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The northern city of Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most distinctive provincial capitals, steeped in tradition and local culture.With is own direct, dilicious northern cuisine and unique architectural style, the former kingdom of Lanna – the land of a million rice fields – stands apart form the rest of Thailand. In recent years the city has undergone considerable change. Several leading hotel chains have established a strong presence inn the city within the last year, each following the style of the many successful boutique resorts and guesthouses by creating environment that reflect the regions rice cultural heritage.

Chiang Mai experiences cool season from November to January with morning and evening temperatures dropping as low as 60 C. During Febuary, March and April the level of pollution can be extremely bad in Chiang Mai and the north due to burning fields to clear land, and the hert. The region is best avoided during this period. The rainy season of June to October is a pleasant time to visit.

Just north of the city on the road known as the Mae Rim Loop are several orchid farms, Visitor can enjoy exotic year-round blooms. These farms also special butterfly nclosures where tropical species can be seen in a natural environment

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Also on the Mae Rim Loop is a Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden. Covering a mountainous area of 560 acres the garden was astablished to honour Queen Sirikit in 1992. It has a fine collection of Thai and Foreign plants. The garden is setup to exhibition plants according to species and climate. Visitors can drive around the area. Places to see include Thai Orchid Breeding Centre, Herbs Museum and Reserch Centre.

San Kamphaeng is famous for silk and cotton-weaving village 13 kilometers east of the city. Most of the visitor to Chiang Mai visit San Kampheang for souvenirs that are high quality but inexpensive. The village showcases a weaving factory as well as aweaving process. On the way from Cho=iang Mai to San Kampheang, there are fuctories and sovernir shop that sell woodcarving, Siverware, earthenware, lacqueware, and cotton fabrics.

Kao Soi

To sample the northern food dish Kao Soi. Exploring the local fresh food market in Chiang Mai is a great way to get a feel for the local way of life. Many are hidden away and are therefore often devoid os tourists.

Chiang Mai renowned as the location of many Thai festivals the year. The most exuberant annual Songkran New Year celebration. Thai tourists flock to the city from all over the country to expirience the grand celebrations and the mayhem of mass water fights! This year’s festival takes place between the 13th to the 15th of April. Unofficial celebations, however, cann last over a week.

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To get around Chiang Mai is in the Tuk – Tuk but fares can high and add up to a lot over the course of the holiday. Another option is hire a motorcyle or a car. The are many shops hiring vehicles in the city.

Chiang Mai lies 800 kilometer north of Bangkokand just over an hour away by air. Thai Airwatys fly direct whereas Bangkok Airways fly via Sukhothai. The overnight train from bangkok’s Hua Lompong station to Chiang Mai makes for an intersting and considerably cheaper travel option.

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Published by Phol Jansinger

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