Popularly known as the Rose of the North, for its abundance of flowers, Chiang Mai is blessed with much majestic beauty in nature, unique indigenous cultural identity, charming people, beautiful women, refined handicrafts and more making visits memorable.
Until de 1920s, Chiang Mai could only be reached by arduous river journeys or elephant back trips, the town was a quiet town full of beautiful traditional houses and surrounded by rice-fields. In recent years, the city has become more modernized; the city has expanded in all directions, but particularly to the east towards the Ping River where one can find the Thanon Chang Klan, the Night Bazaar and a wide range hotels and guesthouses.
The old city of Chiang Mai still exists as a neat square surrounded by a moat with many of its original features such as fortified walls, temples and chedis (founded by King Mengrai), traditional wooden houses, quiet gardens and a strong cultural identity among locals.
Chiang Mai is much quieter and more relaxed than Bangkok, if you want to get away from the busy capital, Chiang Mai is a very good option, the city has many tranquil and relaxing areas, but one also can find busy areas with lots of thing to do, the city has its traffic jams at rush hours and some pollution.
Visitors can find wonderful ornate temples with elaborate carvings and golden chedis and roof tops, temples are a combination of Burmese, Sri Lanka and Lanna styles. Temples stand today as a remembrance of Chiang Mai's distinguished past. More than three-hundred temples are spread throughout the city, among them some of the most beautiful and revered in the entire Buddhist world. The most famous is Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, located west of the city 13 km. away at Doi Suthep Mountain.
Historically, Chiang Mai (New Walled City) is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in Thailand. Nophaburi Sri Nakorn Ping Chiang Mai was founded in 1926 by King Mengrai the Great as the capital of the Lanna Thai Kingdom; it quickly became the cultural and religious center of northern Thai. The Burmese captured Chiang Mai in 1556, Burma held on to Chiang Mai for nearly 200 years. King Taksin retook the city in 1775 with the help of King Kawila of Lampang. Nowadays; one can still see the Burmese influence on religion, architecture, language, cuisine and culture.
This is the ideal place to go for shopping, handicrafts of silk, silver and wood; clothes or luxury items can be found at great prices in stores ranging from small family-run shops, shopping malls to world-class luxury outlets.
Chiang Mai has a cosmopolitan air with thousands of expatriates that made Chiang Mai their home, finding solace and economic stability. They fortunately bring the positive aspects of expatriation.
Chiang Mai has Fine eating and dining options and an excellent supply of high standard accommodation options from budget guesthouses, hostels to luxurious hotels.
Entertainment is plentiful with numerous festivals; outdoor activities and great nightlife, there are many diversion spots along the river and around the night bazaar.
Chiang Mai is a safe place to visit and is very rich in its culture; all of this contributes to make this city one of Thailandís prime tourist attractions.