Chiang Mai is a tourist city with hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. From my personal travels worldwide I would rate it as very safe. There is only one area in which we would caution and that is in respect to jewelry purchases.
There are gems and other jewelry here that look like the real thing and may even be difficult for a professional to distinguish from the real thing without testing equipment.
The fakes can be purchased for several dollars and although they can make for costume jewelry that is it. The real gems and jewelry cost more and will not be purchased from roadside vendors from small carts.
Convert two 1,000 baht notes at Bangkok airport into twenty 20 baht notes, and and sixteen 100 baht notes. – Tourists overpay because they do not have exact change and vendors overcharge when you show larger bills.
Leave some room in your luggage for purchases. Best buy is computer software, then women’s and men’s custom clothing including leather jackets and wedding dresses at 40-50% of the prices back home. Have 2 suits custom made for the price of one off the rack suit back home.
Check out our recommendations on Dining in Chiang Mai and Nightlife in Chiang Mai web pages. The best places to dine or listen to live music are not the establishments that advertise the most but the ones that advertise the least as they have return clientle.
Do not rent a car unless you have driven here before or until you read our Driving in Chiang Mai web page.
If you need dental work or even facelift or hair transplant consider coming to Chiang Mai for month and getting your vacation for free from the cost savings. Check out our Cosmetic Surgery page.
Book your tours before you arrive. There is ample information on the internet where you can book from wherever you are and get guaranteed booking. I hate seeing people wandering around here with maps open not knowing where they are and wandering from one tour desk to another without any idea of what they want to do.
There are so many wonderful things to do here that in one week you can not see them all no matter how hard you try. So why waste several days of your precious time here needlessly?
Do not buy anything other than costume jewelry from roadside vendors and bargain them down as low as possible.
Buy a large bottle of water and bring it with you if you are not accustomed to the heat or plan to walk around shopping or checking things out. You may become dehydrated and that could lead to frequent trips to the washroom. At 7-11 you can buy chilled bottled water from only 5 baht or about 15 cents U.S.
Source: Retire on a 550