Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand is a delightful old style walled city, the second biggest in the country but a million miles away from its larger cousin Bangkok, 435 miles south. It dates back as far as the 13th century and was the former capital of the Kingdom of Lanna. It sits on the Ping River, which is a major tributary of the Chao Praya River. This placed Chiang Mai as an important trading city.
Chiang Mai rose in political importance in 2006 when accepted as a bidding city for the World Expo 2020. The honour eventually fell to Ayuthaya, but nonetheless it marked an important progress. The city has set itself up as a creative city and is about to apply for Creative City Status with UNESCO. In 2014 it was named by tripAdvisor in a list of the “25 Best Destinations in the World”
It is relative quiet, a typical Thai provincial town. The old centre is still marked by walls and a moat, with superb gates on each of the four sides. Progress has though seen this swallowed up in the ever growing metropolis.
Being as it is on the foothills of the highest mountains in the country, the air is always somewhat cooler than most other Thai cities. The city is home to some 300 Buddhist temples and makes for a fascinating holiday stop off.