Location Chiang Mai is located between latitude 17°N and 21°N, with Myanmar as its nearest & largest northern neighbour.
It is bordered by the provinces of Lamphun and Tak to the south, Chiang Rai to the north, Lampang and Lamphun to the east and Mae Hong Son to the west.
The province is situated at about 300metres above sea level, is 696 kms from Bangkok by road and roughly about one hour by air.
Land Area The total land area that Chiang Mai Province covers is 20,107square kms & is the second largest province of Thailand.
Based upon the 2007 recorded population for the province of 1.65m people there are on average 82 people/km².
Climate In general, the climate in Chiang Mai Province throughout the year is very nice with little difference between the different amphurs (counties).
There are three distinct seasons in a year — the rainy season from June to October, the hot season from March to May, and the cool season from November to February.
The coolest months are December and January. The temperature throughout the year varies between 17°c to 38°C, while the yearly average temperature is 28° C.
However, the temperatures up in the outlying hills are generally 5c-8c lower than they are on the lowland plains.
Typically, April in Chiang Mai is the hottest month with temperatures up around 40c with little rain.
Topography Around 69% of the total land area of Chiang Mai Province consists of mountains covered with Jungle.
These areas are mainly located to the north of the city of Chiang Mai, these mountains form the sources of several rivers and streams which provide the water necessary to Chiang Mai’s agriculture existence.
The largest and most important river is the Mae Ping, which flows along for 540 kms from north to south eventually merging into the Chao Phraya River, which flows through Bangkok .
The highest mountain peak is Doi Inthanon, at 2,575metres above sea level, which is also the highest point throughout all of Thailand.
Population The total population for Chiang Mai Province at the end of 2007 was 1.65m with 51% being female & 49% males.
Of that total population around 13% are hilltribes people living in approximately 1,000 villages in the mountainous districts all around Chiang Mai.
Administration The provincial administration of Chiang Mai Province has jurisdiction over 22 seperate amphurs(counties) these are as follows:
Muang, Chiang Dao, Doi Saket, Fang, Hot, Mae Chaem, Mae Taeng, Phrao, San Kamphaeng, San Sai, Wiang Haeng, Chom Thong, Doi Tao, Hang Dong, Mae Ai, Mae Rim, Omkoi, Samoeng, San Pa Tong, Saraphi, Chai Prakan and Mae Wang.
Languages The standard Thai language is used as the official language of the province, but the northern dialect, including several different variations (particularly amongst the various hilltribe groups)is more widely spoken among the local people.
English is actively being taught throughout the schooling systems & is understood in both business circles and tourist areas.
Local Products Chiang Mai Province is the centre of Thailand’s handicrafts cottage industry with a variety of antiques, silver jewellery, and embroidery, Thai silks and cottons, basketry, celadon, silverware, furniture, lacquerware, woodcarvings and parasols.
The major Chiang Mai products include:
Cottons & Silks – Umbrellas/ Parasols – These are inextricably associated with Bor Sang Umbrella Village where villagers have been engaged in their manufacture for well over 100 years.
All materials, silks, cottons, Saa paper (manufactured from the bark of the mulberry tree) and bamboo are produced or found locally.
Silverware – Traditional handmade skills and a guaranteed content of at least 98% pure silver jewelry items, bowls, receptacles & decorative items.
Lacquerware – This decorative are enhanced items made of wood, bamboo, metal, paper and baked clay, in the form of receptacles, ornaments and various souvenirs.
Furniture/ Woodcarving – Major woods and materials include teak, rosewood and rattan. Items may be unadorned or, especially with teak and rosewood, carved in traditional or modern designs.
Woodcarving is a traditional northern Thai art featured in numerous temples.
In recent years, woodcarving has increasingly embellished furniture, gracing screens, chairs, tables, beds, figurines, carved elephant indeed anything bearing a wooden surface large enough to be carved.
Hilltribe Products – These include silver ornaments, such as bracelets,necklaces, pendants and pipes of intricate design, and embroidered items including tunics, jackets, bags, purses, caps and dress lengths.
Gold Plated Orchids & Butterflies – Orchids and butterflies are preserved and plated with 24-carat gold to create unusual gift items such as necklace pendants , hairpins and earrings.
Ceramics & Pottery – Chiang Mai is the major centre of Thailand’s pottery industry. Prized items include high-fired Celadon which is produced in many forms, including dinner sets, lamp bases and decorative items.
Saa Paper Products Chiang Mai is famous for its Saa paper products a handmade, multi-purpose natural fiber.
Saa products that come in different, distinctive designs include cards, notebooks, stationery, boxes, bags, photo frames, lanterns, gift wrappingpaper, etc.