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Chiang Mai Tourist Information

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The scenery of northern Thailand is a dramatic contrast to other regions. The emphasis, here, is on rugged hills, forested vistas and rushing rivers. There are colourful hilltribe folk and a distinctly different culture and cuisine to discover. As well as historic cities, visit tiny villages noted for original handicrafts.

Chiang Mai, 761 kms. By rail, approximately 700 kms. By road north of Bangkok, with an area of 20,107.1 sq.kms., is Thailand's second largest city and capital of the northern region. Chiang Mai is administratively divided into 22 Amphoes (districts) : Muang, Chiang Dao, Chom Thong, Doi Saket, Doi Tao, Fang, Hang Dong, Hot, Mae Ai, Mae Chaem, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, Omkoi, Phrao, Samoeng, San Kamphaeng, San Pa Tong, San Sai, Saraphi, Wiang Haeng, Chai Prakan and Mae Wang.

Climate: Cool Season: (late October to end of February). average temperature 21 íC and much cooler at night. The coolest months are December and January. Hot Season: (early March to end of May) Average temperature 29.9 íC The hottest month is April Rainy Season: (early June to end of October). Average temperature 25.5 íC. The wettest month is September.

History: Chiang Mai is an old city with a proud history. It was founded by King Mengrai (Pho Khun Mengrai Maharat who united several small tribes and called the new land Anachak Lanna Thai . In 1259 after his father's death he ascended the throne at Yonok Nakhon and built Chiang Rai as his capital in 1262. In 1291 he decided to build a new city as the capital of Lanna Thai. He invited King Ramkhamhaeng, Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng Maharat of Sukhothai Kingdom and King Ngam Muang (Pho Khun Ngam Muang of Phayao Kingdom, his very close friends, to help select a site for the new city. They decided on a fertile plain between Doi Suthep Mountain and the bank of the Ping River.

The new city was completed, surrounded by a moat and wall, in 1296. It was named Nopphaburi Si Nakhonping "Chiang Mai". Chiang Mai was the capital of Lanna Thai for a long time. It was attacked frequently and finally came under the control of Ayutthaya, then Burma. In 1774 King Taksin of Thailand recovered it from the Burmese. Since then Chiang Mai has been a province of Thailand.

Culture: Perhaps the most important asset Chiang Mai can claim is its people. Their beauty, hospitality and good manners are legendary throughout Thailand. In the past, Chiang Mai has been a city of economic, religious and political importance. Present-day culture has very deep roots. Chiang Mai has its own dialect and its own cuisine. These have given it a sense of cultural security.

Festival : Chiang Mai celebrates many annual festivals. Three are particularly lively and lovely. These are the "Flower Carnival", the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of every February: "Songkran",13-15 April each year; and "Yi Peng" on the full moon day of the twelfth lunar month, generally mid-November.

The Flower Carnival celebrates the period when Chiang Mai's temperate and tropical flowers are in full bloom and is characterised by colourful floral floats and parades.

Songkran celebrates the traditional Thai New Year. Chiang Mai celebrates Songkran with special elation in a 3-day carousal of religious merit-making, pilgrimages, beauty parades, dancing and uninhibited, good-natured water throwing.

Yi Peng is Thailand's loveliest festival when, under the full moon, people float away onto rivers, canals, lakes and streams banana-leaf boats bearing a lighted candle, incense, a flower and small coin to honour water spirits and float away the past year's sins.


In The City :

Wat Suan Dok has the North's largest chapel royal. The principal Buddha statue is a huge cast mage named Phra Chao Kao Tu.

Wat Phra Sing has the most complete version of Lanna chapel and is home to Phra Buddha Sihing, considered Chiang Mai's important and sacred Buddha mage.

Wat Chiang Man is situated in town. It was the first temple built in Chiang Mai around 1300 A.D. Formerly it was the residence of King Mengrai, the founder of Chiang Mai. There are two famous Buddha images in this temple.

Wat Chedi Luang is situated in town. It was built in 1411 A.D. The big Chedi was damaged by an earthquake in 1545 A:D. and has never been restored.

Inthakhin or City Pillar is situated in Wat Chedi Luang.

Wat Ku Tao is situated in town. The Chedi was built in 1613 A.D. in the shape of five guards of diminishing sizes and beautifully decorated with colored porcelain, representing five lord Buddhas.

Wiang Kum Kam is and ancient town founded by King Mengrai. The main historical remains are: Wat Chedi Liam ,Wat Chang Kham, and chedi's bases at Wat Kum Kam-Wat Noi, etc. Wiang Kum Kam is located on Chian Mai - Lamphum Raod, 3-4 kms. from town in the area of Amphoe Saraphi.

