This week we launched Airbnb Experiences in the creative and cultural capital of Chiang Mai, one of our fastest growing markets in Thailand, and second largest city to launch Experiences after Bangkok in March 2017. And due to unprecedented demand, Airbnb is expanding Experiences across the country where individuals or professional tour guides in Thailand can now submit Experiences to host and connect with the global network of more than 300 million Airbnb travelers.
So which to choose when you’re traveling to the country? Each city brings something unique and exciting to the table, as evidence by the Experiences led by locals in each, but here are some of the differences we’ve seen between the two global travel destinations, so by all means, choose for yourself.
Bangkok, dotted with temples and other historic relics, continues to modernize. Let host Petz take you on a boat ride to the beautiful Paknam Temple or sketch the beauty of Wat Arun with Chonradee. Chiang Mai, on the other hand, is surrounded by mountainous terrain on all sides, making it feel as un-city as you can get. Learn about the hill tribe life and visit traditional stilt bamboo houses with host Pat or go on a jungle trek and village hike with Manuelo.
Bangkok can have a luxurious vibe and its residents appreciate the finer things in life. You’ll fit right in by crafting a classic leather bag by hand with host Florian or donning a recently custom made suit a la Richard. On the flip side, Chiang Mai has more of a laid back, hipster feel where many activities are focused around chilling out, like weaving with hill tribe villagers or creating your own 100% natural herb soap.
No matter where you’re from, there’s no doubt that everyone can share and revel in the comfort that is late night food. Bangkok residents stick to their traditional noodles: learn how to cook authentic Thai with host Pimlada or try the best smoking Thai stir fry courtesy of Dwight and Panisha. Chiang Mai locals prefer northern Thai goods like deep fried chicken, fish or chitterlings covered in green chili jam, or kow soy noodle, a typical dish of the region, and you can learn how to make host Waya’s mom’s recipe, which Waya claims is the best.
With a bustling nightlife, there may not be a reason to leave Bangkok on the weekend. Bar hop into the early hours with host Petz or live like a local in 12 hours with Vicky by experiencing “the fantastic 4”: food, floating, full body massage, and fun night market. With no shortage of outdoorsy and adventurous activities in Chiang Mai, you may choose to stand up paddleboard on the Ping River or head to the biggest dam in the city and go fishing or swimming off of a secret houseboat nestled in a national park.
And just because we think you should know before you go, Bangkok traffic can be really challenging at times – but there’re many ways to get around including taxis, moto taxis, the quintessential tuk tuk and the Grab app. Chiang Mai, with its lighter traffic, encourages locals and travelers alike to ride the songtheaws (open-air trucks with two benches) which make it easy to jump on and off as you please.
Airbnb Experiences make travel magical again by immersing travelers in local communities around the world by offering unique, one-of-a-kind Experiences that are handcrafted and led by local experts you won’t find anywhere else. It’s proving successful; compared to the same time last year, global weekly guest bookings for Airbnb Experiences are up over 2500 percent. In 2016, we launched 500 Experiences across 12 cities. Now, in 2018 the Airbnb platform offers 13,000 Experiences in 180 cities.
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