Over 700 years old, Chiang Mai, also known as the “Rose of the North” in Thailand, is a nature lover’s dream with lush green forests and hilly ranges surrounding the city. 700 kilometers away from Bangkok, this city still retains its old charm and quaint traditions despite having all the modern urban facilities. In fact, it was declared to be one of the top livable cities within East Asia by the Asiaweek magazine..
One of the most famous temples of Chiang Mai and Thailand is the Wat Prathat Doi Suithep. Located at the top of a mountain, it almost seems as if the temple is guarding the city. About 300 steps lead to this temple built in the 12th century. At the foot of Doi Suthep is the Chiang Mai Zoo that has just added two Chinese pandas to its huge family of diverse animals. If you want to spot any wild carnivores, night safaris are organized by the Doi Suthep National Park. Also worth visiting is the Wat Chiang Man temple which was built just after Chiang Mai was founded. It is supposed to have two miniature Buddha images that are over 2000 years old. Other temples worth visiting are the Wat Phra Singh, Wiang Kum Kum, Wat Bupparam, Wat Mahawan and Wat Chetawan. For children, there is the Mae Sa Elephant Training centre which even invites the crowd to bathe the elephants. If you want to shop for soveneirs, the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar offers a whole lot of options. For the adventurous, the Doi Inthanon National Park offers trekking and camping.