In Northern Thailand and throughout Asia, Chiang Mai is one of the most popular tourist destinations not only because it offers a sophisticated taste of Thai culture in both the people and the landmarks, but it is easily navigable and inviting to tourists from all over the world, with exotic outdoor excursions, bustling market places, and respectful people at every corner.
Start high and work your way down by zipping through the tree tops of some of Thailand's most breathtaking forests; Mae Takhrai national park in the eco-village of Mae Kampong, offers the newly opened 'Flight of the Gibbon', an aerial experience ideal for the whole family. Lush mountain forests are also accessible by trek or along whitewater excursions, easily arranged from one of multiple tourist offices throughout the city of Chiang Mai. While you are enjoying the exotic natural wonders and wildlife surrounding the city, be sure to check out the Patara Elephant Farm, a Thai-owned breeding and health-care facility focused exclusively on these majestic creatures.
Back in town, indulge in the rich tastes and history of the native Thai people in the form of their exquisite cuisine, markets, and entertainment options. The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, off of Changklan Road, is said to be the biggest market in all of Thailand. Open everyday from sunset until midnight, the market has unique origins dating back to caravan traders hundreds of years ago, and has since evolved into an expansive marketplace offering food, handicrafts and traditional Thai clothing and art in a kaleidoscope of colors that will tantalize your senses.
A significant settlement of the Lanna Kingdom since the year 1296, the expansion and growth of this heavily Buddhist city is evident in more than 300 ornately decorated Buddhist temples. The most famous ones include Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chiang Man, and Wat Chedi Luang, all marked by more than 500 years of history. These are landmarks that bring visitors within breathing distance of ancient traditions in Thailand.
Ancient temples, fragrant markets and spicy dishes, travelers to this Asian gem are incapable of being disappointed. The locals are welcoming and the options are limitless for the outdoor adventurers' spirit and the cultural enthusiast alike.
Phra Pok Klao