A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Istanbul vs. Chiang Mai for Attractions, Food, Old Town, and Backpackers

Should you visit Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Istanbul or Chiang Mai, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Istanbul

Istanbul is a high-energy, historic, and diverse city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a laid-back, friendly, and cultural city. It's a large city with plenty of activites for visitors as well. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for museums, nightlife, and food.

Istanbul and Chiang Mai: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Blue Mosque
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Istanbul than Chiang Mai, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Istanbul is more popular for its historical sights and big city activities, while Chiang Mai is known for its hiking and shopping. Istanbul is popular for its world class historical sights, stunning mosques, and dynamic energy. It is also home to The Blue Mosque. Chiang Mai is popular for its lively night market, historical temples, local cuisine, and cultural rainforest treks.

How is Istanbul different from Chiang Mai?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Both Istanbul and Chiang Mai have world-class landmarks and museums for visitors.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Istanbul that are not to be missed. With such a long and diverse religious and political history, it has many museums, mosques, churches, and archeological sites that you can visit. Some of the most famous sights include the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Sarayi, and the Blue Mosque.

The museums and tourist attractions in Chiang Mai are world-renowned. 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.


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

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Istanbul and Chiang Mai can be difficult as they are each world-class in their own way.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Istanbul is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. From Turkish classics to sweet desserts, the city has it all. Popular dishes include Turkish style pizza, kebabs, and doner, which you'll find everywhere for affordable prices. You'll also find many tourist-centered restaurants in the touristy areas but if you get away from the main sights, you'll find more local options that let you sample high quality food for affordable prices.

Many restaurants in Chiang Mai have been singled out for their culinary prowess. 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.

Is Istanbul or Chiang Mai Better for Nightlife?

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Evening events are great in both Istanbul and Chiang Mai.

Istanbul has plenty to do after the sun goes down. Dancing, dining, and partying have all become part of Istanbul's culture. Top nightclubs in the city include Reina, Sortie, and Supperclub. If you're looking for dance clubs and alcohol, your best bet is to head to the Beyoglu district.

Chiang Mai has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. 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.

Is Istanbul or Chiang Mai Better for its Old Town?

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Istanbul is a world-class destination for its historic old town. Also, Chiang Mai is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its old town.

The historic old town of Istanbul is revered around the world. The Old City in Istanbul is the most historic part of the city. It's where you'll find most of the city's historic sights. The area around Sultanahmet Square is the most popular tourist area to explore.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Chiang Mai. 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.


Is Istanbul or Chiang Mai Better for Hiking?

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is an amazing city to visit for the nearby hiking options. However, Istanbul is not a hiking destination.

Known for its hiking, Chiang Mai draws a crowd to experience the nature and the 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.

Istanbul is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is an amazing city to visit for shopping. Also, Istanbul is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping opportunities.

Chiang Mai is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. 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.

Istanbul is well-known for its shopping. It is the capital of culture and fashion in Turkey, and there are many shopping areas that carry all kinds of brands. For a more traditional, but touristy experience head to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market. For modern brands, Istiklal Caddesi is the most popular area for shopping.

Is Istanbul or Chiang Mai Better for Families?

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Istanbul and Chiang Mai are both great destinations for the whole family.

Istanbul is a very family-friendly place to visit. The city has several kid-friendly museums, a couple of aquariums, and fun theme parks. If the kids need a break from the city, you can spend a day at Vialand Theme Park or LEGOLAND Discovery Center Istanbul. Food in Istanbul is also very kid-friendly with many affordable dishes that young ones will enjoy.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Chiang Mai is very family-friendly. 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.


Is Istanbul or Chiang Mai Better for Couples?

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Istanbul and Chiang Mai are both great to visit as a couple.

Istanbul is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples who enjoy history, culture, and vibrant neighborhoods will enjoy a romantic stay here. The city lights up at night and there are many rooftop dessert cafes where you can take in the view. The waterfront setting is the perfect place to watch the sunset and there are many places to walk and soak up the atmosphere.

Chiang Mai makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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.

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

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Both Istanbul and Chiang Mai are world-class destinations for backpackers.

Istanbul is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. There are plenty of hostels and budget accommodation options, and there's also plenty of ways to meet other travelers. You'll find plenty of hostels concentrated in the Sultanahmet area.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Chiang Mai is extremely popular 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.

