Chiang Mai Province
Other than being geographically acknowledged as the second largest province in Thailand, Chiang Mai can be considered as the pinnacle amongst Thai provinces when it comes to valiant efforts of environmental preservation.
Its environmental beauty is awe-inspiring – and after basking in it, you can satisfy your desire for adventure in its numerous attractions tied with history, wildlife, culture, and simplicity. No wonder that Chiang Mai’s fame and reputation cannot be denied in recent years.
There’s an array of different and unique tourist attractions in Chiang Mai that will surely cater to your tastes. The most notable ones are the breathtaking structures of the Doi Inthanon and Wat Chedi Luang, followed by the bustle of the Night Bazaar and the Sunday Walking Street, and not to be forgotten are the tranquility and magnificence of Doi Pui Village and the Elephant Nature Park. These are just some of the unquestionable treats of Chiang Mai.
Located in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a landlocked province. Fortunately, the government recognises Chiang Mai’s significant contributions in the tourism industry that they constructed an International Airport in the province. So, going directly to Chiang Mai via plane is no problem. But, if you’ve opted to visit Bangkok first, you can avail of the train journey to Chiang Mai at the Hualamphong Train Station – the journey takes around 12 to 15 hours.
With a flourishing tourism industry, Chiang Mai became Northern Thailand’s economic hub. And therefore, the province – especially its cities are not lacking in means to tap into the local currency – Thai Baht (THB). Even though the city has drastically improved its capability to accept cards, it is still wise to carry cash mixed in varying denominations.
The best month to visit Chiang Mai is from early December to February, when temperatures are cool and manageable and the weather is not unpredictable with clear or cloudy skies that are usually prevalent during these months. Come March to May, you will experience the brutal temperatures of summer that can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. June to late October are also manageable months albeit with frequent rain showers – it’s the duration of the rainy season.
You can get around Chiang Mai using tuk-tuks, songthaews (covered pick-up trucks that are shared taxis), buses, taxis, and lately, Uber and Grab cars. The cheapest and probably most fun is the songthaew with fares ranging from THB 20 to 30 (USD 0.20 to 0.91) for town trips. The tuk-tuks, on the other hand, can offer a more personal and intimate tour albeit at a higher fare of around THB 50 to 100 (USD 1.51 to 3.02). Buses, taxis, and Uber and Grab cars offer great service and comfort – but the best affordable yet comfortable ride is via Uber.
It is well known throughout Thailand that different regions command different renditions of popular Thai food and their own unique set of dishes. Chiang Mai flavours are dominated with spice and strength – that means concentrating on one flavour. This cooking style is evidenced by their piping hot and extremely spicy noodle dishes. Their meat dishes have a particular taste enhanced by sauces and dips that make up for its one-sided flavour. The locals also innovated with Western favourite snacks and treats such as enhanced beers and unique coffee mixes. All these treats are offered by restaurants dotting the major cities and tourist areas. But, if you want good ol’ taste of home, fast food restaurants such as KFC, McDonald’s, and Burger King can be found in different tourist areas.
Chiang Mai is truly a perfect package of beauty and splendour that you can enjoy and remember for the rest of your life. For a blast of culture, history and the best of nature, explore Chiang Mai and you’ll never be disappointed!