Chiang Mai Attractions
The charm of Chiang Mai lies in its magnificent ancient temples, the surrounding mountains and the people who are regarded as the most striking of the Thai race.
Clichés such as “Rose of The North’ have been overused by those trying to describe the city, but it is a lovely place to visit, especially in the November to February period when the cool mountain air gives it a freshness not found in many Thai locations.
The festival Loy KraThang in November is celebrated in Chiang Mai with more splendor than any other city – and down by the Mae Nam Ping River is the place to be on the night of Loy KraThang.
There are many attractions In Chiang Mai and the surrounding villages; The temples of the city are some of the oldest in the country, dating back to 1500’s, so there is a lot of history here.
Chiang Mai is a ‘walled’ city, complete with a moat around the outer walls with most of the historical sights within those city walls:
Within the city walls:
Wat Chieng Man:
Thought to be the oldest temple in the city and built by the founder of Chiang Mai, about 700 years ago. It’s not far to stroll around the various temples in the vicinity of Chieng Man
Wat Chedi Luang:
This temple is some 600 years old, and has been partially restored. Hit by an earthquake centuries ago, the temple was once home to the most famous Emerald Buddha, which is now in Bangkok. Very close to Chedi Luang is the Wat Pan Tao
This is worth a visit, since it has an exhibition showing Chiang Mai from the last century
Wat Phra Singh:
Located within the walls of the city, Phra Singh is one of the most revered temples in the country.
Inside the walls there are some 28 Wats, so if temple architecture is something of interest, then Chiang Mai has more than enough to occupy the visitor.
Outside the city walls:
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep:
The temple is at the top of a mountain so there’s the added attraction of having some great views across Chiang Mai and the surrounding countryside. Wat Phrathat is one of the most recognizable temples of Thailand, appearing on a wide range of publications about the city and the country
River Mae Nam Ping:
The river is central to the city, with some wonderful spots to enjoy the views and relax. There are four crossing points, and many of the hotels are situated on the western bank.
The area around Chiang Mai has been famous in the past for being the closest major city to the hill tribe villages. To enhance the understanding of the various tribes of the region a centre was set up to many years ago, and to some extent the research has been completed. There is also now a tribal Museum where there is an exhibition which shows the artistic and practical items from the various tribes of the region. The museum is situated at Ratchamankla Park.
Not everyone likes zoos, but the one at Chiang Mai is in a lovely setting on the road to Doi Suthep.
Excursions from Chiang Mai include trips to:
There are many different tribal groups in the region, some of whom have opened their villages for tourists to see their lifestyle
Handicrafts in the north east cover silverware, wood carving and lacquer ware.
Elephant training camps:
Towards Lampang there is an elephant training camp, where the magnificent animals display their skills in logging (which used to be prevalent in Northern Thailand), and visitors can enjoy the sight of morning bath time for the elephants.