When someone plans a trip to Thailand, Bangkok is usually the number one destination on everybody’s mind, and with good reason. However, if you were to choose between just visiting Bangkok or Chiang Mai, here are five reasons why you may want to choose the latter.

Chiang Mai is Easy to Navigate Through

Navigating through Bangkok is a mess as the traffic situation is not great in the city, especially during the festive seasons and holidays. On the other hand, all one really needs to do is rent a bike in Chiang Mai and travel through the entire city will be a breeze. There are also songthaews (benched trucks), tuk-tuks and rickshaws to aid travelers whenever they need them. Everything just feels so much more fluid and faster, thanks to the light traffic.

It’s Really Cheap

Now, Thailand is not known as a particularly expensive place, but in comparison with the likes of Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket, Chiang Mai is actually quite a bit cheaper, without sacrificing on the quality of anything. For example, nightlife and luxurious stays in the other major Thai cities can be quite expensive for even the average US citizen, but similarly equipped establishments in Chiang Mai don’t cost as much.

The Excursion Adventures

There is no other place in Thailand that’s better than Chiang Mai if you love outdoor adventures. Expect to white water raft, zipline, hike, trek and climb rocks in the outskirts of the city, which is basically part of a mountain valley with rivers around it. If you are not into extreme sports, then simply skip the activities in favor of visiting the ancient capital city of Chiang Rai and the white temple, aka WatRongKhun. There are also some beautiful elephant sanctuaries in the vicinity, which your kids will love.

Flora and Fauna

If Bangkok is the only place that someone has visited in Thailand, he/she cannot be blamed for thinking that Thai cities are all about overcrowded streets and luxurious nightlife. However, once the same person visits Chiang Mai, that thinking will change forever. Greenery is abundant in Chiang Mai, dotted with ancient remains of the Lanna dynasty. The mountainous backdrop makes for a breath-taking view as well. You won’t really have to look too far to see the local wildlife, especially if you decide to take on the night safari here or go to visit an elephant sanctuary.

Cooler Weather

Its close proximity to the mountains makes Chiang Mai one of the coolest cities in Thailand, which is a very important factor in the country. The thing is that summers in Bangkok are extremely hot and humid, while winters are just hot! This doesn’t mean that Chiang Mai isn’t hot because it is still in Thailand after all, but definitely not as much as the other major cities like Pattaya, Phuket, and Bangkok.

Not that you will have to choose because all the Thai cities offer unique entertainment and attractions to their visitors. Nevertheless, those that have already been to some of the other cities might just prefer the relative calm of Chiang Mai a bit more than the busy streets of Bangkok.

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