Chiang Mai

  

Chiang Mai is Thailandís principal northern city. Chiang Mai is the provincial capital of a largely mountainous province, also called Chiang Mai, which is some 20,000 square kilometers in area.

Chiang Mai is 700 kilometers north of Bangkok, was founded in 1296, and is located in a fertile valley some 300 meters above sea level.

Chiang Mai was the capital of Lanna Thai (Kingdom of One Million Rice fields), the first in dependent Thai kingdom within the fabled Golden Triangle. Chiang Mai flourished as a major religious, cultural and trading center until 1556 when a Burmese invasion reduced it to a casual state. The Burmese were expelled in 1785, whereupon Lanna Thai once again became part of northern Thailand.

Many lowland Thais regard Chiang Mail city and province as being something of a national Shangri-la, thanks to its beautiful women, distinctive festivals, historic temples dating from the 1300s, arresting scenic beauty, temperate fruits such as apples peaches and strawberries, and a crisp, invigorating cool season climate.

Local Culture

The people of Chiang Mai enjoy one of the most distinctive cultural identities in the whole of Thailand. Largely farmers and artisans, they have their own lilting dialect, their own customs, their own festivals, their own architectural traditions, their own indigenous handicrafts, their own dances and their own distinctive cuisine, Hilltribes also lend a great deal of character and color to the crisply beautiful mountainous landscape.

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