station and airport there is a Taxi-Meter parking lot.
When renting a taxi, check if the meter is turned on: without it, the charge will not be taken for the mileage, but for the time, even if it will be a traffic jam!
It is much more convenient to navigate Chiang Mai on a motorbike. There are many offices for their rental in the Old Town, especially in its eastern part. In high season, the average price is 250 baht per day, but you can bargain for 200. If you rent for a month, then it’s quite possible to agree on a 3,000 baht. To obtain a lease, they require a copy of the passport and a security deposit in the amount of 2,000 – 3,000 baht or only the original passport. When riding a motobike, put on a helmet, because the police regularly organize real raids on motorcyclists without a helmet.
Climate in Chang May
Chiang Mai is located at the bottom of a valley surrounded by mountains – this factor contributed significantly to the formation of the local climatic conditions. In this territory of Thailand, it is customary to distinguish between such seasons:
- A moderate period (from November to the end of February). The nights are warm, during the day there is no strong heat – about + 27˚С.
- Hot period (from March to the end of June). During the day, the temperature is about +38 + 40˚С, at night it keeps at + 23˚С. With such heat, fires often occur in the jungle, and then Chang Mai periodically plunges into smog and smoke. The air is so polluted that it is literally dangerous for them to breathe.
- The rainy season (from July to the end of October). Cold monsoons are cool and frequent showers. In September, the highest rainfall occurs – about 260 mm.
All prices on the page are for January 2019.
How to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok
There are several options for how to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: you can use the bus, train, plane.
There is a very popular and convenient Internet service – 12Go.asia – which allows you to purchase tickets for all the listed types of transport online. You can pay by credit card or Paypal. How to order tickets on this service, read here: v-thailand.com/onlayn-bronirovanie-biletov/.
You can fly to Chang Mai from Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi International Airport. A flight with Thai and Bangkok Airways will cost 2500-3000 baht.
You can use the services of low-cost airlines, which will reduce costs by about half. So, the airline Air Asia tickets cost 1,200-1,300 baht, and during sales, and 790. Flights with Lion Air and Nok Air will be slightly more expensive. It should be noted that low-cost airlines depart from another Bangkok airport – Don Muang. From Suvarnabhumi special free bus runs there, you can also take a taxi (ride 1-1.5 hours).
At each airport and on the official websites of all the named carrier companies, there is a consolidated schedule of flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
Departure of trains to Chang May from the capital of Thailand takes place from Hua Lamphong Railway Station.
It is better to purchase tickets in advance, as there can only be seats on a day to day basis. When buying a ticket through the 12Go.asia website, it is imperative to take a printout of the original at the office of the selected travel agency (they can send it by mail), since the Thai Railways do not support the electronic ticket system. It is also possible to buy a ticket in the traditional way: there are ticket offices at the railway station.
Estimated price in baht:
- reserved seat – 800-900;
- compartment – about 1500;
- seats – 200-500.
Traveling by train “Bangkok – Chiang Mai” lasts 10-14 hours.
In Chang Mai, buses depart from the Thai capital from MoChit Bus Station. Transportation is handled by different car companies (Sombat, Nakhonchai (NCA), the cheapest Goverment bus), each offering different locations in terms of convenience. Moreover, absolutely all buses are equipped with air conditioning.
Departures take place almost every half hour, day and night. The road lasts 8-10 hours.
There are usually no problems with tickets, but if they are needed for a specific date and time, it is advisable to buy them in advance. The portal 12Go.asia has the majority of carrier companies, an electronic ticket.
Travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (Thailand) will cost 400-880 baht – the final figure depends on the class (VIP, 1, 2).