Is Istanbul or Chiang Mai Better for Students?

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

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

Many students visit Istanbul. Students appreciate the city's vibrant neighborhoods, constant activity, and diverse population.

Chiang Mai is not popular with students.


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

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Istanbul is a world-class destination 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.

With a huge network, the transit system in Istanbul can get you around easily. It has a comprehensive and diverse public transit system that includes buses, trams, minibuses, ferries, funicular, and more.

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

Is Istanbul or Chiang Mai a more walkable city?

Istanbul
Chiang Mai

Istanbul is a great city for its walkability. Also, Chiang Mai is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its high level of walkability.

Istanbul is very walkable. Although it is huge, most of the neighborhoods that tourists visit are incredibly walkable and pedestrian-friendly.

Chiang Mai is a somewhat walkable place. 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.

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

Should I spend more time in Chiang Mai or Istanbul?

How long in Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

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

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Istanbul than Chiang Mai 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 Istanbul.


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

One day in Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

When visiting Istanbul, people usually allow for lots of time. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

The beautiful city of Chiang Mai offers food and shopping. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


A weekend in Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

When visiting Istanbul, people usually allow for lots of time. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Chiang Mai is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Chiang Mai, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

Istanbul, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Visiting the old town is also a must. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Chiang Mai is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Chiang Mai, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

Istanbul 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.

Chiang Mai is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Chiang Mai has to offer. This city offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Budget Tours to Turkey, The Best Tours for Seniors to Turkey, The Best G Adventures Tours to Thailand, and The Best 3-Day Tours from Phuket.


Which place is cheaper, Chiang Mai or Istanbul?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Istanbul is $126, while the average daily cost in Chiang Mai is $45. 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 Istanbul and Chiang Mai in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Istanbul $47
    Chiang Mai $26
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Istanbul $94
    Chiang Mai $52
Compare Hotels in Istanbul and Chiang Mai

Looking for a hotel in Istanbul or Chiang Mai? 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 Istanbul


Hotels in Chiang Mai


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: Istanbul Hotel Prices and Chiang Mai Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Istanbul $55
    Chiang Mai $3.63
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Ferry
    $0.09
  • Local Bus
    $0.09

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • Private Bosphorus Tour on Luxury Yacht w/transfer: $745
  • From Pamukkale Day Tour With Flights and Transfers: $319
  • Istanbul Airport S-Class Premium Luxury Sedan Transfer: $286
  • Hagia Sophia, Topkapi & Mosque Tour with Transfer: $286
  • Private Guided Istanbul Luxury Tour (Tickets and Transfers): $283
  • Troy and Gallipoli Day Guided Tour with Transfer: $280
  • Istanbul Dolmabahçe Palace Private Tour with Transfers: $225
  • Istanbul Airport Transfer: Sabiha Airport SAW to Istanbul in Luxury Car: $224
  • Istanbul Airport Transfer: Istanbul to New Airport IST in Luxury Car: $224
  • 3-Day Tours & Transfer Package: $223
  • Istanbul Airport to Sabiha Airport Private Transfer or Vice Versa (1-13pax): $218
  • Istanbul Airport to Sabiha Airport Private Transfer or Vice Versa (1-10pax): $211

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
    $4.91

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chiang Mai

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

  • Chiang Mai Airport Private Transfer to Hotel Or From Hotel To Airport : $5.48
  • Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) Private Transfer: $8.00
  • Private Airport Transfer in Chiang Mai to/from Chiangmai Town: $8.98
  • Chiang Mai Airport Private Departure Transfers: $10
  • Chiang Mai Airport Private Arrival Transfers: $10
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX): $11
  • Chiang Mai Airport (CNX): One-Way Private Transfer: $12
  • Chiang Mai Airport Departure – Private Transfer from Hotel to Airport: $13
  • Chiang Mai Shared Arrival or Departure Transfer: $14
  • Siam Dragon cabaret show : Ticket & Optional Transfer: $14
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service Chiang Mai HTL-APT(CNX): $15
  • Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) Arrival Shared Transfer: $15

Is it cheaper to fly into Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

Prices for flights to both Chiang Mai and Istanbul 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
    Istanbul $31
    Chiang Mai $10
Typical Food Prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Juice
    $0.06
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.02
  • Dessert
    $0.26
  • Pastries
    $0.05

