Thailand has a booming tourism industry and is a great and cheap place for Australian’s to venture to on a holiday. Just 700km up from Bangkok is the beautiful city of Chiang Mai. While it too is popular to visit, it never gets quite the credit like say Phuket. So, we are exposing this beautiful place for all its glory!
Our Thailand programs run in the Northern part of the country up in Chiang Mai. It is the largest city in the area and is not to be confused with Chiang Rai or Chengmai County. Chiang Mai means ‘new city’ and was founded in 1296 as the new capital of Lan Na, the former capital being Chiang Rai.
The emblem of the city shows the stupa at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and below it is clouds. These clouds represent the moderate climate of the Northern Thailand the mountains.
Founded over seven centuries ago, the city is steeped in history and covered in beautiful architecture. You’ll no doubt fall in love with the kind and charming locals too!
You won’t want to miss out on the chance to see the Doi Inthanon National Park which is home to the highest mountain in all of Thailand, reaching 2562m. Covering over 48,240 hectares you’ll see various species of birds and animals.
If nature is something you’re more interested in spending your time in, you should visit the orchard and butterfly farm. Did you know that the Orchid is the symbol of Thailand and Thai Airways? Found just outside Chiang Mai is the Bai Orchard and Butterfly Farm with the cutest little giftshop you could grab something from. The Butterfly Farm is home to thousands of butterflies and you are able to see them in their natural habitat. A beautiful place to get some Instagram pics!
Fancy being on the water? Take a boat ride on the Mae Ping River. Spend two hours along the river and watch in awe of the scenery change as you go along. You’ll also pass traditional teak houses too.
Not quite as large as the Grand Canyon itself, but there is a huge canyon with some deep pools of water in it that has some outstanding views. You’ll find a restaurant at the entrance where you can get a drink and a bite to eat before you step into the amazing views.
The city has over 20 Buddhist temples, some being very popular tourist attractions. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the most famous and could be seen as equivalent to London’s Big Ben. The temple dates from 1383 and resides on Doi Suthep, a mountain to the north-west of the city. It reaches an elevation of 1,073m and you’ll be able to see amazing views, including the city.
The oldest temple is Wat Chiang Man which dates back to the 13th century. The temple is home to two very important Buddha figures, the crystal Phra Satang Man and the marble Phra Sila.
There is a temple near U-Mong called Wat RamPoeng which is famous for its meditation centre. It teaches traditional practices of vipassanā where students can stay for 10 days up to over a month. They will meditate for at least 10 hours a day.
There is no doubt you’ll experience Thailand's wonderful culture in many forms, from shopping at local markets to visiting the temples. But you could go on a trip to some of the different tribal groups that still exist in Thailand.
For a more historical and cultural experience, you could visit the Long Neck Karen Tribe. This group was originally from Myanmar but were forced to flee Thailand during the political unrest of that time. The tribe resides in small villages, one living just outside Chiang Mai.
It is a very enlightening experience as you see the tribe carry out their everyday life but can also support the community by buying their hand-made products. It is also recommended you take a tour guide as they will be able to translate and ask any questions you may want to ask.
Thailand is a beautiful country and there are places to experience. With such a deep history, breathtaking views as well as their colourful culture you’ll never regret a meaningful trip to Thailand with us. We run health to community programs for all to be a part of. If you’d like to see what Chang Mai has to offer, join us in 2021! Programs listed here.