Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand is has become a popular destination for those looking for more in Thailand than the beaches of Phuket (with its stunning beachfront rentals) and the markets of Bangkok.

While in Bangkok, check out the majestic (and long-named) Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan Temple in the heart of the city. Thailand is an incredible country filled with scores of interesting things to see and do, one need never be bored there.

About The City of Chiang Mai

In contrast to the tropical beaches for which Thailand is famous, Chaing Mai is situated inland 700 kilometers (435 miles) north of Bangkok in a mountainous region. Chiang Mai is basically Thailand's second city and a smaller but more relaxed alternative to the busy madness that characterizes Bangkok.

  • Name: Chaing Mai (Spelled เชียงใหม่) Means "New City" in Thai
  • Population: 1 Million - In The Chiang Mai Metropolitan Area

Today it is a popular destination for backpackers and other travelers of all kinds. It is also popular for retiring ex-pats.

There are plenty of things to see and do in this city. One can take cooking classes, visit the many temples, enjoy the street food, the native animals of Thailand, and of course experience the exotic culture. But one of its main attractions is the unique communities deep in the mountains.

One of the many attractions in this city is the large and famous night bazaar for various local arts and crafts. The night markets are massive stretching for several city blocks along footpaths, in buildings, on temple grounds, and in the squares.

  • Thai Massage: Of Course There Are The Famous (or Infamous) Thai Massages Everywhere
  • Zoo: Chiang Mai Zoo Is the Oldest Zoo In Northern Thailand

There are many tourists in this city with Chinese tourists making up a very large percentage of the foreign tourists.

Related: A Traveler Should Never Do These Things In Thailand

Temples In Chaing Mai

Some of the most famous temples in and around the city are:

  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: This Is The City's Most Famous Temple Dating From 1383 and Sits On The Doi Suthep Mountain
  • Wat Chiang Man: The Oldest Temple In The City From the 13th Century. It Houses Two Important Buddha Figures - The Marble Phra Sila and The Crystal Phra Satang Man
  • Wat Phra Singh: Located Within the City Walls, This 650 Year Old Temple Offers An Example of Classic Northern Thai-Style Architecture
  • Wat Chedi Luang: Built in 1401, This Temple Took Many Years to Complete But Was Damaged By An Earthquake And Only Two-Thirds of It Is Left


Chiang Mai Night Safari Park

One of the main attractions is the Chiang Mai Night Safari Park. it was modeled after the Singapore Night Safari and is designed to provide visitors with the thrill of being out in the wilderness at night.

There are three animal zones in the park – Savanna Safari, Predator Prowl, Jaguar Trail. Activities include hand-feeding the wild animals, petting tiger cubs with a laser light show, and a 'dancing' fountain.

One should plan the visit ahead of time as the animal zones have different opening times. African Savana and the Predator Prowl are open from 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm while the Jaguar Trail is open from 11.00 am to 11.00 pm. It is best to go after sunset when the animals are more active. There are three types of tickets providing different levels of access around the park.

  • English Language Tram: Starts After 7.45 pm
  • Laser Light Show: At 8.00 pm and 9.00 pm
  • Opening Hours: 11.00 am to 11.00 pm

Related: A Travel Guide To Thailand: 11 Things To Know While Planning Your Trip

Chiang Dao Cave

Another of the major draws to this northern city is the Chiang Dao Cave. The cave offers some of the most stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations in Thailand and extends for miles into the mountains.

This massive cave system was formed after the mountain ranges were pushed up some 230 to 250 million years ago. Most of the cave is well lit but getting deep into the cave is another story. It is best explored with a guide who has a kerosene lantern and knows the cave system.

Tip: Hire A Guide To Explore The Cave

  • Located: 72 Kilometers or 45  Miles North of Chiang Mai



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Padung Village – Long Neck Ethnic Hill-tribe

Near the Chiang Dao Cave is the famous Padung Village. Here one will see the world-famous "Long Neck Karen' hill tribe. The women of the tribe wear brass rings around their necks, wrists, and ankles.

  • Famous For: The Tribe Is Famous For Their Brass Rings On Their Necks Giving Them Long Necks

The Longneck Karen is one of the Karen tribes who call themselves Padaung. They are thought to have originally migrated from Yunnan Province in China around a thousand years ago. They lived in Myanmar but moved to Thailand as there were problems for them in Myanmar.

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