Mai is a city built on the roots of a traditional heritage that dig
deep into the soil of time. It's a city with a beautiful cultural
personality of its own. In addition, it's been blessed with much
majestic beauty in nature. The people themselves are an
unforgettable part of Chiang Mai. Handicrafts of silk, silver and
wood are timeless souvenirs for visitors from all over the globe.
Along with all this, a wide variety of accommodations, restaurants,
and entertainment all help to make Chiang Mai one of Thailand's
prime tourist attractions.
Chiang Mai, 761 kms. by rail,
approximately 700 kms. by road north of Bangkok, with an area of
20,107.1 sq.ms., is Thailand's second largest city and capital of
the northern region.
ChiangMai is administratively divided
into 22 Amphurs (districts) :..
||San Pa Tong
Situated between north latitude 17-21
and east longitude 98-99, the province of Chiang Mai is found in the
upper area of Thailand's northern region. Chiang Mai valley is 310
meters (1,027 feet) above sea level. The widest point of the
province measures 136 kms. (85 miles), and the longest 320 kms. (200
miles). To the north, a 277 kms. (141.82 miles) stretch of mountains
divides Chiang Mai's northern districts of Fang and Mae Ai from
Myanmar's (Burma's) Chiang Tung (Shan) State. In certain areas, the
Kok River also acts as a border between Chiang Mai and Myanmar. On
the east, Chiang Mai is bordered by the Chiang Rai, Lampang, and
Lamphun provinces. The Mae Tuen River, Ream Mountain, and Luang
Mountain separate Chiang Mai's South from the province of Tak. Some
portions of Chiang Mai's South also border the Lamphun province.
Tothe west, Chiang Mai is bordered by Mae Hong Son province.
A large part (69.31 %) of Chiang
Mai's land is covered by mountains and forests. These generally run
in a north-south pattern through the province and give birth to
several streams and tributaries (such as the Mae Jam, Mae Ngud, and
Mae Klang) which in turn feed important rivers and irrigation canals
(such as the Muang and Faay) which provide the water necessary to
Chiang Mai's agriculture. Chiang Mai's largest and most important
river is the Ping, which originates in the mountains of Chiang Dao
and flows southward for 540 kilometers (337.5 miles). It is along
the banks of this river that Chiang Mai's flat, fertile valley area
Chiang Mai is also home to Inthanon Mountain, which stands
2,575 meters (8,448 feet) above sea level and is Thailand's highest
Cool Season : (late October to end
of February). average temperature 21º C and much cooler at night.
The coldest months are December and January.
Hot Season : (early March to end
of May) Average temperature 29.9º C. The hottest month is April.
Rainy Season : (early June to
end of October). Average temperature 25.5º C. The wettest month is
With a population of
1,547,085 Chiang Mai is one of Thailand's largest provinces. Of the
above number, 170,348 are currently living in Chiang Mai's city area
with the rest distributed throughout Chiang Mai's 21 districts, 2
sub-districts. 80% of the people in Chiang Mai are locals by birth,
and speak a dialect that is a slight variation of the central Thai
language. The remaining 20% is made up of Thai nationals and
foreigners who have moved to Chiang Mai to work, study, or retire.
are many hilltribe people living in the mountainous districts
surrounding Chiang Mai such as Omkoi, Mae Jam,
Chiang Dao, and Mae Ai. Statistics reported by the Tribal Research
Institute of Chiang Mai stated that in the year 1992 there were
1,049 hilltribe villages in the Chiang Mai province, constituting a
total of 174,195 people. Of this amount, 106,116 were from the Karen
tribe, 27,392 from the Lahu (Musur) tribe, 17,198 from the Hmong
(Meo) tribe, 10,873 form the Lisu tribe, 8,862 from the Lua tribe,
2,609 from the Akha tribe, 1,145 from the Mien (yao) tribe, and 485
from the Palong tribe. The hilltribe people are agricultural;
planting fields, raising animals, and hunting for a living. Since
each tribe has its own culture and language, they blanket the hills
of Chiang Mai with an interesting patchwork quilt of diverse
(80%) of the Chiang Mai people earn a
living through agriculture and agricultural related professions. The
second largest vocation is tourism and its directly and indirectly
related jobs. General commerce and industry--mainly in the form of
handicrafts, and of processing agricultural products--are the two
other major professions in which the Chiang Mai people are involved.
