Out of all the cities I’ve visited worldwide, there is only a handful where I experienced “love at first sight.” Chiang Mai, the peaceful mountain city in northern Thailand, was one!Although technically a city, its small size, laid-back atmosphere, and breathtaking mountainous scenery don’t make it feel like one.Ready To Travel? Don’t Go Without Travel Insurance.I recommend SafetyWing Nomad Insurance, an affordable travel insurance offering automatic monthly payments that you can cancel anytime. I’ve been using it since 2019, and I can assure you it’s the perfect solution for nomads like you and me. Learn more by reading our SafetyWing review.Check PricesFor these reasons and more, this northern Thai city is becoming increasingly popular among tourists and digital nomads.If you’ve heard incredible things about Chiang Mai and are considering a trip here, you may wonder, “Is Chiang Mai safe?”This article answers that question and covers everything you need to know to ensure a safe, fun, and stress-free time in Chiang Mai.KEY TAKEAWAYSChiang Mai is a safe destination for female and solo travelers.It is safe to travel to Chiang Mai right now.Practice common sense and awareness when traveling in Chiang Mai.Is Chiang Mai Safe For Tourists?Is Chiang Mai Safe To Travel Now?Why Is Chiang Mai “Dangerous”?The Safest Areas In Chiang MaiThings To Avoid In Chiang MaiVisiting During Burning SeasonChiang Mai For Solo TravelersChiang Mai For Female TravelersChiang Mai For Digital Nomads And ExpatsChiang Mai Travel InsuranceFinal Thoughts On Safety In Chiang MaiIs Chiang Mai Safe For Tourists?Chiang Mai is an extremely safe city where violent crimes are rare. In fact, in January 2023, Chiang Mai was ranked as the safest city in South East Asia by Numbeo.However, this doesn’t mean that Chiang Mai is free from the common petty crimes found across Thailand and Asia.Things like pickpocketing and scams happen in Chiang Mai but are not as prevalent as in other cities.For example, Chiang Mai’s crime index was rated as 24.5, while Bangkok‘s was 40.5.Most tourists feel safe walking around Chiang Mai and comment on the welcoming atmosphere.Is Chiang Mai Safe To Travel Now?As of early 2023, there are no safety concerns for traveling to Chiang Mai, and all covid-related restrictions have been removed.So you won’t be expected to show a vaccine certificate or do a Covid test when arriving or traveling in and around the city.Also, note that there is no longer a mask mandate. However, as Chiang Mai has very high air pollution levels, many locals and expats wear masks when riding a scooter or walking outside.Why Is Chiang Mai “Dangerous”?As mentioned, there are very few dangers in terms of severe crimes within Chiang Mai. But air pollution is one danger in the city during certain parts of the year.This does not so much come from high emissions but rather from what is known as “burning season.”Planning your upcoming adventures? Travel by bus! (It’s cheap!)Between February to April, farmers burn their fields in the countryside surrounding the city and nearby regions, resulting in thick smoke over the whole of Chiang Mai.This can cause various health issues, mainly respiratory issues, headaches, and itchy eyes.In fact, the smoke can be so bad that many locals and expats temporarily move to another part of Thailand during these months.Of course, if you avoid visiting Chiang Mai during the burning season, the air quality will be much higher, and this will not be a concern.The Safest Areas In Chiang MaiThere are no unsafe districts in Chiang Mai, so staying within the city or on the outskirts is fine. You can walk around the streets without concerns wherever you choose to stay.That being said, staying in a hotel with security is safer than in an Airbnb or stand-alone house.Although not highly common, burglaries happen in Chiang Mai, and villas and nice-looking modern homes are the biggest targets.Moreover, petty crimes like scams and pickpocketing are most common in busy touristy areas, such as the walking streets, the Night bazaar, markets, and around the moat.Here are the top three areas to stay in Chiang Mai.Old CityThe Old City is one of the most popular areas for tourists to stay in as it is in the center of the action and is full of beautiful old buildings and temples. This area is also totally walkable, so you can go everywhere on foot if you stay here.RiversideIf you prefer to stay in a luxurious hotel or spa resort, head to Riverside, one of the city’s high-end areas.Here you’ll find a mix of modern hotels with sprawling city views and classy boutique hotels with a tranquil ambiance.NimmanhaeminNimmanhaemin, or Nimman for short, is the digital nomad hotspot, full of quirky coffee shops, art galleries, and rooftop bars.Many affordable condos are here for those looking to stay longer than a few weeks.Things To Avoid In Chiang MaiWhile there is no need to feel on edge when walking around Chiang Mai, there are a few things you should be aware of so that you know to avoid them.Tuk Tuk ScamsTuk Tuks are three-wheeled open taxis found in Chiang Mai and many touristy areas of Thailand.While riding in one can be a fun experience and something you want to check off your bucket list, be careful, as scams are prevalent.Many Tuk Tuk drivers will significantly overcharge you for a journey, and some will offer to take you on a sightseeing tour where they will take you to a shop or restaurant of an alliance.They will then encourage you to make a purchase at that place, as they get a percentage of the money.If you want to take a Tuk Tuk, always barter for