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Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand and located around 700 kilometres north of Bangkok near the highest mountains in the country. Chiang Mai is defined as ‘New City’ and named after became the new capital of Lan Na in 1296. Chiang Mai succeeded Chiang Rai as the capital of Lan Na and was founded by Mangrai in 1294 or 1296 on the site of an older city of the Lawa people called Wiang Nopburi. Currently, Chiang Mai is developed into a modern yet historical city with buildings standing side by side and venerable and ancient temples.
The city is subdivided into four khwaeng which are Nakhon Ping, Srivijaya, Mengrai, and Kawila. The first three are on the west bank of the Ping River, and Kawila is on the east bank. Nakhon Ping District includes the northern part of the city and Srivijaya, Mengrai, and Kawila consist of the western, southern and eastern parts respectively. Chiang Mai only covers most parts of the Mueang Chiang Mai District with a population of 160,000 and extends into several neighbouring districts. The Chiang Mai metropolitan area has a population of nearly one million people, more than half the total of Chiang Mai Province.
Chiang Mai was the site of the Chiang Mai Initiative between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the "ASEAN+3" countries which are China, Japan, and South Korea in May 2006. Besides that, in December 2017, it was also awarded the UNESCO title of Creative City and one of two tourist destinations in Thailand on TripAdvisor's 2014 list of ‘25 Best Destinations in the World’. In addition, it was one of three Thai cities contending for Thailand's bid to host the World Expo 2020 as well.
Visitors from Singapore can easily reach Chiang Mai by plane. It takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes from Changi Airport to Chiang Mai International Airport. There are many airlines that cater to this connection such as Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Scoot 674, Thai Airways and many more.
Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) handles both domestic and regional international flights. Thai Airways flies daily almost every hour, with additional flights in the peak tourist season. Currently, there are 31 different airlines that fly into and out of the airport. There are facilities such as money changing counters and ATM machines in both terminals and on the ground floor.
Once you reach the airport, you can take a taxi from the airport to the city centre which only located 3 kilometres away or 10-15 minutes away by car. There is a legal airport and metered taxis operate from the exit at the north end of the terminal after baggage claim and customs. The current rate for a taxi to central Chiang Mai is usually 160 Baht or SGD 6.8.
Wat Phra Singh
Wat Phra Singh is one of the main attraction in Chiang Mai. It is a temple comprised of three main structures and located at the western end of Ratchadamnoen Road. The temple houses an important Buddha statue which is the Phra Buddha Sihing that gives the temple its name. According to legend, it was based on the lion of Shakya, a lost statue which used to be housed in the Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya (India). There are two more Buddha statues in Thailand which are claimed to be the Phra Buddha Sihing; one is housed in Wat Phra Mahathat in the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat and another in the Bangkok National Museum. Visitors are welcomed with the temple’s signature Lanna-style roofs and glittering viharn or assembly hall. The main entrance is guarded by Singhs or lions and the temple is constantly packed with visitors and worshippers all year round especially during the Thai New Year festival (Songkran) in mid-April. Every year, during the Songkran festival, the statue is taken from Wihan Lai Kham and carried through the streets of Chiang Mai in a religious procession and the spectators honour the statue by sprinkling water over it.
Chiang Mai Night Safari
Similar to Singapore Night Safari, Chiang Mai Night Safari offers the same experience of seeing animals at night. It consists of three animal zones which are Savanna Safari, Predator Prowl and Jaguar Trail. Savanna Safari and Predator Prowl are accessible via open-sided safari trams whereas Jaguar Trail is a walking trail that you can wander along at your own pace. The safari covers 2.4 kilometres trail and houses mostly by herbivores and prey animals, such as giraffes, zebras, antelopes, llamas, rhinoceros, elephants and various species of Asian and African wild deer. The tram ride for each zone consumes around 30 minutes. Besides that, there are also activities such as hand-feeding wild animals and petting tiger cubs and shows like laser light show and ‘dancing’ fountain. Visitors are required to plan your trip to night safari as each animal zones have different opening times. African Savana and Predator Prowl are evening zones and open from 6.00 pm to 11.00pm whereas the day zone (Jaguar Trail) is open from 11.00 am to 11.00pm.
Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon National Park is the natural beauty of rugged mountainous terrain surrounded by lush tropical forests, rivers and amazing waterfalls. This attraction is a protected park and provides a sanctuary for a wide range of animal species. There are about 362 different species of bird and makes this national park a perfect place for bird watching. Besides that, there are also other animal species and herbal plants. The park also showcases settlements of Northern Hill tribes and allow these unique villages to maintain their traditional cultures while co-existing with modern developments in terms of tourism and the Bhumibol Dam. This place is ideal for a perfect weekend gateway.
Standing tall at 1,685 meters or 5,528 feet, Doi Pui is the eighth largest mountain in Thailand. The main attractions of Doi Pui are the amazing waterfalls which are Mae Sa Falls, Huay Kaew Falls and Monthathan Falls. The waterfalls can be easily reached from the main road. Besides that, there are also different types of wildlife including mammals and birds and the widely known is the rare Crocodile Salamander. There are also a large number of shops and small restaurants scattered around throughout the park, especially near Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and accommodation to stay overnight. Most of the accommodation consists of small huts and bungalows surrounded by the lush greenery of the forest.
Khai Soi is a must dish to try if you are at Chiang Mai. It is a dish of rich and savoury yellow curry noodle soup, served with spring onions, pickled cabbage and slices of lime. The noodle that is commonly used is egg noodles and you can choose the meat from chicken, beef or pork. Khai Soi is a simple yet delicious dish and because of the small portion and addictive taste, many people order for more bowls. This dish is perfect to be enjoyed with friends and family.
Gaeng Hang Lay
Gaeng Hang Lay is a unique and popular dish at Northern Thailand comprised of yellow curry with a tamarind-based soup, pork chunks, shallots and shrimp paste. This dish came originally from Burma and made up from the same ingredients but with less oil. The pork belly and pork ribs are slowly stewed together with a mixture of different spices and herbs. The fat from the pork resulted in thick and rich as well as aromatic flavour. Visitors can find this dish at night market and restaurants around Da Lat.
Ho is defined as putting together and Gaeng Ho or Kaeng Ho means ‘all mixed up’. Gaeng Ho is a traditional dish made from any leftover vegetables around the kitchen with a dish’s base of thin noodles. Now, it is mainly a fresh mixture of the fermented bamboo shoot, red curry paste, hang lay curry paste and kae curry paste combine to make the base ingredients. After that, they are mixed with a good variety of herbs and vegetables, pork belly meat, glass noodle, shrimp paste and chillies.
King Mengrai the Great Monument
Located at Chiang Rai, King Mengrai Monument is a monument of King Mengrai the Great which is the founder of Lanna Kingdom. The King had established the first capital in Chiang Saen in 1262 before relocating it to the west bank of the Ping River in Chiang Mai in 1296. This attraction is approximately around 2 hours from Chiang Mai city and can be easily spotted from far by its three giant golden tungs which are the Lanna flags. The locals usually stop here to pay respect to the city’s founding father before continuing on with their journey. Visitors can learn on the history of King Megrai and the establishment of the kingdom as well as see the display of artefact and tools used back then. Besides that, there is also a craft centre where it sells attractive souvenirs and also a place to rest for visitors.
Kok River Boat Cruise
Kok River Boat Cruise is one of the main activities here at Tha Ton city. Tha Ton is around 2 hours journey from Chiang Mai and visitors can enjoy a cruise by the daily public boat, a private charter or a package from a Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai tour agent. The cruise consists of the boat trip, visit the Ruam Mit elephant camp and a trek with one or two-night stays in hill-tribe villages. You can buy a ticket for any of the downriver destinations. The services are usually down during dry season when water levels get too low or in the rainy season when heavy rains will make the cruise journey dangerous. Therefore, visitors are reminded to come at the right season and bring along essential things.
Mae Fah Luang Art & Cultural Park
For those who interested in cultural heritage and history, you can visit Mae Fah Luang Art & Cultural Park. The museum displays the kingdom’s 400-year history and showcases an amazing collection of secular and religious art and artefacts. Visitors also can go to the Haw Kham pavilion and learn about animist and Buddhist rituals from the Lanna culture. The culture is still practised today by locals. Besides that, visitors also can stroll around the landscaped lake garden with traditional styles of traditional Lanna and Tai hill-tribes. In addition, there is also the museum’s crafts shop that sells many souvenirs and handmade crafts. The opening hours of this museum is from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Mondays.
With the flight and ticket package available at Traveloka Singapore, you can visit Chiang Mai more easily and cheaper. Choose a variety of tour packages that we offer, and modify as you like to get the combination you want.
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