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

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

  • Dinner Cruise and Entertainment with Private Table: $17
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise , Unlimited Drinks, & Show: $21
  • Bosphorus Luxury Catamaran Cruise with Dinner Show: $25
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise and Turkish Night Show: $26
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table: $26
  • Bosphorus Boat Cruise with Dinner & Entertainment: $27
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Unlimited Drinks and Shows: $28
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise: $28
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise and Turkish Night Show: $29
  • Half Day Sunset Luxury Yacht Dinner Cruise Tour in Istanbul: $29
  • 3 Hour Ottoman Dinner Cruise in Istanbul : $29
  • Turkish Night on the Bosphorus Dinner Cruise: $30

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)
    $5.32
  • Roti Snack (Bread)
    $0.65
  • Casual Breakfast
    $1.09
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.46
  • 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
  • Half-Day Thai Cooking Class at Organic Farm in Chiang Mai: $22
  • Afternoon Cooking Class in Organic Garden in Chiang Mai: $22
  • Morning Cooking Class in Organic Garden | Chiang Mai: $22
  • Cooking Class, Market and Thai Herbs Garden Tour: $25
  • Half Day Morning Cooking Class with Yummy Tasty Thai Cooking School: $25
  • Half Day Evening Cooking Class with Yummy Tasty Thai Cooking School: $25
  • Half-Day Thai Cuisine Cooking Experience in Chiang Mai : $27
  • Thai and Isaan Cooking Class & Local Market Tour: $27

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Istanbul $79
    Chiang Mai $13
Typical Entertainment Prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $0.62
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $0.62
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $0.31
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $0.93

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Istanbul are as follows:

  • 2 Hours Ultimate Kebab Experience in Galata, Istanbul: $128
  • 4 Hours Private Highlights Tour Of Istanbul: $273
  • All in One Day Istanbul - Historical Tour of Istanbul with Bosphorus Cruise: $164
  • Full Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour: $42
  • Green Bursa ~ Uludag Mountain, private Tour;Solo ;Groups: $60
  • Istanbul City Tour Full Day (ASIA AND EUROPE) and Bosphorus Tour: $120
  • Istanbul Customized Daily Tour: $200
  • Istanbul Half Day City Tour (Ottoman Relics): $55
  • City Highlights Tour w/Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque: $35
  • Must - See Istanbul Stops 1: Half Day Morning Tour: $139
  • 1 Day Private Istanbul Guided Tour: $68
  • 1-Day Private Istanbul Layover Tour : $220

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
    $1.64
  • Kratong Lessons
    $2.73
  • Pedicure
    $4.09
  • Chiang Mai Museum (for Two)
    $4.91

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: $7.66
  • Chiang Mai Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $7.85
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Art in Paradise Illusion Museum Entry Ticket: $11
  • Mae Ping River Cruise: $12
  • Old City and Temples Guided Walking Tour: $14
  • Local Food and Markets Guided Walking Tour: $14
  • Skip the Line: Chiang Mai Art in Paradise Admission Ticket: $14
  • Tweechol Botanic Garden Half Day Adventure : $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: $16

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Istanbul $15
    Chiang Mai $6.76

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul 7-Hour Pub Crawl: Big Night Out: $27
  • Party Pub Crawl with Party Bus: $29
  • Wine Tasting Experience in Istanbul : $45
  • Istanbul Wine Tasting at Home with Local Family: $84
  • Istanbul Private Wine Tasting Tour Through 3 City Wineries : $246
  • Istanbul Private and Guided, Food and Wine Tasting Tour: $430
  • Luxury Wine Tasting on a Private Yacht: $840

Typical Alcohol Prices in Chiang Mai

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


  • Wine
    $2.73

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!: $9.56


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Istanbul and Chiang Mai, we can see that Istanbul is more expensive. And not only is Chiang Mai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Istanbul is in Europe and Chiang Mai is in Asia, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. 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 Istanbul would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Istanbul 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 Istanbul Expensive? and Is Chiang Mai Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

Istanbul has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Chiang Mai. When comparing the sizes of Istanbul and Chiang Mai, 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 Istanbul or Chiang Mai?

Istanbul 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 Istanbul or Chiang Mai in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Istanbul as well as Chiang Mai. Many travelers come to Istanbul for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences. The warm climate attracts visitors to Chiang Mai throughout the year.

