Thailand Travel Chiang Mai – The Gateway to the Mountainous North

Founded in 1296 by King Mengrai as a capital of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai offers a perfect blend of

history, with centuries-old temples next to the boutique hotels and colorful night markets. Located 435

miles north of Bangkok and conveniently accessed by both air and rail services, Chiang Mai always has

something to discover. Intriguing diversity among ethnic tribes coupled with breathtaking scenery makes

Chiang Mai one of Asia's most attractive destinations.

The city of Chiang Mai, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Ping River, is a treasure trove of ancient

temples, fascinating for their distinctive Lanna architectural style and rich decorative detail. On the

outskirts of the city is the famed hilltop temple of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. At 3,520 feet above sea level,

it is the most famous and most visible landmark with vibrant view of the city and surrounding countryside.

Trekking in the hills of the North is one of Chiang Mai’s most popular tourism activities. Popular jungle

treks last from 2 to 7 days and take trekkers through forested mountains and high valleys and meadows,

as well as visits to more remote high altitude hilltribe settlements for overnight stays. Treks commonly

feature travel by foot, sometimes by boat, elephant-back, or horse-back. For those who wish to hike to the

highest peak of Thailand which rises to 8,415 feet above sea level, Doi Inthanon National Park is a must.

And if you would like to learn more of elephant and mahout relationships, visit Elephant Conservation

Center at the nearby province of Lampang.

Visit Chiang Mai during Songkran Festival or Thai New year (April 13-15) and Yi Peng Festival or Lantern

Festival coinciding with the Loi Krathong Festival on the full-moon night of the 12th lunar month will

enhance your cultural experiences. Songkran festival features the Buddha ritual bathing and water

splashing while the Yi Peng festival features the release of the lanterns into the sky to worship the gods.

For shopping lovers, Chiang Mai is famous for its wealth of quality handicraft, both traditional and modern,

hilltribe handicrafts and antiques. Shopping routes include San Kamphaeng for cotton and silk products,

Bo Sang village for umbrellas, Wua Lai Road for silverware and Ban Thawai village for furniture and

woodcarving products. For fast and fun shopping, visit the Chiang Mai night bazaar.

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