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Northern Thailand

Chiang Dao
Chiang Khong
Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai
Golden Triangle
Mae Hong Son
Mae Sai
Mae Salong
Mae Sot
Nakhon Sawan
Tak (province)
Wikitravel. Northern Thailand. 01.2008.

Surrounded by the tallest mountains in Thailand, Northern Thailand is cooler than the rest of the usually sweltering country and thus particularly popular in December and January. In the mountains at night temperatures occasionally dip below freezing, although in the plains the daily average is rarely less than 25 Centigrade.
Culturally, Northern Thailand shows heavy influences from the neighboring cultures of Myanmar and Yunnan (China). The kingdoms of Lanna (centered at Chiang Mai) and Sukhothai were the first historical Thai nations.
Much of northern Thailand was for a long time off limits due to a series of Communist insurgencies and Myanmar's drug battles and civil wars spilling over the border. Both problems have been largely resolved, although caution is still advised near the border with Myanmar in the provinces of Tak and Mae Hong Son.
The people of Northern Thailand speak their own dialect of Thai called kham meaung, however standard Thai is widely understood. In addition, the hill tribes speak their own languages.
Get in
By plane
The main airport in Northern Thailand is Chiang Mai, which has connections throughout Thailand and some international links too. Domestic flights (some of which may be seasonal) connect with Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Ko Samui, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Pai, Phitsanulok, Phuket, Sukhothai and Udon Thani.
By train
Trains from Bangkok go regularly to Chiang Mai via Phitsanulok.
By bus
There is an extensive bus network with the main backbone being between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai, buses head north-west to Mae Hong Son and Pai, and further north to Chiang Rai.
Get around
By plane
Regular flights connect Chiang Mai with Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Pai, Phitsanulok and Sukhothai.
By train
The only railway line within Northern Thailand runs between Chiang Mai and Sukhothai (and further on to Bangkok).
By road
There is an extensive network of public bus services with major hubs in Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai.
Minibuses, songthaews and tuk-tuks also serve many places which are not directly accessible by bus. Cheap but not always comfortable.
Temple-tramping in Chiang Mai and historical sites in Sukhothai are the major cultural attractions of Northern Thailand, the birthplace of Thai civilization.
  • Trekking is one of the main attractions in northern Thailand, there are trekking tours suiting everybody's needs. From one-day-all-inclusive to tours which last several days you can choose whatever fits you best. Many tours include rafting and elephant riding.
  • Hill tribes are another major attraction. The ethics of hill-tribe trekking are somewhat questionable, with tour groups tramping through some villages daily - particularly those inhabited by the famous long-necked Karen women - and the tribes consequently abandoning their traditional lifestyle in favor of hawking trinkets to tourists. Some trek operators attempt to limit the damage by restricting the number of visitors and employing local hill tribesmen as guides, but the competition is tough and many simply aim to minimise costs and maximise profits.
Northern Thai food is somewhat different to that eaten in the rest of the country. Northerners prefer sticky rice over steamed, bitter flavours to hot ones, and avoid using coconut milk. The favoured meat is pork, which finds it way into a variety of sausages (cooked or fermented) and whose skin is fried as the ubiquitous snack khaep muu. The traditional way of sampling Northern food is a low round table known as a khan tok, laden with dishes. Some favorites include:
  • kaeng hang le - a Burmese-style pork curry
  • kaeng khae - a soupy curry flavored with bitter herbs
  • khao soi - a curry noodle soup reputedly of Burmese origin much favored in Chiang Mai, served with shallots, lime and pickles to add as you like
  • khanom jiin naam ngiew - rice noodles with pork ribs and a complex tomatoes and black bean sauce
  • nam phrik - covering a variety of spicy dips for rice and vegetables
While the larger towns (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phitsanulok) offer a broad range of accommodation, in the smaller villages the tourist has to refer to guest houses and smaller hotels. Prices are usually lower than in Bangkok. Booking ahead (using the Internet or travel agencies) may give you better rates at some hotels.
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai (เชียงใหม่) is the gateway to Northern Thailand. With a population of over 170,000, it is Thailand's fifth-largest city. Located on a plain at an elevation of 316m, surrounded by mountains and lush countryside, it is much greener and quieter than the capital, and has a cosmopolitan air and a significant expat population, factors which have led many from Bangkok to settle permanently in this "Rose of the North".
Founded in 1296 AD, the culturally rich city of Chiang Mai is the longest continuously inhabited settlement from the ancient days of Siam. Located amidst the rolling foot hills of the Himalayan Mountains 700km north of Bangkok, it could only be reached by an arduous river journey or an elephant back trip until the 1920's, isolation which has helped keep Chiang Mai's distinctive charm intact to this day.
Chiang Mai's historical centre is the walled city (chiang in Thai, hence Chiang Mai - "New Walled City"). Sections of the wall remain at the gates and corners, but of the rest only the moat remains.
Inside Chiang Mai's remaining city walls are more than 30 temples dating back to the founding of the principality, in a combination of Burmese, Sri Lankan and Lanna Thai styles, decorated with beautiful wood carvings, Naga staircases, leonine and angelic guardians, gilded umbrellas and pagodas laced with gold filigree. The most famous is Doi Suthep, which overlooks the city from a mountainside 13km away.
Modern-day Chiang Mai has expanded in all directions, but particularly to the east towards the Ping River (Mae Nam Ping), where Thanon Chang Klan, the famous Night Bazaar and the bulk of Chiang Mai's hotels and guesthouses are located. The locals say you've not experienced Chiang Mai until you've seen the view from Doi Suthep, eaten a bowl of kao soi, and purchased an umbrella from Bo Sang.
Get in
By plane
Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) handles both domestic and regional international flights. The route from Bangkok is one of the busiest in the country (Thai Airways flies daily almost every hour, with additional flights in the peak tourist season). Other airlines operating direct services from/to Chiang Mai include:
The airport is some 3km south-west of the city centre, only 10-15 minutes away by car. Legal airport taxis charge a flat 140 baht for up to 5 passengers anywhere in the city; if you take a metered taxi, the fee will start from 40 baht + a 50 baht service fee from the Meter Taxi counter. The taxis operate from the exit at the north end of the terminal - after baggage claim and/or customs, walk into the reception hall and turn left. Alternatively, take bus #4 to the city center for 15 baht, or charter a tuk-tuk or songthaew for 50-60 baht. Most hotels and guesthouses offer cheap or free pick-up/drop-off services.
By bus
Buses to Chiang Mai leave from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit). The cheapest, non-aircon, stop-everywhere government buses take around 12 hours; non-stop VIP 24-seaters manage the trip in 9 hours on a good day. Chiang Mai also has good bus connections to practically everywhere in the North, and major destinations/hubs in the North-East (Isaan); there's even a direct service to Pattaya and Rayong in the East.
By train
Various rapid, express and sleeper services leave from Bangkok's Hualamphong Train Station, taking 12-15 hours depending on the service selected. Sprinter trains are entirely second class air-con, have no sleeper berths, and are the only ones which cannot transport bicycles. Daytime trains are entirely second and third class, with no sleeper berths; the first "overnight" train of the day departs Chiang Mai at 14:50 and arrives in Bangkok at 05:30.
The overnight trains - especially second class sleeper berths - are very popular, safe, comfortable and fun, and good value too - sleeper fares start at 531 baht for an upper berth in a 2nd class fan carriage. 2nd class lower berths are slightly more expensive than, but also slightly wider than, upper berths; air-con is of course a little more expensive than non-aircon. Those who wish to avoid sharing the relatively basic second class "bathroom" facilities can book a private first class two-berth cabin (the attendant cleans the first class bathrooms frequently).
Tickets can be purchased up to 60 days in advance; advance booking is advisable year-round, but especially between November and March - see SRT timetables and prices.
SRT charges 90 baht to transport a bicycle between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Get around
Chiang Mai now has a new large air conditioned bus service. You can see these nice air conditioned white buses all over the major city routes. There are also pedicabs called samlor; the 3-wheeled tuk-tuk; and the most popular, the songthaew.
By songthaew or seelor
The most common way to get around Chiang Mai is by songthaew, also known more locally as rod-daeng or "seelor". These are covered pick-up trucks with two benches in the back, and indeed songthaew means "two benches" in Thai. Seen everywhere, to board one just put your arm out and look at the driver, who will stop. Then tell the driver which street you want to go to, and if he is going that way, he will nod his head "yes"; if not, he will say "no" and go on. Don't worry - there will be another one right behind him. When the driver turns down the street you want, start looking for where you want to get off and press the switch located on the roof of the cab. The driver will pull over, let you out, and then you pay him. The fare should be 15 baht for regular trips around town. If you specify a hotel or establishment, the driver will think you want to hire him for a private trip, and the price will be much higher. Negotiate any price beforehand if you want to go to a specific address. The best way to avoid this "charter" situation is to discuss your destination and not the price; asking for a price is interpreted as asking for a charter. Then, when you arrive, hand the driver the correct change. If the driver demands more, then it is up to you to work out a fair payment, but armed with this information, you should have a reasonable idea of the proper fare, and that will aid you in your bargaining.
The colour of the songthaew indicates its general route or usage. Most common by far are red songthaews (hence the alternative rod daeng, "red car" name), which roam the main streets in the city itself. Warorot Market (by the Ping River) is the most common terminus for songthaews that travel along fixed routes. From Warorot Market, white songthaews travel to the eastern suburban city of Sankampaeng, yellow songthaews travel to Mae Rim in the north, blue songthaews travel to Sarapee and Lamphun in the south, and green songthaews travel to Mae Jo in the north-east. The flat rate cost along these fixed routes is 10-20 baht.
From Pratu Chiang Mai market, songthaews also travel to Hang Dong (20 baht) and San Patong, south-west of Chiang Mai.
You may see songthaews out on the highways in the countryside, travelling to and from small towns and villages. It is probably not proper for them to do this (as such travel is supposed to be done by bus companies), but in Thailand people will find a way to make some extra money.
By tuk-tuk or samlor
Tuk-tuks serve as Chiang Mai's taxis, going point to point for 30 baht and up depending on your haggling skills. A few three-wheeled bicycles (samlor) still cruise the streets and will go your way for the same price, which is a great way to see the inner city temples. Try taking a samlor from Wat Prasing Temple to Wat Chedi Luang Temple in the early evening around sunset, or around the inner city at sunrise to see the monks walking around with their bowls collecting alms from the citizens.
