Chiang Mai is the fourth largest city in Thailand and is situated in the Northern part of the country. Chiang Mai is a land of misty mountains, hillside tribal villages and lush green landscape. Chiang Mai is not only an amazing holiday location but is also one of the most reliable and affordable destinations for medical tourism. Surprisingly, medical costs are cheaper here than in Bangkok and the facilities are up to date and for 3000 baht (approximately $100), you can have a complete health check-up.
Chiang Mai welcomes thousands of medical tourists every year from around the world. The world-class hospitals of Chiang Mai have exclusive International departments to cater to the needs of the medical tourists. The hospitality is excellent and the doctors and hospital staff speak good English. The hospitals in Chiang Mai provide all sorts of treatments such as cosmetic surgery (breast augmentation, liposuction, cool sculpting), cardiac surgery and so on. Attractive medical packages are also available which include treatment and accommodation. Chiang Mai Ram International is the most popular hospital and is well known for their exceptional services. Also, the city has several post-treatment spas, resorts, massage and healing centers which have made it an ideal spot to recuperate.
Popular areas in Chiang Mai
The metropolitan area of Chiang Mai is home to over 1 million residents. Listed below are the popular areas of this amazing city. Each area has its own charm and offers something to the visitors.
Old City: Is the cultural and religious epicenter of Chiang Mai. The old town has moats and fortress walls from ancient times. Pae gate, which lies in the Old Town, is the most famous traditional landmark of the city.
Nimmanhemin road: You can experience a bustling and vibrant nightlife here. Located close to the famous Chiang Mai University, this place is quite popular with the young and dynamic student population and you can find several affordable hostels and guesthouses on the Nimmanhemin road, varied housing options are available for long-term expats.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar: Considered as the ‘downtown’ of Chiang Mai, it is a paradise for shopping sprees. You will find a lot of street food shops which offer authentic Thai delicacies at affordable prices. Handicrafts, antiques, textiles and other traditional Thai products also come with affordable price tags. After 6 pm, this area comes alive and you can expect to see the streets very busy with enthusiastic tourists and locals.
Riverside: The Riverside Chiang Mai has all of the old world charms that the city is renowned for with affordable eateries and live-music venues combined with the fresh river breeze and the relaxed atmosphere all helps to make it the best place to chill out during evening time.
Santitham: The Santitham area of the city is mainly populated by Thai locals and this spot is less touristy and a bit more laid back. You can find supermarkets, public parks, and many residential buildings within this neighborhood.
Weather and climate in Chiang Mai
Located at an elevation of 316 meters, Chiang Mai enjoys a cooler and pleasant climate. As it experiences a typical tropical climate, winter, and spring seasons are not applicable. Instead, Hot, Cool and Rainy seasons are distinct in Chiang Mai.
Cool: Early December to February. Day time temperature rises up to 30°C, yet, you may require sweatshirts to keep yourself warm as dusk approaches. It is the best weather to pay a visit to Chiang Mai. January is the coolest month of the season with temperatures dropping to as low as 10°C.
Hot: Mid-February to mid-June. March is the hottest month in Chiang Mai with the temperatures rising to 40°C. You can escape the blistering heat waves and embrace the chilly breeze by visiting the nearby mountains.
Rainy: Early June to late October. The average temperature drops down to 32°C during the rainy season. It rains almost every single day without fail. Even though the rainfall is heavy and the storms are intense, they won’t last for long. August is the wettest month of the year.
Getting around in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai International Airport is the fourth busiest airport in the country. The domestic and the International flights operating from here connects Chiang Mai to Bangkok, Beijing, Doha, Ho Chi Minh and to several other popular cities.
Although the city is quite big and metropolitan, public transportation is not well-organized. Thankfully, you do have several other modes of transport facilities to help you to explore this incredible city which is as follows.
Songthaew: The Songthaew or red truck is the most common and the desirable mode of transportation. For 30 Bahts, you can travel anywhere within the city, as long as you have no issues sharing your ride with other passengers. You can book private songthaew using the mobile app, GRAB.
Tuk-tuks: Are the second most common mode of transportation next to songthaew. However, they are pricey as the rates start at 60 Bahts. It could be inexpensive too if you have exceptional bargaining skills.
Taxis: Are quite expensive, costing somewhere between 100 and 200 Bahts per ride in the city.
Tourist visas in Chiang Mai
Thailand welcomes tourists from all over the world. People who have a US, UK, Australia, German and Singaporean passports don’t need a visa while entering the territory of Thailand and they can stay up to 30 days, visa-free. Holders of Indian and Chinese passports, who intend to stay in Thailand for not more than 15 days, require applying for a visa on arrival. If the applicant wants to stay for more than 15 days, he/she should avail of other visa types like transit and non-immigrant visas.
Thai Baht is the currency of Thailand. One US dollar equals 31.79 THB approximately.
ATMs and exchange bureau are present at most of the tourist locations, making the withdrawal of local currency easy. You can pay by credit card in big restaurants, shopping malls, and hospitals.
Thai is the official language of Thailand and is widely spoken in Chiang Mai. However, most of the locals in Chiang Mai do understand and speak good English. The street signs are also translated into English making it is easier for the tourists to get around.
90% of the total population of Thailand practice Buddhism, followed by Islam. Thai nationals exhibit deep love and admiration for their royal family.