Chiang Mai or “Nop Buri Nakorn Pink”, the former capital of the Lanna kingdom, is considered an area of nature, cold weather, and diverse culture. Being a hub of several ancient realms, Chiang Mai has been a center of exchanging knowledge, religions, architecture, and commerce for centuries. This facet has created the unique Lanna characteristics.
People who came to settle in Chiang Mai brought with them handicrafts such as umbrella making, silverware, and woodcraft. Cultural traditions like the traditional New Year celebration the Lanna Songkran festival, and the ceremony of worshiping the Inthakin Pillar were also imported.
Tan Guay Salak is a communal festival that takes place every October in Chiang Mai and some other provinces. Men make bamboo baskets into which women place fruit, candies, and other delicacies. The container is then topped with money and presented to Buddhist monks in memory of the dead. It is given as an offering of thanks, remembrance, and to increase the chance for the living to merit a better reincarnation.
Many Chiang Mai rituals express the belief of religions and spirits. Such ceremonies are, for example, releasing hot-air balloons representing letting go all of one’s bad luck, the Great Sermon, lighting pot candles to pay respect to Buddhism and Pra Tat Toong, which is a long-pole flag made to accompany these religious ceremonies from birth to death. A defensive moat around the old town was created long ago. Along the watercourse are old fortresses called “jaeng” meaning corner in the local language. Within the square was the location of a palace of Chiang Mai’s old rulers (now a government service office), and many important ancient temples such as Wat Pra Singha with its delicate Buddha image hall or Wat Chedi Luang which has the biggest Chedi in Chiang Mai.
King Mengrai founded the city of Chiang Mai (meaning "new city") in 1296, and it succeeded Chiang Rai as the capital of the Lannathai kingdom. Mengrai constructed a moat and a wall around the city to protect it against raids from Burma. With the decline of the Lannathai kingdom, the city lost importance and often was occupied by either the Burmese or by the Thais from Ayutthaya. As a result of the Burmese wars that culminated in the fall of Ayutthaya in April 1767, Chiang Mai itself was so depopulated that the remaining inhabitants abandoned the city for fifteen years (1776 - 1791). Lampang functioned as the capital of what remained of Lannathai during that time.
Chiang Mai formally became part of Siam in 1774, when the Thai King Taksin captured the city from the Burmese. Chiang Mai rose in both cultural, trading and economic terms to gradually adopt its current status as the unofficial capital of the north of Thailand, second only in national importance to Bangkok.
The people generally speak Kham Muang (also known as Northern Thai or Lanna) amongst themselves, but the Central Thai of Bangkok is used in education and is understood by most. The old Kham Muang alphabet is now only studied by scholars and Northern Thai is commonly written using the standard Thai alphabet.
Chiang Mai hosts many Thai festivals, including
The name was changed from Fha Hom Pok National Park because of the name of a high hill at Dan Lao Moutain Range. The highest hill in the park is about 2285 meters above sea level. On the top of the hill, there is granite and a shallow layer of soil. It is quite windy all the year and the ridge road being parallel with the border of Thailand-Myanmar. It is interesting to visit the national park in winter because of the cooler weather, mountain mists and migratory birds such as purple cochoa, brown-breasted bulbul, blue peacock, and brown gorgon, turdus ruficollis, grey-winged blackbirds, and chestnut thrush come here. There are rare orchids which are hard to find in other parts of Thailand. There are some attractive butterflies such as the kaisar-i-hind that only appear here.One of the attractions at Pha Hom Pok National Park is the Natural Hot Spring. There are several hot springs within a ten acre area. The water has a high sulphur content and possesses curative and restorative properties.
Doi Mon Jong has a beautiful landscape filled with mountain ranges. The route to this mountain is beautiful with the shade of sunlight along the deep forest of Omkoi. The loveliness of the scenery is an attraction that makes visitors fall in love with this place. There are also fields of Rhododendron for the travelers to see. Rhododendrons are very hard to find in Thailand, one of the places where we can find them is Hua Sing peak, which is the highest peak on Omkoi. Rhododendrons will blossom in the sunlight, which is a very beautiful picture that tourists come to see especially during winter.
Doi Mon Jong is located in the Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary, Musoe Forest Protection Unit, 131 Moo 2 Tambol Yangpiang, Amphur Omkoi, Chiangmai 50310. The route starts from Bangkok to Amphur Hot, Chiangmai. Then take the 108 highway and turn left to 1099 highway to Amphur Omkoi. After that drive to Musoe Forest Protection Unit and inform the officer about your visit in order to use the officer’s four-wheel car to Doi Mon Jong.
Doi Suthep, located only 16 km. from central Chiang Mai, is known to be the most comfortable mountain to visit in Chiang Mai since it takes only one day for a trip. You can take a bus from Chiang Mai University or Chiang Mai zoo if you are not driving. You will find many restaurants, shopping places, and several tourist attractions along the way, and so the popularity has increased with time.The high season is the late winter due to the most captivating view of the town of Chiang Mai from the top. February comes highly recommended, and the weather is not too cold to walk and relax. The top of nearby Doi Pui is also covered with winter flowers and gives the most exquisite picture at this time of the year.
Absorb the magnificent view at a few viewpoints along the way before reaching Wat Pratat Doi Suthep Worawihan. The temple is probably the most historically and religiously important place in Chiang Mai with the history dating back to the year 1384. The 360 steps of Naga Stairway and Pratat Doi Suthep Chedi, a tin-gold chedi that contains the Buddha’s relics, are hard-to-miss.
Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand, yet the easiest and most comfortable to visit, as there is good road access. Approaching Doi Inthanon the first landmark is Mae-Ya waterfall, one of the most beautiful and grandest in Thailand. It originates from the Mae-Ya River that flows down against rocks and cliffs over 280 meters high and 80 meters wide. At eight kilometers is Mae-Klang waterfall where tourists come to have a picnic in the cool shade. Close by is Brijinda cave containing exquisite, stalagmites and stalactites, and underwater Buddha statues. Vajiratan and Siritan waterfalls at 21 km offer stunning views of rainbows and thick abundant green forest even in the middle of the day.
The Inthanon Royal Project Research Station is situated in Mong Khun Glang village. The building is decorated beautifully with a winter plant glasshouse and offers cozy accommodation and a restaurant. Siripoom waterfall (originally known as Lao-Lu Fall among locals) at 30 km. gives a spectacular view of two streams of white water. On the right side of the road not far from Doi Inthanon National Park Office is a line of wooden stalls where villagers come to sell their agricultural products, fresh and processed, from early morning until the evening. This is called Mong market. Drive on for another 4.5 km. and you will arrive at Doi Pa-tang, twin cliffs on a mountaintop, another magnificent viewpoint of Doi Inthanon. Pra Maha Tat Napametaneedon and Pra Maha Tat Napaponpoomsiri are perfect spots for blossoms viewing and watching the sunrise and sunset.
There are both short and long nature trails in Doi Inthanon for tourists of all abilities and ages. Giw Mae Pan is a short trail of approximately 3 km. abundant with wild flowers such as rhododendron, white roses, and orchids that bloom colorfully in the late winter. You may also find Chinese gorals prancing in the morning if you’re lucky. In addition, Ang Ka Luang nature trail on the top of Thailand is 2,560 meters high and can be reached by car. The highlights of this trail are the moss and fern covered trees rhododendrons, and green-tailed sunbirds.