Doi Suthep Route (Road No.1004) :

Wat Chet Yot is situated in town. The temple was built in 1477 A.D. The 8th World Sangkayana was held in this temple at that time.

Chiang Mai National Museum situated near Wat Chet Yot contains ancient Buddhist statues and weapons.

Tribal Research Center is in Chiang Mai University, 5 kms. from town. The Tribal Research Center gathers information and studies Thailand's tribal races.

Tribal Research Center is in Chiang Mai University, 5 kms. from town. The Tribal Research Center gathers information and studies Thailand's tribal races.

Huai Kaeo Arboretum is near Chiang Mai University, 6 kms. from town, The attractively landscaped garden contain many kinds of trees and flowers.

Chiang Mai Zoo is near Huai Kaeo Arboretum, 6 kms. from town.

Doi Suthep - Pui National Park is in the area of Amphoe Mae Rim, Amphoe Hang Dong and Amphoe Muang, covering 262.5 square kilometres. The office of the park is on Doi Suthep route near Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The attractions in the area of the park are:

Namtok Huai Kaeo is a waterfall near Chiang Mai Zoo, 6 kms. from town. It's delightful atmosphere makes it the ideal place for picnics.

Khruba Siwichai Monument is situated near Namtok Huai Kaeo. The monument was built to commemorate Khruba Sivichai who initiated a plan to construct a hillside road to the monastery on Doi Suthep.

Wat Phra Borommathat Doi Suthep is on Doi Suthep is a large golden pagoda in the center of the temple containing a part of the holy relics of the Lord Buddha. It is a holy spot visited throughout the year by Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world. This temple was built by King Gue-Na in 1383 A.D.

Phu Phing Palace is on Doi Buak Ha , about 4 kms. from Doi Suthep. Phu Phing Palace is the winter Palace and open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as well as holidays, when the Thai Royal Family is not in residence.

Hmong Tribal Village-Doi Pui is located about half an hour drive from Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.

Western Route (Highway No.180 and No.1009) :

Silverware Factory is on Wua Lai Road, renowned for silver products such as ; cigarette cases, spoons and forks, trays, etc. There are other factories of the same kind on Chang Khlan and Chiang Mai - San Kampheang Raod.

Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center is on Chiang Mai - Hang Dong Road. Proceeding along the Wua Lai Rd., the cultural Center is on the left, next to Chiang Mai Gate Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center gathers the Lanna Thai arts and culture. Within its area, a hilltribe village and a Thai-styled house have been erected. Souvenir shops are available. Two attractive events held regularly in the late evening are the Northern style supper called "Khan Tok" and folk dancing performances.

Sang Ka Lok Ceramics Factory is located one kilometer from Chiang Mai Cultural Center. It is renowned for the special kind of green ceramic products. The works are designed into many styles such as lamps, vases, plates, ash trays, etc. Similar product are also available in the factories along Chiang - Mai San Kamphaeng Road.

Lacquerware Factory is located at km. 7 on ChiangMai-HangDongRoad. Most of its products are light containers such as cups, bowls, cigarette-cases, trays, vases, etc. Factories of the same type can be found along Nantharam Road, Chiang Mai - San Kamphaeng Road and Chang Khlan Road.

Muang Kung Earthenware Village included in TAT's Handicraft Village Project, is located on Chiang Mai - Hot Road 10 Kms. from town. Various ceramic products such as cooking pots, water-containing pots, vases, etc. are made. An exhibition room and a tourist information center are available.

Ban Thawa is 15 kms. from town on Chiang Mai Hot Road. This village is renowned for the imitative skills of ancient wood products. Carved - wood pieces are produced for retail and wholesale by factories here.

Wiang Tha Kan located in Ban Tha Kan, Amphoe San Pa Tong, 30 kms. from town to the south, is an ancient town of the Hariphunchai Period. The main historical remains left in the Tha Kan School area and the temple's compound are a chedi and a vihara's base. Both of them are made of brick and laterite. The ancient relics found are votive tablets, sandstone Buddhist images and baked clay Buddhist images. In addition, there are the remains of the Buddhist monastery and stupas as well as scattered remnants of brick and earthen tile.

Wat Phra Borommathat Si Chom Thong Worawihan is on Chiang Mai - Hot Rd., 58 kms. from town. The temple was built in 1451, A.D. The Viham houses a holy relic of the Lord Buddha.

