A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Chiang Mai vs. Beijing for Attractions, Food, Backpackers, and Nightlife

Should you visit Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Chiang Mai and Beijing. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a cultural, welcoming, and natural city. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and hiking.

Beijing

Beijing is a massive, jam-packed, and cultural city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Chiang Mai and Beijing: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities
  • Home to the Forbidden City


Is there more to do in Chiang Mai or Beijing?

You'll generally find more things to do in Beijing than Chiang Mai. Beijing is bigger than Chiang Mai, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Beijing is better known for its big city activities, while Chiang Mai is more popular for its historical sights, hiking, shopping, and impressive beauty. Chiang Mai is well known for its lively night market, historical temples, local cuisine, and cultural rainforest treks. Beijing is well known for its rich culture, many historical landmarks, its long running history, and its world class cuisine. Also, Beijing is famous for The Forbidden City.

How is Chiang Mai different from Beijing?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Beijing and Chiang Mai. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Spend time exploring the fantastic sights and museums in either Chiang Mai or Beijing.

Travelers visit Chiang Mai from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The city is filled with culture and you'll find many beautiful temples in the area. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a mountain-top temple that is an iconic landmark in the city. Other famous sights include Doi Inthanon and Wat Chedi Luang.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Beijing are among the most recognizable in the world. The city is filled with iconic landmarks including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and The Temple of Heaven. It's also essential that you plan a trip outside of town to the world renowned Great Wall of China. The trip takes about an hour and you can organize a tour through almost any hotel or tour company.


Is the Food Better in Chiang Mai or Beijing? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Foodies will find both Chiang Mai and Beijing both to be fantastic destinations.

Eat your way through Chiang Mai, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. For many, this city offers some of the best food in all of Thailand. The cuisine is influenced by nearby Burma and China, with ginger and turmeric often used. Curries tend to be a bit milder and dishes are often served with sticky rice. Famous dishes around town include Khao Soi, Larb Kua, and Sai Oua. Cooking classes are also very popular around town and the courses often include a trip to a market.

For foodies, Beijing is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The city has a number of iconic dishes that have put it on the culinary map. The most notable dish is Peking Duck, which is a delectable crispy roast duck that is usually served with cucumber, scallions, sweet bean sauce and pancakes or other steamed buns. Hot pots are another must-try experience in the city, and, of course, you have to experience the dumplings. A huge part of a visit to Beijing is experiencing its long running culinary history.

Is Chiang Mai or Beijing Better for Nightlife?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find very good options in both Chiang Mai and Beijing.

The nightlife in Chiang Mai has something for everybody. It is the largest city in Northern Thailand, so it has the most active nightlife scene in the area. Whatever your style, you can find something to do at night here. Many people head to the riverside to drink and listen to music. You'll also find clubs concentrated around Nimmanhaemin Road and Loy Kroh Road. There's also the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, which is packed with stalls and people sampling food and drinks.

Beijing offers plenty to do in the evening. Live performances are popular in the city, and range from concerts to magic shows and acrobatics. There is also an active bar scene around town. Some of the most popular nightlife areas include Sanlitun and Houhai.

Is Chiang Mai or Beijing Better for its Old Town?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Chiang Mai is a great destination for its historic old town charm. However, Beijing does not have a historic old town.

Chiang Mai is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. The old city is about 1.5 square kilometers in size and it has four gates, one on each side. The most famous area is Sunday Walking Street, which comes to life at 4pm every day when it is lined with stalls and filled with people.

Beijing does not have a historic old town.


Is Chiang Mai or Beijing Better for Hiking?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Chiang Mai is an unbeatable place for its hiking experiences. However, Beijing is not a hiking destination.

Around Chiang Mai visitors will find world-class hiking trails. Many people use this city as a base for a trekking excursion into the surrounding countryside. The land is lush and beautiful and many treks also expose you to the welcoming Hilltribe people of Northern Thailand. Treks can be organized at almost any hotel or hostel as well the many tour agencies around town.

