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Welcome to Chiang Mai

The relaxing side of Thailand

Chiang Mai is a major stop for backpackers and travelers of all kinds. Many who come here return again and again, or stay for years when they had meant to stay only a few weeks.

Just under half an hour drive, Chiang Mai's mountains offer limitless possibilities for nature explorations as well as visits to many fascinating ethnic hill-tribe villages.

It's a special city with much to offer, and the following are some of the best tourist attractions to explore.

1. Wat Prathat Doi Suthep

This mountain temple is a must-see in Chiang Mai. It contains a seated Buddha, and is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Be ready for the climb because the staircase is steep, but the effort is well worth it. On a clear day, you can look over the entire city.

2. Doi Pui

Pui, at 1,685metres above sea level, is the highest peak in the National Park. It is famous for its beautiful waterfalls. But one of the hottest attractions is Hmong Tribal Village. There is a large garden with a diverse array of plants, and the view from the village is breathtaking.

3. Wat Chedi Luang

There's something about Wat Chedi Luang that is particularly beautiful and haunting. The structure was damaged during an earthquake but it remains remarkable today, and you can still see the massive elephant carvings that adorn it.

4. Chiang Mai Gate Market

This is the place to find the best street food in Chiang Mai. Every night, vendors set up at the Chiang Mai Gate and sell everything from pad kra pow to the perfect dessert of fresh mango sticky rice topped with coconut milk.

5. Sunday Walking Street

Chiang Mai has a market for every occasion. The Sunday Walking Street is a must for eating and shopping. You'll find vendors selling handcrafted lamps, dolls, soaps, jewelry, clothes, Christmas ornaments and local handicrafts.

6. Night Bazaar

This is a great spot for shopping. There are some great stuff, from clothes and scarves to carvings and housewares. When you're finished shopping, you can take in a muay Thai boxing fight at the stadium on the premises.

7. Documentary Arts Asia

Beautiful and relaxing as Chiang Mai is, it also attracts many humanitarians focused on the refugees from Burma and the hill tribe communities. Documentary Arts Asia is a gallery space that holds regular documentary and Asian film screenings and events related to the political and humanitarian situations throughout Asia.

8. Elephant Nature Park

The elephants at the Mae Sa Elephant Camp are no ordinary beasts. Apart of bathing, eating, sleeping and just being domesticated elephants, these extremely intelligent animals have been trained to paint, play football, dance and perform. Visitors are invited to spend a day volunteering with the elephants, feeding them and bathing them in the river. Most of the elephants have been rescued.

9. Tiger Kingdom

The Tiger Kingdom attracts many travelers because of the promise of some serious face time with one of the world's fiercest predators. You'll get 10-15 minutes in a caged area, where you can pet the animals and take photos.

10. PickBua Thong Sticky Waterfalls

You'll definitely want to spend a day outside the city checking this place out. The wooded area surrounding the falls is peaceful. The limestone is "sticky" even as the water runs over it. It's a real treat, and provides a nice complement to some of the more traditional tourist activities.

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