By taxi
Chiang Mai has finally introduced Bangkok-style metered taxis. In early 2005 there were only 15 plying the streets (versus 2700 songthaews), but one year later there were over 45, with the number growing monthly. Rates are very reasonable at 30 baht for the first 2km and 4 baht/km after that, however it's very hard to persuade the driver to use the meter. Dial +66 53-279291 for advance bookings, which are particularly useful when going to the airport (100 baht flat fare).
By bus
Chiang Mai's on-again, off-again local bus service began operation again in November 2005. There are currently 5 routes and fares are a flat 15 baht. Route 4, connecting to the airport, is probably the most useful. See Chiang Mai Bus for a route map.
By motorcycle
Chiang Mai has an abundance of motorcycle rental services, with choices aplenty. Typical Asian motorbikes can be rented, such as Honda and Yamaha 110cc and 125cc models (both step-through and automatic), but off-road bikes and larger street bikes can also be found quite easily. Renting a small bike starts at around 200 baht/day with insurance; larger machines can climb to 800 baht/day for a V-twin chopper or large sport-bike, also with insurance. Expect discounts when renting for several days. Passports are usually taken as a deposit, although some shops will accept a photocopy with a cash deposit of a few thousand baht. As with any other tourist town in Thailand (except possibly in Bangkok), a valid international permit (IDP) isn't required by the rental shop; however, if you find yourself stopped by the police for whatever reason, be prepared to discreetly pay a small "mai pen rai" fee of at least 200 baht.
 By bicycle
Within the old city walls biking is still an easy option to get around. You can get everywhere in town within 10 minutes and it saves the hassle of negotiating with tuk-tuk drivers all the time. Bikes rentals are offered at every other street corner, and for a simple bike start from 30 baht/day. You can pick up quality bikes for a comforatble ride at "Crank Tavern" near Chiang Mai Gate. They run well-organised tours in the mountains around Chiang Mai as well. See [1] for detailed map.
Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Center
This fully modernised multimedia history and cultural education centre is located in the very centre of the old city on Prapokklao Road between Rajdumnern Road and Rajwithee Road. If travelling by tuk-tuk or songthaew, it's easiest to ask for the "Three Kings Monument" (Saam Kasat); it's the large, elegant white building just behind the statue.
Guides dressed in elegant traditional Thai clothing will usher you into an air-conditioned room to watch an English-subtitled orientation video about Chiang Mai and the north. Next, you will be pointed to a series of rooms documenting the region's history and culture in chronological order from the pre-Muang period (7,000-12,000 years ago) to the early river civilizations, to the early kings through the wars with the Burmese and the last dynasty, to the city today and its plans for the future. Other rooms are devoted to Buddhism and other regional beliefs, agricultural history, hill tribe peoples and other regional cultures, and a run-down of the royal dynasties. The exhibits consist of a smart visual mix of video, scale models, enlarged photos, wall murals and text in Thai and English. The museum is open 08:30-17:00 except Mondays. Admission is 90 baht. +66 53-217793
Hilltribe Research Institute Museum
Founded in 1965 as a result of a proposal by the noted anthropologist Prof. W.R. Geddes, who was doing research with the hilltribe peoples at the time, the Institute Museum offers exhibits concerning the lives and cultures of nine hilltribe peoples in Thailand: the Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Yao, Hmong, Karen, Lua, Khamu, and H'tin. Also included are a non-hilltribe ethnic minority, the Mlabri, associated by some with the 'spirit of the yellow leaves'. The Mlabri population has dwindled to only approximately 180 individuals at present.
The daily lives of the various hilltribe peoples are illustrated through exhibits of photographs, agricultural implements, household utensils, artefacts associated with the various traditional religions, musical instruments, and ethnic costumes. Some exhibits include models dressed in complete traditional costumes depicting daily activities, such as a Hmong family having a meal or a Lisu man serenading his sweetheart.
The Institute has established a new museum in a three-story pavilion located on the attractively landscaped grounds of Ratchamangkala Park (Suan Lor Gao) on Chotana Road, just a fifteen minute drive from the city centre. At present the museum is open weekdays 09:00-16:00, with a slide and video show available daily 10:00-14:00. Special group tours at weekends are possible with advance notice. For more information contact the Hilltribe Institute Museum, Chotana Road +66 53-210872 / +66 53-211933
Chiang Mai Numismatic Museum (Treasury Hall), 52 Ratchadamnoen Road, tel: 053-22 4237/8. M-Sa 09.00-15.30.
Chiang Mai University Art Museum, corner of Suthep and Nimmanhaemin Roads, tel: 053-944833. Tue-Sun 09:00-17:00 (free).
Museum of World Insects and Narural Wonders, Srimankalajarn Road, Soi 13 (midway between Suithep and Huay Kaew roads near Suan Dok Hospital); tel: 053-211891. One of Asia's most unusual museums housing butterflies, beetles and beyond. Daily 09:00-17:00 (200 baht).
Postal Museum, at Mae Ping Post Office, (1-2km south of Wat Phra Singh). Tu-Sa 08:30-16:30 (free).
Art Galleries and Exhibitions [2] There are many art galleries and exhibitions in Chiang Mai, featuring contemporary artwork of both local Thai and Myanmar artists.
CMU Art Museum & Alliance Francaise
Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai show off a mixture of architectural styles that reflect the varied heritage of Northern Thailand. Elements from Lanna Thai, Burmese, Sri Lankan and Mon temples have all been used in one form or another. Intricate woodcarvings and protective Naga serpent staircases add a flamboyance that reflects an awesome reverence for the Buddhist religion. Gilded umbrellas, guardian figures from the tales of the Ramayana and stupas trimmed with gold filigree combine to heighten the overall effect.
To date, there have been some 300 temples constructed in Chiang Mai and its outskirts. Visitors should take the time to visit the most revered temples in the city, built during the noble Lanna Thai dynasty. The largest ones draw crowds, but it's well worth wandering off the beaten path and finding a temple not on the tour bus circuit.
The Thai patrons of Chiang Mai's temples are pleased to see that visitors take an interest in the images and traditions of Lord Buddha's teachings. All that they ask is that temple visitors show respect by wearing appropriate attire (long pants for men, modest tops and skirts for women, no bare shoulders and women must wear a brassier) so that monks and worshippers will not be offended within the sacred temple grounds.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep [3]. Established in 1383, this magnificent temple overlooks the city from its 1,073m elevation on the slopes of Doi (Mount) Suthep, which peaks at 1,685m. It is famous for its large gold-plated chedi, visible from the city on a good clear day. Although Wat Doi Suthep is the most recently built of the temples dating from the Lanna Thai period, it is the symbol of Chiang Mai. The site was selected by sending an elephant to roam at will up the mountainside. When it reached this spot, it trumpeted, circled three times, and knelt down - which was interpreted as a sign indicating an auspicious site. Entrance to the temple is free for those who wish to climb the 300-plus steps; alternatively, there's a cable car with a 50 baht fare for foreigners. Clearly marked songthaews to Doi Suthep leave from Pratu Chang Phuak, passing Chiang Mai University and the zoo on the way. Prices are fixed at 40 baht up and 30 baht down; the drivers wait until they have sufficient (up to 8) passengers before they depart. The trip takes about 30 minutes one way. Alternatively, the 18km journey from town can be made by motorcycle or a bicycle with appropriate gearing. The final 12km from the zoo onwards is entirely uphill and will take 60-90 minutes if cycling.
Wat Phra Singh is located in the centre of the city at the intersection of Singharaj and Rajdamnern Road (west end) and is probably Chiang Mai's best-known temple, housing the Phra Singh image, completed between 1385 and 1400. Of particular note historically is Wihaan Lai Kham in the back, featuring Lanna-style temple murals and intricate gold patterns on red lacquer behind the altar. The large chedi was built in 1345 by King Pha Yu to house the remains of his father King Kam Fu. A typical scripture repository is located at this temple as well. These repositories were designed to keep and protect the delicate sa or mulberry paper sheets used by monks and scribes to keep records and write down folklore. The high stucco-covered stone base of the repository protected the delicate scriptures from the rain, floods and pests. The walls of the chapel are covered with murals illustrating Lanna customs, dress, and scenes from daily life. The lovely Lai Kam chapel houses the revered Phra Singh Buddha image. Sadly, the head was stolen in 1922, and a reproduction is now seen.
Wat Chiang Mun, Rajpakinai Road. The oldest temple in the city. Presumed to date from the year Chiang Mai was founded (1296), it is famed for two Buddha images, which according to legend are 1800 and 2500 years old. King Mengrai allegedly lived here while the city of Chiang Mai was being constructed. Enshrined in Wat Chiang Mun is a tiny crystal Buddha called Pra Seh-Taang Kamaneeee, which is thought to have the power to bring rain. Another image, called Phra Sila Khoa, reflects the fine workmanship of Indian craftsmen from thousands of years ago.
Wat Chedi Luang, Prapokklao Road. Located directly in Chiang Mai centre, this is the site of a formerly massive pagoda that was unfortunately destroyed in the great earthquake of 1545. The temple was originally constructed in 1401 on the orders of King Saeng Muang Ma. In 1454, reigning King Tilo-Garaj enlarged the chedi (pronounced jedee) to a height of 86 meters. After the earthquake, the chedi lay in ruins until 1991-92, during which time it was reconstructed at a cost of several million baht. A magnificent testament to Lanna (northern Thai) architecture and art, it is now every bit as impressive as it was when it was first built, and one of Chiang Mai's top tourist attractions. Wat Chedi Luang is also home to the "Pillar of the City", a totem used in ancient Thai fertility rites.
Wat Phra Jao Mengrai, off Ratchamankha Road (near Heuan Phen). An atmospheric wooden temple away from the beaten track, quiet and gently crumbling in the absence of tourist hordes.
Wat Oo-Mong, off Suthep Road. An ancient temple in the forest just outside Chiang Mai. King Mengrai built this temple for a highly respected forest monk who liked to wander in the countryside, hence the isolated location where the monk could stay quietly and meditate. It is unusual in that it has tunnel-like chambers in the ground, some of the walls of which still have the original paintings of birds and animals visible.
Elephant Nature Park [4]. Approximately 60km north of Chiang Mai. This is a sanctuary for rescued and distressed elephants. They are not here to perform or do tricks but people visiting here will leave with a whole new understanding of these magnificent creatures.
