Chiang Mai, Thailand

About Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • Population: approx. 1 million
  • Distance from Bangkok: 362 miles
  • Distance from Phuket: 754 miles

Known as the “Rose of the North,” Chiang Mai is located on the Ping River in Northern Thailand and dates back over 700 years. Surrounded by high mountain ranges, it is in one of the most scenic areas in the country. Unlike most of Thailand, the climate in the north—and especially in Chiang Mai—can be cooler, with rain and mist, but it still has tropical heat and humidity. The region is full of lush jungles, national parks, and over 300 Buddhist temples. Historically and culturally important for trade, Chiang Mai Province is the second largest province in Thailand.

A recent survey by Conde Nast named Chiang Mai in the top 10 friendliest cities in the world! A city of cultural, trading, and economic prominence for hundreds of years, Chiang Mai is host to many historical and cultural landmarks. There are over 700 temples in Chiang Mai alone. The famous “night market” is a sprawling tourist attraction that offers all sorts of trinkets, local handicrafts, food shops, and shows. Its tiny passageways and colorful booths are great fun to explore, however there are many side streets of shops and restaurants away from the touristy zone where students can find authentic local cuisine and truly start to experience all that Chiang Mai has to offer. Near the city there are national parks and nature preserves, including the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon, Obkhan, and Doi Pui Suthep National Park. Located just outside of town, Wat Doi Suthep Buddhist temple overlooks the city—and Chiang Mai University—from the top of Doi Pui Suthep. CMU students traditionally hike to the top as part of an annual tradition; once they arrive at the top they find the elaborate temple with its pure gold dome, the beautiful view of the city, dancing shows by local hill tribe children, musicians, vendors, and a marketplace.