Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand means new city, and was founded in 1296 by the Lanna Kingdom.The city has a rich history playing a key role in the history of Northern Thailand as it was a key stop in trade routes heading north into China, and it has changed hands several times over the course of its history.
Today it is seen as the unofficial capital of Northern Thailand and has been ranked 24 on the top 25 destinations of 2014.
The city is surprisingly easy to get to with a modern international airport a short ride from the city centre. While there are four main areas of the city, the spot to stay is in the Srivijaya ward, which is located inside the old city walls.
Getting Around in Chiang Mai, Thailand
As the long standing cultural centre of Northern Thailand there are many things to see and do in the old city,
The city centre is only 1 square mile so walking is the best way to get around and explore the many temples and museums packed inside the old city.
Taking a stroll along the moat is also a welcome experience if you want to get away from the packed interior.
As the long standing cultural centre of Northern Thailand there are many things to see and do in the old city, from temples to museums, and food.
Wat Chedi Luang
Construction began in the 1400’s and in 1554 the top 30 meters collapsed in an earthquake a controversial partial reconstruction was done in 1992.
Buddhist Monks in Chiang Mai, Thailand
A common site around Thailand, but something I thought was a bit more common in Chiang Mai, were the Buddhist monks.
As it turns out it is a common occurrence in Thailand for men to spend time as a monk at some point in their lives.
The men who have spent time as a monk are seen as a better catch for the females than the ones who have not.
Also giving monks food, taxi rides, and other services for free is seen as doing good deeds.
Thus do not be surprised to see shopkeepers filling up a monk’s pot, or see a large number of monks piling out of buses or modes of transportation.
Three Kings Monument
Three Kings Monument
After visiting the temples I recommend a trio of cultural museums located in Chiang Mai, Lanna folklife Museum, Chiang Mai art museum, and the local Chiang Mai museum.
These three museums will give a good feel for the local culture and history.
There is a joint entry fee for all three, for the budget conscious traveller.
Chiang Mai Countryside
My final recommendation for Chiang Mai is to get out of the city, and explore the countryside.
The views once you leave the city are just amazing, and there is plenty to do and see if you are a bit of an adventurer. I recommend biking and kayaking; don’t worry it’s not white water.
Climbing the Bua tong Waterfall
Touring a rubber plantation
On the nearby reservoir you can have a nice paddle out to some restaurants for lunch and a swim before paddling back.
Rice is one of Thailand’s staple foods, and its largest export
The rice is first grown in seedling beds with animal dung until they are tall enough to stick above the water.
Rice is one of Thailand’s staple foods, and its largest export.
Rice was first domesticated in China between 8,000-13,500 BCE.
At this point the seedlings are replanted into the paddy where the water is 20 inches deep.
This is where the rice stays until it is ready to be harvested. You might just get a chance to help out while touring the countryside and it is harder than it looks.
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