Chiang Mai Thailand

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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. Chiang Mai is one of the few places in Thailand where it is possible to experience both historical and modern Thai culture coexisting side by side: the city features centuries-old chedis and temples next to modern convenience stores and boutique hotels. Intriguing diversity among ethnic tribes, a number of elephant camps, many cooking & massage schools, numerous outdoor activities, a variety of handicrafts workshops, various cultural performances, and breathtaking scenery make Chiang Mai one of Asia’s most attractive tourist destinations. Today, two weeks in Chiang Mai may not be long enough for travelers to experience all that Chiang Mai has to offer.

Located 700 kilometers north of Bangkok, for me, Chiang Mai is the must see destination in this wonderful country. Chiang Mai, at an elevation of 1100 feet is a lot cooler than the south of Thailand, and the friendly and hospitable people certainly seem a lot more relaxed than their southern countrymen. Chiang Mai has over 300 temples within the city limits, making for fascinating sites round nearly every corner, but mixed in with these ancient structures are modern buildings, don’t be fooled, Chiang Mai is a modern and vibrant city, and all the modern facilities one would expect.

The old city of Chiang Mai is a showcase of the north’s interesting 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.

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Chiang Mai, Thailand: Chiang Mai. From http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/asia/thailand/chiang-mai/. Chiang Mai in or near Chiang Mai Thailand sunrise art antiquity aquarium houses. Image 1261.