Chiang Mai lies on the Ping River, nestled among high mountains in the north of Thailand, around 700 kilometres north of Bangkok. It is the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand. There are over 300 Buddhist Temples in this city - as many as all of Bangkok, and the city has a peaceful and traditional feel to it. Many Thai's regard the city as a somewhat mystical, however it is these days a modern city with all the trimmings but has managed to retain it's cultural roots. The nightlife is quieter than other Thai centres although the city is starting to get quite a few trendy bars and restaurants in recent years.
Chiang Mai has been known as a gateway for mountain trekking. Tour companies take visitors along trails in nearby forests and hills visiting the local tribes. Many of the tours take place on elephants offering unforgettable experiences.
Chiang Mai is one of the few places in Thailand where it is possible to find in the heart of the city centuries-old chedis and temples next to modern convenience stores and boutique hotels. The original city layout still exists as a neat square surrounded by a moat with vestiges of the fortified wall and its four main gates offering prime access to the old town.
Although it has been known in the past as a staging post for exploration of the area around, tourists are now discovering the city itself is diverse and interesting, a mix of the old and the new, of stunning scenery and cultural intrigue. The Chiang Mai locals are warm, gracious and congenial and provide a welcoming atmosphere that pervades the city. The traditional roots of the city are minifest in the handicrafts of silk, silver and wood produced locally as timeless souvenirs. Chiang Mai has plenty to offer all visitors from backpackers to those seeking a more luxury experience.
Visitors can experience traditional architecture, classical dance and the unique culture of the hill tribes of the north.
As well as the cultural aspects of this northern centre, Chiang Mai is also blessed with pristine natural resources comprising mountains (dois), jungles, waterfalls, and other natural attractions.