Chiang Mai city is the capital of the Chiang Mai province and the largest city in north Thailand. The city is located near the Ping River, an important tributary of the Chao Phraya River. Chiang Mai was founded in 1296 and became the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, succeeding to Chiang Rai. This city was a strategic area as it was located near the river as well as major trading routes. Nowadays, Chiang Mai is a modern city, attracting more and more visitors, including foreigners.
The spoken language in this region is called Kham Muang. However, Thai is taught at school as well as understood and spoken by all. English is currently used in business and tourism.
The climate in Chiang Mai is tropical wet and dry, depending on the season. Basically, dry season is from December to April while rainy season starts in May and ends in November. Temperatures are quite high throughout the year.
Chiang Mai is well known for the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. It is located in the city centre, on Chang Khlan Road. This night market offers a large variety of products from handicrafts and paintings to clothing and jewellery. Good atmosphere is guaranteed!
There are many famous religious sites to visit, as Chiang Mai features more than 300 temples around. The most famous one is called Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and was built in 1383. There is also Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple of the the city, presenting the marble Phra Sila and the crystal Phra Satang Man. Wat Chedi Luang is also quite famous, especially for its Lanna style chedi.
Museums are also numerous in Chiang Mai city. There, you can easily visit the Chiang Mai city Art and Cultural Centre, the National Museum of Chiang Mai as well as the Tribal Museum. The two last ones mostly present the history of the province and its surroundings.
Chiang Mai could be the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of north Thailand nature. First, there is the Doi Inthanon National Park, housing the highest Thai mountain. Then, there are numerous hills all around, famous for its trekking among forest and jungle. Moreover, about one hour driving from the city center, you can enjoy a visit to the Elephant Nature Park.
A lot of cultural festivals are organized in the city of Chiang Mai, making it really interesting and attractive. Loi Krathong is one of them. During this festival, thousands of Lanna style lanterns are made by habitants and launch into the sky at night, illuminating the city. Other festivals such as Songkran and the Flower festival are also big events in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is a well-served city: planes, trains and bus can take you there. Indeed, a lot of planes leave everyday Bangkok, going to Chiang Mai, from the morning until night. Regarding trains and bus, most of the time, they run overnight as it takes more than 12 hours’ journey.
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