Beijing is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Chiang Mai is an unbeatable place for its shopping areas. Also, Beijing is still popular, but not quite as popular for shopping.

Chiang Mai is a world class destination for shoppers. The city is famous for its night markets, which run every night of the year until around midnight. You'll find the streets packed with people and vendors, rain or shine. This is a great place to search for local handicrafts and try some of the city's famous street food. Popular items to buy include rice boxes, silk, and Thai sky lanterns.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Beijing. There are many unique handicrafts that you can purchase around town. Popular souvenirs include silk, pearls, and snuff bottles with pictures inside. The city has many shopping streets as well as markets and shopping malls that are worth visiting.

Is Chiang Mai or Beijing Better for Families?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Chiang Mai is a great destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Beijing is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Chiang Mai is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. This city is very friendly and welcoming to kids. There are many cultural and adventurous activities that the whole family can enjoy. One of the most popular kid-friendly places to visit is the Elephant Sanctuary, where kids can get up close and personal with these beautiful animals. Kids will also enjoy heading into the countryside to trek or visit one of Thailand’s Hilltribes. The cultural experience and opportunity to meet a diversity of kids will be an experience your children will never forget. In town, a cooking class is a popular option for budding foodies.

Beijing offers lots of family activities. The city offers a unique cultural immersion that kids and adults can enjoy. Wander through the Forbidden City or watch your kids be mesmerized by a Chinese acrobatics show. It's also fun to get lost in the Hutongs or test their culinary palates by visiting a snack street.


Is Chiang Mai or Beijing Better for Couples?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Chiang Mai is a great destination for couples. Also, Beijing is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Couples visit Chiang Mai frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Trekking, rafting, temples, and some of the best food in Thailand all make this city a popular destination for a couple's getaway. The region is perfect for adventurous couples who want to experience more of the authentic side of Thailand.

Beijing is a nice destination for couples. The culture, history, and food all make this a stunning place to visit. While romance doesn't immediately spring to mind when you think of Beijing, there are shows and fine dining restaurants that couples will enjoy. There are also many luxury hotels with spas and other amenities.

Is Chiang Mai or Beijing Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Chiang Mai is an unbeatable place for backpackers. Also, Beijing is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Chiang Mai is a very popular city to visit for backpackers. This is one of the biggest backpacker mecca's in Southeast Asia, and you'll find the city flooded with budget travelers out to experience it all. There are countless hostels and budget hotels available and most will organize treks and activities for guests. It's easy to meet other backpackers and many visitors end up staying longer than they planned. Prices in Northern Thailand are also much more affordable than many other areas.

Beijing is very popular with the backpacker crowd. The city has many hostels and budget-friendly options. There isn't the backpacker community vibe that you may get in other Asian cities, but if you organize an excursion through your hostel, you're sure to make a few friends along the way.

Is Chiang Mai or Beijing Better for Students?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Beijing is a great city for its student-friendly activities. However, Chiang Mai is not popular with students.

Many students visit Beijing. Students will enjoy the culture, food, and academic opportunities that the universities offer. There is also a decent nightlife scene and affordable places where students can live.

Chiang Mai is not popular with students.


Is Chiang Mai or Beijing Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Beijing is a great city for times when you don't have a car. Also, Chiang Mai is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its public transit.

Public transit in Beijing is fairly effecient and thorough. The system can be crowded and confusing at first, but it's one of the most convenient and affordable ways to get around town. There's a subway system as well as buses, trolleybuses, and suburban rail.

Chiang Mai has a few public transit options. Transportation options include red songthaew (converted pick-up trucks), buses, and tuk-tuks.

Is Chiang Mai or Beijing a more walkable city?

Chiang Mai
Beijing

Chiang Mai is a city with good options for its ease of walking around. However, Beijing is a city with minimal options for its walkability.

Chiang Mai is a somewhat walkable city. Although there are a few walking streets, the city can get very crowded and many places are easier to access with a tuk tuk or taxi.

