Located in northern Thailand, is the country’s second largest city after Bangkok: Chiang Mai. The city is one of the nation’s most important cultural, economic and infrastructural centers. Because of the scenic beauty, it is also called ‘Rose of the North’. Close to it are the Huai Nam Dang National Park, Doi Inthanon and Doi Angkhang, three of Thailand’s most important national parks.
Chiang Mai was founded in 1296 by King Mangrai as the capital of his empire Lan Na. After the subjugation of the Mon Empire Haripunchai, Chiang Mai became the capital of Lan Na. In 1556, the Burmese made Lan Na their vassal and only in 1775 Chiang Mai came under General Taksin to Thailand, but retained until 1932 a quasi-autonomous status.
Chiang Mai has a total of about 200 Buddhist temples, many of which are in the Old City. It is surrounded by a quadrangle of the ancient city walls and a parallel moat, which can be crossed on numerous bridges. Probably the most famous temple in the city is Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, other interesting temples are Wat Lok Mo Li, Wat Umong, Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang. In 2015, the monuments, sites and cultural landscape of Chiang Mai were included in the preliminary list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
But Chiang Mai has not only culture, but also a lot of nature to offer. For example, wildlife enthusiasts and adventurers can visit an Elephant Sancturary, or make multi-day treks in Mae Wang National Park and immerse themselves in the culture of ethnic groups. If you do not want to walk by yourself, you can simply ride through the jungle on the back of a horse of the Thai Horse Farm.