Maesa Elephant Camp, 119/9 Tapae Road, Muang District, +66 53-206247 or +66 53-206248, [5]. An elephant camp in the hills about a half hour's drive north of the city center. It has an elephant show, which includes elephants playing football and painting. You can also take half hour or one hour elephant rides. Not exactly a place to bring a PETA activist, but many do enjoy the performances.
  • Bhuping Palace is located on the same road beyond Doi Suthep (22km from town). This royal winter palace has lavishly landscaped gardens and is open to the public daily 08:30-11:30 & 13:00-15:00 when the Thai royal family is not in residence. 50 baht for foreigners, 20 baht for locals, 10 baht for children.
  • Chiangmai Zoo, at the foot of Doi Suthep, [6]. Home to over 7,000 animals in a wooded natural environment. Its popularity was boosted recently when it received a pair of Giant Pandas from Sichuan, China.
  • Simon Cabaret (closed as of July 2007)
  • caves
  • hot springs
  • night safari
  • orchid and butterfly farms
  • puppet shows
  • waterfalls
In town
As usual in Thai cities, massage establishments abound, both for treatments and for learning the art yourself. Cooking schools are also popular - see the Learn section.
  • Chiang Mai Vista Cinema (Kad Suan Kaew) [7]
  • Major Cineplex (Airport Plaza) [8]
  • Let's Relax, 2F Chiang Mai Pavilion and B1F Chiang Inn Plaza, Chang Khlan Road. Does professional massage in very clean if not downright sterile surroundings complete with air-con, the sound of running water and gentle scents. A 45-minute foot reflexology session costs 350 baht, nearly twice the price of the competition, but is worth every satang after a long trek.
  • Nantana Massage Shop, (near Sompet Market on Soi 6). Has very knowledgeable and friendly staff, and air-con. Thai massage 150 baht/hour; oil, foot, and neck/shoulder massage also available.
Muay Thai (Thai boxing, the national sport of Thailand):
  • Kawila Boxing Stadium not far from Narawat Bridge, has real Muay Thai fights every Friday at 20:00 with 10 bouts ranging from young debutant fighters, local champions, and locals vs foreigners. Entry is 400 baht (as of March 2006).
  • Lanna Muay Thai on Soi Chiang Khian, off Huay Kaew Road [9]. Muay Thai coaching.
A very popular pastime is walking and/or cycling around the city walls and exploring the old city, and Chiang Mai is a very popular place for arranging hill trekking too. There are also opportunities to try your hand at elephant riding, horse riding, and even ballooning and flying. Other possibilities include:
  • Bicycle tours or exploration either on your own, renting a bike, or joining a well organized bicycle / mountain-biking tour is a great way to see the North and the country side. Crank Adventures [10] has fantastic off the beaten track single day and multi-day mountain bike adventures. Northern-Trails [11] is a reputable tour operator offering many programs, from day trips to multi-day circuits.
  • Motorcycle touring is a great way to explore Northern Thailand - the GT-Rider[12] website has a wealth of information, including routes and maps for both short and long rides. One route out of Chiang Mai not mentioned is a day trip up and over Doi Suthep, which will take riders up to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, and beyond the mountain to the reservoir.
  • Scooter touring is another great way to explore the region going out as far as Mae Hong Son and suitable for the less experienced motorcyclist. Motorbike Thailand[13] offers great tours using Honda 125cc scooters riding into some of the more remote regions and also offer rider training on route.
  • Game Fishing, [14].
  • Karting, bungy jumping, off road buggies, and paintball, [15].
  • Rafting down the Maetang river is offered by several companies and can often be combined with elephant riding or mountain biking (The Peak [16] is one of the better companies, and also offers many other interesting trips). During the dry season (Jan-Feb) water levels are relatively low with only grade 2-3 rapids, but during the rainy season (Jun-Oct) higher water levels make for a more exciting grade 4-5 trip.
 Festivals & exhibitions
Chiang Mai Flower Festival is staged every year during the first weekend in February. The city is awash with vibrant colors ranging from the electric orange and lilac colors of the bougainvillea to the velvety blossoms of petunias in all shades of pink, white and purple. The strident red of the poinsettias, bought by many at Christmas and New Year, is echoed by beds of scarlet salvias. Homes and shop owners alike line the city streets with colourful flower boxes. The sheer profusion of colour that the flower festival and carnival brings to Chiang Mai aptly gives the city its name "Rose of the North". On all three days of the festival, prize blooms are on display at Suan Buak Haad near the city centre. Every type of flower, miniature tree and orchid is put on display for the judges to choose the best of the species. Landscape specialists put on an elaborate display, which includes patios and waterfalls with exotic decorative plants and flowers. The best part of the flower festival is on Saturday. The parade lines up from the train station to Narawatt bridge so the police close most of Jarenmuang Road around 8AM. The VIP viewing stand is right next to the bridge in front of the Chiang Mai Governor's home. The parade route goes down Thapae Road to the Gate and turns left and follows the moat to Suan Buak Haad City Park. The parade moves at a slow pace and stops several times so there is plenty of time to take pictures of the colourful floats, pretty girls and hilltribe people in costume. The people in the parade hand out roses to spectators lining the road. When the parade finishes everyone heads to Suan Buak Haad where all the floats, award winning flower growers and landscape projects are all on display. There are plenty of food stalls in the park, and in the late afternoon the Miss Chiang Mai Flower festival starts. The party goes well into the evening until the new Flower Festival Queen has been chosen. This is a great time to visit Chiang Mai, as the air is cool and the evenings fresh and clear. If you want to see the festival make sure you book your hotels and flights well in advance.
Loi Krathong Festival If you like candles placed in colourful paper lanterns, fireworks, beautiful girls in traditional dress, parade floats, lots of food, and parties, don't miss the Loi Krathong festival, which in Chiang Mai lasts for 3 full days, the last night being that of the 12th full moon of the year (which is usually in November). In the small town of Mae Jo, north of Chiang Mai, they start the festival on Saturday night by simultaneously launching thousands upon thousands of hot air balloons called "Khom Loy".
Bo Sang Umbrella & Sankampang Handicrafts Festival Takes place 20th-22nd January at Ban Bo Sang, Sankampang. The festival is in the form of a "street fair" in which the central road of the village is used, with stores on both sides. Stores are decorated in Lanna style, most with the well-known umbrellas, as well as with traditional lanterns. In addition there are contests, exhibitions, cultural performances, local entertainment, and assorted shows day and night. There is a grand procession decorated with umbrellas and local products, a variety of handicrafts for sale, northern-style kantoke meals, and the Miss Bo Sang pageant.
The 2nd Orchid Fair (January) is the biggest orchid fair of the year, with an orchid market, activities and more.
Royal Flora Exposition, [17]. A magnificent showcase of 50,000 orchid plants representing nearly 10,000 orchid species, plus much more.
 Academic institutions
A large area of land in the northwest is home to Chiang Mai University [18], one of Thailand's most prestigious institutions of higher education with around 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its main campus is situated at the base of Doi Suthep, and CMU buildings can be seen all the way up to Suandok Gate at the west end of the city's center. Other institutions of higher education, include:
  • Chiang Mai College of Dramatic Arts
  • Chiang Mai Commercial College
  • Chiang Mai Rajabhat University
  • Chiang Mai Technical College
  • Mae Jo University
  • Payap University
  • The Far East University
Chiang Mai is also unusual in its high concentration of international schools that cater to both local and foreign students living in the city looking for kindergarten, elementary, and secondary education. Many schools are American-run and several are funded by Christian missionary organisations. Some of the more prominent schools include:
Wat Chom Tong, Tambon Ban Luang, Amphoe Chom Tong (about 60km south-west of the city) +66 53-826869 / +66 53-826180. the home temple of the meditation master Achan Tong, and offers residential courses in Vipassana Meditation on an on-going basis.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep [19] (under See). offers short and long courses in Buddhist meditation.
Wat Ram Poeng, Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Muang (4 miles south-west of the city) +66 53-278620, [20]. Offers facilities for retreats and meditation instruction.
Wat Suan Dok Th Suthep, Chiang Mai (1/2 a mile west of the Old City Moat), +66 53-278967. Has a meet and greet for tourists and monks, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon between 15:00 and 17:00 hrs. Also, you can sign up for a 24-hrs introduction meditation retreat.
Wat Umong, Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Muang (3 and a half miles out of town) +66 53-277248 (08:30-16:00), [21]. Offers meditation courses and Dharma instruction in English every Sunday 15:00-18:00.
LifeEvents.org Center for Shamanic Studies, +66 53-809082 / +66 86-1966264, [22] the center of Russian clairvoyant healer and Mongolian initiated shaman, Diana Manilova, offers shamanic initiations, karma cleaning workshops and spiritual consultations for groups and individuals at least 25 years old.
 Thai language
  • Easy Study Thai [31]
  • Language Institute CMU [32]
  • Payap University [33]
Chiang Mai has great shopping and an internationally renowned night bazaar. There are two very large shopping malls at Airport Plaza and Central Kad Suan Keaw, both with the shops found in large cities in most countries. There are also streets with vendor booths that line the streets after dark, selling all types of merchandise including antiques, silks, silver, art, electronics, and knock-off and copycat merchandise, such as watches, handbags, and designer label clothing, all at very negotiable prices.
Night Bazaar is a huge market covering a long outdoor stretch of Chang Khlan Road between Tha Phae Road and Si Donchai Road, with the centre of the maelstrom in the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar Building, three stories of shopping under a Thai temple-style roof. It's not just a place to shop, but possibly Chiang Mai's largest tourist attraction, with products from Northern Thailand and neighboring countries, especially those associated with Thailand's hill tribes - but take all claims with a grain of salt and bargain hard for good prices.
Sunday Market starts around 14:00 and lasts until 22:00, (during the rainy season it doesn't start until 17:00 hrs) with local craftpersons operating stalls along Rajdumnern Road on the inner-east side of the moat near Tapae Gate. The street is blocked off from traffic so there is plenty of room to walk. Unlike the sellers on Chang Khlan Road, who peddle many fake designer goods, excellent hand made items are displayed and sold. At the 5 temples on this road you can enjoy real Northern Thai food and snacks.
Saturday Market on Wualai Road (the street that shoots off at an angle just outside the Chiang Mai gate on the south side of the old city) officially starts at 17:00, although the road will be closed to cars from about 14:00 onwards; it's pretty much over by 23:00. It's the old silver working district, and some shops stay open late on this day. Like the better-known Sunday Market, there's lots of food and local crafts.
