The ‘culture capital’ of Thailand is a charming and laidback 700-year-old town famous for sightseeing, trekking, soft adventure, shopping, spas and mountain resorts. It’s no wonder Chiang Mai was runner-up favourite city in the 2010 Travel + Leisure readers’ poll.Trip Photo
Chiang Mai City
The ancient city of Chiang Mai is a travel guide favourite, mainly because it oozes culture and history with its pretty moat, crumbling bastions and ruined pagodas at every turn. Staying among the old town lanes offers an authentic taste of provincial Thailand, with centuries-old temples, bustling street markets and cosy guesthouses and coffee shops on every corner. Then there’s soft adventure trips to mountain national parks and waterfalls nearby, trekking, elephant riding, family attractions and more. Shopping is another notable advantage in Chiang Mai, along with very affordable hotels and restaurants.