Beijing is generally not a very walkable city. While parts of the city are fun to explore on foot, the city itself is very large with long blocks that aren't pedestrian-friendly.

For even more information, also check out Is Chiang Mai Worth Visiting? and Is Beijing Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Beijing or Chiang Mai?

How long in Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Both Chiang Mai and Beijing have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Chiang Mai has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Chiang Mai than Beijing. In general, 2-7 days is a good amount of time for Chiang Mai, and 3-7 days is enough time in Beijing.

Families should spend more time in Chiang Mai than Beijing. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Chiang Mai, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Chiang Mai than Beijing. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Chiang Mai that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Chiang Mai than Beijing if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Chiang Mai.


  • How many days in Chiang Mai or Beijing? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chiang Mai 2-7 
    Beijing 3-7

One day in Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Because Chiang Mai is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

With museums and nightlife around the fascinating city of Beijing, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Because Chiang Mai is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Chiang Mai has to offer.

With nightlife and food around the big city destination of Beijing, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Five days in Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Chiang Mai is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Chiang Mai has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Beijing, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Chiang Mai or Beijing?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chiang Mai. Because Chiang Mai is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

Beijing is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this city makes for a great vacation. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best G Adventures Tours to Thailand, The Best 3-Day Tours from Phuket, The Best 2-Week Tours from Beijing, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to China.


Which place is cheaper, Beijing or Chiang Mai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Chiang Mai is $45, while the average daily cost in Beijing is $76. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Chiang Mai and Beijing in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chiang Mai $26
    Beijing $39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chiang Mai $52
    Beijing $78
Compare Hotels in Chiang Mai and Beijing

Looking for a hotel in Chiang Mai or Beijing? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Chiang Mai


Hotels in Beijing


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Chiang Mai Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chiang Mai $3.61
    Beijing $7.71
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Chiang Mai

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Chiang Mai are as follows:


  • Tuk Tuk Ride
    $1.09
  • Moped Rental
    $4.89

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chiang Mai

Also for Chiang Mai, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • ATV Riding and Grand Canyon Chiang Mai Include Pickup Transfer: $92
  • Chiang Dao to Chiang Mai Airport CNX Private Departure Transfer: $28
  • Chiang Mai #1 Way Private Car transfer to/from Bangkok City: $277
  • Chiang Mai #Private Car transfer to/from Mae Sot: $199
  • Chiang Mai : Sticky Waterfalls transfer: $24
  • Chiang Mai Airport (CNX): One-Way Private Transfer: $12
  • Chiang Mai Airport Arrival – Private Transfer from Airport to Four Seasons Hotel: $25
  • Chiang Mai Airport Arrival – Private Transfer from Airport to Hotel: $13
  • Chiang Mai Airport CNX to Chiang Dao Private Arrival Transfer: $28
  • Chiang Mai Airport CNX to Chiang Dao Round Trip Private Transfer: $55
  • Chiang Mai Airport CNX to Pai Resorts Round Trip Private Transfer: $155
  • Chiang Mai Airport CNX to Pai Thermal Resorts Arrival Transfer: $78

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Beijing

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Beijing:


  • Taxi
    $4.71
  • Train from Airport for Two
    $6.90
  • Taxi to Hotel
    $8.28
  • 2 Metro Passes
    $2.21
  • Metro
    $0.55

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Beijing

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Beijing:

  • Private Beijing Downtown Transfer for 10 hours Up to 30pax: $850
  • Private Beijing Downtown Transfer for 10 hours Up to 15pax: $490
  • Private Beijing Downtown Transfer for 10 hours Up to 5pax: $380
  • Beijing to Zun Hua Explore Qing Emperor's Tombs By Car Transfer : $285
  • Private Transfer to Beidaihe Summer Resort from Beijing: $272
  • 1 Day Pass for Universal Beijing and Private Transfer Package: $265
  • Private Transfer to Mutianyu Great Wall and Summer Palace with A Guide: $259
  • 1-Day Bejing Layover Tour:Mutianyu Great Wall,Forbidden City & Airport Transfers: $250
  • Private Day Tour of Beijing City Overview with Airport Transfer: $245
  • Beijing Layover of Comprehensive City Tour With Airport Transfer: $240
  • Beijing Hutong Culture Experience with Airport Transfer: $236
  • Private Transfer from Tianjin Cruise Port to Beijing with stop at Great Wall : $221