Warorot Market (กาดหลวง Kad Luang) - north of Nawarat Bridge and west of the Ping River between Thapae Roads and Chang Moi Road. This sprawling outdoor market is where the locals shop, and is well worth a visit for those who enjoy shopping for fabrics, clothes, herbs and spices and hard to find items. It also includes a beautiful flower market and fruit, and out-of-this-world fireworks stands.
Chiang Mai's restaurants offer a wide range of food, second only to Bangkok. Naturally it's a good place to sample northern Thai food: in particular, hunt down some khao soi, yellow wheat noodles in curry broth traditionally with chicken or beef, but available some places as vegetarian or with seafood. For those tired of eating rice or noodles there's also a wide range of excellent western food restaurant in Chiang Mai, from cheap hamburger stands to elaborate Italian eateries.
Dress Code: You are in a tropical country so daytime wear of shorts, T-shirt, etc. is quite OK; however you'll earn bonus points if you look clean and tidy. Thai people (even the poorest) take pride in personal cleanliness and appearance (look at school kids and college students) so the "unkempt" style of some visitors is not appreciated. In the evenings long trousers (dress or skirt for ladies) with a neat shirt/blouse, shoes with socks for men and nice shoes for women (no flip-flops) are a must if you wish to enter a nice restaurant and get a good seat. The nicer you dress the better the table and service. If not you might get a table next to the bathroom, in a corner away from the view or in front of a loud music speaker.
Chanchao's Chiang Mai Food Review [35] is a good source of information on the fast-changing culinary scene, though it has not been updated for some time.
Anusarn Market, Chang Khlan Road (same side of road as "Galare Food Centre" but much further up beyond Loi Kroh crossroad towards Sri Dornchai) is a busy outdoor night market with lots of little Thai restaurants and food vendors. Great atmosphere.
Brick Road Cafe, Ratchadamneon Road (about 200 metres after the 2nd crossroads on the main walking street from Thapae Gate to Wat Phra Singh). English-Thai run cafe with a relaxed atmosphere and extensive Thai menu, produced by experienced Thai chefs, plus a host of excellent low-priced Western options.
Galare Food Centre, Chang Khlan Road (opposite the Night Bazaar Building), has a large open-air food court, featuring free Thai classical dance performances nightly. All food is paid for with coupons; most mains 20-50 baht.
Kuaytiaw Reua Koliang, Moon Muang Road (near Ratchamankha Road; no English sign) serves authentic kuaytiow reua (literally "boat noodles", rice noodles in dark broth with beef). It's good stuff anyway at 25 baht a pop.
Ratana’s Kitchen, Tha Pae Road (near Tha Pae Gate), has a wide range of Thai dishes at low prices (30-60 baht for many) and a huge vegetarian selection.
Re-Feel Café, 48/4-5 Rachavithi Road offers great (cheap) Thai food, good atmosphere, friendly staff and free billiards.
Fish'N'chips Shop, Ratchawitee Road +66 53-418210. Fresh, crispy. The name says it all.
Mike's Hamburger Stand, on the corner of Chaiyapoom Road and Chang Moi Road (along the east side of the moat) and on Nimmanhaemin Road (across from Soi 1) are brightly-lit, "old-school" joints - just stools and a counter in an open shop. OK hamburgers for 60 baht, excellent onion rings. If you're tired of rice and noodles this is nice place to stop for lunch while walking around town, and an even better place to fill your stomach on the way home from the bars. Bacon, or ham and egg sandwiches on the breakfast menu. Open 09:00-15:00. The franchise now includes a shop in the Anusarn Market (see above) with others opening in Bangkok soon.
Woody's Fine Fast Food, 56 Chaiyapoom Road. Half-way between Thapae Gate and Spicy Pub, next to the 7/11. Serves Kebabs (Gyros), Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Falafel, Chips (Fries), Beer, Whisky, Wine and Soft Drinks. Tasty food, quality ingredients, cheap prices. Hygenic, friendly and attractive small diner and bar. Stays open after most other bars and restaurant have closed. Open 5pm to late.
On the east bank of the Ping River north of Nawarat Bridge is a cluster of restaurants that double up as nightlife spots - see the listings under Drink
Huen Phen, 112 Ratchamankha Road, specialises in Northern Thai food, and is popular with Thais and foreigners alike. Lunch in the air-conditioned hall is decent enough, but dinner in the profusely decorated old house in the back is little short of magical. Best of all is the price: a bowl of khanom jiin naam ngiaw (Shan-style pork rib noodles), a plate of som tum (green papaya salad) and some sticky rice will still leave you change from 50 baht! Open daily 08:00-15:00 & 17:00-22:00.
Just Kao Soy - a reasonably priced restaurant with excellent kao soy and vegetarian curry broth.
Amazing Sandwich, 20/2 Huay Kaew Road (north-west corner of the moat, opposite the Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel; plus two other locations) [36] - choose from a million and one items on their list and they'll build a sandwich for you your way. The also serve breakfasts and have bagels. Open daily 08:00-20:00 (Sunday close 16:00).
Chiang Mai Kebab, 69/4 Kotchasarn Road +66-71881832 - chicken, beef kebab, salad, Pita bread, falafel, samosa, vegetarian. 17:00-midnight.
El Toro Restaurant & Pub, 5/2 Loi Kroh Road. New Mexico style Mexican food at its finest prepared by experienced cook. Free food 17:00-19:00 every Friday.
O'Malley's Irish Restaurant, Anusarn Market, 149-14/15 Changklan Road +66 53-271921 - international cuisine and Guinness on tap.
The Dukes +66 53-249231 is located 50 meters north of the Tourism Authority of Thailand office at 49/4-5 Chiang Mai - Lumpoon Road, south of the Narawat bridge on the east side of the Ping River. Excellent American style dishes and desserts - ribs, burgers, pizza, cheesecake, etc. Full bar with local and imported beers and wines. Great family atmosphere, no loud music or entertainment, just good food.
The Meeting Restaurant & Café, 6/1 Soi 1, Kotchasarn Road. Have a talk with the friendly managers. Closed Sundays.
Kosher Restaurant, 89/15 Changklan Road (100 m from Empress hotel).
Khun Churn, 120/2 Nimmanhemin Road, Soi 7 +66 53-224124 - Thai vegetarian. Open 09:30-14:30 & 17:30-22:00, closed the 16th of every month.
When you come to Chiang Mai you should try a traditional Khantoke dinner and show. This is not just for tourists as the Northern Thai people have been enjoying the Khantoke dinner for centuries. There are also many garden restaurants where you can enjoy an excellent Thai meal in a beautiful setting.
Baan Rom Mai Garden Restaurant, Changklan Plaza, 191/12 Changklan Road +66 53-820031 /2. Open daily 10:00-midnight.
Galae Garden Restaurant, at the end of Suthep Road +66 53-278655 / +66 53-811041 - Doi Suthep foothill location at edge of a sparkling reservoir. Thai & Northern Thai food and grilled specialties in delightful outdoors.
Khum Khantoke, in Chiang Mai Business Park +66 53-304121 - be entertained while you dine on traditional North Thailand Cuisine. Reservations are a good idea to get a good seat. Family style all you can eat 350 baht. Nightly 19:00-22:00.
Le Grand Lanna Garden Restaurant, 51/3 Sankampaeng Road +66 53-262569 is a must see for its architectural teak splendor. Open daily.
Old Chiang Mai Culture Center 185/3 Wualai Road +66 53-275097 - the first commercial Khantoke Dinner in Chiang Mai more than 30 years ago. They have the best Northern Thai food of any of the Kantoke establishments however the seating, show and music are not as good as at Khum Khantoke. Nightly 19:00-21:30.
Palaad Tawanron Garden Restaurant, on a reservoir. Thai and English food. Wat Fai Hin behind CHiang Mai University, Suthep Road +66 53-216576 / +66 53-216039.
Saenkham Terrace Garden Restaurant, Clubhouse Ban Naifan 2, 199/163 T. Maehea +66 53-838990 - open daily 11:00-22:00.
Alois Bavarian Restaurant, Soi 8, Phrapoklao Road +66 53-278515 - authentic Bavarian specialties - open Tue-Sun, 11:30-23:00.
Fillmore East Bar & Grill, Charernrasd Road +66 53-262416 - seating on two dining terraces facing Mae Ping river. Delicious USDA Beef, lamb, veal, chops, burgers. Excellent homemade deserts such as pecan, pumpkin and apple pie with large choice of toppings. The bar is separate from the riverside dining area so you can enjoy a romantic dinner in peace.
Piccola Roma Palace Italian Restaurant, at corner of Charoenprathet Road & Sri Donchai Road near Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel +66 53-820297 / +66 53-271256 - open lunch & dinner. An unforgettable dining experience amid beautiful surroundings. Serving residents over 15 years.
The House, 199 Moonmuang Road +66 53-419011 - old 1930's colonial style house in town center. Pacific rim & fusion food. Open 18:00.
The Mango Tree Café, 8/2-3 Loi Kroh Road +66 53-208292 - open 07:00-22:30. Top quality Thai & Western cuisine. Sunday Roast Lamb.
  • Vegetarian:
Whole Earth, 88 Sridonchai Road +66 53-282463 - open 11:00-21:00.
Chiang Mai's nightlife scene is the most happening in the North, although still a far cry from Bangkok's. There are discos, karaoke bars, and live music everywhere. The busiest nightlife zones are near Tapae Gate, Loi Kroh Road and along Charoenrat Road on the eastern bank of the Ping River.
 Bars and pubs
Most of Chiang Mai's bars and pubs are located along Loi Kroh Road and Moon Muang Road. Here you can find small expat hangouts, go-go bars and sports bars. Most have pool tables and hostesses, along with music videos or various TV sports programs. A few of those similar bars are:
Crank Tavern, Bottom of Ratchapakinai Road (Near Chiang Mai Gate) +66 899 654722 is a beautifully recycled wood furnished bar with free Internet, great tunes and friendly staff. Now with what are becoming known as the best pub meals in Chiang Mai its a great place to have a meal and spend a relaxing evening. Also home of Crank Adventures (see above) for excellent mountain bike tours and bike hire.
Elephant Café, Kotchasarn Road (near Thapae Gate) +66 857 233440 - nice clean friendly bar with pool room, large TV & friendly hostesses.
