Chiang Mai is the gateway to northern Thailand and is renowned for its breathtaking natural attractions and deep-rooted cultural traditions.
Chiang Mai is a wonderful contrast to Bangkok, and while it is the second largest city in Thailand it’s only a quarter the size of the capital and has a population of only 150,000. The modern and bustling Chiang Mai is built around the ancient crumbling city walls and moat. If you take a walk along the old cobbled lanes within the walls you’ll come across old temples and crumbling stupas, shops and houses but all in a different atmosphere to outside the old kingdom’s walls.
There’s a lot to do in Chiang Mai whether you’re a nature lover, culture buff or a dedicated shopaholic.
Chiang Mai (along with Chiang Rai) is the starting point for treks deep through deep tropical forest to hill tribes dotted amongst the surrounding mountains. There’s a choice of easy van tours to Hmong villages and the famous Long Neck hill tribe. One of two night treks take you deep into the forested valleys and over mountains into the remote north where you’ll sleep in local village houses. Temperatures are cooler than down the south of Thailand so trekking is much more manageable and enjoyable but still hard going!
It’s also the place for soft adventure with fun day tours with elephant rides through the jungle and river rafting on bamboo rafts.
The Night Bazaar stretches for several blocks and selling Thai souvenirs, tribal ware and delicious food. Take your time here and make an evening of it. The market is a colourful and an enjoyable experience. There are also other day and night markets and shopping malls.