Visiting Chiang Mai, the ancient city of Thailand

Wat Phra Singh, photo by archer10 (Dennis)/flickr

The ancient city, Chiang Mai is located in Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand. The spectacular city was found in 1296 AD and today is a culturally and historically interesting city. It is Thailand’s fifth largest city, being surrounded by mountains and lush countryside. The ancient Chiang Mai is almost intact, including numerous temples and gorgeous gardens. Other attractions of the city are museums, theatres, cinemas and elephant parks. Also named the “Rose of the North”, Chiang Mai attracts thousands of tourists every year. If you find the following article convincing and decide to visit Chiang Mai, you certainly won’t be bored, as there are dozens of things to see and to do here.

 

Attractions of the city

 

There are dozens of attractions in Chiang Mai, including several spectacular temples and interesting museums. There are temples inside and outside the city walls as well. Probably Chiang Mai’s best known temple is Wat Phra Singh. It was completed between 1385 and 1400. Wat Chiang Man is the oldest Royal temple of the city, being famous for the two Buddha images housed in it, which, according to the legend, are 1800 and 2500 years old. Wat Phra Jao Mengrai is a wooden temple and is not so popular with tourists, thus it is very peaceful. Outside the city walls there are temples like Wat Jet Yod, Wat Suan Dok or Wat Umong. About 18 km far from the city there is another spectacular and very popular temple, the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. The legend says that the temple’s site was selected by an elephant sent to roam the mountain side. Built in 1383, the temple is located on the slopes of Doi (Mountain) Suthep, at a height of about 1.000 meters. It isn’t easily accessible, but there is also a cable car for visitors. There are several museums and art galleries in the city. The Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre is located in the city center. You will be amazed by the guides dressed in elegant traditional Thai clothing who will present you videos about Chiang Mai and the northern part of Thailand. There are rooms in the building documenting the region’s history and culture in chronological order. Other spectacular museums are: the Chiang Mai National Museum, the Chiang Mai Numismatic Museum, the Chiang Mai University Art Museum, the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders and the Postal Museum.

 

Wat Phra Singh, photo by archer10 (Dennis)/flickr

 

Elephants

 

If you love animals, Chiang Mai is the perfect place to visit! There are numerous elephant parks and camps in the city. The Elephant Nature Park is a park for rescued and distressed elephants, where visitors can feed and bathe the animals, watch them wandering around the park. Elephants can also pick the tourists up and drop off at their hotels. At Maesa Elephant Camp visitors can watch shows which include elephants playing football and painting. There are also opportunities for elephant rides in this camp. Baanchang Elephant Park is the cheapest place where you can admire these animals. Visitors can also spend the night in the park where there are entertainment possibilities like releasing fire lanterns in the sky. At Eddy Elephant Care Chiang Mai you will have the occasion to learn about the behavior of the animals, bathe them and also ride them.

 

Maesa Elephant Camp, photo by nealeandalissa/flickr

 

Zoo and gardens

 

Other attractions of Chiang Mai are the zoo and aquarium of the city and the gorgeous gardens. The Bhuping Palace has extensive scenic gardens with some amazing plants, including tropical flowers, as well as centuries-old trees and giant bamboo. The Dokmai Garden includes about 120 different edible fruit plants, 140 different vegetables and 200 native orchid species. The garden is also home to populations of Atlas moths and the Golden Birdwing butterfly and over 80 wild bird species. It is surrounded by plantation of teak, bananas and longan. The Chiang Mai Zoo and Aquarium is extremely popular with tourists. Besides the fantastic aquarium, the zoo includes a Panda exhibition loved by dozens of visitors.

 

Bhuping Palace Park, photo by avlxyz/flickr

 

Entertainment

 

There are several entertainment possibilities in Chiang Mai, including cinemas and theatres, massage and spa facilities, rafting and river cruises, several events and festivals. The Playhouse Complex theatre is set within an eco-friendly environment, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls offering the spectators a unique Lanna Culture experience. The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is very popular event of the city. It is held every year, on the first weekend of February. During the three-day festival the city turns into a vibrant mixture of colors. Many types of flower and miniature trees are presented for the judges to choose the best of them. Visiting Chiang Mai during this event is the best choice, as the air is cool and the evenings are fresh and clear.

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