Northern Thailand’s largest (and, arguably, most culturally rich) city is in a beautifully lush mountainous region on an old trade route – but it’s not for flora or fauna that visitors flock here. Boasting over 300 Buddhist temples and a whole collection of associated festivals, it has a truly ancient beauty (and 21st century modernity) to match its religious significance.
The sacred site of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep draws pilgrims from far and wide, making the 15km trip to Doi Suthep mountain, before climbing the 309 steps to reach the temples. Fortunately, there’s a tram, too, to get you there.
Must eat at:
Out by the gate to Chiang Mai Zoo is a new local favourite. Palaad Tawanron, in the university district, draws residents and visitors alike for its stunning views and equally impressive locally-inspired menu.
Must be there for:
Every February, the city grinds to a halt for the spectacularly floral Flower Carnival, when colourfully-bedecked floats and parades snake through town.
· If you’re climbing Doi Suthep, don’t forget your camera. Some of the best photo opportunities in Thailand are to be had on its slopes.
· The Chiang Mai night market is a haggler’s paradise. Go, take your wallet... and your finest negotiating skills.
British citizens do not ordinarily need a visa to enter Thailand as a tourist for trips of 30 days or less, as this type of visa is issued on arrival. As conditions apply, please visit: www.thaiembassyuk.org.uk
|Time zone:||GMT +7 hours|
|Good for:||Singles, Over 60s, Couples|
|Holiday type||Winter sun, Summer sun|
|Weather||Average maximum temperature: 31.7°C (annual)
Rainfall: 1197mm a year