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Chiang Mai Guide
Landmarks and Monuments You Can’t Miss
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Chiang Mai is home to dozens of temples. Wat Doi Suthep is arguably the city's most impressive and it's one of the top reasons travellers buy return flights to Chiang Mai each year. To reach the temple, you'll need to hike up a mountain, rent a motorbike or flag down a passing songthaew (shared taxi). At the top, you'll find a gallery with statues of Buddha, and the temple itself is adorned with intricate carvings of dragons and elephants.
Doi Inthanon is the highest peak in Thailand. It's the best place to spend an afternoon if you want to go on long treks through the national park. There are several waterfalls to explore, two pagodas and you can visit the local hill tribe village. Once your flights to Chiang Mai have landed at Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX), you can ask your hotel to organise transport for you as the park is two hours away from the city.
Wat Prasingh is situated in the heart of Chiang Mai's Old City. It's the largest temple you can visit, and it was built back in 1345 by a Thai king. Plan your visit to the temple in the early afternoon, and you can pick up some souvenirs from the nearby market.
Sunday Walking Street
With your flights to Chiang Mai booked, make sure you leave space in your luggage for souvenirs from the city's Sunday Walking Street Market. You'll find vendors selling everything from jewellery to clothes, Christmas ornaments to local handicrafts and anything else you could want. It's also one of the best spots in the city to try Thailand's delicious street food!
Tips for First-Time Travellers on Flights to Chiang Mai
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Chiang Mai is between November and February. The city is at it's coolest, and there's little chance of rainfall ruining any outdoor activities. However, keep in mind that its high season for the city and you’ll have a harder time finding cheap flights to Chiang Mai and accommodation will be more expensive than usual. If you’re travelling on a budget, the best time to visit Chiang Mai is between May and October. The rainy season keeps most travellers away and airlines slash their prices for an airfare to Chiang Mai.
Plan early for the Yee Peng Festival
If you're booking flights to Chiang Mai to attend the Yee Peng Festival, you need to plan your trip well in advance. There are only a limited amount of tickets available, so you'll need to grab yours as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Pack the right power adaptor
There's nothing more frustrating than booking tickets to Chiang Mai, flying halfway around the world to Chiang Mai International Airport (CXN) and being unable to charge any of your electronics because you don't have the right adaptor. The electrical outlets in Thailand use Type A, B, C or F, and the standard voltage is 220V.
Visa for Thailand
Australians can get a free 30-day visa on arrival when entering Thailand by air. You'll need a valid passport and proof of your return flights to Chiang Mai. If you want to stay up to 60 days, you'll need to visit your local Thai embassy to apply for a visa before you arrive.
If you're booking flights to Chiang Mai and you want to visit any of the city's temples, you'll need appropriate clothes. All visitors need to show respect for Thai traditions and customs by covering up their knees and shoulders. It's a good idea to keep two sarongs in your bag at all times that you can use if you stumble across a temple you'd like to explore.
Wear light breathable clothes
When booking your tickets to Chiang Mai, it’s important to remember that the city is slightly cooler than Bangkok or Phuket. However, it's still quite humid, and you'll need lightweight clothes to stay cool while you explore the city. After you've booked your flights to Chiang Mai, check the weather and pack a raincoat if you're visiting during Thailand's monsoon season.
Wear comfortable shoes
Chiang Mai is a walkable city with a lot of temples, coffee shops and other attractions within close proximity of each other. You'll want to pack shoes like thongs or sandals that can be quickly taken off for when you visit the city's many temples. If you're booking flights to Chiang Mai to tackle the city's nearby hiking trails, make room in your bag for a pair of lightweight hiking shoes.
Major Events and Festivals
Loi Krathong Festival
Loi Krathong Festival is the city's Festival of Light. Thousands of people from Thailand and around the world book flights to Chiang Mai to attend the annual celebration. Every November, people launch glowing paper balloons into the night sky and float small banana leaf bouquets with candles down the river.
Songkran is one of Thailand's biggest events of the year. It takes place around mid-April and is a three-day water fight. With the city being one of the best places in the country to join in on the fun, flights to Chiang Mai book up and accommodation can be more expensive than usual for travel during this time.