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Getting to Chiang Mai - information about how to get to Chiang Mai + timetables

Chiang Mai Trips - a selection of itineraries (tours + accommodation) that you can book to make the most of your time in Chiang Mai.

Thai Dancer

Half Day Tours in & around Chiang Mai
See the best sights, in & close to Chiang Mai.

One Day Tours in & around Chiang Mai
See the best sights in & around Chiang Mai.

Buddha Image Placed in front of a Stupa


One Day Treks 
Daily adventures to the hills around Chiang Mai. Enjoy elephant riding, rafting and tribal culture.


Whitewater Rafting

Chiang Mai Whitewater Rafting trip. International standard rafting - daily trips from June - February.

Elephant Tours

Elephant Tours around Chiang Mai - visiting elephant camps and elephant riding.





Chiang Mai is the most popular destination in Northern Thailand. There are good transportation links with the rest of Thailand and it offers high standards of accommodation, restaurants and shopping. You can use Chiang Mai as a base to tour around the rest of northern Thailand or touring Chiang Mai and the surrounding area can be a holiday in itself.
There is a vast selection of accommodation in Chiang Mai, very reasonably priced. Choices range from downtown hotels in the heart of the Night Bazaar to quiet secluded resorts nestled in the hills surrounding the city.
Chiang Mai also offers a vast selection of restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines. Try the traditional Northern Thai food, Central Thai or European; you may also find Indian, Chinese and Japanese without difficulty.
Chiang Mai is definitely one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Thailand  and it is the premier destination for shopping. It is the major area for the production of handicrafts in Thailand and it's artisans are some of the most skilled in the world.

Your holiday in Chiang Mai can be as adventurous or relaxed as you like. Many people come to Chiang Mai because they want to get out in to the countryside and do some trekking. Many people want to simply relax and tour the temples and look at the most extensive range of handicrafts in Thailand. Chiang Mai has something for everyone. 
We have put together some links for the types of holiday people are often searching for:
An Adventure - involves trekking in the hills and National Parks, meeting with different hilltribes and maybe elephant riding and rafting.
A relaxing tour of Chiang Mai and the surrounding area - choose from our range of accommodation and take some day trips to explore the sights.
A complete break from the city - living and working in a big city can take it out of you; take a break in one of our selected resorts situated in the hills around Chiang Mai.

The History of Chiang Mai dates back to 1296, when it was founded by King Mengrai. It became the centre of the Lanna kingdom, which spread throughout Northern Thailand, Laos, Burma and Southern China. It became important as a cultural and religious centre for many hundreds of years. The next phase of it's history, from the 16th to the 18th century, was dominated by Burmese invasion and occupation, which finally ended when it was recaptured by a noble from Lampang (Chao Kawila) and King Taksin (from Bangkok). From then on, it once again flourished with trade from Burma and China and also the logging industry. The 20th century saw increasing links with Bangkok but it wasn't until the 1930's that Chiang Mai was fully incorporated into the Thai kingdom (before then it had been ruled by local noble families).

The Temples of Chiang Mai are a major attraction. It's very unlikely you will visit all the temples in Chiang Mai (there are over 300 ) but most people choose some of the most well known to explore.
Doi Suthep is the most famous temple and is situated on a hill to the North West of the city. This temple was founded in 1383; it's site was chosen by placing a relic of the Lord Buddha on an elephant's back and letting the elephant roam until it came across a place where it trumpeted and circled before laying down. This was taken to be a signal that an auspicious place had been chosen to build the temple of Doi Suthep. It is a 12km uphill drive to reach the temple; once you have arrived there are approx. 200 steps to climb or you can take the small cable car, to the top. There is a magnificent golden stupa at the top and from the outer courtyard you get a magnificent view of the Chiang Mai valley. Tour to Doi Suthep Temple
Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai, built by King Mengrai when he first founded the city. He donated the site of his first palace to build the temple. This temple houses two very important and venerated Buddha images - Phra Sila (a marble Buddha) and Phra Satang Man (a crystal Buddha).
Wat Phra Singh was founded in 1345 and is another example of classic northern Thai style architecture. It houses the Phra Singh Buddha, a highly venerated image, which was brought many years ago from Chiang Rai.
Wat Chedi Luang was founded in 1401and is dominated by the large Lanna style chedi which was started at the same time, but took many years to finish building. The chedi was damaged by an earthquake in the 16th century, so now only two thirds of it remain. The chedi was recently restored to a resemblance of its former glory, although still not to its original size. The city pillar of Chiang Mai is also situated in the compound of this temple.
Wat Suan Dokh is distinctive for its large open air viharn and striking whitewashed stupas. It also has played an important role in the history of Chiang Mai, notably being the site where the ashes of many of the Chiang Mai royal family are enshrined.
Wat Ched Yot is located on the outskirts of the city area, near the museum. This temple was built in the 1455 and hosted the Eighth World Buddhist Council in 1477. This must have been a very important event, (considering how difficult travel was at that time), as monks came from many countries. Tour to the City Temples
Vieng Kum Kham is situated on the southern outskirts of the city and was the earliest settlement in Chiang Mai, for which there is historical evidence.Today, we can see the temple remains. This site is of great historical importance, both because it's believed to be the first settlement in the vicinity of Chiang Mai and also because many articles of historical importance have been excavated at this site. Tour to Vieng Kum Kham