Half Moon Pub, Soi 2 Moonmuang (around the corner from Topnorth Guesthouse), +66 853 205023, [37]. Open 10am till late, late. Sports bar with many regulars and tourists. Darts & pool area, big TV, really nice international cuisine, especially the burgers but also good Thai & Indian dishes. Excellent (can be loud) music, friendly atmosphere and beautiful women.
Number One, Loi Kroh Road Soi 1 - friendly bar with free Internet and pool table. Plenty of talkative expats and pretty hostesses.
Tuskers, Chaiyaphum Soi 1, +66 871 804 665, [38] - bar and restaurant with a touch of Thai style and international standards of service, free pool table and live sports.
There are also some bars with a different atmosphere:
Café Souvannaphoum, 20/1 Ratchamankha Road, (near Moon Muang) +66 53 903-781. A decent wine bar with comfortable seating and relaxing music, great escape from the busy street life, open M-Sa: 17:00 - 01:00.
The Pub 189 Huay Kaew Road (near Amiri Rincome Hotel) +66 53-211550, [39]. long established olde worlde English pub in the true tradition, has had a makeover and extended the bar and the restaurant but kept its charm. Great selection of food and drinks, including roast dinners on Sundays. Has an outside area where you can sit and enjoy the tranquility of a tropical garden, and has recently added bungalows for those wishing to linger longer.
West of the city center, the area around Nimmanhaemin Road is a popular hangout for younger Thais, perhaps due to its proximity to Chiang Mai University. The pubs, as they are called here, tend to straddle a fine line between bar, restaurant and nightclub, and feature loud music interspersed with live bands fronted by musicians who are most likely hitting the books in the daytime. Tourists looking for something racier are better off staying in the east side of town.
BangRak, Nimmanhaemin Road Soi 6 - hangout spot for a primarily student crowd. Weekend nights are standing-room only and the clubbing atmosphere is complete; weekday nights are a little slower. Well air-conditioned, and no cover charge, but you'll be expected to purchase some drinks. Open 18:00-01:00.
Mo'C Mo'L, Huay Kaew Road - pub and restaurant near Chiang Mai University, there are many zone in the restaurant: coffee shop, dining outdoor near the small pond, dining indoor with live music.
Monkey Club, Nimminheimin Road Soi 9 +66 53-226997 -8 - another hot spot for the students, with a variety of live music. Open 17:00-01:00.
 Live music
The area along the east bank of the Mae Ping River on Charoenrat Road is famous for jazz, rock, pop, Thai and country and western live music, along with restaurants serving Thai, western, and Chinese food. Coming from the center of the city, just walk from the night bazaar across the Narawatt Bridge, from where all the restaurants can be seen along the river on the left.
Most bands in Chiang Mai play for about an hour, and then move on to do the same at another restaurant or pub, so don't be surprised to see the same band twice if you switch venues.
La Brasserie, 37 Charoenrat Road +66 53-241665 - this riverside venue is not famous for its food, but the music is great, and there's a good selection of cocktails and spirits. Sit outside in the lush garden setting where acoustic guitar is played (19:00-midnight) or inside at the bar and catch the famous Took and Friends (23:00-02:00) who play old Hendrix, Dylan, Marley, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and other favorites.
Tha Chang Jazz Club, 25 Charoenrat Road (next to Gallery Restaurant) +66 53-248601 - good for a drink any day, but best visited on Saturdays for live jazz.
The Chiang Mai Riverside Restaurant, 9-11 Charoenrat Road +66 53-243239 [40]. Everyone who has been to Chiang Mai eats at least once here. There is a large menu of Thai and western food. If you want a good homemade hamburger, this is a good place to get one. The live music starts around 19:00 with dinner music from the Eagles, Beatles, or soft jazz. Starting at 21:00, the music changes to more rock and pop songs. Full bar service serving wine, beer, and spirits are available. The Chiang Mai Riverside restaurant gets very crowded, so get here early to get a table. The Riverside also offers a nightly dinner cruise departing at 20:00 for 70 baht/person extra.
The Garden Chiang Mai, 139, Ratchadamnoen Road, [41]. Well stocked bar, great food and a beautiful garden. The Chiang Mai Blues Club meets here to play at 20:30 on Wednesdays, and there's also live music on Sundays during the walking street market which is right outside the gates.
The Good View, 13 Charoenrat Road +66 53-241886, [42]. Thai and western varieties of rock, jazz, pop and country music entertain in the evening. Their extensive menu offers more than 150 Thai, Chinese, and western dishes, including curries, noodles, rice, and pizza. Soft drinks and a full bar serving wine, beer, and spirits are available. Again, if you want a good, riverside-view table get there early.
The North Gate, inside the city moat and east of Chang Puak Gate, [43]. The North Gate has easily become one of the most popular, regular destinations for Chiang Mai's young ex pat community. With nightly jazz performances starting around 9:30 PM with different performers and occasional guests from the audience, the North Gate offers something unique to the often repetitious Chiang Mai live music scene. In addition to nightly music performed by true lovers and technicians of jazz, the North Gate offers a variety of drinks not normally found within Chiang Mai- notably red and white wine, mojitos, and other mixed drinks. The staff is quick and efficient and prices are damn cheap!
Bubbles - B1, Porn Ping Tower, 46 Charoen Prathet Road. Would be just another cheesy hotel disco if not for some good DJs and enthusiastic crowds; now it's a cheesy, packed and fun hotel disco on weekend nights. Cover charge 100 baht including one drink; open until 02:00.
Discovery - opposite Kad Suan Kaew shopping centre and Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel. Is a small club with live band, DJ and huge screens showing music videos, good for drinking nights and letting loose. Bring ID/passport as they can be strict with entry especially on weekend nights.
Spicy is a hectic after hours place with good drinks, dancing and lots of local good looking girls looking to party - be warned, they almost always ask for money.
 Gay Bars
Chiang Mai is a popular destination for gay tourists and many Gay people have retired here. It has a vibrant Gay scene, highlights include:
Friendship Bar, Thapae Road Soi 1 (between the Peak Climbing wall and D2 Hotel). Small oudoor bar popular with Thai gays, ex pats and tourists alike. 50 baht up for small beer.
Glass Onion, Room 1 project, 61, Nimmanhaemin Rd., Telephone: 66(0)53218479. Sophisticated wine bar popular with gays, opposite "Warm Up"
Golden Ball (Bon Tong in Thai), Santitham Road (At Junction with Tewan Road), Chang Phuak Tel: 66(0)53406043, [44]. Northern Thai style outdoor bar and restaurant. Local prices: Drinks start from 45 baht for a large Chang beer. Packed with very friendly staff and fun atmosphere.
Accommodation in Chiang Mai is generally cheap even by Thai standards. All types of lodging are available from inexpensive guest-houses with little or no service to the typical high rise hotels and elaborate garden resorts. The latest boom is Thai-style boutique resorts located near the old city center - several have been built since mid-2005, and offer excellent service in quiet garden settings; most are fairly small with as few as 8 rooms and a pool, and are decorated with Thai crafts and antiques.
Some of the cheapest accommodation may refuse guests who are not also booking a trekking package. Evenings in Chiang Mai are cooler than Bangkok and the south during the dry season, so air conditioning may be less of a priority
Backpacker House, +66 53-811700 or +66 81-9939911, [45]. Simple lodging near the airport and university. 6-bed dorms (en-suite and hot water) 170 baht/person; standard rooms from 560-720 baht including breakfast.
Banilah Guesthouse, 11 Sotesueksa Road, Changpheuk (near Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Center), +66 5322 3683 (info@banilah.com, fax: +66 5321 5200), [46]. A very nice family run boutique guesthouse, which opened 2006. From 300 baht.
Ben Guesthouse, 4/4, 4/11 Chiangmai-Lamphun Rd, Soi 2 Muang , CHIANGMAI 50000, [47]. Very friendly staf 200 baht a room.
Eagle House, 16 Changmoi Gao Road, Soi 3, +66 53-874126 (fax: +66 53''-874366), [48].
Golden Fern Guest House, 20 Soi 8 Thanon Phra Pokklao (southeast inner moat), +66 53-277665, [49].
Green Tulip Guest House, 18 Samlan Road (near Wat Phrasing), +66 53-278367, [50]. Brand new guest house with a restaurant, roof top garden, Internet café and large screen TV in the lobby. Beautifully decorated and designed with elegant wood floors throughout the building. Choice of fan and air-con rooms with shared or private bathrooms. 250-650 baht.
Hollanda Montri Guesthouse, 365 Charoenrat Road (bit north on same road as The Riverside and Good View) +66 53-242450 [51] - family style guesthouse with a tropical garden on the banks of the Mae Ping River, 10 minutes from the center of town by taxi. Fan/air-con rooms 500 baht.
Home Place Hotel, 9 Soi 6 Tapae Road. +66 53-276468 offers double-bed rooms and twin-bed rooms with fan or air-con (250-450 baht). All rooms have hot shower and cable television. It's very clean and staff is quite friendly.
Julie Guesthouse, 7/1 Prapokklao Road Soi 5, +66 53-274355 [52] - familiar and chilly Guesthouse located in a quiet part of the Old City 5 minutes from Tha Phae Gate. Fan rooms with or without bathroom (100-300 baht), restaurant (Thai and Western Food) and Adventure-Tour specialized travel agency.
Marlboro/Joe Guest House, 138 Sithiwongse Road +66 53-2325989 [53] - clean and cheap guest house, more like a small family run hotel that really makes you feel at home.
Pachkit House, 8/1 Arak Road Soi 7 [54] - Clean family-run guesthouse/apartment in the Old City. 15 minutes walk to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital and Central Kad Suan Kaew Department Store. Bathroom in every room with hot/cold shower; each room has fridge, TV with cable and free 1024 Kbps ADSL hook-up. There are also a few computers for free Internet use in the café next to reception. Rates from 650-850 baht/day with daily cleaning and sheet change, monthly rental rate also available (starting at 4500 baht). Can be quite noisy, especially in the mornings, due to a large number of barking dogs in the neighborhood.
Rendezvous Guesthouse & Café, 3/1 Ratchadamnoen Road Soi 5 +66 53-213763 or +66 53-419009 email="rendezvousgh@hotmail.com" fax+66 53-217229" A very nice family run guesthouse (Preecha and Juliwaan). Both fan and air-con rooms, all with refrigerator, cable TV, and ensuite bathroom. Air-con rooms 500 baht and fan rooms 350 baht. Outstanding location just off the Sunday Walking Market Street inside the old city. Delicious food both Thai and Western and excellent coffee / espresso. Very quiet lane with motorbike rental and laundry service nearby. Free Wi-Fi 24 hours a day. Staff is very friendly and owner speaks good english.
