Chiang Mai

Plan your visit to Chiang Mai with our Destination Guide. We welcome all visitors to Chiang Mai, and stand ready to help answer your questions and provide advice on attractions, tours, and itineraries.

Chiang Mai was established as the capital of an independent kingdom over 700 years ago. Today, as a province of present-day Thailand, it is well serviced with modern convenience but retains a relaxed atmosphere and palpable cultural richness. As you move further from the city you can experience undisturbed & traditional rural communities.

Chiang Mai City & Temples

There are a lot of things to see and do right within the city of Chiang Mai.

Doi Suthep Mountain

If you only have time to visit one attraction in Chiang Mai, we strongly recommend the stunning Doi Suthep Temple on the mountain overlooking the Chiang Mai / Lamphun valley.

Considering travel time plus the time spent at attractions, you need a half day to see Doi Suthep. It can get crowded, so early morning and evening are good times to visit.

Chiang Mai Nature & Gardens

The highest peak in Thailand is accessible from Chiang Mai, in Doi Inthanon National Park. On a day trip to the national park you will experience the changing natural vegetation and crops at different altitudes. There is also a European-style garden at the Royal pagodas.

The Royal Park Rajapruek gardens are closer to the city and great for a relaxed morning stroll. These gardens were originally developed for an international horticulture exposition.

The Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens are situated in the scenic mountain forests of Mae Rim. The gardens feature impressive botanical diversity. Travelling further up the mountain from the botanic gardens, you can reach Doi Mon Jam – site of the Mong Nong Hoi village, and the Nong Hoi Royal Project.

Chiang Mai Animal Encounters.

Most visitors to Chiang Mai are eager to see our famous Asian Elephants, and we have many camps to choose from. Our comprehensive guide to Chiang Mai Elephant Camps will help you decide which one is best for you.

If you are travelling with young children, Chiang Mai Night Safari is a wildly popular experience for children and older animal enthusiasts alike. At Tiger Kingdom Chiang Mai, you can get into the cage with a tiger!

Food & Culture

The Chiang Mai Sreet Food Tour runs for a few hours in the evening, so we can arrange this for you as a stand-alone tour or as the final part of a full day itinerary.

One of the best introductions to Northern Thai culture is to spend an evening at a Khantoke Dinner. This a great way to experience the uniqueness of local culture through food, dance and music.

Chiang Mai Sports & Adventure Activities

ATVs, paintball, ziplines, bungee, water parks, white-water rafting – in Chiang Mai we have it all. We partner with safe and reputable operators and conduct periodic inspections of their facilities.

Fancy a round or 2 of golf? See our Chiang Mai golf course guide – we cater for both beginners and experienced golfers.

Chiang Mai Maps

Chiang Mai city is located in a large open valley that it shares with Lamphun province to the south. The Chiang Mai International Airport is quit close to the enter of the city, which is convenient for airport transfers, but can cause general traffic congestion at times.

Map of Chiang Mai
Mountains to the West, open valley East and South. Head North for neighboring provinces of Chiang Rai & Mae Hong Son.

There are three major ring roads around Chiang Mai, only the inner ring road is shown in the map above. To the north-east you cross mountains to reach Chiang Rai. To the north, there are also several mountain ranges and valleys within Chiang Mai province all the way up to the northern border of Thailand.

The city of Chiang Mai is centered on the Chiang Mai Old City which is roughly square in shape, and the major gates on each side aligned with the points of the compass.

Chiang Mai Old CIty Map

The larger hotels are generally clustered around the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar district, and smaller boutique hotels and guest houses within the old city. West of the city there is a more newly developed area, the Nimman district which has a mixture of accommodation styles.

Far North Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Province actually extends all the way north to the Myanmar border, separating Mae Hong Song from Chiang Rai in the far north. This is not a heavily visited area, but there are a number of points of interest if you are traveling between Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai, or are otherwise in this area.

Other Destinations in Northern Thailand

Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son provinces are right next to Chiang Mai. If you would like to see some more remote areas of Nothern Thailand, please see our other destination guides:

Transport Service to Other Provinces

If you plan to travel onward from Chiang Mai by independent means, there are several inexpensive bus services departing from the Arcade Bus Terminal on the Chiang Mai ring road. Travel between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is also possible by train.

Another low-cost way to get to Chiang Rai is to book a seat on the Chiang Rai Short Program group tour and leave the tour in Chiang Rai rather than returning to Chiang Mai in the evening. This will cost you a little more than the public bus, but we can arrange hotel pickup/drop-off (so you don’t need additional transfers for bus stations). You also get a day of guided sightseeing in Chiang Rai with lunch included.

General Information about Chiang Mai

For more information on Chiang Mai, please see the following resources: