Two Days in Chiang Mai:
Chiang Mai has a charm all its own. This city moves at a slower pace from the bustling frenzy of Bangkok. It’s all hills and mountains instead of sandy beaches like Phuket. And if Koh Phi Phi is the main place to party till the wee hours than Chiang Mai is its opposite. You come here to just relax, eat good food and commune with nature. So if you have two days in this friendly, relaxed city then use this guide to make the most of your solo adventure.
For the full Solo Female Travel Southeast Asia Itinerary, read this post!
When to Go
Fall/Spring: November – February (High Season)
Daytime Temps: 83F – 93F (28C-33C)
Nighttime Temps: 58F– 69F (14C-20C)
Summer: June – August (Low Season)
Daytime Temps: 89F – 92F (32C-33C)
Nighttime Temps: 75F (24C)
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What to Wear
In the high season, the weather is blissful. It’s all warm and toasty during the day but the temperatures can drop to the 50s a night. So pack cool, light tops like cotton or silk. A few dresses with sleeves and loose, breathable pants. As well as some jeans and a jacket for when the summer heat deserts you.
In the low season, It. Is. Hot. For all those lovelies who aren’t used to high heat coupled with high humidity then be warned now you won’t like it. I felt right at home but I’m told most humans don’t find those conditions desirable, who knew?! Anyway, not only is it sweltering, it’s also pretty wet. It’s rainy season so pack umbrellas, raincoats, and rain boots.
**Note: If you’re visiting temples, visitors are expected to dress more modestly, so no bare shoulders or short pants. If you’re worried about keeping cool, you can just purchase a big scarf and drape that over yourself. In other instances, you can rent clothes at the temple or palace that you are visiting.**
For more info on what to wear while in Southeast Asia, read the Southeast Asia Solo Travel Packing List.
Hostels & Guesthouses during Low Season: Prices range from 126 Baht to 221 Baht per night.
Hostels & Guesthouses during High Season: Prices range from 111 Baht to 632 Baht per night.
**Note: These are the prices for hostels with a rating of 8.0 or higher on Hostelworld.com**
Hotels during Low Season: Prices for budget hotels run about 379 Baht to 506 Baht per night.
Hotels during High Season: Prices for budget hotels run about 411 Baht to 632 Baht per night.
What To Spend
30 USD/ 40 AUD/ 40 CAD/ 25 EUR/ 20 GBP
*Assuming you’re on a backpacker’s budget. Making use of public transportation, staying in hostels or other budget accommodations and eating out about once a day. For the daily budgets of other destinations check out Round The World Trip Budget next.*
How To Get Around
By Tuk Tuk
Tuk-tuks are a convenient, inexpensive and fun way to get around Chiang Mai. You can negotiate the price but a good rule of thumb is about 60 THB for short distances and 100 or 150 THB for longer distances.
By Songthaew or Red Truck
This is the most common method of transport for locals and tourists. They operate like buses picking up and dropping off passengers as they go but drivers do not have set routes. You just flag one down or walk up to an idling driver and ask if your stop is on his or her way. If yes, ask the price, agree on it and then hop on. Songthaews are the best way to visit Doi Suthep Mountain and they will be easy to find because they are usually gathered at the base of the mountain waiting for potential customers.
If you want to explore Chiang Mai by bike then you can do so in a number of ways. Option One: Rent or borrow a bike from your hostel or guesthouse. Your accommodations may offer bike rentals on an hourly or daily rate and some even allow guests to ride their bikes for free. Option Two: Rental Shops. There are shops that rent motorcycles and bicycles to customers at a daily rate.
What To Do In Chiang Mai
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Doi Suthep is a magnificent mountain temple in Chiang Mai that boasts incredible views, gleaming gold structures and insight into Buddhist and Thai history and culture. There are numerous shrines and monuments. There are even spaces for guests of the temple to meditate and enjoy some quiet time in their own headspace. A few things to remember:
- To reach the temple you can take the 309 steps to the top or you can hop on a lift.
- Modest dress is preferred on the temple grounds.
- The temple is still considered a sacred space and many worship there regularly so be mindful and respectful of that.
- The best way to visit is to board a Songthaew and ride it all the way up the twisty hill roads.
I love animals. Every opportunity I get to interact with animals I take BUT only in ways that are ethical and with businesses that take care of them and put their needs before profits. Many tourists come to Thailand hoping to see the elephants and I was no exception. I completely understand if you want to see these amazing animals so I just suggest booking with ethical organizations like the Elephant Nature Park.
The Elephant Nature Park offers full-day, half-day, and two-day adventures. They will do pick-ups and drop-offs at your hostel or hotel. They feed you and provide information on the elephants they rescue, how they work with the local community, and how the poor elephants get mistreated, brutalized and taken advantage of for tourism and elephant rides. When at the Nature Park you will be able to feed the giant lovelies and observe them happy and living freely.
Safety & Travel Tips
- Be careful of pickpockets in crowded areas like the Night Market. To protect against this be mindful of your belongings at all times and carry an anti-theft bag.
- Try to use the ATMs inside the bank or in your accommodations to avoid ATM skimming or other such tricks.
- Tell your taxi driver you want them to turn on the meter before you get in the car and if they refuse just walk away.
- For more safety tips, read this post on safe solo female travel.
- For more safety items, read this post on what to pack to stay safe on the road.