Chiang Mai Thailand


 
The old city of Chiang Mai, situated in the North of Thailand, is still to this day surrounded by an original 13th century moat and the remains of an old city wall.  The city itself encloses you in a sense of awe and serenity and yet just outside these walls is a buzzing cosmopolitan city.  Chiang Mai can offer you a historical journey through its breathtaking landscapes and temples but then can also dazzle you with a midnight market on Huay Kaew Road where streets are closed and people stroll up and down until 11pm at night.  This destination will scratch that holiday itch to shop and buy quality items for cheap and will feed your senses with its beautiful sights, what more could you ask for in a destination? 

The city itself is surrounded by a ring of mountains, offering beautiful views from every direction.  An array of over 300 temples also decorates the skyline, with some dating back as far as the 13th century.  Natural wonders are certainly a highlight for this city.  Chiang Mai offers a multitude of waterfalls, national parks and mountain trails to visit, with all attractions within half an hours drive in every direction.  Ancient ruins and museums are right at your finger tips, without having to make a whole day trip for just one location.

Getting around to each of these spots is also relatively easy.  Red mini-taxi’s roam the streets that are called Songtaew.  Songtaew should cost about 12 baht no matter where you are going in the city.  There are no meters in these red taxis so you have to agree with the driver on your fee before you take off.  This also applies for the Thai tuk tuk, which is like an auto rickshaw.  You can bargain for your tuk tuk fare, but again it must be done before you hop in.  There are metered taxis in Chiang Mai but they are the most expensive form of transport and there are limited numbers.      

Luckily transport shouldn’t be an issue with all of your shopping needs in Chiang Mai.  Whilst all the local shops and department stores offer great value and variety during the day, it is at night when the city’s shopping hot spots come to life.  The streets become filled with market stalls at night, and these stalls are filled with clothing, food and anything else that you could think of.  The markets offer a great way to mingle with the locals and pick up a bargain at the same time.  It will give you an opportunity to fine tune your bargaining skills and go home with some great finds.  A night bazaar also opens on Sunday nights and offers a combination of both modern and traditional goods.  Chiang Mai Province holds a population of 1, 600, 000 of whom 172, 000 live in Chiang Mai, so expect some hustle and bustle and great atmosphere at the markets.    

Luckily Chiang Mai is considered to be a lot cooler when compared to the rest of Thailand, so it won’t be too hot and uncomfortable when roaming the streets.  On average the temperature is 25.4°C degrees Celsius, with the high season reaching 40°C and the low season hitting 5-10°C.   Winter has proven to be quite a popular time of year for visitors.  There is still plenty of sunshine and clear skies but the temp is much cooler and flowers are blossoming at their peak, with Chiang Mai at her prettiest.    

With all it has to offer it is no wonder that Chiang Mai was voted one of the world’s top ten cities to visit by the readers of Travel+Leisure magazine in 2005.  See what all the fuss is about and visit this dynamic and vibrant city for your next vacation. 

Chiang Mai is the northern capital of the Kingdom and still offers visitors a true experience of the traditional ways of life. Visit hill tribes still living without the luxuries of running water or electricity and see them working on their handicrafts, ready to be sold in the local markets in town. Chiang Mai city is a wonderful mix of old and new, with restaurants and hotels slowly being added within the old city walls, next to 300 year old temples. Elephant riding, rafting and trekking are popular activities in this area.

Here are some suggestions for great things to see and do in the ancient northern capital, Chiang Mai:

Elephant trekking – visit an elephant park, 50kms from Chiang Mai. Ride elephants, watch them paint, play soccer, basketball and move logs the way they used to when they worked in forests. Ride an ox-cart and then float downstream on a bamboo raft.


Temples
– visit Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, the city’s most famous and important temple. Built in 1383, 15 kms from town on the top of a mountain, this location offers spectacular views over Chiang Mai and the surrounding area. There are 300 other temples in Chiang Mai, but this one is a must!

 

 

Trekking in National Parks – visit Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand’s best-known park. Home to Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon, standing 2,565 metres above sea level, this park has beautiful waterfalls,a lush evergreen forest-cover and lively wildlife. The Meo and Karen hill-tribes live within this forest.  To investigate trekking here, or other regions of Nth Thailand email us.
 

Hill tribes – Meo, Lisu, Yao, Akha, Lawa and Karen hilltribes live throughout northern Thailand's mountains. Each tribe has distinctive ceremonial attire, courtship rituals, games, dances, agricultural customs, puberty rites, languages or dialects and hygienic habits.
Treks can be overnight or up to 7 days.

Remember to show respect for the tribe at all times – wear modest clothing, respect hill-tribe beliefs and customs, ask permission before taking photographs of people.

Thai Cooking Classes
- Do a Thai cooking class and later re-enact part of your holiday when you get home. Classes vary in intensity, style and length, from a few hours to a week-long course.

 


Local Handicrafts – Visit any of the local factories and see traditional methods of making handicrafts, including: Silk, Lacquer, Silverware, Paper & Umbrella making, Wood Carving, Basketry. Jump in a tuk-tuk and ask to visit these factories, or book yourself on an official tour with a local tour company.


 

Shopping – Local shops and department stores are great value and are operational throughout the day. Once night falls, the streets are lined with market stalls, filled with clothes, food, gadgets and anything else you could possibly want – at a great price. The Night Bazaar (every Sunday) is a wonderful mix of traditional wares and modern goods.