Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second-largest province by area (Nakhon Ratchasima being the largest), located in the North of the country. It was the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom and has long been the centre of Buddhism in the region, where the late and great King Meng Rai (1238–1317 AD) built innumerable temples.
One of the most popular tourist attractions today is the beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
is located on “Doi Suthep”, 15 kilometres from the city. Doi is a northern word for mountain, while Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is actually the name of the mountain the temple is located on.
The top of the mountain will leave you speechless. The views up there really are magnificent. There is nothing like it.
This ancient temple is one of the most sacred places in Northern Thailand, in which Thai people believe one of the Buddha’s relics was found and enshrined there.
Other than temples, Chiang Mai is also known for its elephants.
The elephant is a national symbol of Thailand. The animals have long been used as beasts of burden by man for transportation, timber logging, or in war.
If you visit Chiang Mai, an elephant show performance at “Maesa Elephant Camp” is a must.
This site is home to 78 elephants, and has been open for over 30 years. Located a short distance from Chiang Mai City, the camp features experts in the elephant breeding, training and healthcare, as well as sustainable tourism. All of these combined hel create outstanding performances, impressing people from all walks of life.
You can even pick up some beautiful souvenirs, such as paintings, pillow cases and key rings. There’s something for everyone.
Sunday Market (Walking Street)
One of Chiang Mai’s great weekly events takes place every Sunday from 4pm to 11pm. You’ll find everything there, from trendy homemade dresses to wooden jewellery boxes and ornate lanterns.
The market starts at Thapae Gate and runs all the way to Ratchadamnoen Road through the heart of the Old Town. It is entirely closed off to traffic.
The Walking Street Market is a real showcase of the art and craftsmanship of Northern Thailand. The products are truly authentic and original, making it the perfect place to find gifts and beautiful décor for your home. Many of the stallholders have personally made the items they sell. The various hand-crafted ornaments are a testimony to the skills and creativity of the local people.
Being so vast, it will take the whole night to walk around the market, so if you find something you like, buy it. Otherwise, you may not find the same shop again.
And most importantly, don’t forget to haggle!”
Getting to Chiang Mai is very simple. You can fly directly from Phuket to Chiang Mai with Bangkok Airways. The service runs once a day. For more information visit www.bangkokair.com.
Oh, and one more tip. While you’re in the Bangkok Airways lounge, try the sticky rice with banana. It’s delicious.