Chiang Mai or sometimes written as "Chiengmai" or "Chiangmai" is famous for its Wat Phra That Doi Suthep which is a Theravada Buddhist temple that is a sacred site for many Thai people. Located 15 kilometers from the city on the Doi Suthep mountain, visitors may be able to observe panoramic views of the city from the temple area. A capital of Chiang Mai Province, Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand that was once the former capital of Lan Na Kingdom. It is situated 700 kilometers away from the Bangkok capital with the city sitting alongside the Ping River, the biggest river in the region which flows into Chao Praya River, another major river in Thailand. It is from this particular river that Chiang Mai becomes an important trading route historically which allows it to flourish till this day. Chiang Mai was awarded by UNESCO as a Creative City in 2017, while TripAdvisor included Chiang Mai as one of the destinations in Thailand to visit in its 2014’s list of “25 Best Destinations in the World”.
Chiang Mai International Airport or formerly known as the Suthep Airport, Chiang Mai International Airport is the primary airport of Chiang Mai as well as Lamphun which is operated by the Airports of Thailand PCL and owned by Royal Thai Air Force. Located in 60 Mahidol Rd which is about 5 kilometers away of the main city of Chiang Mai, the airport is the main gateway to Northern Thailand as well as the fourth busiest airport in Thailand, being able to accommodate 10 million passengers as of 2017. Chiang Mai International Airport has two terminals, in which one is utilized for international flights and the other is meant for handling the domestic traffic. It is the hub for Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai AirAsia and Wisdom Airways with flights coming into and from Manila.
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The off-peak season is in the months of late April until late October because of the much higher rain frequency as well as higher humidity. However, this could be an excellent opportunity to get reasonable offers and visit places with much lesser crowds too, since the prices will drop. Therefore, if you want to save money, you can look forward to go to Chiang Mai around this time. The peak season in Chiang Mai is during the late December to February which are the times when the temperature is much cooler, not too hot and the rain does not occur too often. The best time to visit Chiang Mai is in February and November, which is at the start and at the end of the peak season, in which the number of tourists are significantly lesser.
Just like any other regions in Thailand, Chiang Mai has a tropical savanna climate according to the Köppen climate classification in which there is a straight dry season month which is usually in February, with precipitation falling below 50 millimeters. The environment is usually warm and humid throughout the year. The annual rainfall would be about 1,100 millimeters with the heaviest precipitation being from May to September. The temperature extremes are typically ranging from as low as 3 degree Celsius to as high as 42.4 degree Celsius, last recorded in May 2005.
Chiang Mai has a lot to offer to the visitors especially when it comes to celebrations and festivities. As such, you can certainly look forward to join in these events as a visitor upon coming to Chiang Mai. To begin with, there is the renowned Loy Krathong Festival or known locally as Yi Peng, held on the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai calendar with people crafts banana-leaf containers called Krathong with decorations and place them on the waterways to celebrate the Goddess of Water. Meanwhile, Songkran is held in mid-April in conjunction with the Thai New Year, with Chiang Mai being a popular destination for the celebration. During the first weekend of February, there will be the Chiang Mai Flower Festival which is a three-day festival to celebrate what is spring season with a variety of flowers.
1. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – Wat Phra That Doi Suthep or often referred to as “Doi Suthep" which is a reference to the mountain where the temple is located. The history of the temple is shrouded in legends with a handful of versions, with its founding is said to happen in 1383.
2. Chiang Mai Zoo – Chiang Mai Zoo is a 200-acre zoo located at Huay Kaew Road, the first commercial zoo of its kind in Northern Thailand. Established since 1977, the zoo features over 400 animals of a handful of species including swans, Humboldt penguins, Cape fur seals, hippos, flamingos, giraffes and zebras among others as well as an aquatic tunnel with many sea creatures.
3. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar – Found directly east of the city moat on Chang Khlan Road, Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is known for its variety of crafts and portrait paintings. In addition to that, it also sells jewelry, toys, clothing, CDs and DVDs. It is among the popular attractions in Chiang Mai and runs every evening from 1800 to 2300 hours.