Doi Inthanon National Park Doi Inthanon is one of Thailand's most famous National Parks and one of the best equipped to welcome visitors. It is situated in the area of three Amphoes : Chom Thong, San Pa Tong and Mae Chaem, and covers some 1,005 square kilometers. It offers marvellous natural scenery. Shooting, fishing and causing damage to trees and plants are strictly forbidden. To get to Doi Inthanon take Highway No. 108 (Chiang Mai - Hot) and turn to Highway No. 1009 at Km. 57 up to the top of Doi Inthanon for a distance of 48 kms. Attractions within the park include:

Namtok Mae Ya is 12 kms. from Chom Thong Market. Access to the falls is best made through local minibus. Namtok Mae Ya is one of the large and beautiful waterfalls in Chiang Mai.

Namtok Mae Klang is at Km. 8 on Highway No.1009 . Namtok Mae Klang is a big cascade with a scenic spot for picnics.

Tham Borichinda is a cave situated 10-minute drive from Namtok Mae Klang, branch off at Km. 8.5 on Highway No.1009. The cave is not dark. The area is ideal for picnics.

Tourist Service Centre is located at Km.9 of this route.

Namtok Wachirathan is on the route to Doi Inthanon, a 30 minutes drive from Namtok Mae Klang. Namtok Vachiratan is a beautiful scenic spot for picnics.

Namtok Siriphum is on the same route, an hour's drive from Namtok Mae Klang.

The National Park's Office is located at Km. 31. Accommodations are available here. Reservation can be made through the National Park Division, Royal Forestry Department, Tel. 5790529,579-4842.

Doi Inthanon Royal Project is located on the right at Km.31, one kilometre away from the main road. Main crops are cold climate flowers. Tourists can view flower nurseries and cultivation.

Phra Mahathat Noppha Methanidon and phra Mahathat Nopphon Phumisiri are on the left at Km.41.5. These two Chedis were built to commemorate the..fifth cycle anniversaries of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen in 1987 and 1992 respectively.

Yot Doi Inthanon The ending point of this route is the highest mountain top of Thailand. The weather is rather cold all year round. Some rare species of plants are found such as Khao Tok Rusi (a kind of succulent plant), Kulab Panpi (Rhododendron). Also established here is the stupa in which the relics of the Chiang Mai's part ruler, Chao Inthawichayanon, have been kept.

Ban Rai Phai Ngam It is a village where famous cotton cloth woven in the old style has been long produced. At present, the weavers' central gathering is the home of the late National Artist, Pa (Aunt) Sangda Bansit, who had transferred her knowledge on the weaving process to other villagers. The village is located on the left of the route Chiang Mai - Hot between km. 68-69, about 4 kms. off the main road.

Op Luang National Park is about 105 kms. from Chiang Mai. Drive along the route Chiang Mai - Hot for 89 kms. and turn right to the route Hot-Mae Sariang for another 16 kms. All the way is asphalted. The most beautiful scene is the winding line of the Salak Hin River meandering through Chong Khao Khat. Also, pre-historic archaeological sites were found here.

Doi Tao lake Doi Tao, a district of Chiang Mai Province, is about 133 kms. far away from town along the route Chiang Mai - Hot - Doi Tao. The large reservoir over the Phumiphon Dam benefits the agriculture and fresh water fishery and serves as a tourist place as well.

Highway No.1296 - off Highway No.108 :

Huai Phak Phai Royal Project, or "Suan Kulab Luang" is at Km. 17 along the route Hang Dong - Samoeng. It is a center to collect, study and cultivate various species of roses. Rows of roses are beautifully formed down the mountain slope. In winter, it is the best time for tourists.

Resorts There are beautiful resorts along Highway No. 1269 (Hang Dong - Samoeng), such as; Lanna Resort, Krisda Doi, Suan Bua Thani Resort and Samoeng Resort.

Northern Route (Highway No.107) :

Thai Celadon Factory is on the Chiang Mai - Fang Rd., 6 kms. from town. The factory is closed on Sundays.

Lanna Golf Course is at Nong Hoi, 4 kms. from town.

Taeng Doa Elephant Show can be seen at kilometer 56 along the route Chiang Mai - Fang. There is demonstration of elephants activities: pushing and hauling logs from the forest. Elephants are also provided for tourists who enjoy elephant riding.

Tham Chiang Dao is a cave at Amphoe Chiang Dao, 72 kms. north of Chiang Mai. Electricity and oil lamps illuminate caves.

Doi Ang Khang located 163 kms. from Chiang Mai on Highway No. 107 (Chiang Mai - Fang), is a demonstration site for the planting of cool climate vegetables and flowers under the patronage of His Majesty the King.

Fang Hot Spring is at Amphoe Fang, 163 kms. north of Chiang Mai along the Chiang Mai - Tha Ton Rd., (Highway No. 107) turn left at km. 153 for 11 kms. to Ban Pin. In a 10-acre forest clearing, there are about 50 hot springs. Three boil continuously with a strong smell of sulphur. Water heat ranges between 90íC and 100 íC

Resorts Resorts along Highway No. 107 (Chiang Mai Fang) are Royal Ping Garden & Resort, and Chiang Dao Hill Resort.

