Chiang Mai, a city in Northern Thailand, has so far escaped much of the mayhem that characterises city life. The destination also boasts spectacular natural beauty and is deeply steeped in culture and traditions. In short, there are plenty of things about Chiang Mai that draw holidaymakers. Take a look at five such excuses to visit the cultural capital of Thailand.
Glorious Cultural Heritage
The exquisite architecture of ancient temples and the ruins beautifully depict the cultural heritage of Chiang Mai. Each wat (temple) showcases a glimpse of the reign it was built in. Wat Phra Singh, for instance, exhibits Lanna-style murals and some remains from the kingdom of King Pha Yu, who built the temple in 1345. Similarly, Wat Chiang Man has a significance of its own. The temple is known for two ancient Buddha statues. One is said to be 1800 years old, while the other is believed to be 2500 years old. A visit to Wat Chedi Luang, another famous temple in Chiang Mai, offers you a glimpse into the reign of King Tilo-Garaj.
Owing to its location amidst towering mountains and dense forests, many parts of Chiang Mai are still untouched. The mystery of these areas lures adventure buffs from far and wide. The topography of the region is also well suited to adventurous pursuits such as hiking, trekking, and kayaking. The deep jungles around Chiang Mai are home to wonderful wildlife such as elephants, rhinos, beers and crocodiles to name a few.
Legendary Dining Scene
Another thing that impresses tourists in Chiang Mai is the city’s diverse culinary culture. Traditionally, Chiang Mai was a place to savour Northern Thai food, but now dining here is largely influenced by other Thai cities like Bangkok and Pattaya. Most of the city’s upscale restaurants are located along the famous canal area and offer a memorable dining experience, complete with a lovely ambience and great food. Street food in Chiang Mai is equally sumptuous and surprisingly cheap.
If you love shopping, Chiang Mai will delight you no end! The buzzing weekly markets like Saturday Walking Market at Wualai Road and Sunday Walking Market at Rachadamnoen Road are a souvenir hunter’s paradise. These markets are full of green-glazed ceramics, handmade jewellery and other unique souvenirs. For a more high-end shopping experience, try out modern malls such as Kad Suan Keaw and Central Plaza Chiang Mai Airport. The individual stores, throughout the city, are also among popular shopping spots.
Enchanting Local life
The local way of life depicts the colourful character of Chiang Mai. The folks here are happy and cheerful. They live a pretty simple life but heartily celebrate many colourful festivals throughout the year. As a tourist, you will find the people to be very warm hearted and welcoming. Make sure to visit the city’s popular monasteries in the morning for a peep into the pure and simple lifestyle of the Buddhist monks.