Surrounded by a ring of mountains, Chiang Mai is the capital of the northern region and offers a fascinating blend of ornate architecture, rich culture and stunning scenery. An important Buddhist centre since the 14th Century and home to more than 300 temples, Chiang Mai is centred around the old moated and walled city and although increasingly dynamic and modern, it still enjoys a laid-back feel and charm.
- Meander around Chiang Mai’s night bazaar
- Discover the ornate architecture and rich culture of the Ancient Lanna Kingdom
- Hike or bike amongst the spectacular countryside and tribal villages
- Encounter the friendly gentle giants at Tong Bai Elephant Foundation
- Try your hand at creating some traditional dishes at a local cooking class
The city is famed for its wonderful cuisine and also excellent shopping with many centres specializing in silverwork, pottery, woodcarving and weaving. The Night Bazaar, a series of covered markets, is well worth visiting for its bustling atmosphere and to see the variety of hand-made products on offer. For those looking to explore the surrounding hills, there is some wonderful trekking to see the isolated hilltribe villages, as well as elephant encounters through the lush countryside and rafting down jungle rivers.