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Who can resist a place with a nickname like “Rose of the North”? Chiang Mai is Thailand’s relaxed “second city”, home to ancient temples, majestic mountains and some of the most delicious food in the country (don’t tell Bangkok we said that). Grab your guidebook and hop one of the flights to Chiang Mai. Hope you’re ready to be wowed.
At Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX), you’ll be right in the middle of the action as soon as you land. It’s just 3km from Chiang Mai hotels in the city centre by taxi, and to get around, three-wheeled tuk-tuks and covered trucks called songthaews are good options on the cheaper side.
In the early morning, you have a chance to see the city the way the locals do. Chiang Mai’s morning market starts at 4:30 am and is chockablock with photo ops: haggling locals, monks and tons of shiny things to buy.
In the afternoon, do just the opposite. Play tourist at the city’s most famous temple, Wat Phra Singh. Yes, the intricate mosaics and gilded gold inlays are pretty impressive, but it’s the Lion Buddha that takes centre stage.
If you’ve got one of the Chiang Mai flights landing at night, it’s time to hit the market again! The Night Bazaar is an extravaganza of, well, pretty much everything. There’s so much food, music and dancing, you might be forgiven if you forget to pick up souvenirs for your coworkers.
You don’t want to live like just any local—you want to live like the hippest local around. Head to Nimmana Haeminda Road just north of the airport for cool coffee shops, local boutiques and khao soi. It’s curried noodles, topped with fried noodles. Mmm, noodles.
With cheap flights to Chiang Mai from Wotif you’ll be slurping down those noodles before you can say “krai kai kai gai?” Just note, this isn’t actually a useful phrase. It means “Who sells chicken eggs?”
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*Prices vary and will be updated when you view current rental car availability results. Deals displayed here are based on rental car pricing and availability as of May 15, 2019 and may change as you get closer to the actual rental date. Deals displayed whose dates are in the past are no longer valid.