Is it cheaper to fly into Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Prices for flights to both Beijing and Chiang Mai change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Chiang Mai $10
    Beijing $19
Typical Food Prices in Chiang Mai

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Chiang Mai:


  • Sit Down Dinner (for One)
    $5.30
  • Roti Snack (Bread)
    $0.65
  • Casual Breakfast
    $1.09
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.43
  • Mangoes
    $0.82
  • Coffee
    $1.36

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chiang Mai

For Chiang Mai, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking Evening Class Chiang Mai Visit Organic Garden and Market: $11
  • Cooking Morning Class Chiang Mai Visit Organic Garden and Market : $11
  • Traditional Khantoke Dinner and Show from Chiang Mai: $20
  • Khantoke Dinner with Traditional Performance: $22
  • Morning Cooking Class in Organic Garden | Chiang Mai: $23
  • Half-Day Thai Cooking Class at Organic Farm in Chiang Mai: $23
  • Evening Cooking Class and Local Market Visit: $25
  • Cooking Class, Market and Thai Herbs Garden Tour: $25
  • Half Day Morning Cooking Class with Yummy Tasty Thai Cooking School: $26
  • Half Day Evening Cooking Class with Yummy Tasty Thai Cooking School: $26
  • Private Virtual Thai Cooking Class: $26
  • Baan Farm Thai Cooking School Chiangmai: $27

Typical Food Prices in Beijing

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Beijing:


  • Popcorn
    $0.83
  • Hot Pot Dinner
    $6.90
  • Dumpling Breakfast for Two
    $2.76
  • Watermelon
    $1.93
  • Peking Duck Dinner for 2
    $16
  • Two Popsicles
    $0.83

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Beijing

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Beijing.

  • Online Cooking Class Beijing Dumplings and Cuisine by Sunflowerli Renowned Chef : $20
  • Online Cooking Class Orange Chicken by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Handmade Noodles by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Kungpao Chicken: $20
  • Deal 20% off Beijing Nango HotSpring Water World with Dinner: $38
  • Beijing Acrobatic Show Tickets w/ Optional Dinner or Transfer: $48
  • 3.5-Hour Walking Food Tour: A Bite of History at Beijing Niujie Street: $49
  • Temple of Heaven Private Tour w/Option Show &Dinner: $54
  • Beijing Gulou Night Market Food Tour: $61
  • 3 hours Morning or Afternoon Tea Tasting on Maliandao Street and Tea Restaurant Lunch or Dinner Tour: $69
  • Mogolian Hot Pot Dinner with no limit soft drink and local beer .: $70
  • discovery more Beijing back street evening food tour with locals : $79

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chiang Mai $13
    Beijing $24
Typical Entertainment Prices in Chiang Mai

For Chiang Mai, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Thai Cooking Class
    $35
  • Doi Suthep Entrance Ticket
    $1.63
  • Kratong Lessons
    $2.72
  • Pedicure
    $4.08
  • Chiang Mai Museum (for Two)
    $4.89

Tours and Activities in Chiang Mai

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Chiang Mai.

