Founded by the ancient Lanna Kingdom in 1296, Chiang Mai was originally a heavily fortified citadel that stood as a bulwark against Burmese kingdoms and the Mongol Yuan Empire, which had conquered much of China and parts of Southeast Asia. While the Lanna kingdom would rule parts of Thailand for 500 years until the late 1700s, Chiang Mai was later abandoned and fell into a slow decline - which was reversed only in the twentieth century. Today, Chiang Mai is the cultural center of northern Thailand, and a thriving city that hosts a number of outstanding temples, which are complemented by some of the best outdoors activities in all of Thailand - due to its proximity to nearby lush rainforests and the mighty Mae Taeng River. Notable attractions include Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, a picturesque, beautiful mountain temple, and the MAIIAM, the city's contemporary art museum.
A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.
Participate in a khantoke dinner at a scenic spot, such as Wieng Kum Kam, an ancient city not far from Chiang Mai. Khantoke is an authentic way for honored guests to partake in traditional music and dance while enjoying classic Issan (northern Thai) dishes.
Spend a morning with a scholar of Lanna culture and architecture. Your expert will explain the principles of Lanna design and the adoption of this aesthetic at the Rachamankha, a luxurious boutique hotel whose grounds reflect the architectural history of this diverse region and whose design is based on the viharn (chapel) of one of Thailand’s most beautiful temples, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang in Lampang province.
Explore the Night Bazaar, a modern day version of a caravanserai, where you can choose from a vast array of handicrafts and other locally made items – many of which make fine gifts.
Explore Wat Umong, or the “Temple of Tunnels,” located in a forested, rural area a few miles outside Chiang Mai. Learn about the fascinating and mysterious history of this temple, which is believed to date from the late 14th century and was used by the Japanese as a base during World War II.
Visit Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, a Buddhist temple atop a mountain just nine miles from central Chiang Mai. Meet with the temple’s monks and receive a private blessing. On your descent, your guide will alert you to any beautiful tropical birds that are sometimes present at Doi Suthep mountain. At the foot of Doi Suthep is Huay Kaew Waterfall, which cascades over a 165-foot rock slope and is a good place to relax and take in the scenery.
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With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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