Useful Chiang Mai Travel Information

Below are useful Chiang Mai travel information. Chiang Mai is located in Northern Thailand and second largest city after Bangkok. With great weather, good infrastructure and telecommunication, strong culture and authentic food, it is becoming a very popular destination in South East Asia. The province is also known as the coffee capital of Thailand because some of the world’s best Arabica coffee beans are grown here. There is a sizeable population of westerners who reside in Chiang Mai for retirement.

There are 3 seasons in northern Thailand:-
November to February : Cool season (15°C at night. 25°C during the day)
March to June : Hot season (25°C at night. 40° C during the day)

July to October : Raining Season ( max. temperatures over 30° C, evenings can be hot or cool depending if it has been raining or not)

When is good time to visit Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai Travel InformationJanuary, like December, is another good month to visit but expect high accommodation prices as it is considered the high season for tourist. Celebrating New Year eve in Thailand is a good idea.  International restaurants offer traditional meals from their home country. Quite popular with the expats, maybe not for the tourists.

February, is pleasant to visit, weather wise. Lesser tourist and hotel prices back to normal. Yearly burn off (crops and forests) can affect the pollution levels in Chiang Mai, usually late Feb.

March, is when you start to feel the heat but it is nothing unbearable. If you like mangoes, that’s the right time to come and enjoy the fruit traditionnaly served with sticky rice and coconut milk. Yearly burn off (crops and forrests) can be quite bad during March, take care to look up air pollution levels and wear facemasks when walking around or riding motorbikes.

April, probably the hottest month. It is month of Songkran, the water festival also called Thai New Year. Thais come from all over the country come here for the occasion. Demand for transportation/accommodation can be very high during the festival, lasting 5 days. Be prepared to be drenched from dawn to dusk with buckets of water thrown at you by everyone. Alcohol consumption during this month is high and tend to lead to many traffic accidents, so drive carefully.

May, occasional thunderstorms in the evening which is much welcome to cool off the hot days. Some like to call it the Buddha month because he was born, enlighted and he died in May. Witness many celebrations in the many temples.

June, more or less the same temperature as May. It is the season of of Mangosteens and Lychees. We do not suggest jungle trekking as the greeneries turn brown this month from the heat.

July, expect occasional heavy rains which may lead to floods. You can still expect many dry days although not sunny – not a good month for photo-taking especially when the sun goes down behind the Suthep mountain.

August is a combination of dry and rainy days. It is the favorite month for rafting in the Pai area and photo-taking of many waterfalls. Good time to visit Doi Intanon.

September is the month with most rainfall. Floods can occur.

October is when the rainy season ends with good days of clear blue sky.

November is probably the best time to visit Chiang Mai. The weather is nice. Hotel prices are fair and is not the high season yet. This is the month of the beautiful Loy Krathong Festival. Witness the raditional celebration of this festival along Mae Ping River. Children love it but are advised to be careful as people play firecrackers around the city.

December. Great weather and high season. Hotel prices are on the rise. The Night Bazaar is most crowded during this time. Christmas and New Year celebration in Thailand is a good idea.

Money Changer
While some merchants and street stores accept major foreign currency, we suggest that you expense in local Thai Baht. You can exchange with the money changer at airport. Money changers are mostly operated by banks.

They are located throughout the city and at airport.

Shopping Malls in Chiang Mai
Central Airport Plaza located near airport. Address: south west side of the city on 2 Mahidol Road or Highway 1141. Opening hours: Weekdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is a huge modern shopping center over 5 floors and has not only all the regular modern stores with clothes for men and women, shoes, jewelry, Robinson Department store, chemists, hair salons, sporting goods, and restaurants, but it also has the unique Northern Village that has high quality local handicrafts and silk clothes for sale. There is also a Northern Thai food court on the bottom floor next to the Tops Supermarket that is worth a visit. The top floor has cinemas and more food courts, restaurants and entertainment.

Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Center. Address: 21 Huay Kaew Road. Opening hours: daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It has a Tops supermarket in addition to chemists such as Boots, Watsons, a Central Department store, shoes and clothes, the popular Export 71 store that offers clothes in western sizes, sporting goods, mobile phones, a food court offering traditional food in the back and an excellent bargain massage place next to it that aids the Doi Saket Senior Citizen home.

For Tech Buff
If you need to buy a computer & accessories or smartphone & accessories, we recommend worthwhile visit to Icon Square, CM Plaza and Com Plaza. The 3 are next to each other on Manee Noparat Road. Opening hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Pantip Plaza. Address: Chang Klan Road, just past the Night Bazaar. 152/1 Changklan Road. Opening hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

VAT Tax Refund
Merchandize bought at major stores include VAT, 7%. You can receive refund when you bring them out of country. At airport produce the sales receipts with appropriate VAT forms from merchant to apply for refund.

Getting around Chiang Mai
Transportation service in Chiang Mai is inexpensive and value-for-money. You can book an airport private transfer service which includes airport meeting service or hire a private transport service with driver, for half day, full day or throughout your entire trip. Group traveling is most cost effective. As an indication, a full day of hire of a minivan, good for 12 pax is about USD90 for up to 12 hours of exclusive use. That works out to only about USD7.50 per pax based on 12 travelers for a full day service – cheap!  For more Chiang Mai Transport Service, please enquire here.

Chiang Mai Travel Information is updated from time to time, so please come back again for more news. In the meanwhile, you can send in  your enquiry here, on any transport service required.