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City Chiang Mai – Land of Adventure and Wildlife in Thailand

The second largest city of Thailand, Chiang Mai is surrounded by Mae Hong Son in the west, Chiang Rai, Lampang and Lamphun in the east and Lamphun and Tak on the south. Well located in the Mae Ping River basin of the 540 kilometer long Ping River; Chiang Mai hosts one of the most holy rivers of Thailand. A land of towering mountain peaks, lush green forests, rivers and streams; Chiang Mai is home to several national parks having varied species of flora and fauna. The city also has Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain of Thailand.

Accommodation Options
Chiang Mai provides the luxurious and comfortable accommodation arrangements from star hotels, resort hotels, budget hotels to economic guesthouse and hostels. The beach resorts, spa resort hotels, luxury 5 star hotels offer the plush deluxe rooms, convention centre, spa, shopping malls, fully equipped gym, pool bar and restaurant in addition to other facilities.

History
Burmese invaded the city of Chaing Mai in 1556; ruling it for almost two decades. In 1775, Chiang Mai was conquered by King Taksin with the support of King Kawila of Lampang. King Megrai the Great established Chiang Mai (also known as the New Walled City) in 1926 as the capital city of Lanna Thai Empire. That is the reason behind the strong impact of Burmese culture, architecture, language, religion and cuisine; on the Thai culture.

Popular Places
More than three hundred temples; built in Sri Lankan, Burmese and Lanna style; are the major tourist attractions in the city - Wat Phra Singh Temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Chiang Man, Wat Chet Yot and Wat Suan Dok - being the landmark temples of Chiang Mai.

Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain of Thailand and Chiang Mai zoo with more than 218 reptiles, 475 mammals, 1000 fishes, 4000 birds and 7000 animals are the other places of tourist interest. Chiang Mai Museum, home to a number of Thai and Lanna artifacts, Buddha idols, pottery, weapons, pre-historic items and photographs; is also popular among travelers. At Mae Sa Elephant Training Centre travelers can watch elephant football, elephant shows, bathing elephants; enjoying the elephant safari as well.

Getting Around
The most popular modes of transport in Chiang Mai city are tuk tuk, cars, bicycles, motorcycles, mountain bikes, taxis and air-conditioned buses. Songthaew (commonly known as rod-daeng or seelor) with covered backside benches, represent their commuting locations through vibrant red, white, yellow, blue and green colors. Tourists can also take the help of a travel guide for proper exploration of the city.

Places of Entertainment
One can get thrilling and adventurous experience in Chiang Mai, as it offers opportunities for river rafting, mountain bike riding, jungle safari, trekking and elephant riding. These adventure sports are available at Mae Hong Song, Mae Chaem, Pai, Mae Salong, Soppong, Chiang Saen, Doi Saket and Chiang Dao. A number of health and spa resorts are also coming up with health and wellness tourist packages.

The tourists can also buy Thai silk items, wood artifacts, silver-ware from the shops, shopping malls or star hotel outlets. Nightlife is in full fervor in the night clubs, discos, pubs, cabarets and night bazaars located mostly on Loi Kroh Road and Moon Muang Road.

One of the major attractions in restaurants of Chiang Mai is the ‘Khan Toke Dinner’ with a floor seating arrangement, Thai cuisine and live tribal music and dance performances. For foodies, tasting the most popular Khao Soi dish (yellow wheat noodles with chicken/beef curry) or attending the Thai cooking classes is equally rewarding.

Language(s) Spoken
Thai language is the principal language spoken in Chiang Mai. Other dialects used often, in the city, for conversations are Yawi (Malay dialect), Lao (Isan dialect) and Teochew (Chinese dialect).

Currency
The main currency of Chiang Mai is Thai Baht. For currency exchange services, travelers can go to the currency exchange offices or banks. The online news or newspaper provides all the details of running currency exchange rates.

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