CHIANG MAI

A digital nomad’s fave.

SOUND ON! What It Was Like At Chiang Mai’s Yi Peng Lantern Festival

There are more than 300 wats (temples) in Chiang Mai, you'll stumble upon one at every few blocks.

Chiang Mai runs on Indochina Time (ICT).

If you are a U.S. Passport Holder, you are allowed to stay in Thailand for a period of 30 days without a visa.

Here are a list of countries that contain varying visa requirements for entering Thailand.

Tourists are prohibited from working or conducting business in Thailand. You will need a tourist visa for a period of 15 to 30 days. Visas can be stamped on your passport upon arrival, or it can be sent to your home through the Thai embassy in your country. In order to obtain a tourist visa, you will need:

  • A passport.
  • A visa application form that you must fill out.
  • A current picture of your face.
  • Your plane ticket.
  • Evidence of your financial means (a traveler’s cheque or cash equivalent to 10,000 Baht will suffice.)

Visas will cost USD $30.00 per entry. A tourist visa can last from 3 to 6 months, each period varying on which country made a bilateral agreement on visa exemption with Thailand. However, if you enter Thailand via land border, you will be allowed a 15-day stay. You can extend your stay by filling out an application at the Office of Immigration Bureau.

Just landed from the Chiang Mai Airport? Here are a few ways to get to Old City:

Airport Bus

There is a blue airport bus outside arrival hall that stops at places such as the city center (this includes Nimman Road, Chang Phuak Gate, Three Kings Monument and the Night Bazar). The fare costs 20 Baht (USD $0.64). The bus runs from 6 AM to 10:30 PM).

Taxi

There are taxi booths in the arrival hall which will give you two different types of taxis: the Chiang Mai Airport Taxi and the Taxi Meter. The airport taxi will cost 150 Baht (USD $4.80) to all places in the city. The Taxi Meter ranges from 100 to 120 Baht (USD $3.20 to $3.84). Be aware of the 50 Baht (USD $1.60) airport fee before entering a taxi.

Shared Taxi (Red Songthaew)

You’ll find these red taxis outside the arrival hall. The ride will cost 40 Baht to any place in the Old City (USD $4.47).

Grab (Taxi App)

Grab is the equivalent of Uber in Thailand. You can order one from the airport and pay via credit card on your phone or cash to the driver. They provide modes such as Economy, Taxi, Songthaew, and Premium.

Tuk Tuk

They can drive you to your hotel for 100 to 120 Baht (USD $3.20 to $3.84). Known as one of the most popular modes of transportation, TukTuks are used for popular sites such as the Night Market.

While Chiang Mai doesn’t have a mass transit system, locals get around in songthaews. The most prevalent types are the red ones in the Old City, while yellow, white, green and blue songthaews lead to various outlying parts of Chiang Mai.

White vehicles lead to the eastern part of Sankampaeng, while yellow ones drive to northern Mae Rim. Blue songthaews lead to sothern Sarapee and Lamphun. Green ones drive to north-east Mae Jo.

Tourists, however, will have an easier time traveling via tuk tuk. Tuk tuk drivers understand general English, while most songthaew drivers do not.

The Rose of the North is generally safe to walk at night for female travelers. Bringing over millions of visitors a year, the city is full of tourists, some of which are solo-travelers. However, it doesn’t hurt to be vigilant, especially in the Old City. Here are a few safety tips:

  • Never leave your drink at night clubs.
  • Stay vigilant when walking the streets at night.
  • Leave your valuables in a room safe in your hotel.
  • Carry a form of identification with you at all times.

Chiang Mai is known for its sizzling heat, granting only three seasons: Hot, Cool and Rainy. The cool season is the best time to visit Chiang Mai. The temperature reaches a maximum of 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). During spring, there can be rain showers that last for no longer than an hour. So be sure to carry an umbrella with you. Also, it’s advised to carry a sweatshirt as the warmth can rapidly drop when the sun sets.

Blistering temperatures of 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) begin to rise in the middle of March. Both the high temperatures and extreme humidity can make outside seem hotter than what the thermometer says. Fortunately, temperatures cool down by late May.

