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TRAVEL THAILAND » NORTHERN» CHIANG MAI
 
 
CHIANG MAI Overview
 

CHIANG MAI OVERVIEW

 

Popularly known as the”Rose of the North”, Chiang Mai is blessed with stunning natural beauty and unique indigenous cultural identity. Chiang Mai literally means “new city” and has retained the name despite celebrating its 700th anniversary in 1996. King Meng Rai the Great founded the city as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom on Thursday, April 12 1296 around the same time as the establishment of the Sukhothai Kingdom. Today, Chiang Mai is the economic, communications, cultural and tourism centre of Northern Thailand.

Chiang Mai has had a long and mostly independent history, which has to a large extent preserved a most distinctive culture. This is witnessed both in the daily lives of the people, who maintain their own dialect, customs and cuisine, and in a host of ancient temples, fascinating of their northern Thai architectural Styles and rich decorative details.


The terrain is mainly jungle and mountains, parts of which are within a national park which is still fertile and verdant with plentiful flora and fauna. . Here you will discover a landscape of high forested hills and idyllic river valleys, while the cities, towns and villages of the region display a distinct culture arising from a long and separate history. There are many sites and locations where tourists prefer to visit to study the lifestyle of the tribal people who live on high hills.

The old city of Chiang Mai is a showcase of the north’s fascinating indigenous cultural identity that includes diverse dialects, a delectable cuisine, distinctive architecture, traditional values, lively festivals, numerous handicrafts workshops, northern style massage, and classical dances. Chiang Mai city features old-world beauty and charm as well as modern luxury and convenience.

In addition to centuries old temples and some outstanding shopping opportunities, Chiang Mai is also blessed with pristine natural resources including mountains, waterfalls, and rivers. The presence of numerous hill tribes that feature a wealth of unique cultures enhances Chiang Mai’s distinctive diversity. Hill tribe trekking, often combined with river rafting and elephant riding has always been one of Chiang Mai’s greatest tourist attractions. Nowadays there are innumerable activities and attractions both in the city and the surrounding province, including massage instruction and golf.


Beyond, the countryside beckons, offering adventure travel by trekking, elephant-back, river rafting or four-wheel drive safaris into a natural wonderland, where the traditional villages of colourful hill tribe people are a unique feature in the landscape.

Chiang Mai also continues its renowned tradition as a handicraft centre, producing items in silk, wood, silver, ceramics and more which make the city the country’s top shopping destination for arts and crafts.

Moreover, visitors can visit workshops where they can learn about the production of silk or silver, and purchase memorable, hand crafted souvenirs. With such a diverse range of attractions and an equally grand selection of dining and accommodation options, Chiang Mai is a place where both backpackers and luxury tourists can enjoy the ultimate Thailand holiday.


The province of Chiang Mai, located 700 kilometres north of Bangkok, is a treasure trove of ancient temples, fascinating for their distinctive northern Thai architectural style and rich decorative details. It is situated on the Mae Ping River basin some 310 meters above sea level.