Northern Thailand Travel Tips

How long do I need in the north?

Many people ask me how long they need in the North – my personal answer would be ‘it could never be long enough!’ My first visit to Thailand 4 years ago was to the North, and I have been living here for the past 2 years. For those restricted to a travel schedule though, at least 2 days is needed to cover the basic sightseeing of Chiang Mai (the capital of the North) although you could spend a week and not have covered all that the city and it’s surrounds has to offer. If you want to explore the countryside beyond Chiang Mai a recommended 3 days is needed to fully appreciate Chiang Rai province, and a further 5 days for Mae Hong Son.

What is the best time of year to go?

Winter in Thailand is from November – February, which is also the Motorbike Tours Thailand high season here. Travellers prefer to come during these months as the temperature is slightly cooler, it is also the best weather for trekking. Whilst many people avoid rainy season (May-Sep), there are advantages -this is when the fields and nature are at their most lush green. Most of the time the rain will come in short spurts, it does not rain heavily all day. Summer time (March-April) is the worst time to come, when temperatures soar to mid-late 30’s. This is also when farmers burn the fields, so air quality is very bad and visibility of the mountain views masked by smoke. Note that prices for many things such as tours,accommodation,flights are much higher during high season, so it can be cheaper to travel in the low season.

Is it recommended for kids?

Northern Thailand is a fantastic destination for kids, in fact it offers something for all ages. Soft adventure and outdoor activities, nature and animals are sure to keep the kids entertained whilst opportunities for cultural exploration together as a family can an enriching experience for all.


Most major to mid size towns in the North are well connected by local bus routes, so its possible to get around by bus, however to explore outlying areas and small villages then you will need your own transport. In some of the more developed and touristic towns there will be motorbikes for hire, if you want to hire a car it is best to do so from Chiang Mai.

Destinations in mountainous or more remote areas, will not have any form of transport so it’s advisable to have your own transport here too. Local buses come in 2 classes – air conditioned or fan. Air con buses are slightly more expensive but worth paying the extra baht for as they have more leg room and seating is more spacious. Overnight buses in Thailand are very comfortable, seats recline to about 150 degrees with enough leg room for the average height person. The only things to watch out for are the air-conditioning which they tend to put on high and karaoke songs which they like to keep you entertained with at high volume.


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