Chiang Mai

Known as "The Rose of the North", this Thai city appeals for its striking natural environment and laid-back atmosphere.

Chiang Mai is a city that combines Thai culture, history and natural beauty in the one place. Surrounded by mountains and enjoyed by visitors for its temperate climate, this city is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and with an artistic resurgence in the arts, Chiang Mai also has a reputation as a creative cultural hub.

Once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai's history stretches back 700 years. Evidence of the past can be seen in historic architecture that still stands today. Discover ancient temples, monasteries and statues in the Old City. Explore more of Chiang Mai's history at the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre.

Throughout the city, there are hundreds of ancient temples to explore. Visit the gold-leafed Buddhist monastery, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, from where you can enjoy stunning views of Chiang Mai. Take a day trip to two of the most popular temples, Wat Chiang Man (Chiang Mai's oldest temple) and Wat Phra Singh.

Enjoy local cuisine and discover handmade crafts at Chiang Mai's famous street fair. Spicy curries are one of the most popular dishes and the local specialty khao soi is not to be missed. Spend an evening at the renowned Night Bazaar where you can pick up souvenirs, jewellery, paintings and other gems.

Chiang Mai is a cosmopolitan city with a relaxed atmosphere and a range of stylish restaurants, boutique hotels and elegant bars. However, the hostels and street vendors make this city a destination for visitors on any budget. For nightlife, head to Loi Kroh Road, and for socialising visit the Ping River waterfront, a popular place due to its closeness to the university.

Chiang Mai is easy to get around by foot, and taxis and tuk-tuks are available for quick and efficient transport around the city. Take a tour on an elephant to see the sights from a different perspective, though be sure to choose a tour where the animals are being treated humanely.

Hourly flights operate from Thailand's capital, Bangkok, to Chiang Mai's International Airport. There is also a direct train line that runs between the two cities.

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