Istanbul is cooler than Chiang Mai in the summer. The daily temperature in Istanbul averages around 24°C (74°F) in July, and Chiang Mai fluctuates around 30°C (86°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Istanbul this time of the year. In the summer, Istanbul often gets more sunshine than Chiang Mai. Istanbul gets 333 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Chiang Mai receives 146 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Chiang Mai. Istanbul usually gets less rain in July than Chiang Mai. Istanbul gets 19 mm (0.7 in) of rain, while Chiang Mai receives 161 mm (6.3 in) of rain this time of the year. June to September in Chiang Mai is the rainy season.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Istanbul 24°C (74°F) 
    Chiang Mai 30°C (86°F)

Should I visit Istanbul or Chiang Mai in the Autumn?

Both Chiang Mai and Istanbul are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Istanbul in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Plenty of visitors come to Chiang Mai because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

In the autumn, Istanbul is much colder than Chiang Mai. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Istanbul in October average around 16°C (61°F), and Chiang Mai averages at about 29°C (83°F).

It's quite sunny in Chiang Mai. Istanbul usually receives less sunshine than Chiang Mai during autumn. Istanbul gets 169 hours of sunny skies, while Chiang Mai receives 226 hours of full sun in the autumn.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Chiang Mai. In October, Istanbul usually receives less rain than Chiang Mai. Istanbul gets 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Chiang Mai receives 122 mm (4.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn. The dry season in Chiang Mai is November to February.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Istanbul 16°C (61°F) 
    Chiang Mai 29°C (83°F)

Should I visit Istanbul or Chiang Mai in the Winter?

Both Chiang Mai and Istanbul during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Istanbul for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Chiang Mai year-round.

In January, Istanbul is generally much colder than Chiang Mai. Daily temperatures in Istanbul average around 6°C (43°F), and Chiang Mai fluctuates around 23°C (74°F).

In Chiang Mai, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the winter, Istanbul often gets less sunshine than Chiang Mai. Istanbul gets 75 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Chiang Mai receives 283 hours of full sun.

Istanbul usually gets more rain in January than Chiang Mai. Istanbul gets 99 mm (3.9 in) of rain, while Chiang Mai receives 7 mm (0.3 in) of rain this time of the year. November to February is the dry season in Chiang Mai.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Istanbul 6°C (43°F) 
    Chiang Mai 23°C (74°F)

Should I visit Istanbul or Chiang Mai in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Istanbul and Chiang Mai. The spring months attract visitors to Istanbul because of the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Chiang Mai attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

The heat can be very extreme in Chiang Mai. Istanbul is much colder than Chiang Mai in the spring. The daily temperature in Istanbul averages around 13°C (55°F) in April, and Chiang Mai fluctuates around 31°C (88°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Chiang Mai this time of the year. Istanbul usually receives less sunshine than Chiang Mai during spring. Istanbul gets 180 hours of sunny skies, while Chiang Mai receives 275 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Istanbul usually receives around the same amount of rain as Chiang Mai. Istanbul gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Chiang Mai receives 50 mm (2 in) of rain each month for the spring. Also, June to September is the rainy season in Chiang Mai.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Istanbul 13°C (55°F) 
    Chiang Mai 31°C (88°F)

Typical Weather for Chiang Mai and Istanbul

Istanbul Chiang Mai
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 6°C (43°F) 99 mm (3.9 in) 23°C (74°F) 7 mm (0.3 in)
Feb 6°C (44°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 26°C (78°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Mar 8°C (47°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 29°C (83°F) 13 mm (0.5 in)
Apr 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 31°C (88°F) 50 mm (2 in)
May 17°C (63°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 31°C (87°F) 158 mm (6.2 in)
Jun 21°C (71°F) 21 mm (0.8 in) 30°C (86°F) 132 mm (5.2 in)
Jul 24°C (74°F) 19 mm (0.7 in) 30°C (86°F) 161 mm (6.3 in)
Aug 24°C (74°F) 26 mm (1 in) 29°C (85°F) 236 mm (9.3 in)
Sep 20°C (69°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 29°C (85°F) 228 mm (9 in)
Oct 16°C (61°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 29°C (83°F) 122 mm (4.8 in)
Nov 12°C (54°F) 89 mm (3.5 in) 27°C (80°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
Dec 9°C (47°F) 122 mm (4.8 in) 24°C (75°F) 20 mm (0.8 in)