Surrounded by a moat and ancient wall in northern Thailand, and founded in 1296 by King Mengrai, Chiang Mai, is Thailand’s second-largest city. Previously known as Lanna Thai, this lush and fertile region seduces travellers with its rich traditions, colourful annual festivals, vibrant art scene, artisanal handicrafts that date back some 700 years (ceramics, silversmithing, silk and cotton, jewellery, furniture and hill tribe crafts), sumptuous spas, and varied cuisines.
Soft adventure activities comprise an excursion to the Burmese border through the scenic region, and a day spent with elephants either at an elephant sanctuary or trekking through the jungle. Golfers can play round on one of the numerous nearby courses. Other options include: visiting the city’s most famous landmark Doi Suthep Temple; taking a Lanna cookery course; and hiking in and around Thailand’s highest mountain at one of the nearby two national parks Suthep or Inthanon, whilst passing by remote hill tribe villages and forest temples along the way. More adventurous travellers can enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing, off-road motorcycling trails, and 4WD excursions. Offering a warm, welcoming atmosphere, laden with captivating experiences, Chiang Mai is a celebration of life’s beauty.