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Chiang Mai - The Rose of the North

Chiang Mai, and it's breathtaking scenery, witnesses a merging of the past into the present, where locals are proud of the city’s 700-year history. Its rich traditional heritage and unique culture is a perfect foundation for the development of the city.

Chiang Mai is one of the few places in Thailand where it is possible to find centuries-old temples next to modern convenience stores and boutique hotels in the heart of the city. The original city layout still exists as a neat square surrounded by a moat with vestiges of the fortified wall and its four main gates offering prime access to the old town.

Chiang Mai Travel Guide

Thailand’s ‘Rose of the North’ welcomes visitors with an exciting blend of history, culture, adventure, incredible mountainous scenery and simple, laid back charm, boasting some of the best value hospitality and shopping in Thailand.

Activities in Chiang Mai

Visitors to Chiang Mai often stay longer than planned, simply because the atmosphere is so relaxing, the facilities cheap and the options for entertainment and activity numerous. Information on activities for tourists can be found in the numerous Chiang Mai magazines that are freely available, such as Guidelines and Citylife, and many other freebies widely found. Several swimming pools are found throughout the city, as well as fitness gyms and tennis courts. Chiang Mai tourists also benefit from some superb golf courses which hire clubs and have reasonable green fees. However, there are plenty more activities and sports to suit all. Learn how to cook delicious spicy food, or the fine art of Thai massage, or you may wish to enter into a meditation retreat at selected temples.
Fortunately, Thai's love to enjoy themselves, and Chiang Mai is loaded with restaurants and bars, clustered in the centre of town and offering all sorts of delicious Thai and foreign food, as well as beer and good cheer!

Daytrips in Chiang Mai

Some of the best attractions in Chiang Mai are in the national parks and sites outside the city. You can choose to hire a bike or sign up for tours and get the most out of your visit to Chiang Mai.
Although there is plenty to keep your interest within the old city, such as the moat, beautiful temples, markets and historic character, the Chiang Mai environs are worth touring, and day trips to the surrounding attractions are worthwhile.
Visiting Chiang Mai would not be complete without a trip to the temple on top of Doi Suithep, an imposing mountain to the west of the city. The highly sanctified chedi and temple at the top is a popular pilgrim spot for visiting Thais and the views of the entire valley are humbling. Also on top of the mountain you can visit Phuping Palace gardens and Hmong villages, or go walking in the lovely forests of Doi Pui peak, which looms behind it. This is one of the most popular day trips in Chiang Mai.

Entertainment in Chiang Mai

Leisure and entertainment are two certain priorities among the people of Chiang Mai. Thailand's northern capital is a tourist town, but it is also home to 300,000 people, many of whom prefer a laid-back lifestyle focused on meeting and eating with friends, enjoying nature, taking it easy and partying with visitors. This isn't Las Vegas, but rather a very quaint town comprising of numerous restaurants and bars, a number of discos, movie houses, bowling alleys and fun sports, cultural shows, museums and nature activities.
Enjoy an evening of live music as you tuck into an abundant spread of Thai curries and snacks at the popular riverside restaurants, or catch a quiet bite to eat at a small noodle shop down a quiet lane. Afterwards, head to the lively bars on Moon Muang road or go shopping at the Night Market.

Shopping in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a shopping paradise, simply because there is such a wide range of unusual goods at extremely low prices.
Chiang Mai is one of the handicraft centres of Asia, and not surprisingly many of the market traders from overseas come here to source their goods. Silk, silver, clothing, rattan, ceramics, interior décor, antiques, Buddhist art, lacquer and neilloware.
The centre of shopping is undoubtedly the Night Bazaar, which takes up several blocks every evening along Chang Klan road. Here you can wander among the countless pavement stalls and arcades admiring the beautifully crafted Northern Thai handicrafts. The more serious can head out to the huge handicraft wholesalers at San Kamphaeng and check out Borsang village with its colourful umbrellas. Baan Tawai to the south of the city is a busy working carving centre with some exquisite pieces on display and the best selection of antiques. Scattered around the centre of Chiang Mai are plenty of handicraft shops catering to tourist shopping tastes. These are more specialised and slightly more expensive but present a better quality. There are fabric shops and tailors everywhere, quirky little establishments selling curious hill tribe products and crafts, shoe shops and boutiques, jewellers and gems dealers, and some very exclusive antique shops.

Sightseeing in Chiang Mai

Surprisingly cheap and somewhat cooler than the south, Chiang Mai is surrounded by mountainous terrain and offers plenty of sight seeing activities, tours and great shopping.
Thailand's northern capital offers popular activities where you can wander among historic ruins, admire exquisite temples or simply sit quietly beside the moat and soak up the charm of this sleepy city.
A trip to the top of Doi Suithep (mountain) that presides over the west of the city is a must. Its temple is one of Thailand's most revered and the views of the entire valley are fantastic. Increasingly popular are trips to the excavated old Chiang Mai settlement of Wiang Kum Kham, southwest of the city. These 13th century ruins were only recently re-discovered. Chiang Mai is also a good launching point for hill treks which include river rafting, elephant riding and visits to hill tribe villages, and many tour operators are found in the city centre if you need an excursion guide.

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