Chiangmai, Thailand

Chiang Mai is a land of misty mountains and colorful hill tribes, a playground for seasoned travelers and a delight for adventurers. On a trip to this tranquil city, curious travelers can expand their horizons with Thai massage and cooking courses. Others will be bowled over by the variety of handicrafts and antiques. There are plenty of lively nightlife spots and excellent eateries specializing in local cuisine.

Chiang Mai is 700 km north of Bangkok, set in a verdant valley on the banks of the Ping River. The city was founded in 1296 as the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom and it still proudly wears its distinctive culture and long history for all to see. However, it's now a place where the past and the present seamlessly merge with modern buildings standing side by side with venerable temples. Despite its relatively small size, Chiang Mai truly has it all.



Things to do in Chiangmai


Doi Suthep is the regal mountain overlooking the city of Chiang Mai from the northwest. It is home to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, an awe-inspiring temple that is crowned by an elaborate chedi, 24 meters tall and gold plated from top to bottom. It gleams like a northern star from the heights of the mountain.

The temple is one of the most historically and spiritually significant places in Thailand and is an impressive embodiment of the Lanna culture, with its origins dating back almost 700 years. As such, large numbers of Thais and foreigners come to experience the special magic of this holy place. Scattered around the temple are various statues depicting everything from the legendary white elephant upon whose grave the temple was erected to the assorted gods and Buddhas of the Thai religion.

Wat Chedi Luang is conveniently located right in the middle of the Old City, walking distance from many of most popular hotels and markets. Luang translates in the old Lanna language to something like "very big", and the enormous crumbling central structure certainly lives up to its name. The main chedi is 80 meters tall, making it the highest point in Chiang Mai’s Old City

The temple complex dates all the way back to 1385, but has had various additions, re-builds and revamps since. It was once home to the highly-revered Emerald Buddha, which now takes pride of place in Bangkok’s Grand Palace.



Wat Phra Singh stands as one of the most visually impressive temples in Chiang Mai, partially thanks to a huge renovation in the 19th century, plus numerous licks of paint ever since. The main temple building is the star of the show, featuring those iconic slanted Lanna-style roofs and an intricately decorated façade that shines brightly in the sunlight.

There are various stupas and pagodas dotted around the grounds, which are free to enter. Walking distance from Wat Chedi Luang in the Old City, our recommendation is to fit in both during a morning or afternoon sightseeing trip on 2 feet or a tuk-tuk.



Wat Umong certainly shows its 700-year age, despite numerous touch-ups over the years. The crumbling, weather-worn central stupa towers into the sky, set around a well-maintained tropical garden and smart-looking green lawns. While the main stupa provides a neat photo-op, there’s plenty more to do at Wat Umong. You can feed the fish and turtles in the garden’s main pond, walk around the ‘talking trees’ that offer words of advice (in Thai and English), and head underground to check out the series of ancient tunnels. Find it just beyond the airport, in the foothills of Doi Suthep Mountain.

Location: 135 Moo 10, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand