Chiang Mai or sometimes written as "Chiengmai" or "Chiangmai", is the most important cultural city in northern Thailand. It is the capital of Chiang Mai Province, an ancient capital of the Lanna Kingdom (1296-1768). In 1932, Chiang Mai province has become the second-level administrative divisions of Thailand when Phayap Monthon administrative unit, the ruins of the Lanna Kingdom was abolished. Chiang Mai is located above 700 km north of Bangkok, in the middle of the highest mountain of Thailand. Chiang Mai means "new city" and was named so because it is the new capital, founded in 1296.
Joining a cooking class or Thai massage, shopping at Bazaar night market, or traveling on hot air balloon… are some experiences visitors should try when in Chiang Mai.
1. Old City
The Old City is the center of Chiang Mai, with large numbers of temples, monuments, convenient for walking and sightseeing. You can spend a day strolling around. Especially, there are many bars and cafés around the area, most notably Dada Kafe with vegetarian dishes and a variety of delicious drinks.
In addition, visitors can easily visit the Old City through the Segway tour. The Segway is a two-wheeled electric vehicle that makes it easy for you to travel around without having to worry about walking a long distance.
2. Temples and pagodas
Dating back to the 14th century, Wat Phra Singh is one of the oldest temples in Chiang Mai. The temple has a very unique bible, which attracts pilgrims to Chiang Mai.
Beside Wat Phra Singh, there is a famous Wat Chedi Luang. The temple was built in 1391 but not until 1475 to complete. Today, Wat Chedi Luang also contains many secrets to visitors because of the remains of the three monks were enlightened at the temple. What is special is that these monks are sitting in a meditation posture, their skin is still rosy, and their eyes seem to be still alive.
3. Shop at the walking street and Bazaar night market
Shopping at the walking street is a great way to experience the culture and custom in Chiang Mai. The walking street starts from Tha Phae Gate to Ratchadamnoen Road, and is open from 4:00 pm to midnight. This is where visitors can shop for handicrafts, traditional clothing, lacquers, and souvenirs - the unique gifts of Northern Thailand.
In addition to the walking street, the Bazaar night market on Chang Klan Road is also a great place for shopping. Products for sale are quite rich variety, cheap but you also should make some bargains.
4. Cooking class or Thai massage
In Chiang Mai, visitors can spend time to attend a cooking class. You will be guided by a professional chef everything from the grocery store, raw materials selection, and cooking tips.
In addition to cooking classes, visitors can also take Thai massage classes. Depending on the content of the course, long or short, there is a course you only need to study within a day or even just one afternoon.