  • Scavenger Hunt City Tour for Your Smartphone: $7.70
  • Chiang Mai Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $7.92
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Art in Paradise Illusion Museum Entry Ticket: $11
  • Mae Ping River Cruise: $12
  • Local Food and Markets Guided Walking Tour: $14
  • Old City and Temples Guided Walking Tour: $14
  • Skip the Line: Chiang Mai Art in Paradise Admission Ticket: $15
  • Chiang Mai Michelin Food Walking Tour with Professional Tour Guide: $15
  • Chiang Mai Old City & Temples Guided Walking Tour - 2 Hrs: $15
  • Circuit Karting Experience at Chiang Mai Circuit - Go Kart: $17
  • Tweechol Botanic Garden Half Day Adventure : $18

Typical Entertainment Prices in Beijing

Here are a few typical costs in Beijing for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Entry to Summer Palace for Two
    $8.28
  • Two Opera Tickets
    $59
  • Temple of Heaven Park Entrance (for 2)
    $9.66
  • Forbidden City (for 2)
    $17
  • Forbidden City Tickets
    $17
  • Audio Guides at Forbidden City
    $11

Tours and Activities in Beijing

Here are a few actual costs in Beijing for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 1-Day Mutianyu Great Wall and Beijing Airport Drop off Tour: $235
  • 4 hours Deep Forbidden City Private Tour by Knowledgeable Guide.: $80
  • 4-Hour Beijing Layover Tour to Hutong from Daxing Airport: $145
  • All Inclusive Private Summer Palace, Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour: $204
  • All Inclusive Private Tour: Juyongguan Greatwall, Sacred Road, MingTombs : $176
  • Beijing 2 Summer Palace Private Garden Tour: $140
  • Beijing Art Tour: Seeing Fantastic Ming Murals at Fa Hai Temple : $220
  • Beijing Layover Tour: Mutianyu Great Wall with English Driver : $93
  • China Art Museum and 798 Art Zone Private Tour: $137
  • Classic One Day Beijing Tour: $240
  • Full Day Private Tour Incredible Beijing City Highlights: $179
  • Mutianyu Great Wall And Ming Tomb Private One Day Tour: $205

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chiang Mai $6.73
    Beijing $11
Typical Alcohol Prices in Chiang Mai

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Chiang Mai are as follows:


  • Wine
    $2.72

Sample the Local Flavors in Chiang Mai

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Chiang Mai:

  • Chiang Mai Pub Crawl: The Best Bars & Pubs in Chiang Mai!: $9.70

Sample the Local Flavors in Beijing

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Beijing:

  • Evening Food Private Tour with Brewery Taproom Hopping at Slow Boat in Beijing: $110
  • Private Tour-Drum Tower, Hutong Food Taste and Local Brewery Beer: $120
  • Full Day Private Chateau Changyu Wine Tour from Beijing: $164
  • 5-Hour Private Changyu Chateau Wine Tasting Tour from Beijing: $178
  • Private Changyu Chateau Wine Tasting Tour and Mutianyu Great Wall Visit: $238


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Chiang Mai and Beijing, we can see that Beijing is more expensive. And not only is Chiang Mai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Chiang Mai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Chiang Mai and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Beijing would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Beijing than you might in Chiang Mai.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Chiang Mai Expensive? and Is Beijing Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Beijing has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Chiang Mai. When comparing the sizes of Chiang Mai and Beijing, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Chiang Mai or Beijing?

Beijing has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, but Chiang Mai experiences a warm climate with fairly sunny weather most of the year.

Should I visit Chiang Mai or Beijing in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Chiang Mai as well as Beijing. Chiang Mai attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. Additionally, the summer months attract visitors to Beijing because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Chiang Mai is generally a little warmer than Beijing. Daily temperatures in Chiang Mai average around 30°C (86°F), and Beijing fluctuates around 27°C (80°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Beijing. In the summer, Chiang Mai often gets less sunshine than Beijing. Chiang Mai gets 146 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Beijing receives 224 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Beijing. Chiang Mai receives a lot of rain in the summer. Chiang Mai usually gets less rain in July than Beijing. Chiang Mai gets 161 mm (6.3 in) of rain, while Beijing receives 176 mm (6.9 in) of rain this time of the year. June to September in Chiang Mai is the rainy season.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Chiang Mai 30°C (86°F) 
    Beijing 27°C (80°F)

Should I visit Chiang Mai or Beijing in the Autumn?

