Chiang Mai, the second largest city of Thailand, has personality of it's own. Often called 'Rose of the North', the tourists visiting Chiang Mai take delight in the treasure of it's historic sites, as well as natural beauty. The namesake province also has the tradition of handicrafts and makes timeless souvenirs. Chiang Mai serves as a wonderful base to explore Northern Thailand.
Tourist attractions of Chiang Mai are as follows:
Chiang Mai has plenty of monuments and museums that tell the tale of it's graceful past. Exquisite woodcarvings and murals, impressive scriptural repository and praiseworthy relief work are the features of Chiang Mai monuments. Some prominent monuments of Chiang Mai are Wat Phra Sing, Wat Chiang Man, Wat Suan Dok, Wat Chedi Yuang and Wat Ku Tao. Some of these monuments are out of the boundaries of the city.
Most part of Chiang Mai province is carpeted by forested mountains, where elephants are still commonly used. Bubbling rivulets flow through these mountains making the area ideal for river rafting. The region is also loved by the trekkers. One can use Chiang Mai city as a base for relishing the offers of the countryside. Some prominent attractions of the province are Mae Klang Waterfall, Borichinda Cave, Mae Ya Waterfall and Ob Luang Gorge. Chiang Mai Zoo is also a nice place to visit.
Villages with handicraft traditions and interesting culture lie in the province. Bo Sang village has won international acclaim for it's handicraft-producing units. Specially, silk and cotton umbrellas and paper parasols are manufactured. These objects are hand-painted in several animal and floral designs. The tradition of this handicraft in Bo Sang village is more than 200 years old.
Sprawling lush golf courses of Chiang Mai lure the lovers of the sport. Playing or watching the graceful game on the green carpet of Chiang Mai is a refreshing experience. Some well-known glof courses of the place are Chiang Mai Green Valley, Lamphun Golf Club, Lanna Golf Club and Royal Chiang Mai Golf Resort.
Chiang Mai, armed with several entertainment option, fascinates local and foreign tourists alike. There are discotheques, late night restaurants, coffee shops and bars, rocking music. Karaoke centers, cocktail lounges and cabaret shows make the nightlife of the visitors colorful. People fond of peaceful late evening can relish a soulful piano tune in their hotel. There is a night bazaar too selling local handicrafts, clothes, silver, spices and many more articles.
Shopping can also be a good pastime for Chiang Mai visitors. There are regular markets in addition to the night bazaar, and exploring them could be an interesting option. Chiang Mai is particularly good for shopping of handicrafts, which are available in large stores in the city as well as handicraft villages. Couple of street markets also operate on certain days. Street markets are held on Ratchadamnoen Road and Wualai Road, on Sunday and Saturday evenings respectively.
Various means of reaching Chiang Mai via Bangkok are as follows:
Several airlines operate daily flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Regular flights for other major Thai cities are also available from Chiang Mai. International flights for some major Asian destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur also operate from Chiang Mai.
Trains for Chiang Mai leave Hualamphong Station of Bangkok several times daily. It is recommended to get the seats reserved well in advance.
Buses leave for Chiang Mai daily from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal. The journey takes 10 to 11 hours. One can also hire a car for travelling.
Chiang Mai, a tourist-oriented province, is easy to get around. The options available are given below.
» Tuk Tuk (Three-wheeled vehicles)
» Hired motorbikes or bicycles
» Hired Cars
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