Today we continue our A to Z rundown of Southeast Asia highlights. We have reached C, which is for Chiang Mai.
Founded in 1296, Chiang Mai was capital of the Lanna Kingdom until 1558.
The protective walls and moats are still a significant feature, separating Old Town from newer areas.
Chiang Mai really has something for everyone, with lively nightlife, stunning temples, traditional handicrafts, excellent food and friendly atmosphere.
Explore further than Chiang Mai and discover indigenous tribes, mountains, jungles, outdoor adventures and so much more. One of my favourite areas of Thailand and well worth a visit.
I never had any real interest in temples until I visited Thailand for the first time and discovered just how fascinating and visually pleasing they can be. Of course many people will be attracted by the spiritual significance and tranquility of them.
Chiang Mai is one of the best areas to discover and explore wonderful temples.
Take a stroll around Chiang Mai, especially Old Town, and you will soon find yourself face-to-face with a stunning temple.
Wat Phra Singh was founded in the 14th century and is also known as the Temple of the Lion Buddha. This Buddhist Temple is centrally located in the Old City, is included on all city tours or can be easily explored independently.
Nearby can be found Wat Chedi Luang, the ruins of the Temple of the Big Stupa. It is the former home of the Emerald Buddha, the holiest object in Thailand. It was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1545 and was left to ruin. Still an active place of worship.
Around 12 km outside of Chiang Mai and overlooking the city is Doi Suthep. Site of the beautiful 13th century temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The added bonus here are the incredible views over the city and the surrounding countryside.
Chiang Mai is well-known for the excellent shopping available with modern malls and high-end designer shops all available.
Many people will however head the array of markets that appear throughout the city.
Some of the markets take place just once or twice a week. The most famous of these is the Sunday Market located in the Old City from Thapae Gate along Ratchadamnoen Road. This excellent market has a wide range of food, souvenirs and handicrafts, making it a must visit if you are in the city on a Sunday evening.
Many people head to the Night Bazaar area, just outside of Old Town. Here you will find the main Night Bazaar market plus a number of smaller markets offering everything that you can think of plus many that will surprise and amaze you.
Many people, myself included, tend to base themselves around here for the ease of access to the sights, sounds and tastes of the area.
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