Welcome to Chiang Mai

By | June 6, 2013

Wat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

“Welcome to Chiang Mai”, if this is your first visit to northern Thailand, you are going to share 700+ years of culture & history in one of the most beautiful & friendly places not only within the Kingdom, Asia but the whole World!!.

Chiang Mai which is often referred to as the “Rose of the North” lies some 700kms(425miles) north of Bangkok and is located on a naturally fertile plateau surrounded by the highest mountains & densest forests in Thailand.

The high mountains form natural channels through which water flows from stunning waterfalls into streams, tributaries & rivers that feed the rich agricultural nature of the region, the rivers eventually flowing through Bangkok and into the Gulf of Thailand

Chiang Mai - Old City WallsThe average year-round Temperature is just under 30C(86F), with the hottest month being April where temperatures regularly reach 40C(104F).

The Rainy Season in Chiang Mai lasts from late May until October, but despite the fact there are several days of continual rain, you also tend to get long hot spells in-between, and to be honest the rain comes as a welcome relief to the constant heat.

The Population of Chiang Mai (it’s both a city & a province) is around 1.65m people, living in an area of some 20,00square kms, and is the 2nd largest province in Thailand.

Chiang Mai is particularly popular with both Westerners & Asian visitors alike who love it’s cooler winter nights, long dry season & low cost of living, indeed for some 20k(including myself) who have actually made Chiang Mai their home !. It’s also a very popular Honeymoon Destination ,as life here is at a more leisurely pace & not everyone wants to sit on the beach!.

Bor Sang Umbrella Village

The largest contributor to the local economy is still Agriculture ,followed by Tourism & Handicrafts Manufacturing making up the top three, Chiang Mai is recognised as being the “home” of handicrafts, not just within Thailand, but throughout Asia.

It’s a city has a beautiful culturalpersonality that is unique and blessed by a majestic nature. The people themselves are an unforgettable part of Chiang Mai, they welcome you as a member of their own family. Along with its timeless souvenirs of handicrafts, Chiang Mai has become one of Thailand’s prime tourist attractions, attracting over 3m visitors a year.

Chiang Mai’s most popular visitor destination is without doubt Wat Doi Suthep Temple , which graciously overlooks the city and is one of the most important Buddhist Temples in the whole of Thailand, other populardestinations are the world famous Night Bazaar with it’s countless stalls lining the main roads for several blocks selling everything from teeshirts, fake Rolex to numerous handicraft items. Then there’s The Chiang Mai Zoo & Aquarium featuring amopngst other things Thailand’s only baby Panda Cub!.

There are also several Elephant Camps around the outlying areas which are always popular, as well as Trekking Tours ,numerous Hill Tribe Visits, orchid farms & even a Tiger Kingdom to name but a few, whatever you are wanting from Chiang Mai it can deliver(other than a beach & the sea!).

The city of Chiang Mai is steeped in the Heritage of the Past ,it has extended outwards from the original layout which 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.The city area is home to some 300+ Wats(Temples), with 30 of them located inside the Old City Walls .

Chiang Mai - Sunday Walking Street Market

For many years, Chiang Mai was branded as somewhat of a “wild west town”, it is less than 50 years since the northern city was connected by train from Bangkok, up until then the most common form of transport was on the back of a trusted Elephant.

With the phrase “a day in Chiang Mai is enough to look around the place” being commonly heard, tourists today are taken aback by the laidback but friendly feel of the city & the fact that there is always something new to discover, many of today’s visitors return again & again as they fall “mysteriously” under the city’s spell!!.

The city now also boasts an excellent range of Places to Stay ranging from budget homestay right up to 5* luxury hotels & spa resorts, including first class Golf Courses !.

Chiang Mai & the whole of Northern Thailand enjoys a rich indigenouscultural identity not found anywhere else within Thailand from it’s diverse dialects, hill tribe groups, Cuisine ,architecture, traditional values,Festivals ,handicrafts and Classical Dances it’s the perfect foil to the tourist targeted beaches & islands of the south of Thailand. Chiang Mai is considered by some as being one of Thailand’s unusual travel destinations but believe you me once you visit, you will fall under it’s spell!.

If you have been to Chiang Mai or spent time there before, and have really great memories of places to stay, visit, or just fun things that happened, please share your Chiang Mai Memories here.

“Welcome to Chiang Mai – Stay a little longer, you’ll not regret it!”.