Chiang Mai, the cosmopolitan hub of northern Thailand, is greener and quieter than the nation's capital of Bangkok. Orbitz.com can help you find cheap flights to Chiang Mai, the "Rose of the North" and arrange accommodations and ground transportation. Located in the spectacular foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, Chiang Mai is a historical and cultural treat for visitors who can start their sightseeing in the walled city, the historical city center.
Visitors arriving by air fly into Chiang Mai International Airport, located approximately 3 miles southwest of downtown Chiang Mai. Seventeen airlines provide service to this airport, including Bangkok Airways, China Airlines, Kan Air, and Korean Air. Ground transportation options include airport taxis, which charge a flat fee of 120 baht for up to five passengers to any destination in the city. There are also metered taxis available, with fares starting at 90 baht. Bus service is available for 15 baht per person. If you want to charter a tuk-tuk or songthaew, the cost is approximately 50 to 60 baht per person.
There really isn't a bad time to visit Chiang Mai as far as the weather is concerned. The city's weather ranges from warm to hot all year long. During the dry season from December through March, the temperature drops significantly in the nighttime hours, so you will need to take a sweater or light jacket with you if you plan to stay out all day. The cool season is from November to February, the hot season from March to June, and the wet season from July to October. Average temperatures throughout the year range from 68°F to 82°F. Popular tourist attractions in and around the city include the Night Bazaar, the view from Doi Suthep, the Wat Phra Singh temple, Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center, Bhuping Palace, and the Elephant Nature Park. Conventional wisdom says you have to eat a bowl of kao soi, purchase an umbrella from Bo Sang, and party on Loi Kroh Road before you can say you have truly experienced Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is a cultural hotspot with over 300 Buddhist temples and sightseeing attractions that highlight the city's lush natural environment and vibrant economy. There is more to see and experience in Chiang Mai than one can likely fit into a single visit. Orbitz.com can be your travel planner to help you find cheap flights to Chiang Mai and affordable accommodations, so more of your time is spent enjoying your trip.
Chiang Mai’s tropical climate alternates between two main seasons: dry and wet, with the heaviest rains occurring in August and September. While daytime temperatures stay above 80 degrees most of the year, nighttime temps can drop significantly in winter, especially in December and January. For those trekking in the nearby hill country, evenings can be downright frigid, something most people don’t associate with Thailand travel.
The best times to visit are January and February, when Chiang Mai is in full bloom, the air remains cool, and events such as January’s 2nd Orchid Fair and February’s Chiang Mai Flower Festival, which includes floral floats and traditional dancing, bring the city to life.
While April is on the cusp of Chiang Mai’s dry and wet seasons, and can be both hot and humid, it’s also when the annual Songkran Festival takes place. Some travelers consider this celebration of the traditional Thai New Year the best time to visit the city, since it becomes an all-out water fight, with revelers playfully shooting water guns and drenching one another with buckets of water. If you’re visiting mid-month, be sure to cover your belongings with plastic. Another shoulder-season event is November’s Loi Krathong, a festival of floating lights and sky lanterns that illuminates the entire city.
Whatever time of year you visit, be sure to pick up a copy of artist Nancy Chandler’s Map of Chiang Mai. The San Francisco native has been illustrating and updating her hand-drawn map since the early ’70s. In addition to offering excellent expat and local recommendations on what to do and where to eat, the map makes a wonderful souvenir.
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