Thailand's unofficial "second city" of Chiang Mai is everything Bangkok isn't. Chiang Mai possesses spectacular mountains, vibrant hill tribes and a relaxed vibe.
As the travel hub for northern Thailand, the city of Chiang Mai and the province that shares its name (population 1.6 million) blend ancient culture and natural wonders to create a character that's unique to a region once known as the “kingdom of a million rice fields,” or "Lanna" in Thai.
Below is a list of 10 Must See’s and Do’s in the fascinating Rose of The North.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
With origins dating back to 1386, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is a sacred site for many Thai Buddhists and is filled with ancient murals and sculptures.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is one of Chiang Mai's most famous tourist attractions. Not only is it an impressive temple, but it's also perched high on the side of a mountain -- Doi Suthep -- so it offers great views of the city of Chiang Mai below.
A better time to go is in the early hours of the morning, when you can avoid the heat and crowds, and watch the flickering lights of the city fade as the sun rises.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep offers great views of the city of Chiang Mai below
The White Temple, at Wat Rong Khun
This is a modern creation, near Chiang Rai, by artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Dazzling, psychedelic, detailed statuary portrays gargoyle-style creatures, disembodied human hands and other intense imagery.
The Black House, at Baandam Museum
The Baandam museum has over 40 black houses created by the Thai artist Thawan Duchanee. They consist of wooden houses in either Thai or Burmese style along with the artist’s large collection of animal skins and bones.
Karen Long Neck Village
Girls as young as five-years-old are fitted with brass rings around their necks. Longer rings are added as they grow older, in effect deforming the chest and shoulders to give the illusion that their necks are abnormally long.
The Karen Padaung are a sub group of the Karen Hill Tribe people. They are famous for the neck rings worn by the women of the tribe. The population of this sub group is approximately 50,000; most of whom live near the Thai Burma border area.
Chiang Mai Old City
There are several magnificent and old temples within the walled old city of Chiang Mai, with the Wat Phra Singh being one of the most attractive.
Chiang Mai was built in 1296 as a walled city surrounded by a moat. The old city was roughly 1.5 square kilometers in size. While a good portion of the original city wall has collapsed, the four corner bastions are still intact, along with various other sections. The original moat is still in use to this day. Chiang Mai city is now made up of the old city (within the walled area) and the new city that has grown up around it.
Flying Squirrels Zip Line
The Flying Squirrels Zip Line is a two-and-a-half-hour adventure course comprised of 32 stations. Just beyond the ancient city of Chiang Mai, the plateau rises gently to greet rolling hills and an expanse of evergreen forests that carpet the mountains beneath a seemingly endless sky.
Cost: 2699 THB
Khantoke Dinner & Culture Shows
A selection of traditional dances and performances unique to this region include the finger dance, candle dance and sword dance. While you watch these distinctive performances, indulge in northern-style Thai cuisine served in the traditional Khantoke style -- seated on mats at low tables.
Maesa Elephant Camp
If you love elephants, just visit Mae Sa Elephant Camp and enjoy the elephants showing off their many skills, including their work demonstrations, kicking footballs and even painting. Elephant riding and mahout training exercises are also available. The camp is in a lovely wooded setting where visitors can wander the grounds feeding, petting and posing with the creatures.
Wholesale Fruit Market
Muang Mai Market is a huge, rambling collection of about a dozen large indoor wholesale operations, and probably more than 50 smaller vendors selling produce at around wholesale prices from their carts, stores, and stalls. The vibe is laid back and positive, and there are plenty of interesting tourists and expats from all over the world to talk to.
Chiang Mai is a shopper’s paradise, and nothing beats shopping for a bargain more than in the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. Here you will find a variety of brand name goods (real and fake, including clothing, T-shirts, belts, shoes, jewellery, watches, DVD's & CD's) and local Thai goods at really low prices. It is open every day of the year regardless of the weather from dusk till around midnight.
WHERE TO STAY IN THAILAND
In the airport – Novotel Suvarnabhumi
The only official airport hotel Novotel Suvarnabhumi, one of the Five Best Airport Hotels in the World (awarded at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2012).
A leisurely 5 minute stroll via the air-conditioned underground walkway, or a short ride in the 24-hour complimentary airport shuttle service from gate 4. The hotel features an abundance of facilities, including fine dining in seven restaurants and bars, the international-brand VOUS Spa, a swimming pool surrounded by tropical gardens with a pool bar, and a well equipped fitness centre with sauna and steam-room.
In Chiang Mai – RarinJinda Wellness Spa Resort
Housed in a 140-year-old antique Thai teak wood home, the resort is ideally situated near the historical Ping River and overlooking the majestic Doi Suthep Mountain in the heart of Chiang Mai city.
RarinJinda Wellness Spa & Onsen Resort, the boutique hotel resort situated in the heart of Chiang Mai City, is only a 5- to 10-minute walk from the Night Bazaar, and 15 minutes from the airport. The resort offers four categories of luxury deluxe and suite rooms, embellished and decorated with modern environments and stylish antiques. All rooms are furnished with private verandas and ceiling fans overlooking swimming pools, with views of Doi Suthep Mountain and the Ping River.
One of Thailand's leading wellness spas, RarinJinda Wellness Spa is fully equipped with all of the latest spa technology and facilities at high international standards, yet possessing services deeply rooted in the Thai massage and healing traditions.
In Bangkok – Amari Watergate Hotel Bangkok
If shopping is one of your main objectives of travelling to Bangkok, then you should stay in the Pratunam area of Bangkok. Amari Watergate hotel is within walking distance of some of the best shopping areas in Pratunam – being directly across the road from Platinum Fashion Mall and in the heart of the Pratunam all-day shopping area.
Amari Watergate Hotel features spacious deluxe and grand deluxe rooms with unrivaled service. Separate “executive floors” offer exclusive “executive lounges” and private reception areas. This Bangkok city centre hotel is fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including a large swimming pool, a terrace garden and a professional Clark Hatch Fitness Centre.
For total relaxation, the luxurious Breeze Spa offers a range of massage, facial and body treatments.
TRAVELLING FROM XIAMEN TO THAILAND
Thai Airways - the national carrier of Thailand operates several daily flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and has the most flights in domestic Thailand, reaching many hot resort destinations such as Phuket and Krabi. They offer 4 flights per week between Bangkok and Xiamen.
With the slogan "Smooth as Silk,” Thai Airways provides dedicated service to its passengers with the traditional warmth of Thai hospitality. PAX can buy one ticket at special fare from Thai Airways to visit Bangkok and other hot domestic cities in Thailand.
Visit Thailand, fly Thai Airways.
Thai Airways International PCL. Xiamen Office
Address: 23C, International Plaza Building, No.8 Lujiang Road, Xiamen 361001 P.R. China
Business Hour: Monday ~ Friday 09:00-17:30
For more information please contact:
Apple Travel Xiamen Office (Main Office)
Address Shop 18-20,Guanren Rd (behind the Marco Polo Hotel)
Fujian Province, China
Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 08:30-18:00 Sat. 09:00-13:00