Visiting Chiang Mai for the first time is quite exciting. If you are flying from the Philippines, you will pass by Bangkok because there is no direct flight from the Philippines to Chiang Mai. Flying Bangkok on a Sunday is never a joke. Sunday usually is the time where many tourists arrived. In my case, thousand of people were in the immigration area and I can’t see an obvious line to follow. I thought I will be missing my flight for Chiang Mai. Just a tip, if you are heading for Chiang Mai and you will be passing Bangkok immigration, make sure that you get a flight with at least 3 hours gap in case you are flying on a Sunday. But thanks God I was able to reach Chiang Mai safe and sound.
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s principal northern city, and the provincial capital of a largely mountainous province, also called Chiang Mai, some 20,000 square kilometers in area. Chiang Mai city, founded in 1296, is about 700 km north of Bangkok and located in a fertile valley some 300 meters above sea level. Chiang Mai was the capital of LANNA Thai (Kingdom of One Million Rice Fields) until 1755 when LANNA Thai once more became part of northern Thailand. Many lowland Thais regard Chiang Mai city and the province as being a national Shangri-la the place is known for its beautiful women, distinctive festivals, and historic temples dating from the 1300’s, arresting scenic beauty, temperate fruits such as apples, peaches, and strawberries, and a crisp, invigorating cool season climate.
Mountains surrounding Chiang Mai City form lower extremities of Himalayan foothills and host several hill tribes of Tibeto-Burman origin. Forests still worked by elephants, waterfalls, caves, gorges, cultivated orchards and, plantations adorn mountains that invite detailed exploration. The people of Chiang Mai have their own lilting dialect, customs, architectural traditions, a wide range of indigenous handicrafts, dances and, cuisine. As countless travelers have discovered, Chiang Mai’s manifold attractions enthrall, delight, and to visit this northern Shangri-la merely once is to remain forever enchanted.
The basic unit of Thai currency is the baht (baat). There are 100 sataang in one baht. Coins include 25 sataang and 50 sataang pieces, and baht in 1B, 2B, 5B and 10B coins. Paper currency comes in denominations of 20B (green), 50B (blue) 100B (red) 500B (purple) and 1,000 B (gray). Exchange rates are printed in the Bangkok Post and Nation newspapers every day. You can also walk into any Thai bank and ask to see a daily rate sheet. There is no black market money exchange for baht, so there’s no reason to bring in any Thai currency. The banks and legal moneychangers offer the best exchange rates within the country. Bank commission and duty for each traveler check cashed are around 33 Baht. You will save on commissions if you use larger denominations.
Banks are on the Ground Floor of Central Airport Plaza and opens for business daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
You cannot exchange Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah, Nepali rupees, Cambodian riel, Lao kip, Vietnamese dong or Myanmar kyat for Thai currency at banks, although some moneychangers may accept them.
HAPPY TRIP CHIANG MAI, THAILAND TRAVEL SERIES:
Chiang Mai, Thailand Part 11: Walking Street Market (Sunday Market)