Located more than 435 miles (700 km) northwest of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is a keystone on any visit to Thailand. Nicknamed the “Rose of the North”, this 700-year-old city contains an eclectic blend of history and unique cultures, set in the backdrop of beautiful, mountainous scenery. This moated northern capital is surrounded by a city wall and a ring of auspicious mountains with legendary attributes.
Today, Chiang Mai is an increasingly modern and dynamic city, which has managed to combine its rich cultural heritage with its rapid development. It is renowned for its national treasures and contains more than 300 temples ("wats" in Thai) spread throughout the city – almost as many as Bangkok. The most famous temple, Doi Suthep, sits on the west side of the city and contains some of Thailand’s most precious Buddhist relics.
Chiang Mai is also famed for its exquisite handicrafts–umbrellas, jewelry, woodcarvings, and silk – as well as its delicious food, and welcoming hospitality. Though it still retains the ancient charm of its past, the city’s identity is evolving, with stylish boutique hotels and trendy restaurants popping up around town. Still, the city has loads to offer its visitors, whether it’s an adventurous elephant safari, a peaceful trip along the Mai Ping River, or just taking in the historic sites.