Smile (Guest) House 5 Soi 2 Ratchamankha Road, Prasingh +66 53-208661 -2 (fax: +66 53-208663) [55] - rooms 300-450 baht.
Tawan Court, 15/1 Charoenprathet Road, 66 (53) 284 212 to 9 (reservation@tawancourt.com, fax: 66 (53) 284 221), [56]. Small family-run hotel. Free Wi-Fi
The Garden Guesthouse Chiang Mai, 139 Rachadamnorn Road, T. Pra Singh +66 84-8098768, [57] is situated in the center of the old town. Live music nights including "The Chiang Mai Blues Club" [58] every wednesday at 8:30 PM. Free use of their PC, Internet and Wi-Fi for customers.
The Royal Guest House, Kothchasarn Road, Soi 4 T.ChangKarn, A.Muang +66 53-282460 [59]
Wanasit Guesthouse, 6 Ratchamankha Road Soi 8 [60] - modern, clean guesthouse located in a quiet alley in the historical centre next to the Wat Phra Singh temple.
Yourhouse Guesthouse 8 Soi 2 Ratvithi Road +66 53-217492 [61] - traditional Thai teak wooden house, conveniently situated in a small lane in the old part of Chiang Mai, just a 5-minute walk from Tha Phae Gate. Excellent restaurant, and offers a variety of traveller services (e.g. tickets, visas). Very friendly staff. Offer TAT-licenced treks.
3Sis Bed and Breakfast, 1 Soi 8 Phrapokklao Road, +66 53-273243 (3sis.bnb@gmail.com), [62]. Opened in early 2006, this quiet guesthouse is right in the middle of the old city. Clean, very comfortable, and tastefully furnished and decorated in Thai style. Bed and breakfast from 800 baht.
Affordable Chiang Mai, Huay Kaew Road +66 48-098768 [63] is a comfortable, clean and convenient place to stay. One month stay from USD320, including motorbike.
Baan Orapin, 150 Charoenrat Road +66-16164016 [64] - this "boutique B&B" with just 6 rooms is in beautifully restored old Thai house set in a small garden. Air-con, hot water and far more character than any other hotel in this price range. Walking distance to the Night Bazaar and the riverside restaurants. Rates from 1000 baht for a double.
Central Duangtawan Hotel, 132 Loi Kroh Road, [65]. Excellent four-star hotel with Internet rates from around 1800 baht. Probably a little cheaper than similar competitors as it's in the red-light district, but the area seems quite safe and the hotel is of very high quality.
Chiang Mai Gate Hotel, 11/10 Suriyawong Road (south of the moat) +66 53-203895 -9 [66]
Lotus Hotel, 2/25 Viangbua Road, Tambol Chang-Phuak, +66 53-215376 [67] advertises itself as "The Hub of Chiang Mai's Premier Gay Entertainment Center" (sic). Rooms are individually decorated and have air-con, TV, radio, 'phone, 'fridge, and safe; rates 900-2500 baht.
Pornping Tower, 46-48 Charoenprathet Road +66 53-270099 (fax: +66 53-270119) [68] offers not only an amusing name, but slowly fading grandeur at affordable prices. Located near the Night Bazaar, the hotel has a pool and the Bubbles disco, among the most popular in Chiang Mai - and a source of some noise pollution if trying to sleep. The newer and quieter Tower Wing is a bit more expensive than the older Front Wing. 1,000 baht and up (with breakfast).
Raming Lodge, 17-19 Loi Kroh Road, T. Chang Klan, A. Muang +66 53-271777 (fax: +66 53-270039) [69] - great boutique hotel between the night market and the old city. Unique Lanna architecture. No swimming pool. Food at the restaurant is reasonably priced as are the massages (Thai massage 300 baht/hour). Great place to stay with prices starting at 1,800 baht (Internet rates start at 850 baht).
River View Lodge, 25 Charoenprathet Road Soi4 +66 53-271109-10 [70] - overlooking the Ping River. All rooms are twin, decorated in Northern Thai style with individually controlled air-conditioning. Private shower, telephone and personal safe. Has a beautiful tropical garden with several intimate pavilions, patios and riverside swimming pool. Less than 10 minutes Walking distance to the Night Bazaar. Rates from 1,450 baht for River Side room with balcony.
TaNiTa (Riverside) Resort, 25/2 Moo 3, Chonpatan Road, A. Sarapee +66 81-8846334 (fax: +66 53-892110) [71] - Northern Lanna Thai style from teak with beautiful garden a hotel mainly visited by foreign tourists because very quiet and private place, in a good location between the Ping River and Baan Tawai. Some rooms offer wonderful mountain and river views. It's a good mid-range option with prices starting at 1,200 baht for River Side room with balcony.
YMCA International Hotel, 11 Mengrairasmi Semsuk Road +66 53-221819 [72] - tucked away in an area northwest of the moat, the hotel is just a 10 minute tuk-tuk ride away from the Night Bazaar and many tourist venues.
Prices vary from 10 baht/hour (in "gaming" places filled with local kids) to 60 baht/half-hour (2 baht/minute) and up. Most places charge per 15 or 30 minute block, others by the minute.
Crank Tavern, 3/2 Ratchapakinai Rd. (Near Chiang Mai Gate). Internet is free if you by a drink. They have fast ADSL equipped with Skype and you will be in comfortable surrounds. Also good for bike hire and tours.
Buddy Internet, 12 Huaykaew Road (Northweast corner of the moat, opposite the Central Department Store), Tel: 05340-4550. Open 08:00-midnight.
Main Post Office - Charoenmuang Road. Tel: 053 241070, 053 245376.
Phra Sing Post Office - Singharat Road (a three-minute walk south of Wat Phra Singh)
Directory enquiry service: 183/1133
International and domestic operator assisted service: 100
Overseas dial-out code: 001
AT&T International operator for collect calls: 001 999 11111
 Stay safe
Chiang Mai, like most of Thailand, is quite safe, even at night. The dark streets can look forbidding but crime is rare and visitors shouldn't worry unduly. As always, travellers should take extra care in all poorly lit or more remote areas.
Unfortunately some scams from Bangkok have started to rear their ugly heads in Chiang Mai as well. Two in particular are worth watching out for: the gem scam, where you are talked into buying near-worthless gems at far above their real value; and the tuk-tuk scam, where a smooth-talking tuk tuk driver tells you that the attraction you want to see is closed, and instead offers you a sightseeing tour for 20 baht (or some similarly unrealistic number) - needless to say, the tour will either consist of nothing but overpriced gift shops, or will smoothly segue into the gem scam. See Bangkok | Stay safe for more details.
 Stay healthy
Savitri-Sharin Clinic 95/2-3 Kochasarn Road (East side of the moat, almost to the southeast corner) Phone 053 275-330 Daily hours 09:00-12:00, 17:00-20:00; Closed Sunday evenings. English spoken. Personable husband and wife team, both are doctors. Highly recommended.
Baan Sabaii, 22 Chiang Saidai Road. A special AIDS hospital backed up by a Christian and Japanese societies (The head doctor is a Japanese woman, Aoki Emiko).
Chiangmai Ram Hospital, 8 Boonruangrit Road, Sripoom District (north-west corner of the moat), +66 53-224851 / +66 53-224861 (fax: +66 53-224880), [80]. Offers state-of-the-art (but a bit pricey) medical care.
Malaria Centre, 18 Boonruangrit Road, T Suthep, A Muang +66 53-221529 / +66 53-894271. Chiang Mai city itself is considered low-risk, however malaria is endemic in the region and risk can be especially significant when trekking in the hills.
Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, 110 Intawaroros Road, T.Sripoom, A.Muang Chiang Mai. A university-based hospital, leading medical tertiary-care for the North of Thailand.
Chiang Mai Dental Hospital, 1/42 Moo 3 (Chiang Mai - Lampang Road) T Changphuak, A Muang, +66 53-411150, [81].
Grace Dental Care Clinic 45 Soi 11 Nimmanhemin Road T.Suthep (north-west corner of the moat, near Chiang Mai University), +66 53-894568/69, [82]. Offers quality care by a team of specialists.
 Local foreign-language newspapers
Chiangmai Mail - English; weekly
 Emergency contacts
Police - emergencies: 191
Police - Tourist: 1155, 053-278559
Fire: 053-241777
Rescue Team: 053-218888
 Expat associations & clubs
Chiang Mai Expats Club - meets every 2nd & 4th Saturday
 Embassies & consulates
  • Australia, 165 Sirimungklajarn, T. Suthep, A.Muang, +66 53-219726 or +66 53-400232 / +66 53-221083 (fax: +66 53-219726).
  • Bangladesh, 95 Huay Kaew Road, T. Suthep, A.Muang +66 53-53 212373 - 4 (fax+66 53-53 223524).
  • China, 111 Changlo Road, Haiya District, +66 53 -276125, 272197, 200424 (admin office) (fax: +66 53-274614) cgprccm@loxinfo.co.th.
  • Finland, 104-112 Thapae Road, +66 53-234777.
  • Germany, Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany, 199/163 Moo 3, Baan Nai Fun2, Kan Klong Chonpretan Road, Tambon MaeHia, tel+fax: +66 53-838735.
  • India, 344 Charoenprathet Road, +66 53-243066 (fax: +66 53-247879),
  • Japan, Airport Business Park, 90 Mahidol Rd. T.Haiya, A. Muang +66 53-203367 (fax: +66 53-203373)[84].
  • South Africa, 2nd Floor Chiang Inn Hotel, 100 Changklan Road, Amphor Muang +66 53-270070-6 (fax: +66 53-274299 / mobile: +66-1 8412629).
  • South Korea, V Group Building, 3rd Floor, 50 Huay Kaew Road,Tambon Chang Puak, Amphoe Mueang +66 5322-3119 Ext : 206,210 (fax: +66 53-22-5661). [85]
  • Sweden, Svenska Konsulatet i Chiang Mai, 11 Sermsuk Road, Mengrairasmi, +66 53-220844 (fax: +66 53-210877).
  • USA, American Consulate General, 387 Witchayanond Road, +66 53-252629 (fax: +66 53-252633), [86].
