CHIANG MAI -Thailand

Population: 500,000

Area Code: (66) 53
Chiang Mai is less worldly, and takes itself less seriously, than the 'City of Angels'. Even its name, the 'New City', belies its long independent history as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, the 'Land of a Million Rice Fields'. Cradled between the mountains and the Mekong river and separated from the Central Plains by dense jungle, it took the arrival of the railway to end seven centuries of isolation interrupted mainly by marauding Burmese and Siamese armies. Chiang Mai's cool climate and exuberant Songkran Festival have made it a favorite dry-season refuge for Bangkokians ever since. Of late, the tickle of holidaymakers has been swollen by a tidal wave of businessmen and investor whose factories seem about to engulf the tranquil teak houses. Long a trading center for local rice farmers. Chiang Mai's industry reminds mostly on a small scale even today. The outlying villages eke out an existence with cottage-style handicrafts: silk weaving, lacquerware, wood carving, silverware, ceramics and umbrellas. Adding an aura of mystery are the Hill Tribe women from the secret valleys along the Burmese border. Chiang Mai rewards the exploring visitor with corners of exquisite beauty. Tiered wooden temples with carved gables and airy pavilions line the dusty streets. nearby are flower gardens, waterfalls, misty hilltops, and Doi Suthep, the city's magic mountain. And everywhere you are greeted by the winning of the nation's pretties girls.

How to get there

By Bus - The 10-hour journey from Bangkok can be made on air-conditioned coaches and non-air-conditioned buses originating from the Northern Bus Terminal on Bangkok's Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road.

By Air- Thai Airways operates daily flights from Bangkok and other northern Thai cities.

By Rail - The State Railways of Thailand operates daily services from Bangkok's Hualamphong Railway Station, including a popular overnight sleeper.

* Thailand
* Chiang Mai
* Chiang Mai sights & Attractions
* Where to stay and Hangout

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