Both Beijing and Chiang Mai are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to Chiang Mai throughout the year. Also, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Beijing this time of year.

Chiang Mai is much warmer than Beijing in the autumn. The daily temperature in Chiang Mai averages around 29°C (83°F) in October, and Beijing fluctuates around 14°C (56°F).

It's quite sunny in Beijing. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Beijing during autumn. Chiang Mai gets 226 hours of sunny skies, while Beijing receives 227 hours of full sun in the autumn.

It's quite rainy in Chiang Mai. In October, Chiang Mai usually receives more rain than Beijing. Chiang Mai gets 122 mm (4.8 in) of rain, while Beijing receives 19 mm (0.7 in) of rain each month for the autumn. The dry season in Chiang Mai is November to February.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Chiang Mai 29°C (83°F) 
    Beijing 14°C (56°F)

Should I visit Chiang Mai or Beijing in the Winter?

Both Beijing and Chiang Mai during the winter are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Chiang Mai because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Also, many travelers come to Beijing for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Beijing. In the winter, Chiang Mai is much warmer than Beijing. Typically, the winter temperatures in Chiang Mai in January average around 23°C (74°F), and Beijing averages at about -4°C (26°F).

In Beijing, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Chiang Mai. In the winter, Chiang Mai often gets more sunshine than Beijing. Chiang Mai gets 283 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Beijing receives 201 hours of full sun.

Chiang Mai usually gets more rain in January than Beijing. Chiang Mai gets 7 mm (0.3 in) of rain, while Beijing receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain this time of the year. November to February is the dry season in Chiang Mai.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Chiang Mai 23°C (74°F) 
    Beijing -4°C (26°F)

Should I visit Chiang Mai or Beijing in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Chiang Mai and Beijing. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Chiang Mai year-round. Also, many visitors come to Beijing in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

Chiang Mai can become quite hot in the spring. In April, Chiang Mai is generally much warmer than Beijing. Daily temperatures in Chiang Mai average around 31°C (88°F), and Beijing fluctuates around 14°C (57°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Beijing this time of the year. In Chiang Mai, it's very sunny this time of the year. Chiang Mai usually receives more sunshine than Beijing during spring. Chiang Mai gets 275 hours of sunny skies, while Beijing receives 247 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Chiang Mai usually receives more rain than Beijing. Chiang Mai gets 50 mm (2 in) of rain, while Beijing receives 26 mm (1 in) of rain each month for the spring. Also, June to September is the rainy season in Chiang Mai.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Chiang Mai 31°C (88°F) 
    Beijing 14°C (57°F)

Typical Weather for Beijing and Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Beijing
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 23°C (74°F) 7 mm (0.3 in) -4°C (26°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Feb 26°C (78°F) 5 mm (0.2 in) -1°C (30°F) 6 mm (0.2 in)
Mar 29°C (83°F) 13 mm (0.5 in) 6°C (42°F) 9 mm (0.4 in)
Apr 31°C (88°F) 50 mm (2 in) 14°C (57°F) 26 mm (1 in)
May 31°C (87°F) 158 mm (6.2 in) 20°C (68°F) 29 mm (1.1 in)
Jun 30°C (86°F) 132 mm (5.2 in) 25°C (76°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Jul 30°C (86°F) 161 mm (6.3 in) 27°C (80°F) 176 mm (6.9 in)
Aug 29°C (85°F) 236 mm (9.3 in) 25°C (78°F) 182 mm (7.2 in)
Sep 29°C (85°F) 228 mm (9 in) 20°C (69°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
Oct 29°C (83°F) 122 mm (4.8 in) 14°C (56°F) 19 mm (0.7 in)
Nov 27°C (80°F) 53 mm (2.1 in) 5°C (41°F) 6 mm (0.2 in)
Dec 24°C (75°F) 20 mm (0.8 in) -1°C (29°F) 2 mm (0.1 in)