Chiang Mai is located in the northern part of Thailand and it is a quieter and beautiful alternative to Bangkok and has a lush green countryside and situated at 316m above sea level is the fifth-largest city in Thailand. Chiang Mai has attracted a significant percentage of the expat population and as there is a huge demand for English teachers and job opportunities are available here in abundance. Apart from teaching, tourism is also a growing industry. The factors that have led to Chiang Mai ranking so high in the tourism industry are:
Popular Areas in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai might be quieter and might look more like a small, countryside town but it does have its share of popular areas where tourists and expats can get the best of both worlds.
Some of the most popular places in Chiang Mai are:
Weather and Climate
Chiang Mai is located in the Northern part of Thailand with a slight elevation from sea level and has a more temperate climate in comparison to other parts of Thailand. It is typically a tropical place and has a wet and dry climate with moderately warm and slightly cooler nights.
The maximum temperature in Chiang Mai never goes beyond 42.4 degrees C, which you may have to experience if you travel during Thailand’s summer.
There are three distinct seasons in Chiang Mai.
Getting Around in Chiang Mai
The safest but not always the cheapest, mode of transportation in Chiang Mai is a taxi and they provide good value for money if you are traveling as a big group but will definitely be expensive otherwise. Most places in Thailand can be reached by either a bus, a taxi, a motor yacht charter or a train. Listed below are the usual modes of transportation in Chiang Mai.
Local bus- Chiang Mai has two new local buses, B1 and B2. 15 Baht is the minimum fare on both the buses, and it is good value if you are traveling on a budget.
Taxis- connect all parts of the city and they are usually parked at airports, bus stations, and railway stations. You may have to book a taxi before you travel as you may find it tough to get one on the streets of Chiang Mai as most of them will run on pre-booked schedules. A taxi ride inside the city will cost you between 60 and 80 Baht and a cab from the airport will cost you anywhere between 150 and 190 Baht.
Flights- Domestic as well as international flights fly from Chiang Mai International Airport.
Work Visas in Chiang Mai
If you are an expat looking to work in Chiang Mai, you will need a Thai Work Permit as it is illegal to work in Chiang Mai without a permit and you must apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa. The application of the Non-Immigrant Visa should be done before you enter Thailand and you will be eligible to apply for a work permit only after you have the Visa. It may take around 7 days for the Ministry of Labour office to process the work permit.
There are three conditions to receiving a work permit in Chiang Mai:
Work permits will need regular renewals. A 3-month work permit will cost around 750 THB, a 6-month one will cost 1500 THB and a whole year’s permit will be around 3000 THB.
Chiang Mai is the primary shipping point for agricultural products as well as timber, teak, handicrafts etc that are sourced from surrounding districts. Apart from this, the city’s economy is also supported by tourism and medical tourism that has been booming for the past few years.
The local currency of Chiang Mai is the Baht. 1 Thai Baht equals to 0.032 USD. There are coins of 1,2,5 and 10 Baht and notes of 20,50, 100 and 1000 Baht.
Thai is the standard language of communication in Chiang Mai. Kham Muang is the regional dialect and is mostly spoken by the locals. English speaking is restricted to the places of tourist attractions in Chiang Mai.
The public holidays of Chiang Mai can be briefly outlined as New Year’s Day on 1st January, Makha Bucha Day in the month of February, Songkran Festival from 13th to 15th April, Coronation Day on 5th of May, Constitution Day on 10th of December and New Year’s Eve on 31st December.