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The compact Old City can be explored easily on foot or by bicycle. The system of one-way streets can be confusing for newcomers, but the plan keeps traffic moving quite effectively around the moat, which is crossed by bridges at regular intervals. The moated "one square mile" of the Old City contains 38 of Chiang Mai's temples, including its oldest and most historic, so there's enough here to keep
the most dedicated student of Buddhist architecture and culture occupied. The so-called Lanna style of architecture—stepped eaves, dark teak, and gleaming white stucco construction—has been adopted by the owners of the increasing number of "boutique" hotels arising throughout the Old City, where high-rise buildings are banned.
At the end of the 19th century, when Lampang was a thriving center of the teak trade, the well-to-do city elders gave the city a genteel look...