 Get out
  • Chiang Dao - an hour north of the city, and a good starting point for treks into the mountains
  • Doi Inthanon National Park [87] - boasts the highest peak in Thailand (2,565m), 60km southwest of Chiang Mai
  • Lampang - urban Northern Thailand without the commercialism, 100km southeast of Chiang Mai
  • Lamphun - a scenic town with a long history and a longan festival, 26km southeast of Chiang Mai
  • Mae Hong Son - a picturesque little town with lush valleys, rocky streams and a lake
  • Nan - the former capital of a small kingdom filled with history and temples and surrounded by mountains
Chiang Dao
Chiang Dao (เชียงดาว) is a town in Northern Thailand.
Chiang Dao literally means "City of Stars", although this small rural town is hardly a city.
 Get in
Chiang Dao is 72 km north of Chiang Mai on Highway 107 to Fang and Tha Ton.
 By plane
The nearest major airport is in Chiang Mai. A metered, air conditioned taxi will cost about 1000 - 1200 Baht one-way (~$35US).
 By bus
The easiest and cheapest way to get in and out of Chiang Dao, is to stay next to, or near Highway 107. Anywhere along side the highway, one can wave down a bus or Songtheaw to either go towards Chiang Mai (40 Baht), or Fang (40 Baht). Buses run quite often (between 6am - 6pm every half hour)
There are buses six times daily from Chiang Mai to Tha Ton, which stop at Chiang Dao along the way. 90 minutes, 40 baht.
You can ask the driver to stop anywhere along the side of the road, which is ofter better than getting off at the Chiang Dao bus stop, where Sontheaw drivers charge 100 Baht or more to take you one-way to a resort.
 Get around
Most guesthouses can arrange motorcycles for rent for around 200 baht/day.
Chiang Dao Cave (Tham Chiang Dao) is the best-known attraction here, offering 12 kilometers of stalactite-laden caves — although only five of the caverns are accessible to the public. Entry 10 baht.
The town of Chiang Dao is adjacent to Chiang Dao National Park[1], which covers over 1000 sq.km. of the stunning craggy mountains in the area, including Doi Chiang Dao itself (2225m). Being fairly high up, it's noticeably cooler and drier than on the plains and can get downright cold in the winter. The local flora are semitropical, with extensive bamboo forests and a number of mountain streams and waterfalls.
The area is popular for trekking, as in addition to the mountain views there are many Lisu and Karen hill tribe villages scattered in the park.
Chiang Dao Nest Tours and Trekking, [2] offers a wide variety of 2-3 day treks in the national park. Small, private groups led by local hill tribe guides, priced at roughly 1000 baht/person/day all-inclusive.
Doi Luang Chiang Dao is a wonderful two day mountain trip for experienced hikers.
Elephant riding
River rafting
Every Tuesday the town has a market with many hilltribe people coming down to trade.
Mon and Kurt's Thai-German Restaurant (on the old Chiang Dao - Fang highway, 2.5km after the Chiang Dao 7-11 in the Fang direction, on the right hand side) +66-841739975 [3] - big variety of European, North American and Thai food. Thai mains ~50 baht, European dishes ~100 baht.
Cafe Cafe is the place to go if you like sports. The owner broadcasts football games and sometimes Auto racing. Good coffee!
There are also a few Thai Karaoke Bars in and around Chiang Dao, for those who are a little more adventerous.
Chiang Dao now offers quite a few guesthouses and resorts, some located right near the Chiang Dao - Fang Highway, others near the bypass or near the cave and mountain temple.
Mon and Kurt's Thai-German Restaurant, +66-841739975 [4]mon@chiangdao.org has a large, cozy, teak private room with a fan for 190 baht/night. Shared bathroom and hot shower, towels and clean bedding provided, and great food in the restaurant and good fresh coffee. Beautiful mountain view from the restaurant, UBC TV, 7 baht/minute international calls and Internet access. A popular place for local expats as well as people on day trips from Chiang Mai.
They also have a furnished house for rent, with full kitchen, two bedrooms and dining room, in a quiet location for 650 Baht per night, 2500 Baht per week
Chiang Dao Nest, +66-60171985 [5] run by English/Thai couple Stuart and Wicha is a self-proclaimed mini-resort with views of the mountains around and Thai/Western food. 11 bungalows with fan, attached bathroom, hot water, from 495 baht/night.
Nature Home, is a nice and quiet place, offers nice rooms with private bathrooms for 400 baht/night. The owners are a local couple that speaks no English, but is very friendly. If you are lucky, you might get some kind of breakfast for free in the morning.
Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalows, +66-53456426 [6] is a nice and quiet place set up in 1995 offers nice bamboo rooms (and fan) with high ceilings and private bathrooms for 500 baht/night. Family and honeymoon suits are also available. The location offers views of the surrounding mountains. The owner speak good English and is very friendly. It is located right next to the above mentioned Chiang Dao Nest.
Baan Krating Chiang Dao, Highway 107 Km. 63, +66-19520067 [7] is a "boutique resort" with 10 villas on the banks of the Ping River, 10 km to the south of town. Each villa has air-con, attached bathroom, terrace, and costs from 900 baht/night low season, from 1200 baht/night high season.
Thaton (Thailand)
Thaton (ท่าตอน, also spelt Tha Ton) is a small village in Chiang Mai Province with a number of hotels and guesthouses of variying prices.
 Get in
Thaton is located between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. From Thaton you can also go to Mae Salong, and on to the Myanmar border at Mae Sai (where you can extend your visa).
You can take the boat from here to Chiang Rai, which takes about 3 hours. From Chiang Rai to Thaton is an upriver trip, and takes about 5 hours. The village has a relaxed atmosphere, and some people hang out for a few days before moving on.
Bordering the village is Wat Thaton, a large monastery with nine levels or hills. Each hill has something on it to visit, like a big Buddha image or a stupa. Level 4 has a meditation center, where they teach vipassana meditation, also in English. For information on the meditation course in Wat Thaton, see [1]
Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai (เชียงราย) is the capital of Chiang Rai province, in Northern Thailand. The town has a population of around 40,000 and is the main commercial centre serving the Golden Triangle border region of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. It is an excellent base for exploring the region.
 Get in
 By car
Chiang Rai is about 820km north of Bangkok and is easily accessible from Bangkok via highways #1/#32 and from Chiang Mai on highway #118.
 By bus
Deluxe coaches operated by Greenbus depart Chiang Mai's Arcade Bus Terminal (north of the city, opposite Carrefour and just off the super highway) on a regular basis. The journey takes three hours and costs 520 baht round-trip.
 By train
The nearest train station is at Chiang Mai.
 By plane
Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI) is located on Phaholyotin Road 8 kilometres from downtown Chiang Rai. Car rental is available on arrival from Avis [1]
The airport is served by Air Asia, Nok Air, One-Two-Go, SGA Airlines, and Thai Airways.
 Get around
Public transport consists mainly of tuk-tuks and songthaews, plus a smaller number of taxis. The city itself can be explored on foot, but for trips into the province consider renting a car or a motorbike. Budget and Avis both have offices in Chiang Rai and there are several local agencies. If you don't feel up to driving in what may be a very different environment, then consider hiring a car with driver - it doesn't cost much more.
A motorbike is a good way to see these parts; there are several trails and a 250cc dirt bike is a great way to see the country side. However be aware that many of the mountain roads are narrow and winding and that Thailand has one of the highest rates of motorcycle accidents in the world. Stay alert.
Gate of Siam - on the border with Laos - you stand high up on a mountain and Laos is in front of you and the mighty Mekong River
Wat Santhaat
Wat Phra Kaeo - this beautiful Buddhist temple on Trairat Road right in town is famous for having housed, in the 14th century, the Emerald Buddha, one of the most famous Buddha images in Thailand (it is now housed in Bangkok)
Wat Thoeng Sao Hin
Princess Mother Hall and Doi Mae Salong - about 70km north-west of Chiang Rai. A beautiful road from Mae Chan, sometimes quite steep. The view from the temple and Princess Mother Hall is fantastic. In Mae Salong there is a museum for KMT and you can learn what happened after they got kicked out of China by Mao Tse Tung, going to Burma, kicked out from there and then into Thailand where they helped the Thai government to fight the Communists for many years.
Doi Tung Royal Villa - final residence of the Princess Mother (mother of the King of Thailand), located at kilometre 12 on highway 1149, to the west of highway 1. This magnificent villa was built on the mountain overlooking the surrounding hills and valleys in a unique mix of Swiss and Lanna architectural styles. Adjacent to the villa is the Mae Fah Luang Garden, a large beautiful flower-filled garden, and a memorial hall commemorating the Princess Mother.
Wat Doi Tung - very important temple for the Buddhists and with probably the most fantastic view of all temples in Thailand
Doi Tung Zoo
Phucheefah - great sunset view
  • Organize a trekking tour to the hill-tribes
  • Visit Buffalo Horn Hill and Khun Kon Waterfall (Nam Tok Khun Kon)
Rent a motorbike and go to the temple on Buffalo Horn Hill to have a splendid overview over Chiang Rai by following the old road to Chiang Mai, called Thanon Ratchayotha. Just about when you'll cross the city borders you'll notice a long curve in the road to the right. From this point watch for a hill in the distance at the lefthand side. That's where you want to go! Take a left turn at the next big Soi (Nongpoung soi 3). Take the first turn right after the lake and turn left. The entrance to the small road up is here: look for temple flags. You will be treated with the most beautiful view over Chiang Rai. Especially around sunset! The restaurant at the small lake serves nice fish and gourmet frogs.
Another way to find Buffalo Horn Hill (Wat Phra That Doi Khao Khwai) is to go Thanon Sanam Bin south to the Old Airport, turn right onto Thanon Pracha Santi follow this one and you see the hill in front of you.
Take the same old road to Chiang Mai for about 15 km and turn right at the white sign 'Kun Korn Waterfall'. The pitoresque road meanders up for 11 km. Walk the last kilometer to the waterfall itself through fantastic jungle. Impressive.!! You might need a swimsuit and/or dry clothes... prepare to get wet.
  • Visit Wat Rong Kuhn also known as 'the white temple'
It is quite a long drive on 'super-highway' A1, direction Chiang Mai, to find these beautiful grounds with a white temple. The building of the temple was started in 1998. The grounds are situated on the righthand side coming from Chiang Rai. Take the exit called 'Khun Kon Waterfall' (big green sign). The architect is artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. He is famous for his religious paintings, but I believe his mud-castle-like architecture stands out and is definitely worth a visit. From here you could also go to 'Khun Kon Waterfall'. Continue the road and turn left at the end of it. From there you are on the 'old road to Chiang Mai' (see above). You should look for the white sign to go to the right.
