Chiang Mai Holidays
Thailand’s second city, Chiang Mai, is found at the feet of Northern Thailand’s picturesque peak and is famed for its surrounding majestic mountains and tranquil temples, of which it has over 300 Buddhist places of worship. The most famous temple to visit is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, often referred to as simply ‘Doi Suthep', which features a 306-step staircase and beautiful Northern Thai architecture. In addition to temples, Chiang Mai is a good spot for relaxing among the cooler climes, particularly if you’ve come from Bangkok, but the more active can explore the surrounding hills, trek to traditional villages and look out for the Asian elephant. The food here is excellent too, as are the markets, and when you’ve had your fill you can always try cooking it yourself at one of the many cookery schools.
Popular Tailor-made Chiang Mai Holidays
Our tailor-made Journeys have been designed by our Experts to take in the best of Thailand, including Chiang Mai. These Chiang Mai holidays not only include international flights and hand-picked hotels, but also domestic flights, transfers, day tours and unique experiences such as cooking classes and homestays. Best of all, the below holidays are just an example of what we can arrange for you. To tailor make an itinerary or to create a bespoke holiday, talk to one of our Experts today.
Chiang Mai Holiday Types
Looking for something in particular in Chiang Mai? Our holiday types feature itineraries that visit Chiang Mai and Thailand with a range of interests in mind. Browse our Chiang Mai holiday types below or talk to one of our Experts for more ideas.
Things to do
- Visit the immaculate hilltop temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
- Dine on the native Northern Vietnamese dish Khao Soi
- Sample some of the myriad streetfood
- Wander through the night bazaar
- Relive Chiang Mai’s history at Tha Phae Gate
- Take a cooking class
For both the best views of the city and a stunning example of Buddhist temple architecture head to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The temple is situated 15km East of Chiang Mai on the side of Doi Suthep - a mountain sacred to many Thai people – and can be reached by a jaunt in a local ‘red truck’ taxi.
Once you are at the temple you will see a staircase guarded by two majestic dragon sculptures – “naga” - leading to the temple itself. After climbing the staircase and removing your shoes to enter the complex, you can wander the complex and marvel at the many stupa and chedi.
This dish, native to Northern Thailand but also served in parts of Myanmar and Laos is widely available in Chiang Mai and simply must be tried on a Chiang Mai holiday. This dish is a fragrant noodle soup dish created with deep-fried chrispy egg noodles which are combined with a curry-like coconut-milk sauce.
Throughout Thailand the street food is a major draw and Chiang Mai is no exception. People in Chiang Mai are serious about their cuisine. Try the aforementioned Khao Soi, Khanom Jeen (a Thai style buffet), Sai Oua (Northern style curled sausages) or even the classic Pad Thai. The best places to peruse for food are Warorot Market and Chiang Mai Gate Market.
Found on the East side of Chiang Mai’s walled city the Night Bazaar is the epicentre of shopping in Chiang Mai and runs from 6PM to half past 10. The food and souvenir stands mix with the patchwork lighting and excited noises to create a fantastic atmosphere in which to pick up a bargain.
The best preserved of the gates that still control entry and exit to Chiang Mai old town is definitely worth a visit. The gate can be found on the Western side of town.
One of the best ways to ensure that you take at least some of the brilliant flavours you experience hoe with you is to take a cooking class. Not only will this mean that you can dazzle friends with your culinary genius but it’s also a great way to interact with local people and understand more of the culture.
When to go
Although there is no ‘bad time’ to go on a Chiang Mai holiday the best time to visit is between November and April or during one of the many festivals such as: Chiang Mai flower festival (usually first weekend in February), Songkran – Thai New Year water festival (April 13-15), Yi Peng lantern festival (usually end of November).
November to March
During the period November to March the weather is generally cool and dry. With only 1 day of rain on average for January and February and temperatures consistently in the mid-twenties this is the most popular time to visit.
This time of year also encompasses Chiang Mai flower festival, and Yi Ping lantern festival.
April to May
In April to May summer arrives. The price of visiting will be reduced, however, temperatures tend to rise and with them there is increased rainfall. Although it will not stop you doing anything, just keep an umbrella handy for the occasional downpour.
You would be wise to make sure that your trip coincides with Songkran. Songkran is the water festival that signifies the beginning of the traditional new year for parts of South East Asia as well as parts of India and China.
June to October
June to October signifies the beginning of monsoon season. Average rainy days reach their peak as does the humidity. However, if you would like to experience Chiang Mai without all the tourists this is the time for you.
More About Chiang Mai
Currency: Thai baht
Language: Thai and English
Vaccinations: Vaccinations for tetanus and typhoid are recommended when visiting Thailand.
Flight time: The flight time for London to Bangkok is around 15 hours, typically with a stopover in Bangkok.
Visas: British Citizens do not require a visa if staying for under 30 days.
Getting Around Chiang Mai
While Chiang Mai does have a bus network and car rental is possible, by far the best way to travel is to join the locals and travel by tuk-tuk or songthaew. Tuk-tuks, essentially a three-wheeled motorbike with two seats in the back, are easy and quick, and not very expensive, especially if you have good bargaining skills. Songthaews are larger, like covered pick-up trucks with benches in them, and follow a fixed route. Flag one down and agree the price beforehand.
Why Book Your Chiang Mai Holiday with Flight Centre
We know Chiang Mai: Thailand is one our most popular destinations so naturally we know Chiang Mai very well. From the best hotels to the best flight options, our Experts cannot only help you plan the perfect Chiang Mai holiday but also include it within a wider itinerary of Thailand.
Local knowledge: As part of the global Flight Centre Travel Group, we have staff on the ground in Chiang Mai who will be on hand to welcome you at the airport, drive you to your hotel and operate select tours during your stay. So from the UK to Thailand, we’re with you at every step to offer you up to date local information and peace of mind.
Flexibility: We offer flexible deposits, the opportunity to pay the balance of your holiday just 10 weeks before departure and fixed change and cancellation fees.
Flight Centre Concierge and 24/7 Emergency Assistance Service: When you book a Chiang Mai holiday from our range of tailor-made Journeys, you’ll also enjoy access to our inclusive concierge and 24/7 Emergency Assistance services.