Chiang Mai

Author: Lee Seaton
Published: 10th February 2018
Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

Location of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is located 681 km north of Bangkok and is the largest city in northern Thailand. It is also the capital of Chiang Mai Province. This is often looked at as the unofficial capital of northern Thailand.  Chiang Mai is based in the mountainous region of Northern Thailand meaning that tourists who are travelling around Thailand will inevitably end up here due to is fantastic scenery and views.

Population of Chiang Mai

The population of Chiang Mai is a modest 150,000 people living within the city. But the sprawl of the Chiang Mai Metropolitan area has a population of around 700,000 people living in it. Chiang Mai attracts countless entrepreneurs, bloggers and people who are backpacking around Thailand. Also Chiang Mai has its share of domestic tourists visit throughout the year.

Religious make up of Population

As with most of Thailand, Buddhism features heavily within the population. Chiang Mai has approximately 300 temples and religious sites located in the region. The most notable of these are Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Wat Chiang Man and Wat Phra Singh.

History of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai was founded in 1296 by King Mengrai. It succeeded Chiang Rai as the capital of the Lannathai kingdom. Chiang Mai formally became part of Siam in 1774. Chiang Mai rose in both cultural, trading and economic terms to gradually adopt its current status as the unofficial capital of the north of Thailand, second only in national importance to Bangkok. This was due to its proximity to the old silk road trading routes and also the Ping River. Both of these factors played a role in establishing Chiang Mai as a major trade hub.

Modern Day Chiang Mai

Today, Chiang Mai has access to some of the best high speed internet in the world and attracts thousands of expatriates every year. Most of whom are looking for a change of lifestyle and others are looking to work remotely. The city has tried to retain its historical values when developing as a major city in Thailand. Chiang Mai Also was in the bidding to host the World Expo in 2020. But Ayutthaya, however, was the city ultimately chosen by the Thai Parliament to host this.


Whist it is not the first place that comes to mind when you think of Thailand, Chiang Mai was in the top 25 places to visit in 2014. Over 15 million people visit the Chiang Mai region each year, although most of these are domestic visitors. There are lots of activities to do in Chiang Mai that include White water rafting, hiking, zip-lining, trekking, and rock climbing are just a few activities to choose from. Its now wonder that so many people visit this amazing region.


Thailand is known for its warm weather and Chiang Mai is no exception to this. The average temperature for the year is 32.2 °C or 90°F. The hottest months are March, April and May. As with any tropical location though there will be rainfall at some point. The main months for heavy rainfall are August and September. During this time you can expect around 20 out of 30 days to have rainfall occur.  That being said, February, March and April see the highest number of daily hours of sunshine, making this one of the most visited times of year.

Take a look at some of our recommendations below for some of the amazing things to see and do whist on your trip to Chiang Mai.

Things to do

We have put together some of the best activities to do when visiting Chiang Mai through Viator. Be sure to check these out as they sell out fast. Don't miss out.

Luxury Hotels

We have done the hard part for you. Here are our recommended luxury hotel in Chiang Mai from Agoda. If your after a luxurious hotel to stay in whilst you visit Chiang Mai be sure to click below. Agoda has some amazing discounts on many of these hotels so why not try an upgrade. 


Eating out in any city can be quite difficult if you don't know what is available, but don't worry. Read our recommendations and see for yourself what culinary delights await on your trip to Chiang Mai.


No city visit is complete without great night life. We have chosen our favourite places to visit when the sun goes down.