Highway No.1096 - off Highway No.107 :

Mae Sa Snake Farm is situated on Mae Rim Samoeng Road at km. 3. The farm displays snakes from all over Thailand and studies snake breeding as well. Snake shows and an extraction of venom from snakes are provided to visitors.

Orchid Farm along Mae Rim - Samoeng Road, is the centre of all northern orchids. The two nearby orchid farms, Mountain Orchid and Sai Nam Phung Orchid Nursery provide an opportunity for visitors to admire "The Queen of the Forest" that blooms all year round.

Mae Sa House Private Collection at km. 4 on Mae Rim - Samoeng Road, is a show place for private colloection of Thai antiques, a special experience for collectors.

Mae Sa Butterfly Farm is located at Km.5 on Mae Rim - Samoeng Road.

Namtok Mae Sa at km.7 on Mae Rim - Samoeng Road, is divided into eight sections according to heights. The natural setting with its may gigantic trees always impresses visitors.

Ban Hmong Mae Sa Mai on the left at km.12 on Mae Rim - Samoeng Road, is where to see and learn about the culture and ways of living of the Hmong Hilltribe.

Mae Sa Elephant Show is at Km. 10 on Mae Rim - Samoeng Road. There is a demonstration daily 09.30 -11.30 hrs. Jungle Tour is also available after the show. Contact: (053) 297-060 for more information.

Resorts Along Mae Rim - Samoeng Route, there are resorts with beautiful natural sceneries with different kinds of plants and flowers, such as; Mae Sa Resort, Mae Sa Valley, Erawan Resort, Kangsadan Resort, etc.

Highway No.1095 - off Highway No.107 :

Pa Pae Hot Spring It is located in Amphoe Mae Taeng, 40 kms. from town along Mae Malai - Pai Road.

Huai Nam Dang National Park is about 60 kilometers along Mae Malai - Pai Highway and 6 kimometers on turning right. It commands a breathtaking view of seas of mist, flower beds and Lisu tribal people. Points of interest are Doi Chang, Doi Kiu lom, Pong Ron Hot Spring UAW, Namtok Mae Yen, etc.

Eastern Route (Highway No.1006) :

Bo Sang Umbrella Making Village is 9 kms. from town where artisans make umbrellas with accuracy and speed. People there make paper products by an ancient process and produce charmingly painted umbrellas.

Cotton and Silk Weaving Village is in San Kamphaeng, 13 kms. from town. Silk and cotton materials are woven by local folk on traditional looms.

Cottages Industries on both sides along this road, there are many factories of handicrafts; silverware, lacquerware, woodcarving etc. The people are divided into communities, each working at their own crafts. For those interested in crafts, endless time can be spent visiting the communities and watching the delicate workmanship. The craftmen are friendly people and they are proud to show visitors around, whether they buy their wares or not.

San Kamphaeng HotSpring located amid beautiful natural scenery in an atmosphere of tranquility surrounded by green mountain ranges and shady trees. The San Kamphaeng Hot Spring is the ideal destination for health and physical well-being by a hot mineral soaking. It is only 23 kms. from Amphoe San Kamphaeng. Bungalows and camping area are available here.

Rung Aran Hot Spring Located near San Kamphaeng Hot Spring in Amphoe San Kamphaeng just 35 kms. east of Chiang Mai city. The 100 rai resort is dotted with different kinds of plants and flowers, together with rock garden and two wells of hot spring (105 celcius) which directly provide mineral water for individual bath rooms and bath tubs. The facilities also included furnished bungalows and restaurant.

Flower Festival held every first weekend of February. The north is noted for its rich variety of flowering plants, particularly temperate-zone specimens which are at their best during this cool month. Spectacular floral floats are a memorable feature of this annual event held in Chiang Mai, together with displays of flowers handicraft sales, and beauty contests.

Songkran Festival Held during April 13 -15. Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated all over the country but nowhere with more enthusiasm than in Chiang Mai. Pact of the celebration is religious, marked by merit-making ceremonies at local temples, and part is pure pleasure, with good natured water throwing, parades, and beauty contests.

Yipeng Loi Krathong Held every November. In Chiang Mai, an unusual part of the Loi Krathong celebration is the Yi Peng Loi Festival or the ritual of the lighted balloon. After a day of merit-making, the people launch colourful hot air paper balloons into the sky, bearing their troubles away. In the evening, all homes and shops are decorated with beautiful lanterns. Later, traditional Krathongs are also floated on the river and other waterways.

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