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A great starting point to explore this spectacular region

The town itself is famous for its temples and night bazaar where you can pick up some of the superior handicrafts fashioned locally.

Essential information for Chiang Mai

Local Time

Language

Flag of Thailand
Thai

Currency

Thai Baht
Official currency of Thailand

Flight Information

13h 55m
Chiang Mai (CNX)
Indirect

Flight schedule

  • Direct flights to Bangkok depart daily with EVA Air or Thai Airways. Onward flights to regional airport are operated by Thai Airways or Bangkok Airways.

Do I need a VISA?

British citizens do not require a visa for stays less than 30 days.

Find out more about Travel Visas here »

Eating out

There are plenty of delicious Thai eateries to sample and you can even take a cookery class to impress everyone back home!

Chiang Mai holiday highlights – rich history and northern serenity

The ‘Rose of the North’ is one of Thailand’s off-the-beaten-track treasures. Yes, you can spend your Thailand holidays lazing on the beaches of Phuket, dabbling your toes in azure water in Koh Phi Phi, or haggling like a native in the streets and boutiques of Bangkok. But if you really want to see the ‘real’ Thailand then Chiang Mai offers the best of Thailand holidays all packaged up into one neat bundle.

Don’t be fooled – Chiang Mai isn’t some tiny little village tucked away in the mountains. It’s Thailand’s fifth biggest city, although with so much amazing mountain scenery surrounding it, the city still manages to cling onto that village feel. Morning sunrises are magically misty and mysterious, reflecting off the red sandstone rocks and making the entire city look like it’s made of liquid gold. Holidays to Chiang Mai introduce you to a more authentic side of Thailand, but with some little luxuries thrown in for good measure, too.

It might be pretty compact, but there’s a lot to pack in on your Chiang Mai holidays. The best bet is to pick Chiang Mai packages that bundle everything into one deal, including flights, hotels and transfers, so you can focus on enjoying your holiday. Hotels in Chiang Mai are suave, sophisticated, and super-swanky, making them a great choice if you’re looking for a touch of luxury. Most have glorious swimming pools surrounded with comfy loungers are the ideal spot to chill out at the end of a hard day’s sightseeing. Here’s a pick of our favourite Chiang Mai hotels:

  • Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa – Privacy, luxury, and a sanctum where you can escape the noise of the city, this super-slick hotel has private courtyards, breathtaking views, and even afternoon tea (it was originally the British Consulate building, so you know there’s going to be cucumber sandwiches and little finger cakes to tuck into).
  • Duangtawan Hotel Chiang Mai – fancy some serious contemporary luxury slap-bang in the middle of a 700-year-old city? The Duangtawan Hotel is a towering high-rise (so you’ve got awesome views straight away) the combines top-of-the-range amenities with Thai arts and crafts to create a genuinely surprising and charming hotel. Check out the Sunflower Chinese restaurant, the dim sum is delicious.
  • Le Meridien Chiang Mai Hotel – The outside is an ultra-modern high-rise, but inside this exceptional hotel picks up on local Lanna Era design notes, giving it a boutique feel – only a whole lot bigger. If you fancy a night out with your other half then the hotel has a babysitting service so the kids are looked after while you go and grab a quiet romantic meal together.

The Thai adore kids, so expect the little ones to get spoilt rotten on a family holiday to Chiang Mai. There’s plenty of attractions to keep the kids busy, and all of the hotels in Chiang Mai have great kids clubs and activities specifically for younger guests so that they’re never bored. The swimming pools are amazing, seriously…

Our favourite family-friendly hotel is the dusitD2 Chiang Mai. You’ve hit the jackpot with this one, from the exceptional facilities right down to the ‘Delight Box’ that welcomes you when you walk into your room. Slap-bang in the heart of the city (so you’re just a few steps away from some amazing restaurants and shopping), it’s uber-cool and sophisticated, offering a surprisingly contemporary experience in the middle of such an ancient city. It’s also kid-friendly, with a playground and one heck of a swimming pool that the kids will make a beeline for.

Classified as having a ‘tropical savanna climate’, you can expect warm temperatures all year round, making it a top spot for holidays at any time of the year. Want to escape the dull and dreary British winter, and grab a spot of sunshine in the middle of February? You’re looking at average highs of around 32°C and very low rainfall.

