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The beautiful Chiang Mai is a place for adventure as well as shopping and romance. It’s a city that I think most people can enjoy. The wide range of cultural attractions, mountain sites along with shopping malls and markets is very unique. As if the time went slower here then in other cities people tend to remember Chiang Mai as special and genuine place.
The Chiang Mai province has a wide range of fantastic temples and other sightings from ancient times as well as more modern. In the mountains you can enjoy waterfalls in a blooming atmosphere with spectacular views that cannot be found on other parts of Thailand. There are very interesting old stories behind many of the buildings that can get people who usually aren’t that interested in stories to listen.
Chiang Mai is one of the places in Thailand where it rains less. Most of the rain falls between May and October, however it never reaches over 250 mm in a month compared to other places as the beautiful island Koh Chang where it during some summer months can rain 4 times more. During the winter especially the night becomes far colder than in the summer and since it doesn’t rain that much Chiang Mai can be a great choice all year round depending on what you prefer.
Getting around in Chiang Mai is easy. You can either go by the classic tuk-tuk or song-teaw and also taxi is available. There is also the option of the local bus. The tuk-tuks are very good at beating the traffic and as most places in Thailand the traffic is anything but relaxing and a ride in the tuk-tuk is often an experience itself. If you feel the need to go where ever you want on your own you can also rent a motorbike. Remember that the traffic is probably not what you are used to.
For more information about car and motorbike rentals laws and tips please visit the Rent a Vehicle section.
Chiang Mai is located almost 600 km (360 miles) slighly north-west of Bangkok. Chiang Mai is a city with a great diversity, history and a culture reaching far back in time which can be seen by the mix of new and old buildings. The city is the second biggest city in Thailand yet it is 10 times smaller than Bangkok. It is built on the Ping River and is set at just above 300 meters (1000 foot) elevation and in the west the mountains rises over 1500 meters (5000 foot). Before the tourists arrived the city was living on handcrafted goods such as umbrellas and silver but also other jewelry and woodcarving. Many people have their old languages and traditions from ancient times and still local tribes are found not least in this northern part of Thailand.
Chiang Mai has a population of about 1 million people which is half of the population in the whole province. The city is divided into 4 sub-parts (khwaeng) with the names Nakhon Phing, Srivijaya, Mengrai and Kavila.
Chiang Mai is a popular destination among the Thais because of its fantastic nature, festivals, temples built more than 600 years ago and exotic fruits like apples, strawberries and peaches. People tend to think that Chiang Mai is far colder than other cities since the altitude. The truth is that the altitude where the city is built doesn’t make a big impact on the temperature since it is not that high. During the hot season, in the spring, Chiang Mai actually have one of the hottest temperatures during the day but in the nights it all becomes very refreshing with lower temperatures than any other popular destination. In the cold season the temperature can drop down below 15 degrees in the night. On the other hand you don’t have to go far to find high altitudes where the air is a lot colder. In these places the temperature can drop to sub-zero degrees Celsius.
The city was founded in 1296 and was capital of the Kingdom “Lanna Thai” also known as “The Million Rise Fields Kingdom”. The year 1556 it got invaded by the Burmese, however the Thai took the control back again in 1785 and again become an independent.
The most famous temple is the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple.