Chiang Mai is one of the most visited cities in Thailand. Known for its beautiful national parks and historic temples, it’s easy to see why Chiang Mai is a top tourist destination.
Before planning what to see and do in Chiang Mai, travelers should first check the visa requirements and understand which type of Thailand visa they require for their trip.
Whilst citizens of many countries can visit Chiang Mai for a short time visa-free, passport holders from other areas of the world should apply for a Thailand eVisa on arrival. Visa requirements for traveling to Chiang Mai and other tips for visitors are explained in this article.
Do I Need a Visa for Chiang Mai?
Whether or not a foreigner needs a visa for Chiang Mai depends on their nationality and the length of time they wish to stay.
Thailand offers visa-free entry to travelers from most countries. Visa exemptions range from 14 to 90 days. Passport holders from exempt nations need to meet Thai entry requirements but do not need a tourist visa to visit Chiang Mai on vacation.
Overseas visitors from non-exempt countries will either need to apply for a Thailand eVisa on arrival or, if they are not eligible, obtain a visa at an embassy or consulate.
Thailand eVOA to visit Chiang Mai
The eVisa on arrival simplifies the visa application process for travelers from a select number of countries. The Thailand eVOA is valid for short stays in Thailand, it is the correct choice for eligible passport holders who wish to visit Chiang Mai for tourist purposes.
The Thailand eVisa on arrival is obtained online before departure. Applicants complete an electronic application form, providing their basic personal details and passport data. By completing the request in advance, travelers can avoid waiting in line at the airport.
Who can apply for the Thailand eVOA to visit Chiang Mai?
The eVisa on arrival is currently available to travelers from the following 18 countries:
Citizens of the above countries can take advantage of the online visa application process provided they meet all the Thailand eVOA requirements.
How to apply for the Thailand visa on arrival for Chiang Mai
The Thailand electronic visa application is the easiest way for eligible travelers to gain access to Chiang Mai. The online application is completed in 3 simple steps:
- Fill out the online Thailand visa application
- Pay the visa fees using a debit or credit card
- Receive the approved visa by email
It’s important to double-check all the information provided when completing the application form as any mistakes could lead to delays or even visa rejection.
Although many applications are reviewed and approved within 24 hours, visitors are advised to apply at least 3 business days before traveling to Chiang Mai.
Documents required to apply for the eVOA for Chiang Mai
The following documents are required to successfully complete the Thailand online visa application:
- Valid visa from one of the eligible countries
- Return/onward flight ticket
- Accommodation booking confirmation
- Passport style photo that meets the Thai visa photo requirements
Copies of the supporting documents are uploaded digitally, there’s no need to present paperwork in person at an embassy or consulate.
Traveling to Chiang Mai with the Thailand eVOA
Applicants receive the approved visa by email. This should then be presented on arrival at Chiang Mai International Airport (IATA: CNX, ICAO: VTCC), or an alternative port of entry.
The traveler’s passport should have at least one blank page available for the entry stamp.
What to see and do in Chiang Mai with the online visa
Foreigners can spend up to 15 days in Chiang Mai, or elsewhere in Thailand, with the eVisa. Many tourists choose to include Chiang Mai on a trip around Thailand, visiting the capital Bangkok and some of the beautiful islands.
Doi Suthep is the most famous attraction in Chiang Mai. The mountain is located around 12 kilometers from the center of Chiang Mai and is included on most guided tours of the city.
Not only can visitors enjoy spectacular views over the city but they can also visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. This impressive 13th-century temple features a replica of the Emerald Buddha and a white elephant shrine.
Shopping in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is one of the best places to buy souvenirs in Thailand. The San Kamphaeng Road is a 10km stretch lined with stalls selling handmade items including pottery, wood carvings, and silk products.
Some of the most well-known markets in Thailand can be found in Chiang Mai: Warorot Market and the Night Bazaar are well worth visiting. Nimmanhaemin Road is the place to go for designer stores.
Chiang Mai old city
Chiang Mai Old City is filled with countless historical buildings including temples. The old city is surrounded by ancient walls and has plenty of charm. The Old Town can be explored on foot and highlights include Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh, and Wat Phan Tao temples.
All travelers in Chiang Mai are reminded that they must depart Thailand before the end of the visa-exemption period, or before their visa or eVisa expires.