Things to Know before Traveling to Chiang Mai

Did all those Instagram and Facebook posts inspire you to visit Chiang Mai? Are you desperately waiting to experience and admire the beauty of those lush forests, vibrant culture, historic temples and adventurous activities? Well, wait no more and visit the land of elephants, learn some authentic Thai cooking, and visit historic temples! Chiang Mai, located in North of Thailand, is known as the city of contrasts where several Buddhist temples shine bright all day long. It is a journey into the city of winding streets, past the ancient buildings and walls of old city of Chiang Mai. So, let’s look at some of the things you must know before you set on your journey to discover Chiang Mai.

Things to Know before travelling to Chiang Mai

A little knowledge of Thai language can go a long way

Although English is widely spoken in the city, it is always good to know a few basic Thai words to communicate well with the locals, tuk tuk drivers, hotel staff and while ordering food. In general also, it is always good to know a few local phrases to show some respect to the locals. What you would find interesting about Thai language is that the men and women use some different words at the end of sentences. While males generally use the word krap, females use kap. Some of the commonly and widely used words are – Sawadee (krap or Kap) which means Hello, Khopkhun (krap or kap) for Thank you, Mai as in No and so on.

Old City Chiang Mai
Old City Chiang Mai

Dress appropriately in Chiang Mai

Since Chiang Mai is the home of several monks and takes pride to have around 300 temples, show respect by dressing up appropriately. It is always good to wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders as Northern part of Thailand is little conservative as compared to other cities of Thailand. It is best to carry loose fitting, decent clothes as wearing skirts and shorts might even burn your body. So, cover yourself from the sun and keep sweat at bay by wearing breathable outfits. Check the complete post n what to wear in Thailand here.

Best time to visit the city of temples

The peak season starts in November when the weather of Chiang Mai is at its best. Tourists from all over the world travel to the city in the months of November, December and January. However, it is best to avoid a visit during March as that’s when the farmers burn their crop and the city gets covered with a thick blanket of smoke, which is unbearable and terrible.

Temple in Chiang Mai
Temple in Chiang Mai

Don’t hesitate to haggle

When out shopping, do not think twice before haggling with the shopkeepers. While the street markets of Chiang Mai has some of the great stuff to offer, the vendors try to fool the tourists to earn a little extra money. So, offer them a price you feel is the most suitable for an item and walk away if they don’t agree to it. They might call you back with a smile!

Souvenirs in Chiang Mai Thailand
Souvenirs in Chiang Mai Thailand


6 thoughts on “Things to Know before Traveling to Chiang Mai”

  • Totally agree that instagram is attracting visitors to Chiang Mai! It’s instagrammable in every corner and their temples are just magical! I’ve always wanted to visit this city . Not just for the gram but for the meditation and it’s nature!

  • Very useful information. Chiang Mai is very high up on my list and hope to get there someday. Good to know that the best time to visit is between November and January and March needs to be avoided. Also good to know there is somewhat of a dress code in this part of Thailand. As far as learning some Thai, not a chance. I find this language quite difficult.

  • We are sorry we missed Chiang Mai when we went to Thailand. I am glad your post starts with a reminder about the proper dress. It makes me sad to see people not showing the proper respect. I will keep in mind that Nov to Jan are the best times to visit. I am not so good at haggling. So I guess hubby will need to shop with me. Thanks for the tips.

  • Great advice here! I agree with the tip about learning a few basics in the local language. Chang Mai looks so nice. Thailand is really high on my list! Great tip about not visiting in March

  • Just love the traditional Thai architecture. They are just inherently photogenic. The Giant Buddha looks even bigger than the ones we have nowadays in Ladakh & Sikkim.

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