Hit Chiang Mai in July and you’re still pretty much guaranteed the same kind of temperatures. The driest months are January and February, where you’ll rarely see any showers to ruin those blue skies. Compared to other regions of Thailand, humidity is relatively low (comparable to the UK), so evenings are pleasantly cool without being sticky.

Those huge pools are just so tempting, it could be tough to try and pry yourself away from the sun lounger and the keep-‘em-coming cocktails. However, change out of your bikini or board shorts, pop your shoes on and get ready for an adventure, as there’s plenty to see and do on Chiang Mai holidays.

If you’re big on Thai temples then you’ve got a staggering 300 of them to choose from in Chiang Mai and the surrounding countryside. Try and find the smaller, less touristy ones for a more authentic look at the culture of this part of Thailand.

  • Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep - Your number one excursion on a Chiang Mai holiday is a visit to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, one of the most important temples in Thailand. This is not the place to be if you’re more of a ‘minimalist’ décor lover, because the sheer amount of gold leaf and paint is dazzling. You’re 18km away from the city and up in the mountains, so the air is refreshingly cool. The temple dates back to the 14th century, and the site was apparently chosen not by a person, but by an elephant. You’ll find that tourists flock to this site in their droves.
  • Wat Phra Singh – Sitting inside the city walls is the best known of the city temples. Again, there’s a lot of gold paint and red lacquer patterns, and it’s still an important place of worship for the locals.
  • Wat Phra That Doi Kham - Want to see one of the biggest Buddha statues in the area? Head to Wat Phra That Doi Kham, just outside the old city walls. Its 17-meter Buddha is the largest in the city.
  • Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre – check this excellent museum out in the very centre of the city if you want to learn about the culture of the region. For the kids, the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders is jam-packed with critters and creepy-crawlies (and let’s be honest, kids love that stuff).
  • Go mountain biking on an actual mountain – Holidays to Chiang Mai are a great opportunity to get out and about beyond the city walls and into the surrounding countryside. Mountain biking is increasingly popular, particularly on Doi Suthep mountain.
  • The Bo Sang Umbrella Festival – January – more of a street fair than a festival, you can grab some awesome handmade gifts and souvenirs and, you guessed it, umbrellas. We’re still not quite sure why…
  • Chiang Mai Flower festival – February – You’re in orchid country here (catch the orchid fair in January), as well as thousands of different blooms of all colour, shape and size. Every February the entire city becomes an explosion of colour and scent that make you understand how this city earned its name as the Rose of the North.
  • Loi Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals – November - colour, lanterns, fireworks, traditional dress and dancing – these are the most typically Thai festivals of the year. Loi Krathong is in November, and coincides with the lunar festival of Yi Peng.

What do you fancy – a Mall or a market? A night-time bazaar or an air-conditioned ultra-chic experience complete with fountains? Chiang Mai holidays are a shopper’s delight, with everything from top-quality boutiques in malls like the Central Plaza at Chiang Mai Airport, to the gloriously quirky night Bazaar. For a more authentic Thai experience check out the Warorot Market. It’s where the locals go to do their shopping, so it’s filled with spices, fresh fruit and vegetables, and some awesome street food vendors.

Holidays to Chiang Mai mean access to some of the best food in the world. Keep a look out for restaurants and street stalls where the locals are eating – that’s where you’ll get the best truly authentic Thai food. A great staple is Khao Soi, which is a noodle broth with a bit of a kick, and traditionally served with chicken or beef. A local favourite is hang lay, which is a pork curry with attitude!

Expect plenty of spices in your food, and if you want to try a little bit of everything then book yourself a Khantoke dinner (Khantoke means ‘small bowl’, so you get to try lots of different dishes in one go). If you’ve booked onto Chiang Mai package holidays then your food and drink may be included, but it’s well worth tracking down a few taste experiences for yourself.

  • By Bus – the local buses are super-cheap, great fun, and slightly unpredictable (you might end up somewhere completely different to where you intended to go).
  • By songthaew – fancy something even more ‘random’ than the buses? These trucks have been fitted out with two long benches in the back, and are the most common way of getting around the city. The red songthaews don’t follow any set routes, great for a ‘let’s see where we end up’ kind of adventure.
  • By Tuk-Tuk – think of holidays to Thailand and you’ll think of tuk-tuks. Fast, furious, and always in a hurry, they’ll get you where you want to go – for a price.

Package holidays to Chiang Mai introduce you to a unique and lively location that’s completely different from its cousins in the south. Check out our Chiang Mai hotels to start planning your Thai adventure today.

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