Founded in 1296 and once a powerful, independent city-state, Chiang Mai is northern Thailand’s most popular vacation destination. Its culture is distinctively different from Bangkok’s. The temples have more marble, less gold; more graceful curves, less sharp angles. The itinerary my travel agent provided called the mountaintop temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep "possibly the most beautiful in Thailand." (It’s 3,300+ feet above sea level; just driving to it was a pleasure.)
People come here to visit the temples, enjoy a cooler, cleaner climate, to shop the bustling night markets and, perhaps, to ride an elephant through the jungle.
Chiang Mai is by no means a "pretty" city: no high...Read More