One of Asia’s most attractive tourist destinations, Chiang Mai is one of the few places in Thailand where past meets present, in various avatars, from the centuries-old pagodas and temples to modern high rise buildings and boutique hotels. A transit point for many trekking and rafting destinations in the nearby hill tribe villages and other provinces, Chiang Mai is a hotspot of tourism activities, which you may not be able to cover in even two weeks’ time.
Chiang Mai is the hub of Northern Thailand region and the capital of Chiang Mai Province. Situated amongst the highest mountains in the country, Chiang Mai was the former capital of the Kingdom of Lanna, 700km north of Bangkok. With a population of over 170,000, it is Thailand’s fifth-largest city and sits astride the Ping River. Located on a plain at an elevation of 316m, surrounded by mountains and lush countryside, it is much greener and quieter than the capital, and has a cosmopolitan air and a noteworthy expat population – factors which have led many from Bangkok to settle permanently in this ‘Rose of the North.’
A land of misty mountains and colourful hill tribes, Chiang Mai is a playground for seasoned travellers, a paradise for shopaholics and a delight for adventurer seekers. On a trip to the city, curious travellers can expand their horizons with Thai massage and cooking courses. Others will be bowled over by a variety of handicrafts and antiques on offer. The wild child will find plenty of options for enjoying a lively nightlife in the city, and the epicure can indulge in sampling some wonderful cuisine. Despite its relatively small size, Chiang Mai truly has it all to lure hordes of tourists to savour its cool climes and natural beauty.
Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) caters to both domestic and regional international flights. Schedules vary with the seasons and tourist demand.
A week can easily go by sightseeing, enrolling in holiday courses, engaging in numerous outdoor activities and, of course, exploring delectable dining options while in Chiang Mai.
A FEW MUST DOs IN CHIANG MAI ARE:
• Visit the beautiful Doi Suthep Temple
• Learn the art of Umbrella Painting at Borsang Umbrella Making Centre
• Pamper yourself at the spas with traditional Thai massage – Lanna style
• Shop at Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
• Visit the 3D museum/art gallery – Art in Paradise
• Enjoy the Scorpion Tailed River Cruise
• Experience a traditional Khantoke Dinner with Lanna-style seating. Khao Soi is a must try!
• Enjoy traditional Thai classical dance performance
• Learn to cook Northern Thai food
• Bathe and feed elephants at the Elephant Orphanage
• Play a round of golf
• Visit the beautiful Chiang Mai Flower Market
• See various kinds of butterflies at Bai Orchid-Butterfly Farm