Chiang Mai ( Chiengmai or Chiangmai) is the most important cultural city in the north of Thailand. This is the capital of Chiang Mai province, the ancient capital of Lanna Kingdon ( 1296-1768). In 1932, Chiang Mai province became the second administrative unit of Thailand when Monthon Phayap administrative unit, the ruins of Lanna Kingdom was dissolved. Chiang Mai is about 700 kilometres to the north of Bangkok, located at the highest mountains of Thailand. Chiang Mai means “the new city”. It was named that because it was the new capital founded in 1296. These are the information about Chiang Mai to make your trip more convenient.
The best time to visit Chiang Mai
You can visit Chiang Mai at any time of the year. However, you should come at the festival season to enjoy the culture here.
Festivals in Chiang Mai
Loi Krathong ( The lantern festival), Songkran and Chiang Mai flower festival is famous ones in Chiang Mai.
Loi Krathong (the locals call Yee Peng) is held on the full moon day of the 12th lunar month of Thailand, the full moon of the second month of the old Lanna calendar. It usually falls in November in the solar calendar. Every year, there are thousands of people taking part in this festival. They make the lantern lights with banana leaves (Krathong), decorated with flowers and candles, and drop on the rivers of the city. Thousands of Lanna sky lanterns (lanterns called khom fai or kom loi) are also dropped into the air. The lanterns are considered to help local people come over the troubles and they are also used to decorate houses and streets.
For the information about the time that the festival is held, you can visit the website: http://www.chiangmai-alacarte.com.
There are two days to drop the lanterns: one day for local people and one day for international tourists. You should take part in the first day.
Songkran festival: It is held in the mid-April at the traditional Thai New Year festival. Chiang Mai is one of the most popular destinations to take part in this festival. There are a lot of interesting activities occurred, including parades and the Miss Songkran.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival
A three-day festival is held on the first weekend of February each year when the temperate and tropical Chiang Mai flowers are blooming.
How to get to Chiang Mai
There are so many airplanes offering the direct flights to Chiang Mai. Air Asia is a cheap airline that you should refer. Normally, you take the flight to Bangkok ( Don Muang Airport) then get to Chiang Mai. You can combine cheap airlines to save money.
Nok Air is a cheap domestic Thai airline. You can visit the website http://www.nokair.com to get more information about the price and deals.
Kan Air: depart from Chiang Mai to Khon Kean, Pai, Nan, Mae Hong Son, Phitsanulok and vice versa.
Chiang Mai airport is about 3 kilometres to the Southwest of the city centre. The shuttle taxi price is about 120 bahts (maximum 5 people). If you take the metered taxi, the price starts from 40 bahts and bonus 50 bahts for services. The taxi operates from the north exit of the station, after taking the luggage and going through customs, you walk into the reception room and turn left. Besides, you can take the tuk-tuk or songthaew with the price of 50-60 bahts per person. If you booked the hotel in advance, may be they have the airport pickup service. You should contact them for help.
Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Trains run from Bangkok ( Hua Lumphong station) to Chiang Mai every day. It will take about 12 to 15 hours. You should choose the lying chair and the latest trip to have the opportunity to see the view when travelling.
Day trips depart the from 08:30, the 2nd class fare is 281 baht, and the third class fare is 121 baht. The difference between the class is that the seats in the cabin. You should take the late trip at 22:00. View the train timetable and fare at http://www.railway.co.th/checktime/checktime.asp?lenguage=Eng
Tickets can be purchased up to 60 days in advance at any train station in Thailand. Major stations accept payment by Visa / MasterCard. The issue with card payment is quite safe because SRT is a state-owned company.
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