Welcome to Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand, about 430 miles north of Bangkok. It is also a former capital of the Kingdom of Lanna. The Old City is surrounded by an ancient wall and moat. Within the city are many old temples. Getting around town is easy — plenty of red pickup trucks called songthaews roam around the city, acting as shared taxis. The food in Chiang Mai was very good, and the people are friendly!
Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang is a Buddhist temple in the Old City of Chiang Mai. The temple was built between the 13th and 15th centuries. The name literally translates to “Temple of the Big Stupa”.
Wat Phra Singh
Wat Phra Singh is another large Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai’s Old City. This temple traces its origins back to 1345. The pure-white temple stupa is smaller than Wat Chedi Luang’s — but still very impressive!
We happened to visit Chiang Mai during the biggest festival of the year, Loy Krathong. Loy Krathong is celebrated all throughout Thailand, but Chiang Mai is the largest celebration. Many Thais visit during this time to set off fireworks, launch floating lanterns, and send floating flower boatds down the river. The floating lantern tradition actually was part of another festival, Yee Peng, but the two are celebrated together these days. The festival lasts several days, with hundreds of beautiful glowing lanterns rising into the sky every night.
Watch the Thai Family Launch Their Floating Lantern
Around Town in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai was a great town to explore with so many good restaurants, coffee shops, massage places, and beautiful scenery everywhere.
Heading Out of Town
Because of Loy Krathong, every hotel in town was booked. We ended up heading out of town into the mountains after a couple of days because we couldn’t extend our hotel reservation. Stay tuned for the next post…