Chiang Mai

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Traveling to

Chiang Mai

When to go:

The cool season (November to February)- Recommended

The best time to visit Chiang Mai is during the cool season which runs from November-February. Temperatures are warm and there is little chance of rain. January tends to have the best weather but it is also considered a peak travel time so prices on accommodation might be a bit higher than other months.


The hot season (March to June)

From March to June it is officially the hot season in Chiang Mai with temperatures reaching well into the 100s. We recommend avoiding travel during this season as the heat can make it difficult to have an active trip. March is a particularly bad time to visit Chiang Mai as farmers are burning off their fields to make room for new crops so the air can be very smokey. The smoke combined with Chiang Mai’s air pollution and humidity creates a smog haze that sits over the city, making it hard to breathe.


The rainy season (July to October)

From July to October rainy season hits  Chiang Mai. The heaviest rain will occur in August and September. Often rainy weather usually comes in 3 to 4 day stretches, and alternates with good weather. It is a fine time to visit Chiang Mai but you will want to be prepared for humidity and rainshowers.


Here are the average costs (USD) for basic items in Chiang Mai. We base these numbers off of what we spent.

Bed in a hostel: $5.00-$25.00

Mid-Range hotel: $25.00-$55.00

Bottle of water (1.5L): $.45

Street Stall Food: $.75-$1.50

Basic breakfast: $.75-$3.00

Basic lunch: $1.75-$3.50

Basic dinner: $1.75-$4.50

One beer in a bar: $1.50-$3.00

Taxi (airport to city center): $5.00

Neighborhood Guide:

Whenever we visit a new city, we like to get oriented. We want to know which neighborhoods to visit if we are looking for restaurants, bars and other forms of entertainment. We love Chaing Mai because it is a walkable city. You just have to know where to go!

Nimman:  Arguably Chiang Mai’s trendiest neighborhood filled with restaurants, coffee shops, wine bars, art galleries and upscale shopping.

The Old City: A big tourist area with lots of backpacker hostels, guesthouses, eateries and cafes. Most of the action is concentrated around Thapae Gate and on Ratchadamnoen road.

Night Bazaar: Another fairly touristy area packed with upscale hotels, and LOTS of shopping. It’s an easy walk into the Old City from this neighborhood

This is just a quick overview to get you started- there are many more neighborhoods in Chiang Mai. For a more in-depth look at the city’s different areas click here

Where to Stay:




At Niman

Prices starting at $80Chiang Mai hotels

The Craft Nimman

Prices starting at $60Chiang Mai Hotels


The Old City:


Werun Boutique Hotel

Prices starting at $25chiang mai hotels 

Cozytel Chiang Mai

Prices starting at $35Chiang Mai Hotels


The Night Bazaar


Kate and Hasu Boutique Chiang Mai

Prices starting at $40

where to stay in chiang mai, hotels in chiang mai

Rustic River Boutique:

Prices starting at $25

Where to stay in Chiang Mai, Chiang mai hotels


Other Locations


BaanBooLOo Village

Prices starting at $120

Chiang Mai hotels, where to stay in Chiang Mai

Wualai Sabaidee

Prices starting at $40

Hotels in chiang mai, where to stay in Chiang Mai

Where to Eat:

Khao Kha Moo Chan Phueak (The Cowgirl)

Famous stewed pork knuckle street stall visited by Anthony Bourdain. Look for the women in a cowgirl Hat

Khao Soi Khun Yai

Some of the best noodles in Chiang Mai

Chern Doi Roast Chicken

Great place for authentic Kai Yang, grilled chicken

Rod Yiam Kitchen

  Known for their beef noodles

Tongtem Toh

Small Nimman joint  popular with tourists and locals alike

SP Chicken

Unassuming eatery specializing in Kai Yang,  roasted chicken

Farmstory House

Quaint cafe serving up home cooked, organic meals

Khao Soi Islam

  Halal eatery serving delicious Khao Soi (northern Thailand noodles)

Aroon Rai

Open air restaurant known for their curry dishes

Pun Pun

Serving local, organic vegetarian food

Click Here for our full post on eating in Chiang Mai


Ristr8to Coffee

Trendy coffee shop serving unique types of coffee drinks

Akha Ama

Socially conscious coffee house with high-quality coffee

Marble Arch

Small cafe with good coffee and fast wifi

Graph Cafe

Minimalistic cafe with tasty food options

*Click here for a map of coffee shops in Chiang Mai*

You May Also Like:

Chiang Mai Street Food Markets

8 Northern Thai Dishes to Try in Chiang Mai

What to Do:

Get Outside:

Get up close and personal with elephants (responsibly) at Elephant Nature Park

Explore Doi Inthanon National Park

Get Educated:

Visit the Chiang Mai Historical Center

Visit the Lanna Folklife Museum

Get Cultured:

Learn to cook traditional Thai dishes (Zabb-E-Lee Thai Cooking School)

Participate in a Monk Chat

Visit a Hill Tribe with locals (Chai Lai Sisters)

Get Active:

Learn Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) with Lanna Muay Thai

Do some mountain biking

Go on a trek

Get Shopping:

Experience Saturday and Sunday Walking Streets markets

Hit the Night Bazaar

Planning Resources:


 Activity Providers:

Untouched Thailand

Local tour operator offering city tours of Chiang Mai and northern Thailand

Good Morning Thailand

Tour provider specializing in city bike tours and eco treks

Chiang Mai Street Food Tours

Tour company helping you discover the best of Chiang Mai’s food scene

Chai Lai Sisters

Thailand’s first trekking company led by indigenous Karen women

Learning Thai:

Thai food

Learn Thai from Ben


Tour Radar

Find and book international tours

Visa Central

A website that will help you figure our international visa requirements

Travel Insurance: World Nomads

Reliable, flexible travel insurance

More to come…..

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