Chiang Mai's rich
history goes back hundreds of years. Because of its prime location
and fertile land, the valley that extends from the base of Suthep
Mountain to the Ping River was settled in early times by several
different ethnic groups, including the hilltribe group known as the
Lua tribe. Later, King Mengrai unified
different towns and villages into what came to be known as the Lanna
Thai Kingdom. In 1296, he fortified the fertile valley area with a
rectangular shaped brick wall measuring 1.6 kilometers (1 mile)
wide, and 2.0 kilometers (1.25 miles) long. Parts of the wall are
still intact today, and the area within it is often called the "old
city". King Mengrai went on to expand his kingdom to both sides of
the Ping River and beyond, naming it "Nop Buri Sri Nakorn Ping
Chiang Mai". This city became the center of the Lanna Thai Kingdom
that later expanded and covered much of Northern Thailand. After
that there was sporadic warfare for several generations, and Chiang
Mai fell several times to both the Burmese and to a powerful kingdom
to the south that was centered around the Choa Phaya Basin. In the
end, Chiang Mai was taken by Krung Thon Buri, the capital of
Thailand during that time, and under the fifth Rama, became a part
of Thailand. Since the time of the Lanna Thai Kingdom, Chiang Mai
has been a city for a total of 701 years.
Festivals & Events
Umbrella Fair & San Kamphaeng Handicrafts Festival
Bo Sang Village, Chiang Mai
Almost everyone in the small village of Bo Sang, near Chiang Mai
derives a livelihood from making gaily painted paper umbrellas. This
fair, held on the main street celebrates their traditional skill and
features contests, exhibitions, stalls selling umbrellas and other
handicrafts, and procession decorated by umbrellas and cycling
ladies with umbrellas.
Village Wood Carving Fair
Tawai Village, Chiang Mai
This fair features demonstration, contests and sales of wood
carvings and local handicrafts. Products can be made within the
fair. And includes local folk performances and a procession
highlight on the entire range of popular northern Thai wood crafts.
Hosted by the Tawai village, Hang Dong district.
Buak Hat Park, Chaing Mai
A festival centered around flowers. Features a parade with beautiful
flower floats, a beauty contest, flower displays. and judging,
gardening techniques, and flowers for sale. Takes place throughout
the main city streets and at Buak Hard Park.
An important Buddhist holiday honoring the event when 1,250 of
Buddha's disciples congregated without previous agreement. Buddha
gave an important sermon at this event. Buddhists carry flowers,
lighted candles, and joss sticks while walking around a Chedi at the
temple three times under the full moon.
Chaing Mai Songkran And Lannathai Festival
Tha Pae Gate and citywide, Chiang Mai
Traditionally the Thai New Year, this festival is celebrated by
making merit, constructing sand chedis, and pouring lustral water
over respected elders and Buddha images. As the years went by, it
became a part of tradition to splash water on one and all. It is a
city-wide festival, and one of the most popular in Chiang Mai, so
expect to have a good time and get wet!
Great Arts And Culture Festival
Tha Dton Payom Market on Suthep Road, Chiang
The Chiang Mai Great Arts and Culture Festival will be held from
April 2 - 6. The objectives are to promote the image of Chiang Mai
as an important center of art and culture, and to stimulate the
preservation of local arts and the cultural heritage for future
The Chiang Mai Great Arts and Culture Festival gathers at one time
and at the same location a variety of important activities relating
to Thai culture. The activities include. April 2-6. A festival of
outdoor music will be held at Three Kings Monument. Open to the
April 3-6. A fair to promote Lanna arts and culture at the open
space opposite the Dton Payom Market on Suthep Road. There will be
demonstrations of the various activities of the original lifestyle
of the Lanna people. Stalls will sell various items significant to
the local culture highlighting. Northern cuisine. Daily useful
implements will be on exhibit.
A Buddhist holiday, in commemoration of the birth, enlightenment and
death of Buddha. Chiang Mai Buddhists walk up to Suthep Temple at
night to make merit.
Held at the Chedi Luang Temple, it lasts a week and is used to ask
for peace and for rain to fall during the right seasons. The temple
holds the city pillar which traditionally marks the center of a
Commenorates the first time that Buddha, his teachings, and his
disciples were present. According to Buddhism, all three are needed
for wholeness. On this day, Buddhists make merit at temples and
sermons are preached.
H.M. The Queen's Birthday Celebrations
August 12, Nationwide
Sept - Oct.
A festival special to North, it involves making merit by taking
necessities to temples without designating which monk is to receive
them. This festival varies slightly from place to place.
The end of the three month period when monks are not permitted to
traval. An important merit making ceremony is held at Chiang Mai
University, where monks from several different temples are asked to
receive contributions of rice and dry food.
Loy Krathong or Yi Peng
An important Thai festival, it is a way of paying respect to the
goddess of the river for the water that was provided, and to repent
for dirtying the river under the full moon, creating a beautiful
sight. In addition, there are float contests, boat races, and a
beauty contest. Lanterns similar to balloons are also lighted and
sent drifting up into the sky.
The King's Birthday Celebrations
Chiang Mai Food
The Pae Gate, Chiang Mai
A dishes, the n annual festival of Chiang Mai's great demonstrations
on fruit carving and ancient Thai desserts, and beauty Lanna culture
shows. Good food selling at a cheap price.
Annual festival held at the Chiang Mai Government Center. Featuring
a variety of products for sale, especially handicrafts show a beauty
contest and games. Comes alive at night.