Hua Hin vs Chiang Mai in Thailand, Which To Visit?

By April 11, 2020October 19th, 2020Thailand
Hua Hin Vs Chiang Mai

Hua Hin and Chiang Mai are very different places when comparing them. Hua Hin is a beach town that is a couple of hours from Bangkok and has a laid back beach vibe.

And Chiang Mai is in northern Thailand with no beaches surrounded by mountains, temples, and history. It has more of a more city vibe.

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We will try to make it easier for you by comparing Hua Hin vs Chiang Mai with factors such as their nightlife, the things to do, accommodation and any other factors that may have an impact on your trip.

Chiang Mai or Hua Hin

Chiang Mai and Hua Hin are both great cities to visit for a variety of reasons. Hua Hin is a small resort beach town that is 2 hours from Bangkok. It is well developed in terms of accommodation, water parks, and markets.

And Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand, it is well developed and is popular with backpackers and digital nomads.

These two cities over 900 km apart or it takes around a 12-hour bus journey to go from one to the other. Flying between the 2 cities would be faster as they both have airports.

Which One Has The Better Culture?

Both cities have a good cultural scene but Chiang Mai would be considered a cultural hub in Thailand. Whereas Hua Hin is finding its feet on this front.

Chiang Mai Culture

In Chiang Mai, you will find markets, temples, and by exploring the old city you will find museums, restaurants and more.

You can go jungle trekking with elephants or visit and learn about the Karen tribe villages and in the evening you can take a Thai cooking class.

Wat Chedi Luang Chiang Mai
Wat Chedi Luang temple in Chiang Mai

Hua Hin Culture

In Hua Hin, you will find museums and arts and crafts galleries. As well as taking Thai cooking classes and a dinner theatre. By exploring the city you will see architectural monuments of the colonial era.

And then there is Kaeng Krachan National Park that is home to the biggest waterfall in Thailand, which is called Pala U Waterfall.

Baan Sillapin Artists Village in Hin Hua Thailand
Baan Sillapin Artists Village in Hin Hua

What’s The Nightlife Like?

Thailand is known for its nightlife, in particular, the party islands in Thailand like the famous full moon party in Koh Phangan. Hua Hin or Chiang Mai is nowhere as crazy as that but they do have nightlife.

Let’s compare the nightlife between Hua Hin and Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai’s Nightlife

Chiang Mai’s nightlife happens in and around 3 areas of the city. These are the Old City, along the river, and Nimman Road. The city does have a good bar scene not really a club scene as nearly all bars close at midnight.

Hua Hin Nightlife

Hua Hin’s nightlife is fairly quiet, during the week quiet and gets busy over the weekend. There are bars in Hua Hin center but the bar scene would be that big.

Accommodation in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin

Choosing the right accommodation is important regardless if it is in either Chiang Mai or Hua Hin.

Staying in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai has a good range of hotels and hostels. The prices in Chiang Mai start from $5 for bed in a hostel and $6 for a hotel.

The hostel and hotel prices can differ a lot from high season to low season.

Staying in Hua Hin

Hua Hin has a good supply of luxurious 5-star resorts, guesthouses, and hotels that are within walking of the beach. Prices are further away from the beach you stay in.

The hostel and hotel prices can differ a lot from high season to low season.

What To Do See in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin

Chiang Mai and Hua Hin are both very different places to visit, with Hua Hin more of a beach town and Chiang Mai been a more a cultural place with Elephant Sanctuaries, markets and more.

Here are some of the best things to do in each place

Things To Do in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai has a relaxed vibe but there is a lot of things to do from temples, good nightlife, temples and more

Elephants at Elephant Nature Park
Elephants at Elephant Nature Park

Here is our list of things to do in Chiang Mai Thailand.

  • Explore The Local Temples
  • Go To A Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
  • Visit the Chiang Mai Night Safari
  • Shop At The Night Bazaar Market
  • Take a Cooking Class

Read more about things to do in Chiang Mai here.

Things To Do in Hua Hin

Hua Hin is a beach resort town so a lot of the activities can center around the beach and a great place to visit if you love the beach and just want to relax and enjoy the laid back vibe.

Hua Hin Beach Thailand
Hua Hin Beach

Here is our list of things to do in Hua Hin Thailand

  • Go Snorkelling
  • Enjoy The Beach
  • Visit Water Jungle Park
  • Shop At The Cicada Market
  • Visit Huay Mongkol Temple

Read more about things to do in Hua Hin here.

Best Time To Travel To Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s peak tourist season is between December to February with average temperature is 13 C to 25 C. And in April to August has an average temperature from 30-35 C.

Remember the burning season starts from mid-February to late April. It changes slightly from year to year.

The best time to visit Chiang Mai is between October to February where the weather is cooler and pleasant.

Best Time To Travel To Hua Hin

Hua Hin is an all year round location with an average temperature from 23 C to 32 C. With s between November and January been the hight season for tourist.

The best time to visit Hua Hin is between December to March.

Wrapping Up

Finally, in which one to choose really depends on your interests. For people interested in relaxing at the beach for a few days and enjoy the water parks and golf courses then it is Hua Hin.

On the other hand, if you are looking for somewhere with a good range of bars and restaurants. And enjoy hiking in the jungle and learning about the local culture and history then Chiang Mai is for you.

And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on Hua Hin or Chiang Mai Thailand, which to visit was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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Hua Hin vs Chiang Mai Thailand

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