As the second largest province in Thailand, Chiang Mai in the north of the county, is known as the Lanna Kingdom and dates back to the mid-13th Century. Not only was it the cultural capital of Lanna, it was the centre of Buddhism with King Meng Rai building countless temples. Away from the madness and modernity of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the real Thailand, plus it’s extremely laid back and down to earth with an attractive Buddhist religion and culture.
The metropolis of Chiang Mai, in the northern part of Thailand, is the region's most important city and a thriving tourist hub. Apart from the historic town itself, visitors have the added benefit of being surrounded by lush countryside and stunning mountains.
Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand after Bangkok. Once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom (northern Thailand), it is now the cultural capital of the country. Its northern location means that it’s influenced by Burma who once ruled the area. The diversity of Chiang Mai from the busy Night Bazaar area to the tranquil and lush area of Mountainside and its retreats attract an array of tourists to this laid back cultural area of Thailand.
As the second largest city in Thailand, second only to Bangkok, Chiang Mai also has a lot to offer for keen shoppers or just the casual souvenir buyer. From the night market which is built up of lots of other markets catering to specific needs to well-known international stores, Chiang Mai offers a wealth of shopping experiences. There are plenty of shopping malls with even more currently being built.
The food scene in Chiang Mai more varied than you’d expect. Japanese sushi bars are popular along with Burmese curries. Its northern location means the cuisine is influenced by other countries, but still upholds the home cuisine of Thai such as Pad Thai, which is as popular as ever. Diverse flavors of ginger and exotic vegetables are partnered with noodles and subtle spices in the different colored curries. Chiang Mai has a lot to offer from eating on river-sides to mountain retreats.
Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand is the second largest province in the country. The mainly Buddhist city is home to more than 300 temples. After the 300 year reign of King Meng Rai, it then became part of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and was heavily influenced by neighboring county Burma. Today, much of the Burmese architectural influence can still be seen. Chiang Mai’s wet tropical climate makes it an idea place for jungle treks along with its mountain ranges, valleys, flora and fauna.
Chiang Mai is a great city for those who like to shop as tourists can get good value for money here on a wide variety of weird and wonderful things. It is one of the country's cheapest places to buy Asian handicrafts, such as traditionally made clothing, silverware, silk, ceramics, art and antiques.
With 700 years of history under its belt, Chiang Mai is home to an eclectic mixture of old and new attractions. The cultural sites here are plentiful, from the ancient temples to fascinating museums. There are also many contemporary activities to take part in, however, with the plethora of shopping centers, cinemas, bars and sporting facilities.
Chiang Mai offers some of the widest variety and the cheapest options for dining in Thailand. There are restaurants of all kinds here, from traditional Thai cuisine, to Burmese, Mexican, steakhouses and British pub food.
Chiang Mai is home to a large expat community and locals are more than used to sharing their city with foreigners, or farang, as they are referred to. Due to this, the city is well accustomed to Western habits, but do take care to respect local traditions when you come across them.
Chiang Mai is one of the very few places in Thailand that offers fantastic entertainment while managing to keep its authentic charm. There is a multitude of bars and clubs here and live music can be found across the city every night of the week. There are also a number of sporting venues, including golf clubs, shooting ranges and tennis and squash courts.