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Destinations: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai:

 

Even today, the old city of Chiang Mai, situated in the North of Thailand, is still surrounded by it’s original 13th century moat and the remains of an old city walls.

The city itself encloses you in a sense of awe and serenity and yet just outside these walls is a buzzing cosmopolitan city.  Chiang Mai can offer you a historical journey through its breathtaking landscapes and temples but then can also dazzle you with it’s midnight markets where streets are closed and people stroll up and down until 11pm.

Chiang Mai is great for shopping - you can buy quality items for very little money and then partake of the sounds, sights and smells of this vibrant city.
What more could you ask for in a holiday destination?

The city itself is surrounded by a ring of mountains, offering beautiful views from every direction.  An array of over 300 temples also decorates the skyline, with some dating back as far as the 13th century.  Natural wonders are certainly a highlight for this city.  Chiang Mai offers a multitude of waterfalls, national parks and mountain trails to visit, with all attractions within half an hours drive in every direction.  Ancient ruins and museums are right at your finger tips, without having to make a whole day trip for just one location.
Getting around to each of these spots is also relatively easy.  Red mini-taxi’s roam the streets that are called Songthaew.  At first glance, A Songthaew looks like a small ute with a canopy on – in fact they are! However they are cheap, a ride should cost about 12 baht no matter where you are going in the city.  There are no meters in these red taxis so you have to agree with the driver on your fee before you take off.  This also applies for the Thai tuk tuk.  You can bargain for your tuk tuk fare, but again it needs to be done before you get in.  There are metered taxis in Chiang Mai but they are the most expensive form of transport and there are limited numbers.

Luckily transport shouldn’t be an issue with all of your shopping needs in Chiang Mai.  Whilst all the local shops and department stores offer great value and variety during the day, it is at night when the city’s shopping hot spots come to life.  The streets become filled with market stalls at night, and these stalls are filled with clothing, food and anything else that you could think of.  The markets offer a great way to mingle with the locals and pick up a bargain at the same time.  It will give you an opportunity to fine tune your bargaining skills and go home with some great finds.  A night bazaar also opens on Sunday nights and offers a combination of both modern and traditional goods.  Chiang Mai Province holds a population of 1, 600, 000 of whom 172, 000 live in Chiang Mai, so expect some hustle and bustle and great atmosphere at the markets.

Luckily Chiang Mai is considered to be a lot cooler when compared to the rest of Thailand, so it won’t be too hot and uncomfortable when roaming the streets.  On average the temperature is 25.4°C degrees Celsius, with the high season reaching 40°C and the low season hitting 5-10°C.  Winter is quite a popular time of year for visitors.  There is still plenty of sunshine and clear skies but the temp is much cooler and flowers are blossoming at their peak.
 

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