Chiang Mai is the north’s largest city. Chiang Mai is the center for tourism, either in the city or visiting hilltribes, elephant camps and trekking amid wonder mountain scenery.
Chiang Mai is over 700 years old. The old walled city with its moats contains some magnificent temples. Wat Phrasings is famous for its Lanna-style architecture, beautiful wood carvings and superb murals. Nearby is the ageless Wat Chedi Luang, which lost the top of its massive Shedi to an earthquake 400 years ago. Doi Suthep mountain looms over the town, and the highly-revered temple at its peak offers superb views of the surrounding countryside.
The Maesa Valley is an easy place to explore with its elephant camps, orchid farms waterfalls and Queen Sirikit Park. Elephant-lovers may prefer to head to Mae Taeng or Chiang Dao, where you can watch elephants at work and go trekking in the countryside. For the really adventurous, Doi Inthanon National Park, home to Thailand’s highest peak, provides trekking opportunities amid wonderful sceneries, plummeting waterfalls and a great variety of bird life.
Chiang Mai is known for its outstanding handicrafts. Travelers love to head down the road to San Kampaeng, which is crowded with cottage industries making wood carvings Thai silk, silverwork, umbrellas, lacquer ware, and etc. Watch the craftsman at work and also make purchases, or wander around the famous Night Bazaar, where many similar items are for sale.