Rainy season lasts from in early June to late October. Temperatures will reach 32 Celsius (high eighties in Fahrenheit) during the day and drop at 23 Celsius (low seventies in Fahrenheit) at evening hours.

The official language of Thailand is Thai. Here are a few phrases and words to help you get by:

Sawadee-Ka: Hello

Kappunka: Thank you

Chai: Yes

Mai: No

Aaj ja: Maybe

Khor thoad khrup/ka: Sorry

Hong nam yoo tee nai khrup/ka?: Where is the restroom?

Phom dong gaan hai mor maa raak sa khrup/ka: I need a doctor

Kun pood paassaa angrrit dai mai: Can you speak English?

Known as the “Land of Smiles,” Thai people are generally polite and welcoming, assuming the same from others. They are not known to openly voice their irritation. Here are a few tips to avoid inner-scowling from the locals:

  • Women should bring an extra scarf to cover yourselves with when entering temples, if not they also have ones available on site.
  • Try not to raise your voice or show aggression when irritated. This may result in losing face, which is the act of losing respect from those around you.
  • Public displays of affection are seldom practiced here, as Thailand is still a conservative country.
  • At temples, women should wear clothing that cover your shoulders and knees. Expect to take off your shoes inside temples, so wear shoes that are easy to take on and off.

The baht ฿ is the official currency of Thailand. Though U.S. dollars are accepted in some countries, they’re not used in Thailand. You can exchange your U.S. dollars for Baht at the airport.

The standard voltage is 220 volts. You will need a voltage convert if bringing electronics with 110 voltage. Your converter should look like this:

It’s advised to drink boiled or bottled water. Due to Thailand’s hot and humid temperatures, it’s not recommended to drink water from the tap. The ice, however, is safe, as most ice factories use purified water. Keep a look out for tubular-shaped ice.

Wi-Fi

Your local cafes and hotels will usually have free and fast internet Wifi. Here are a list of cafes and restaurants that offer free Wifi.

SIM CARD

You can buy SIM cards at the kiosks at the Chiang Mai airport. Kiosks are located near baggage claim. You can also purchase SIM cards at your nearest 7-11. SIM cards are generally 1 Baht a minute for local calls, and 3 Baht for international calls. Data plans either come by time or megabytes.

Download Grab App, it costs around the same price as a tuk tuk and is the Thai equivalent to an Uber. You can even order food with Grab.

As mentioned in the SONGTHAEWS tab, tuk tuks are used to travel to popular tourist sights such as the Night Market or the Sunday Walking Street.

Thailand is still a conservative country when it comes the LGBT rights. Though it hosts the largest Transgender beauty pageant in the world, the Land of Smiles doesn’t allow same-sex unions, nor public displays of affection. PDA in Thailand is considered taboo in general, so keep holding hands and embracing to a minimum.

Chiang Mai shows how the locals lead a substainable, eco-friendly way of life. In villages such as Baan Mae Kampong, they use steam to produce hydro-electric power and create revenue based on their fermented tea leaves. In Bor Sang, artisans make umbrellas from cotton and mulberry bark, sustaining themselves by producing sellable works of art. Learn more about other must-see eco-tourist destinations in this article.

As for recycling, there are three different colored bins for putting wast. Yellow bins are for landfill waste, while green ones are for food and biodegradable items. Blue bins are for recyclables such as plastics and glass.

SHOP PRODUCTS MADE BY MALE VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING IN THAILAND:

urban Light Chiang Mai

ETHICAL TRAVEL:

Homestay with the Karen tribes and buy the textiles they make, visit coffee plantations instead of hanging out at cafés. And...DON'T RIDE ELEPHANTS!!

FOR THE PLANNER

The dish to try in Chiang Mai is "khao soi" which is an egg noodle soup in a coconut milk curry.

wanderlust ideas:

Chiang Mai is home to Doi Inthanon, Thailand's highest mountain.

PACKING FOR THAILAND?

Jetset Times SHOP has partnered with Urban Light, a non-profit supporting male victims of sex trafficking in Thailand. Support them by purchasing shirts & totes the boys have made.