Among the many places in Thailand, Chiangmai comes well recommended, and for very good reasons. Travelers point to the many amazing sights and things to do in this laidback city situated in the Himalayan foothills. For visitors exploring Thailand, Chiangmai never ceases to amaze. Small wonder luxury hotels (like Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai) near this destination are frequented by travelers who want to be near where the popular sights and activities are. With Buddhist temples and other historic sites to the majestic mountains, the handicrafts, the shopping finds, people, the food and bustling night life, Chiangmai offers no dull moment for the curious and adventuresome traveler.
While in Thailand, Chiangmai is the kind of place that will strike you as serene because most of the people are not rushing about as they do in other key cities around the world. It may as well be referred to as a pastoral paradise, the kind you are likely to read about in books. Imagine getting all cozy in a nice, well-appointed villa that looks out to hushed paddy-fields and lush hills and mountains beyond them. It’s a perfect place to commune with nature and feel close to God.
Actually, for people who visit Northern Thailand, Chiangmai offers respite as a spiritual haven. Pilgrims visit one of the most revered temples of the Thais – the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. It is actually an awe-inspiring 14th century Buddhist architectural showcase. The temple was erected in 1386 by King Keuna the Great. Legend has it that the temple’s site was chosen when an elephant carrying half of a holy relic ascended the mountains after several days and circled the temple spot before kneeling down and dying. A visit to Thailand, Chiangmai particularly, will not be complete without seeing the sacred temple.
There are other lovely temples in Chiangmai. You can explore the oldest to the noblest ones, including the Wat Suan Dok, which holds the ashes of Chiang Mai’s former Royal Family members. In another chapel lies one of Thailand’s largest icons in metal – a 500-year old bronze Buddha. You may also want to visit the temple compound where the divine Lai Kham chapel, with its remarkable murals and woodcarvings, is situated,
For a dose of history, there is another must-see while exploring Thailand. Chiang Mai National Museum will fascinate you no end with its collection of Lanna Thai artworks, ancient, war weaponry, and antique Buddha images.
Shopaholics are also bound to have a heyday at Thailand’s night bazaars. For those who would rather watch artisans at work in the villages, a number of cottage industries and handicrafts ranging from parasols, silk weaving, jewelry, woodcarving, silverware, and lacquerware, to name a few, may suit you fine.
Are you raring for an anthropological adventure? Try a river cruise that travels down The Chang pier. This is where elephants used to haul logs from the river in the old days. The pier derived its name from the king’s elephants, which used to bathe on that site. You will see some of Thailand’s firsts – first bridge, first post office, and other interesting sites and get a whiff of the including lifestyles of the locals who dwelled on opposite sides of the river, plus some historic spots along the riverbanks. All these you can enjoy at a leisurely pace. Check out online travel resources for Thailand and you are bound to have a fantastic experience you will be able to delightfully recount to your family and friends.