A 700-year old city, Chiang Mai is the capital of Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province. Its name can also be written as Chiengmai. The largest city in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai also offers the most cultural and historic importance. This does not mean, however, that Chiang Mai is restricted to past influences; the city has also become quite modern. This modernization is appropriate to the meaning of its name: new city. Chiang Mai is a new city for 700 years already though. According to the latest measurement, it is home to 148 thousand people.
Some people say that Chiang Mai can be explored in a day. This may be true for tourists who like their exploration quick and to the point. With rapid successions of camera clicks, it is over. However, if you are serious about immersing into a new world, it may actually take you not just a couple of days but weeks to really discover what Chiang Mai is truly about. You will realize that there are just too many to see: local handicrafts, several ethnic tribes, religious temples, museums and gardens. You can also get involved with the Thai celebrations and festivals such as the beautiful flower festival Loy-Krathong and Songkran, Thailand’s mid-April New Year.
You can reach the place through a final stop at the Chiang Mai International Airport. If you are coming from within the region, you may be able to book a flight directly to Chiang Mai. If you are from outside Asia, you will most likely have to have a connecting flight to Bangkok first. When already in Chiang Mai, you can get around by bus or train. To make the most of the experience, you may also go for the local transport, Tuk Tuk. Throughout the year, Chiang Mai has a tendency to heat up to 93 degrees Fahrenheit especially during the summer month of May.
According to the latest measurement, Thai Immigration had decided to cut the visa-free stay of some visitors in half; visitors coming in through the land border have to stay for only 15 days, instead of 30. Those arriving via International airport and Malaysian passport holders can avail of the 30-day visa-free stay. You do need a valid passport.