Getting to Chiang Mai

Click here for maps of Thailand and Northern Thailand.

The Handicrafts  are an important feature of Northern Thailand; an area famous for its skilled artisans. It is well worth taking a shopping trip for half a day to explore the Bosang umbrellas and famous Thai silk centres at Sankamphaeng. Along the way you will also see silver, lacquerware and celadon and many other crafts. If you are keen on woodcarving and furniture then head south to Ban Tawai - the famous woodcarving centre. For small crafts of many shapes and sizes, the Sunday market along Rachadamnoen Street and Tapae Gate is a shoppers paradise.

Thai Cookery  classes are great value in Chiang Mai at around 800Bt/person/day. You will visit the local market, learn about Thai food and be able to prepare, cook and eat a number of famous dishes. It is a good option for a day after trekking to be able to relax and learn something new at the same time.
Click here for a recommended Thai Cookery School with daily classes.

Spas in Chiang Mai  are world class, and a visit to the North of Thailand gives you the opportunity to try out the wide variety of treatments and massages available.
Visit our recommended Chiang Mai Spa for a full range of treatments.

Elephant Tours in Chiang Mai  are a must for anyone wanting to see these magnificent creatures in their natural environment. The north has the reputation for the best kept elephants and leads the way in many projects for elephant conservation and welfare. We pick out the best places for you to enjoy your experience with the elephants. All the camps are well managed and are involved with elephant conservation and welfare.
Click here for elephant tours.

Rafting Tours in Chiang Mai  can range from a relaxing trip on a handmade bamboo raft to negotiating grade 3-4 rapids on a whitewater trip using international standard inflatable rafts. The rivers do vary according to the seasons although bamboo rafting is available normally all year; the trip being quite slow February-May and much quicker in the rainy season July-October. Whitewater rafting is normally only available June-February.
Click here for rafting tours.

Adventure Tours in Chiang Mai  can range from longer treks to an exciting day trip. Our most popular adventure tours are the Whitewater Rafting Trip and the 1 day Mini Adventure. For a longer trip try our 3 day Doi Inthanon National Park Trekking Adventure.

Touring the Upper North of Thailand  can be done using Chiang Mai as a base. Visit the Lao and Burmese borders as well as seeing the places of interest along the way such as Chiang Saen, Mae Sai, hilltribe villages and the Mekhong River. Our popular tour-  Golden Triangle Explorer shows you the sights of the upper north at a leisurely pace.


Hotels and Resorts in Chiang Mai

Four Seasons Resort

Tours in Northern Thailand

Trekking in Northern Thailand

Thai Cookery Courses in Chiang Mai


Thai Cookery School

Thai cookery lessons every day at our Thai Cookery School. Learn how to make Green curry, Pad Thai and Papaya salad as well as many other popular Thai dishes.



Ballooning in Chiang Mai

Tours in a hot air balloon over Chiang Mai countryside at dawn. (October-February)



Rafting Tours

Rafting Tours around Chiang Mai - both whitewater and bamboo rafting.



Hilltribe Trekking & Tours - both trekking and tours to see the hilltribe villages in Northern Thailand




Chiang Mai Trips

Chiang Mai Trips - a variety of itineraries touring Chiang Mai and the surrounding area. Tours and accommodation included. Choose either 3 or 4 star hotels . Or stay in a Thai-Lanna style boutique hotel.

Take a break in Chiang Mai. Our trekking trips include treks, accommodation and tours in one complete package.

Chiang Mai Hotels

Chiang Mai Hotels - choose your accommodation in Chiang Mai. We provide a pick up service from airport or train station, directly to the hotel. Choose from a wide range of hotels; from budget to luxury, from city centre to rustic resort, from shiny modern to traditional Lanna charm. Something to suit all tastes.

Thai Cookery School

Don't miss the Thai Cookery courses when in Chiang Mai- learn how to make your favourite dishes such as Green Curry, Pad Thai & Tom Yum Gung and many more.
Click here for details of courses and prices.

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Last updated: 08/11/05 15:58:38