Chiang Mai

The compact Old City can be explored easily on foot or by bicycle. The system of one-way streets can be confusing, 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 ones. The so-called Lanna style of architecture—stepped eaves, dark teak, and gleaming white stucco construction—has been adopted by the owners of boutique hotels in the Old City, where high-rise buildings are banned.

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  • 1. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    As in so many chapters of Thai history, an elephant is closely involved in the legend surrounding the foundation of the late-14th-century Wat...Read More

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  • 2. Bhubing Palace

    Castle/Palace/Chateau

    The summer residence of the royal family is a serene mansion that shares an exquisitely landscaped park with the more modest mountain retreats...Read More

  • 3. Chiang Mai Night Safari

    Zoo/Aquarium

    Modeled on Singapore's famous game park, the Chiang Mai Night Safari realized a long-held dream of Thaksin Shinnawatra, Thailand's prime minister...Read More

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  • 4. Chiang Mai Zoo

    Zoo/Aquarium

    The cages and enclosures of this zoo on the lower slopes of Doi Suthep are spaced out along paths that wind leisurely through shaded woodlands...Read More

  • 5. Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium

    Zoo/Aquarium

    A walk-through underwater tunnel more than 146 meters (160 yards) long provides dramatic views of the thousands of aquatic creatures that live...Read More

  • 6. Darapirom Palace

    House/Mansion/Villa

    This Lanna-style mansion was the last home of Jao Dararasamee, daughter of a late-19th-century ruler of Chiang Mai and the favorite wife of...Read More

  • 7. Doi Suthep National Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    You don't have to head to the distant mountains to go trekking during your stay in Chiang Mai. Doi Suthep, the 3,542-foot peak that broods over...Read More

  • 8. Elephant Nature Park

    Zoo/Aquarium

    There are several elephant reserves north of Chiang Mai, but for a truly authentic up-close experience this one is hard to beat. More than 30...Read More

  • 9. Elephant Training Center

    Zoo/Aquarium

    The pachyderms here are treated well and seem to enjoy showing off their skills. They certainly like the dip they take in the river before...Read More

  • 10. Sankamphaeng Hot Springs

    Bath/Hot Spring

    Among northern Thailand's most spectacular hot springs, these ones include two geysers that shoot water high into the air. The spa complex,...Read More

  • 11. Wiang Kum Kam

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    When King Mengrai decided to build his capital on the Ping River, he chose a site a few miles south of present-day Chiang Mai. He selected a...Read More

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