Visas: Most nationalities can receive a 30-day visa exemption on arrival at international airports or a 15-day at land borders; a 60-day tourist visa is available through Thai consulates.
Local transportation: Rot Daeng (literally 'red trucks') - just flag one down when you see it, if they are going your way they will pick you up. If not, wait for the next one. Journeys start from 20B for a short trip of a few blocks and 40B for a longer trip (eg from the old city to Th Nimmanhaemin). Tuk Tuk. Rent a motorcycle from 150baht a day (cheaper if you rent by the month).
Where to buy a SIM card: Get a prepaid Thai SIM card from one of the ubiquitous 7-Eleven stores.
Popular areas: Nimmanhaemin Road, Thapae Gate, Riverside
Popular food: Khao Soi (Burmese-influenced curry noodle soup), Sai Oua (northern Thai sausage), Laap Khua Mu (spicy pork salad), Kaeng Khanun (green jackfruit curry)
Things not to do: Don't ride an elephant. Head out to the Elephant Nature Park instead, a renowned rescue and conservation organisation near Chiang Mai. Don't wear shirts and singlets with no sleeves when visiting a temple.
The northern capital of Thailand is an escape from the whirlwind pace of life of Bangkok. The city is blissfully calm despite the constant arrival of travelers. Explore the markets of Chiang Mai and enjoy Northern Thai food (with Burmese and Chinese influences), leisurely wander about the backlanes and go temple visiting. Day markets convert in to night markets after around 5:00 p.m. buzzing with tourists and locals alike. Outside of the old town, a sprawling modern city has sprung up with superhighways connecting both the old and new. The mountains, waterfalls and country villages are just a short motorbike or rot daeng ride away.
Chiang Mai is a safe and inviting city for women digital nomads. Thais are, in general, non-aggressive people and men are unlikely to bother you. People will be quite friendly and helpful towards you and in general almost all areas of the city are safe for walking in, even at night. Cost of living is low yet quality of life is high. There is a great variety of coworking spaces and cafes with free wifi.
The best time to visit Chiang Mai is between November and February. It is pleasantly chilly in the evenings, and it would be wise to bring a sweater along; particularly if you intend hiring a motorcycle to get around, or going on a mountain trek. During the day however, midday temperatures can climb well into the 30s (Celsius). The weather starts heating up in Chiang Mai around early February, and by mid-March the city gets hot and humid. May till November is the rainy season with torrential downpours, but they tend to be sudden bursts that only last for an hour or so rather than a steady stream of water. September has the heaviest rainfall.
Coworking Spaces in Chiang Mai
Cafes with wifi
Don't want to work at a coworking space? Check out these cafes with wifi instead.
Explore the best of Chiang Mai by bicycle on a 12.4-mile (20-kilometer) tour of quiet roads and country paths. Join a guide for a 5–6-hour jaunt: pedal along the lush banks of the Ping River then go beyond city walls to Buddhist temples, busy markets and ancient ruins. Take in the verdant landscape of northern Thailand and savor the unforgettable sights and sounds of Chiang Mai’s serene countryside. Check reviews, dates and prices, etc.
Spend a day in the tree tops with a full-day Flight of the Gibbons experience from Chiang Mai. Follow a series of exciting ziplines that stretch 3 miles (5 km) through the forest, walk across sky bridges with sweeping views and dare yourself to rappel off high platforms. Explore the forest with expert ‘sky rangers,’ who share their deep knowledge of the rainforest plants, animals and culture. Get a unique look at Thailand’s lush forests, and see the blooming orchids and towering trees through the eyes of a gibbon. Check reviews, dates and prices, etc.
This private day trip from Chiang Mai provides an immersive experience with local elephant conservation efforts — it’s a Viator Exclusive you won’t find anywhere else! Tour the hospital, watch infants at the nursery, and feed and bathe the elephants during an interactive show. Your visit to the Friends of the Asian Elephant and the Thai Elephant Conservation Center near Lampang includes lunch and a stop at the Ban Chang Nak museum with an optional elephant ride and crafts workshop. Check reviews, dates and prices, etc.