In the mystical north-west of Thailand, the visually striking city of Chiang Mai has all of the cultural advantages of Bangkok without the disadvantages of traffic jams and air pollution. With over 300 temples to explore, a number of elephant sanctuaries to visit, awe inspiring scenery and mouth-watering cuisine on every corner of every street, this city is an extremely popular choice for tourists wishing to experience the rich culture on offer here.
Combining a stay in Chiang Mai with Bangkok or one of the many beach resorts in Thailand is a very easy and effective way of experiencing the city, the culture and those glorious beaches all in one holiday. Reached either by an overnight bus (which can be quite inexpensive but not the most comfortable) or a short regular flight from Bangkok, Chiang Mai is very accessible.
A visit to this city would not be complete without experiencing at least one or two of the magnificent temple complexes here, either independently or as part of an organized tour – the latter whilst sometimes having its down points, is often the best way of learning about the importance of these majestic structures. Alongside the famous night market, endless tuk-tuk tours of the city and delectable cuisine, visitors also take up the chance to trek the mountainous area around Mae Taeng. Here the villages of Lahu, Karen and Hmong can be found and there is the chance to try a rafting experience along the beautiful Mae Taeng River. Close to here you will also find Elephant Training Centres, some which have dubious tourist shows and elephant-back riding, others that focus more on the ethical way to promote tourism where elephants have the freedom to move around all day and are only exposed to small groups of visitors. How long you choose to stay here is up to you, but one thing is for sure, you will never get bored!
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