Let’s forget about the fine sands of Phuket and the busy streets of Bangkok for a while. One of the Thailand destinations that we can consider popular are the cities of Northern Thailand. It consists of several mountain ranges, valleys, and rivers and also serves as the gateway to the Golden Triangle. Compared to other Thailand destinations, the north is a place where the cultural aspect of Thailand is really evident. It seems to be a favorite for travelers who want to know more and experience Thailand more than just its beaches and the capital. To know more about it, continue reading to know why Northern Thailand is also popular among travelers!
Chiang Mai which means ‘new city’ in the Lanna language, took over Chiang Rai’s job as the capital in 1926. With elephants surrounding the city and more than 300 temples, it is said to be the cultural heart of the country. Most of the famous places to visit in Chiang Mai are the temples. Some of these include Wat Phra That Doi Suthep which is built in the 14th century, located at the outside of the city center. 14-century old Wat Phra Singh is also among the tourist spots in Chiang Mai and Chedi Luang, an architectural masterpiece made in the 15th century. The oldest temple which is Wat Chiang Man has Phra Satang Man, a 10-cm tall crystal Buddha, one of the important religious statues. Like any other places in Thailand, they also have night markets where you can buy silk and cotton for clothing. Thailand Healing Hospital is found in Chiang Mai too – the country’s center for Nuat Phaen Boran, a traditional northern Thai massage therapy and herbal medicine. Every now and then, foreigners go to the hospital to learn the traditional Thai massage.
A laid-back vibe in Thailand away from the busy streets and crowded beaches is what Pai can offer. It is a place less than four hours located at the north of Chiang Mai. It has a lot to offer in terms of health and wellness. There are yoga retreats, meditation centers, and holistic healing workshops if you want a relaxation for your Thailand trip.
Chiang Rai is one of the most sought-after places in Thailand. It is one of the famous destinations for tourists who visit Northern Thailand. It is where the works of Thawan Duchanee and Chalermchai Kositpipat, two of the most iconic artists in Thailand can be found. Thawan is the artist of the Baan Dam or the Black House. It showcases the illustration of hell with buildings that has animal bones and demonic art that will surely creep you out. Chalermchai Kositpipat’s Wat Rong Khun is known as the White Temple. It is a Buddhist Temple that combines religious themes with the modern ones such as Hollywood and Hello Kitty. The Chiang Rai’s golden clock tower which can be found in the center of the town is another work of Chalermchai. This city also serves as a pathway to the Golden Triangle, an area where Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar intersect. Other Chiang Rai attractions are the cultural museum, Munniti Chiang Rai, Wat Phra Kaew, and the 14-century old Wat Klong Wiang.
MAE HONG SON
Mae Hong Son is included among the best places in the North of Thailand. It is mainly composed of 75% forests and mountains. Mae Hong Son loop, a destination in the city is very popular among motor bikers. They say that it will take you 4-5 days to complete the loop. Mae Hong Son is also a home to numerous night markets, caves, temples, and waterfalls. If you are looking for an adventure, you can trek to Hill Tribe Villages. A hill named Doi Kong Mu that stands 250 meters above that will give you a nice view of Mae Hong Son. Also, one of the popular Mae Hong destinations are the Padaung Villages. These villages are gaining fame because the women living in Padaung Villages wear brass neck coils to make the neck look longer.
Doi Chiang Dao, the third highest mountain in Thailand is located in the city of Chiang Dao, one of the Thailand destinations you shouldn’t miss. With over 300 species, including the rare ones, it is the country’s premier place for bird watching. It is also located close to Pha Daeng National Park. The park is said to be a popular spot for trekking through bamboo forests. This place also has a climate that is colder than the rest of Thailand.
One of the places that is least visited by tourists is Lampang maybe because it is found at the south part of Chiang Mai which is 90 minutes away unlike the northern cities that are nearer like Mae Hong Son, Pai, and Chiang Rai. Lampang tourist places can be reached through carriages or covered pickup trucks (Songthaews) that roam around the town because tuk-tuks can’t be found in the city. During weekends, Kong Ta Night Market opens where you can buy food and souvenirs. Elephant sanctuaries can be found in Lampang too, like the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital.
Standing 8,415 feet above the ground is Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest peak. The weather is usually cold especially when you reach the temple near the summit. Thai National Observatory can be found at the peak where a large astronomical telescope can be seen. Doi Inthanon has a number of waterfalls – Mae Klang waterfall, Mae Ya waterfall, and Sirithan waterfall that will surely make your visit worth it.
Consider having a Thailand vacation and don’t forget to include Northern Thailand in your Thailand travel itinerary! For tickets, you may check flight booking offers and direct flights available only at Bangkok Airways