The mountainous city of Chiang Mai functions as the cultural capital of northern Thailand. Home to hundreds of beautiful Buddhist temples, a great shopping scene, and vibrant nightlife, Chiang Mai is an essential stop on any trip to Thailand. Flights to Chiang Mai fly in to Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX), just about three miles southwest of the Old City.
You can find a few Chiang Mai hotels just outside the airport and many more in and around the nearby Old City. Some hotels offer transportation from the airport for customers landing on Chiang Mai flights. Get in touch with your hotel before arrival to find out whether this service is offered and what the fees are. CNX hosts several car rental agencies, but it's quite easy to navigate the city relying on public transportation, including cheap, local songtaews and tuk-tuks, and it's also easy to get around on foot, especially if most of your activities keep you exclusively in the Old City. If you're taking a taxi from the airport, be sure to stop at one of the taxi booths inside the terminal to get a receipt. Take this to the dispatcher outside and you will be assigned a licensed driver. There is typically a flat fee to get most places in the city. Once you're settled in, pick your ideal adventure! Hike the steps up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep to explore the city's most famous Buddhist temple and for an incredible view of Chiang Mai, wander one of the weekly walking street markets along Ratchadamnoen Road, or sign yourself up for a cooking class!
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