Chiang Mai

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Chiang Mai is the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand, and is the capital of Chiang Mai Province. It is located 700 km (435 mi) north of Bangkok, among the highest mountains in the country. The city lies on the Ping river, which aided in the city's historic importance, not only in the region but throughout Thailand and made it a major trade route.
The past few years has seen Cjiang Mai grow in to a modern city but retains its historic links as a city of trade and crafts, such as handcrafted goods, woodcarvings and jewelry.

It is estimated that over 1 million foreign visitors travel to Chiang Mai each year with a reputation of becoming a "Creative City". The city itself has a population of about 1 million which counts for more than half of the region.
The city is subdivided into four districts: Nakhon Ping, Srivijaya, Mengrai, and Kawila. Nakhon Ping district comprises the north of the city. Srivijaya, Mengrai, and Kawila consist of the west, south, and east respectively. The city center is mostly with Srivijaya ward.
The locals speak Kham Muang (or Northern Thai) between themselves but are taught national Thai at school. English is spoken in most hotels in the area and by a large number of the businesses.


The city was first founded in 1296 by King Mengrai and became the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. The city offically became part of Siam in 1774 after Siam had helped the kingdom of Lanna drive out the Burmese. The city was abandoned between 1776 and 1791 following the fall of Ayutthaya and the wars with Burma. Lampang became the capital of what was left of Lanna during this time.


Chiang Mai has a tropical wet and dry climate tempered by the low latitude and moderate elevation, with warm to hot weather year-round, though nighttime conditions during the dry season can be cool and are much lower than daytime highs.

Photo top right "Inthakhin - city pillar building, Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
"by Photographer: Heinrich Damm

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