Chiang Mai (referred to as "the rose of the north") is situated in Northern Thailand, 700km north of the capital city of Bangkok. Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand, yet only has a population of around 200,000. Compare this to Bangkok which has about 9 million and it is easy to see why even the Thai people in Bangkok love to visit Chiang Mai for a holiday. The city is now becoming increasingly popular with overseas travellers as word spreads of this magnificent tourist location. There are various ways to travel to and visit Chiang Mai. From Bangkok it is a 1hr flight.
In the last 25 or so years tourism has gradually transformed this once sleepy area into a travellers paradise whilst still maintaining its provincial charm. The ever-friendly and polite Thai people are full of smiles (Thailand = LOS = Land of Smiles). There are a million things to see and do, the food tastes sensational, it is a shopper’s paradise and a visit to Chiang Mai can even be done on a shoestring. Chiang Mai was built in 1296 as a walled city surrounded by a moat. The old city was roughly 1.5km square. Whilst a good portion of the original city wall has collapsed the four corner bastions are still intact along with various other sections. The original moat is still in use to this day. Chiang Mai city is basically made up now of the old city (within the walled area) and the new city which has grown up around it. Grab a Tuk-Tuk and go for a scenic visit to Chiang Mai's lovely moat and the ancient walls of the old city. If you like ancient temples (Wats) and buildings, then visit Chiang Mai and the surrounding areas, they are full of them, several hundred in fact. A good number of these ancient temples are still in use today by the Buddhist monks.
BANGKOK - THE CAPITAL CITY OF THAILAND
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. Bangkok is one of the world's top tourist destination cities. With so much of life conducted on the street, there are few cities in the world that reward exploration as handsomely as Bangkok. Cap off an extended boat trip with a visit to a hid- den market. A stroll off Banglamphu's beaten track can end in conversation with a monk. Get lost in the tiny lanes of Chinatown and come face to face with a live Chinese opera performance. After dark, let the BTS (Sky- train) escort you to Th Sukhumvit, where the local nightlife scene reveals a sophisticated and dynamic city. Among Bangkok's well-known sights are the Grand Palace and major Buddhist temples, including Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun, to name a few. The Giant Swing and Erawan Shrine demonstrate Hinduism's deep-rooted influence in Thai culture. Vimanmek Mansion in Dusit Palace is famous as the world's largest teak building, while the Jim Thompson House provides an example of traditional Thai architecture. Other major museums include the Bangkok National Museum and the Royal Barges National Museum. Cruises and boat trips on the Chao Phraya and Thonburi's canals offer views of some of the city's traditional architecture and ways of life on the waterfront.