a reasonable price and only get in once you have agreed on a price you are happy with.Moreover, don’t take any driver up on the offer of a tour; simply ask to go from A to B.Other ScamsThere are a few other common scams in Chiang Mai. For example, if you decide to rent a motorbike in Thailand, take videos and photos of the bike before driving it away and note any scratches or dents already there.Some hire shops will try to charge you for existing damage when you return it. If you have no video proof to show it was already there, you will likely have to pay a large chunk of money.Tour companies can also try to scam you by overcharging. Be sure to research prices online for the tours you want to take beforehand so you know the average cost.You can also ask your hotel reception; they can tell you what you should be paying, and they may also have some trusted contacts.Visiting During Burning SeasonLastly, as mentioned earlier, avoid visiting Chiang Mai between February and April.During these months, the fog doesn’t just cause health problems, but it can really kill the experience of visiting attractions and doing activities.It is much better to wait until after May, when the skies are clear again, so you can enjoy the stunning mountain views.Driving In Chiang MaiI do not recommend tourists ride a scooter or motorbike anywhere in Thailand, but especially in Chiang Mai.As a small and relatively quiet city, you may assume it is much safer to drive here than in Bangkok. Unfortunately, however, Chiang Mai has the highest road accident rate than anywhere else in the country.This is primarily due to the mountainous roads outside of the city. Tourists want to explore the famous attractions outside the city center, so they rent a scooter and drive there.However, many roads are steep, winding, narrow, and poorly maintained.Car accidents are also common in and around Chiang Mai. So I suggest you take public transport or book tours to visit the attractions outside of the city.Public transport is very cheap within Chiang Mai. There are songthaews, which are cheap open taxis (red in color) that drive set routes.You can hop on and off whenever you like, making them a convenient way to get around.You can also take Grab bikes (if you are alone) or a Grab taxi, which is pretty affordable in Chiang Mai.Moreover, as the Old City is small and walkable, it’s possible to get from one end to the other on foot.Chiang Mai For Solo TravelersI visited Chiang Mai on my own and loved it! This Thai city is trendy among solo travelers, so if you arrive alone, you won’t stay alone for long. I found it easy to meet people here, and the locals were very welcoming and friendly.I had zero safety concerns walking around alone, including after dark. But of course, if you walk home at night, be cautious of your surroundings.If you have had a few drinks too many, order a Grab taxi instead, just to be safe.Chiang Mai has some great hostels, including some social party ones.If you want to enjoy Chiang Mai’s nightlife, stay in a hostel like “Slumber party” or “Stamps,” where you can form a group with other solo travelers to go out together.Chiang Mai For Female TravelersChiang Mai is a friendly, safe, and enjoyable city for females. I met many other women in town alone, from backpackers to digital nomads, to expats.Chiang Mai also has less of a “seedy sex-tourist vibe” than other Thai cities like Pattaya, Bangkok, and Phuket. So, in my opinion, Chiang Mai is one of the best places in Thailand for female travelers.However, like anywhere in the world, you must be cautious of your surroundings and belongings when out and be wary of the people you meet.Don’t leave your drink unattended, don’t accept drinks from strangers, and make sure you know your route home.For extra safety, make sure you buy a Thailand SIM card so you are always online and can easily contact people.If you use Grab for transportation, you can use the option for ladies.Chiang Mai For Digital Nomads And ExpatsAs mentioned, Chiang Mai has a HUGE digital nomad and expat community, so if you’re looking for your next remote work destination, I highly recommend Chiang Mai.The city is set up perfectly for nomads. There are so many western-style cafes and hip coffee shops, so you can easily choose a handful and alternate between them.There are also some awesome co-working spaces in the city, and regular expat/nomad events occur.If you are considering working as a digital nomad in Chiang Mai, read our post about living in Chiang Mai.Chiang Mai Travel InsuranceAlthough Chiang Mai is a very safe city, travel insurance is still vital when visiting here or anywhere else in Thailand.Travel insurance gives you peace of mind that you’ll be covered should you get sick and need medical treatment, lose your luggage, or have flight cancellations.I recommend using SafetyWing as they offer comprehensive coverage, and the application process is quick and straightforward.SafetyWing is also ideal for digital nomads as you can start your policy wherever you are in the world and tailor it to your unique needs.Final Thoughts On Safety In Chiang MaiSo, is Chiang Mai safe? Absolutely! This beautiful northern Thai city is one of the safest places in Thailand and Southeast Asia.As a result, it is a top destination for women and solo travelers and offers something for everyone.So whether you spend a week temple hopping, enjoy the lush mountain views as you work remotely for a few months, or move there long term, Chiang Mai is fantastic!Visiting Thailand soon? Read one of the following guides:

Source: abrokenbackpack.com