“Traditional markets, timeless temples, Muay Thai boxing, and a blossoming creative scene are all engaging elements of what makes Chiang Mai special. Ambitious and innovative restaurants mixed with a contemporary art and design scene is what makes Chiang Mai a historical yet modern city.”
Chiang Mai is a 700-year-old city located in Northern Thailand with a population of 200,000 people. Known as the ‘Rose of the North,’ it has over 300 temples with a cooler temperature than its urban counterpart, Bangkok.
Each neighborhood in Chiang Mai has a distinct personality and vibe. The ‘Old City,’ is located in the heart of the Chiang Mai. It is a very popular area for travelers and backpackers, especially during celebrations like Loy Krathong and Songkran. The central location filled with huge markets, temples, galleries, and markets are perfect for first-time travelers.
The ‘pagoda,’ or Wat Chedi Luang was built in the late 1300s during the Mengrai dynasty. It measures about 60 meters across and 80 meters tall. It was home of Emerald Buddha and is Thailand’s most sacred and renowned religious structure.
Chiang Mai is home to over 300 temples. No other province in Thailand has more. Most of these temples share attributes of curved wooden rooks pointing up at the top. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the most famous temple, perched high in the mountains overlooking the city like an eagle. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Thailand.
Chiang Mai has an alternative experience for travelers looking for a modern scene. The best night activities in the Old City include live music, nightclubs, chilled-out beer gardens, refined wine bars.
CM Entertainment Complex is a narrow alley surrounded by numerous bars. The end of the alley includes a Muay Thai boxing ring. This area is the epicenter of adult nightlife in Chiang Mai. It hosts kickboxing events most nights. These live Muay Thai matches offer an engaging experience that doesn’t appear staged or manufactured. The atmosphere is electric for any traveler looking for a boisterous and rowdy scene.
Muay Thai (pronounced Moo-ay tie) is the national sport of Thailand. Similarly, It shares many similar attributes to kickboxing but with different rules and scoring system. Muay Thai originated during the 16th century as a system of self-defense created by the military. As time passed, it evolved to a competitive spectator sport with rounds, a ring, gloves and groin protectors. Around the 1970s and 80s, Muay Thai gained worldwide popularity and foreigners began flocking to Thailand to train and fight.
Tha Pae Gate is a tourist landmark in the eastern side of the ‘Old City.’ Most noteworthy, it acted as a fortress of the Lanna Kingdom from the 13th to 18th century. Today the gate represents a geographical boundary. Surrounded by the gate area are hotels, cafes, shops, restaurants, and bars. The gate area hosts a variety of events throughout the year such from cultural shows, lantern-lighting, flower carnival festivals, and famous night markets. On Saturday evenings live bands perform in front of the brick gate. Food vendors are available for any traveler or local looking to continue their evening after a dinner or club events.
The beauty of Chiang Mai can be witnessed either by strolling through an ancient botanical garden, attending a late night Muay Thai fight, or eating egg curry noodles (Khao Soi) at a night festival. Chiang Mai’s old traditions and unapologetic modernity combine to create an experience that will dazzle the senses and enrich the soul.