Looking for a Getaway this Winter from Australia? Chiang Mai Has it All!
If chilly Australian temperatures are getting you down, a winter getaway can lift your spirits. Chiang Mai, a charming city in the north of Thailand, is the perfect destination. Packed with culture and overflowing with creature comforts, this manageable city offers something for every traveller. Spend an afternoon learning to cook Thai specialities, explore an ancient temple, or trek to jungle waterfalls. Or, simply spend your vacation sipping cocktails by the pool in the sun. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Chiang Mai has you covered.
Getting from Australia to Chiang Mai
The trip from Australia to Chiang Mai requires at least one stop — usually, in Bangkok. In Bangkok, you’ll switch to a smaller plane for the short domestic trip. Thanks to the popularity of Chiang Mai, there are many flights per day between the two cities, so it’s easy to find one that works with your schedule.
If you’re coming from Sydney, expect the trip to Chiang Mai take a minimum of 11 hours. From Adelaide and Melbourne, the journey takes about 13 hours. If you’re flying from Perth, the journey is slightly shorter, and you’ll spend about 10 hours in transit. Keep in mind that your layover length will impact your total travel time. With longer layovers in Bangkok, you can add on a quick trip into the city.
Getting Around Chiang Mai
Travelling around Chiang Mai is a breeze, thanks to the many taxis and tuk-tuks that operate in the city. Once you arrive at the airport, simply head to the taxi stand to pre-purchase a ride to your hotel. As of 2017, the ride is approximately 160 baht, or approximately $6 AUD. Alternatively, speak to your hotel staff in advance to arrange a pickup; many local hotels offer free airport transfers. The airport also has counters for limousine services and rental cars.
Your hotel can call a taxi or tuk-tuk, or you can flag one down on any major thoroughfare in town. Rides around the city vary by length, but rarely exceed $4-8 AUD. If you’re feeling adventurous, flag down a songtaew, which looks like a pickup truck with bench seats in the box. Tell the driver where you want to go — if he’s going that way, he’ll tell you the fare.
When you’re exploring the old city, consider getting around on foot or on a rental bike; the area has a variety of narrow, low-traffic streets, so you can walk and cycle safely.
Things to Do in Chiang Mai
For a relatively small city, Chiang Mai is packed with activities. If you’re interested in Thai religious traditions, check out one of the many temples, or wats. Within the walls of the old city, see Wat Chedi Luang, Phra Singh Temple, Wat Chiang Man, and Wat Umong Mahathera Chan, and more. West of the wall, the crisp white reliquaries of Wat Suan Dok leave a lasting impression. Some wats have “monk chats,” where you can sit with a monk and discuss virtually any topic.
If you want to learn how to recreate the Thai dishes you taste on your trip, consider one of Chiang Mai’s many cooking classes. Multiple schools in the area, including the Thai Farm Cooking School and the Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School, offer half-day and full-day lessons, many that include a market tour and a customised menu.
Chiang Mai is famous for its night markets that pop up around the city. The largest and most famous is the Night Bazaar, which is open every night. On the weekends, check out the “walking streets” that happen along Wualai Road and Rachadamnoen Road. Bring your appetite — the night markets are packed with food carts selling Thai classics.
After a long day of exploring, pop into one of the many massage businesses that dot the streets of Chiang Mai. Opt for a quick foot rub, or go all in with a full-body workup. Thai massage is inexpensive by Australian standards, and most options cost less than $20 AUD.
When you’re in the mood for nightlife, Chiang Mai has a variety of options ranging from quiet to wild. For live music and dancing, check out the area around Nimmanheimin Road. Myst, a bar on top of the Maya shopping mall, brings an urban vibe. Or, join the backpacker set for a cocktail at the relaxed THC Rooftop Bar.
Day Trips from Chiang Mai
Make the most of the warm weather in Chiang Mai with a day trip to the villages and mountains surrounding the city. If you’re a confident driver, rent a scooter and take the ride out to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a stunning temple perched on a mountain overlooking the city.
If wildlife is your thing, book a trip to the Elephant Nature Park. Here, you can learn about elephant conservation, bathe the giant animals, and even go on hikes to local villages. The park offers short visits, full-day tours, and multi-day trips.
There are multiple ways to experience the northern Thailand jungle. Sail through the canopy on a zip line, or book a whitewater rafting tour for an adrenaline-filled afternoon. If you prefer a slower pace, book a trekking tour to Mae Pui Waterfall and Karen Village for a glimpse at traditional life.
Tour operators operate around Chiang Mai, so it’s easy to find options at all budgets. Check with your front desk clerk for recommendations.
If you need to stay connected on your winter getaway to Chiang Mai, no problem — many digital nomads make their permanent or temporary home in the city, so it’s easy to find a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Stop into one of the many beautiful coffee shops for a jolt of java and a fresh fruit shake, and join the crowds of laptop-bearing tourists. For more serious internet requirements, check out one of the city’s co-working spaces. Popular options include MANA, CAMP in the Maya mall, and Punspace, which offers two locations. Book by the hour, day, week or longer to enjoy fast Wi-Fi and standard business equipment.
Chiang Mai Hotel
akyra Manor is a five star boutique hotel in Chiang Mai, each suite created around a courtyard-within-a-room concept. It's the hip downtown hotel Chiang Mai never had.
Check in to pure urban style and big city sophistication in the heart of this charming northern city's most buzz-worthy street Nimmanhaemin Soi 9, known locally as 'coffee street'. Take in the chic boutiques, galleries, bars and coffee shops, then return to your sanctuary and warm northern Thailand hospitality and the showstopping experiences of Rise rooftop bar and Chiang Mai's best new restaurant, italics.
akyra Manor Chiang Mai offers 30 sanctuaries for our guests, comprising 23 akyra Deluxe suites at a generous 60 sqm and seven expansive Manor suites of 100 sqm for guests who want to really have room to spread their wings.
In addition to the expansive size of the suites, each of its bedroom is available for both king bed and twin beds settings, to serve various usages. Families with child under 12 are warmly welcomed.
Extend your Stay around Thailand
Enjoy 40% or more discount from Best Available Rate for your accommodation when booking TWO OR MORE DESTINATIONS with AKARYN Hotel Group, and receive complimentary destination activities and extended discount to Spa wellness, food & beverages.