What Do Leisure Activities Cost in Chiang Mai

You’ve come to Chiang Mai for a change of pace of life, some culture, maybe just for the cost of living. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to leave behind the activities you love to do.

One of the attractions of Chiang Mai is that it has the draws of any modern city. It’s cosmopolitan in its own way and whatever the leisure activity it is that you enjoy at home, you’ll likely find it – or a new one to replace it – in Chiang Mai

Going to the movies in Chiang Mai

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Movie-going in Thailand is a very common pastime. Thais love a good – or bad – movie.

It is surprising at first how many Asian films there really are when you look at the listings, but you will always find the latest big Hollywood releases too.

There are movie theatres in the three main malls, and you can get a seat for between 100 and 150 baht in any of them. Snacks and drinks are cheap compared to the cinema chains in the west, too. You can get loaded up with an armful of popcorn and a big soda for less than 200 baht.

In the SF in Maya Mall and the Major Cineplex in Central Festival they also have premium screens with big reclining seats and sofas, and usually some snacks included. You’ll get a luxurious seat in one of these for 500-600 baht. There are also 4DX, IMAX, and Zigma screens at these two theatres, for those who want a more immersive experience!

Live performance arts

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Live theatre is less common in Thailand. There are a handful of small companies who put on English-speaking performances across the year, and tickets for these normally cost around 500 baht.

The comedy scene, however, is more active. Several bars in the city offer up open-mic or regular comedy nights, some of which are free but the more established ones with professional acts might cost around 400 baht for a ticket.

It isn’t uncommon for some big-name international stand-ups to roll into town on tour. One or two of the big hotels often host well-known acts when on a warm-up tour before hitting the US, and tickets can often be found from 600-700 baht depending on the profile of the act.

Keep an eye on Facebook events for any upcoming acts.

For those looking for a more local feel to performance art, there are a couple of traditional Thai offerings around the city, featuring either puppet-art or local am-dram groups. Most of these cater to locals more than foreigners and are priced accordingly.

Live Music

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Thailand has big passion for live music. You can’t walk past two bars or restaurants without there at least be a stage set for some music, or the strum of a local Ed Sheeran wannabe.

In the evenings, the sounds of the city move from that of vehicles flying by to a cacophony of different styles – and standards – of music. Yes, that does include the sounds you’ll hear from the still-popular karaoke bars here, but for nothing more than the cost of a drink you will find some terrific local talent playing.

Perhaps surprisingly, Chiang Mai has a thriving jazz scene. Aside from the well-renowned North Gate Jazz Co-op, there are a number of jazz bars that have opened up around the city, and this number is only increasing. It is usually free to go, you’ll just need to buy a drink or some food, and you’ll get to see and hear some of Thailand’s best jazz performers on any night of the week.

Every November/December Chiang Mai puts on a jazz festival where there are concerts, performances and events across the city, most of which are free to attend.

Across the year there are several other music festivals around the city. The Thantawan Festival in January – attracting an international lineup – is one of the biggest, and day tickets will cost from 1,500 baht, or a weekend ticket ranging from 2,500 to 4,500 baht.

Smaller, more niche festivals run across the drier seasons too and, for a few hundred baht, you’ll be sunning it up in front of some great local and international artists out in the Chiang Mai countryside.

Some of the bigger names in local and national pop, rock, and classical music put on concerts in and around the city too, often at CMU venues. For 500 baht you’ll get an evening recital or mosh-pit ticket to some of the best talent in Thailand!

The big names in international music don’t often venture as far north as Chiang Mai. On the odd occasion one does, 800 baht is the starting price to secure a ticket to sing or dance along to a string of their best hits.

Cultural Festivals

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You don’t get short-changed when it comes to cultural festivals in Chiang Mai, and the beauty is that you can usually enjoy them for free if you choose to.

Songkran is the Thai new year and lands in the middle of April. If you are here for it, then you only need to walk out onto a street in your nearest neighborhood or in the city and you’ll quickly be immersed into it. The only cost that we advise you incur is investing a couple of hundred baht in a decent water gun!

Loi Krathong/Yi Peng are less interactive, yet no less impressive to be involved in, and again, without the need to spend anything. The parades through the city, Loi Krathong floating along the river, and lanterns being released can all be seen for free.

The well-documented mass releases of lanterns is usually arranged out of the city in Doi Saket, and tour agencies will charge several thousand baht for an all-in experience. However, make your own way there and entry is usually just a couple of hundred baht, and you can buy your own lantern for less than that – or make and take your own!

The other main festival native to Chiang Mai is its Flower Festival in February. Again, it is free to wander the moat road to view the flower displays and follow the parade. You might just need to spend a little on refreshments on a hot day though!

National Parks

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You don’t have to travel far to find a national park to hike, relax in, or marvel at. National Parks in Thailand nearly all have an entry fee, and be prepared that the entry fee will be lower for Thai nationals.

For smaller ones, such as Huay Teng Tao lake or Huai Kaeo waterfalls, it will be as little as 50 baht to enter. Mae Sa waterfall and Doi Suthep National park charge 100 baht to visit, though as with most parks children go at a discounted rate.

There often isn’t much logic behind the value of park entrance fees, for example the very popular Sticky Falls in the Sri Lanna National Park are free to visit. Some of the less visited parks – and no less beautiful – will often just wave you through at the entrance booth.

Doi Inthanon – the tallest mountain in Thailand and about an hour and half south of Chiang Mai – costs 300 baht to enter, but it covers a big area, has plenty to see, and the views as you ascend are incredible.

Chiang Mai is as popular as it is partly because of its blend of cultural authenticity mixed in with its easy access to some of the more common leisure pursuits. It often brings its own spin to the kind of activities you can enjoy at home, but you won’t be left pining for them!

More day-to-day living costs when you move to Chiang Mai can be found in these articles:

Utility Costs In Chiang Mai

Banking Costs In Chiang Mai

Alcohol And Tobacco Costs In Chiang Mai

Transportation Costs In Chiang Mai

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