  • Play and practise golf at The Old Airport. Here you have a very good Driving Ranch and also a 9-hole golfcourse. You can find one of the best teachers in golf here, Barry Finch. And when you are hungry there is a hamburger restaurant.
  • Golf in Chiang Rai There are two highclass golfcourses outside Chiang Rai. Santiburi is one of Thailands 5 best courses and you can find Santiburi 10 km east of town.
Waterford Valley is as good as Santiburi. You find Waterford Valley 35 km northeast of town. There is a hotel if you want to stay over. In town we have two 9-hole courses. The Army Course that you find close to Mae Fa Luang Bridge and The Old Airport course that you find, yes, at the old airport. The Old Airport course you can play without a caddie. At the other courses you must have one.
Night Bazaar - The bazaar is located between the bus station and Phaholyothin Road in the center of town. The market consists of many small stands lining the narrow street running between Phaholyothin Road and the bus station. Everything on display from silk ready-made garments to tattoo etching, even pets. The hill tribes sell an amazing selection of old coins, collector's pieces of needlework and very fine quilted bed spreads.
Roughly halfway down the alley entering the Night Bazaar from the main road is 'Centrepoint', an open-air hawkers/restaurant surrounded by more stalls and with a stage for classical music and dance performances.
On the main road there is a Lebanese restaurant serving Falafel, Tabouleh, Hummous and other middle-eastern delicacies.
Da Vinci is an other good place on the main road serving nice charcoal pizzas an pastas. Homemade foie gras.
Good bakery just opposite the bus station (bread, rolls, good coffee, cakes). At the same time you are helping hilltribe young women have the opportunity to be apprentences, running this very bakery. Nice (and very rich) marchpain rolls.
Oasis is a very specialized and delicious vegetarian restaurant. Standing with your back toward the main stage at the 'Night Bazaar' you'll notice a high building on the lefthand side. At the corner of this street (which eventually leads you to the fruit and flower market), you'll find the restaurant downstairs. Situated behind the small eateries which still belong to the market. A 'must' for vegetarian people!
"Chiang Rai Beach" during the day or the early evening is an excellent spot. There are around 20 eateries overlooking the 'Mae Kok River'. Bring your dictionary with you for there are no English menus to be found. A bit out of town. Go by tuktuk or motorbike.
Tong Tung Restaurant (no English sign) serves you Northern Thai food. Try this semi-outdoor place on the western side of the road about 1 km south of Thanon Banphaprakan on 1/1 Thanon Sanambin (old airport road). Their 'Kaeng Hung Lay' curry is to be recommended.
Eat khao sawy (Burmese style chicken curry with noodles, 25 baht), special Northern Thai sausage (25 baht) and naam phrik num (dip made of eggplant and peppers) at a small but famous shop just in the middle of Thanon Jet Yot (nr 1023/2). Many locals eat here.
More on the same street Thanon Jet Yot but near to the clocktower, is a new shop called CR 49. It seems they serve good pastas.
The famous khao moo deng (rice with red sauteed pork, or as shown on the menu: 'rice with BBQ pork', 30 baht) tastes best at the big Chinese restaurant called Nakornpatom restaurant on Thanon Phahonyothin, the main street. Red sign board with large yellow font Thai letters (don't search the name Nakornpatom, unless you can read Thai). It's opposite the Lebanese shop. Big cold coffee machines attract the locals to having lunch there. Delicious!
Siam Corner on Thanon Jet Yot. Very good Thai food, some Western dishes also.
Muse Bar at Thanon Sanambin 101/1 ('the old airport road'). Runned by resident DJ Skin (Pi Job) and Pi Too. If you are into good music this is the place to be! Beautifully decorated place, delicious cocktails, good ambiance and excellent snacks will make you at ease. The sound is great due to a fantastic speaker system. Go eat first at the Tong Tung Restaurant 100 meters away, on the other side of this street. Sunday: Jamming night, Monday: I-Pod night, Wednesday: revival night, Thursday: Indie night (tel: 08-69169369)
Bo's Place on Thanon Phahon Yotin 100 m south of bus station. Here is one place where local farangs meet for a beer and for a nice meal.
Reggae Bar situated somewhere in Night Bazaar's little alley's behind the silver colored stage. Good variety of music and drinks. Open after 8pm. Later local farangs meet here.
Easy Bar on Thanon Jet Yot. Open all day. You can have a meal here, read Bangkok Post, watch Cable TV.
Baan Bua Guest House 879/2, Jetyod Road, tel: (66) 053 718880, fax: 053-705357 baanbua@yahoo.com - very central but nice and quiet, with a pleasant garden where you have breakfast with other travellers and in the evening enjoy a beer. Air-con rooms 200-400.
Baan Lanna Hotel 395 Moo 2, Rimkok, Muang tel. (66) 053-712555 manager@baanlaana.com - clean air-con rooms, mini bar and friendly staff. Rates 450 - 800 baht.
Chat House [2]
Mae Hong Son Guest House in Chiang Rai, 126 Singhaklai Road, tel. +66-053715367
Ruangnakorn Hotel (near the police station) costs 450 baht/room
Sport Inn Hotel 557 Prachasanti Road, tel: (66) 053 756 959, fax: 053-756 156 - very nice Hotel, free internet and they have wifi too, 5 minutes from the centre of town, Air-con double rooms 350 baht.
YMCA International Hotel 70 Phaholyothin Road, tel:+66 (0) 5371 3785 to 6, +66 (0) 5370 2763 to 4 ymcawf@loxinfo.co.th[3] - rates 100-400 baht
Chiang Saen River Hill Hotel[4]
Golden Triangle Inn[5]
Little Duck Hotel[6]
Luck Swan Resort and Spa[7] - 499 Moo 4, Rimkok Muang-Chiang Rai. New hotel with Thai and Western food. Air-con rooms. Hotel has a nice garden and gazebo. Rates: 1200 to 1800 Free internet access in the lobby. Tel. (66) 053-750855 Fax: (66) 053-750857
Starbright Hotel[8]
Baan Warabordee; very beautiful, clean, well decorated rooms in quiet street near centre. Prices for a double: 400-500 bahht, triple: 600-700 baht; 59/1 Sanpanard Rd. - Moo18 - Chiang Rai; Tel. +66(0)53754488 Fax. +66(0)53719293
Chiang Khong
Chiang Khong (เชียงของ) is in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand.
Chiang Khong is the Thai counterpart to the Lao border town of Huay Xai, just across the Mekong. Chiang Khong is small town one main road no night life quiet & sleepy town....lovely village full of Hmong, Lao, Thai to visit friday market....a lot of temples 1 village 1 temple .....should place to stay near Mekong river looking for hammock and book to read...good wealther to visit is October to January .....but it's nice to visit on April 18 'cause will have a festival Giant catfish here every year...They will take a lot of baby giant catfish to Mekong river..
 Get in
Buses arrive from Chiang Rai every 30 minute start 5.00 AM to 16.00 PM and other major cities in Northern Thailand and Isaan. Daytime and overnight buses run directly from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) to Chiang Khong everyday 5 buses overnight on bus from Moh Chit 19.00 pm arrive at Chiang Khong in morning 8.00 am also bus from Bangkok on the day time start from Moh Chit 7.00 am to Chiang Khong 20.00 pm
 Get around
The riverfront area can be seen on foot but it's worth getting a tuk-tuk or taxi for the trip out to the bus station. Small ferries cross the river every few minutes for about 20 baht. The border crossing closes at 20:00.
look around in Chiang Khong the best way is rent bike or motorbike to visit village and along road near Mekong river....
  • Hmong Village (10 km.)
  • Nam Chang Dam for fishing and swimming (7 Km.)
  • Thai Lue village how they do cloth weaving thai Lue style (15 Km.)
  • water fall same way to Hmong village
  • Thai sauna at Baanrimtaling
  • Learn Thai cooking at Baanrimtaling
  • Visit golden triangle by motorbike 1 day trip(60 Km.)
  • Visit rustic village near Mekong Village...full of stone from Mekong river along beach
Temples in Chiang Khong:
  • Wat Sri don Chai
  • Wat Sob som
  • Wat Prakeaw
  • Wat Luang
  • Wat Hat Krai
  • Wat Hou weing
  • Wat Tung Duk
ATM machine for take your cash 5 machine in town in case Saturday and Sunday Bank close you can take you money from Kasikorn Bank, GSB, Siam comercial Bank, Krung Thai Bank and new machine infort of 7/11 shop near market/ Bus stop .. before go to Laos get your money before 'cause will never see ATM at Houy Xai.....There is a bank near the riverfront. Outside of banking hours it may be possible to cash a traveller's cheque with a local shop or hotel.
Rimnam Guesthouse and Restaurant 166/1 moo 12 [1]. River view.
Baanrimtaling Home stay & Restaurant have a Vegetarian food and good Thai curry call 053-791613, 084-6155490
Visit small market at Baan hat Krai small village to see catfish for sale and some product from jungle, for example mushroom and riverweed from Mekong river.
Bamboo Riverside Guesthouse, a Mexican restaurant (and accommodation) run by a Thai hippie family is excellent! Love the quesadillas. When Thailand meets Mexico it takes a bit more time be patient- they don't use microwaves! And an amazing view of the Mekong and Laos!
There are no bars as such in Chiang Khong. Your best bet for evening entertainment is a Big Chang beer/Singha Beer at your guesthouse.
new teepee bar near Madam pub **
Untrue- The Tee Pee bar is kick ass! Best described as a "rat hole" By Jip at the Bamboo Riverside Guesthouse. (Where you should go for quesadillas before going out to drink.) At Tee Pee you can enjoy a range of live acoustic music from Eric Clapton to Bob Marley and Oasis. Just keep buying drinks- that is how they stay in business. On your walk back to where you are staying be careful as that is when the wild dogs come out.
Baan Rim Ta Ling Homestay and Restaurant ***Mekong River view Just walking from Bus stop or 7/11 shop on the way to Wat Sob som only 400 Metre tel. +66-53791613 mobile phone 084-6155490 Room with hot shower, Bungalow, price resonable start 80 baht/person to 450 baht email : maleewan_th@yahoo.com[2]
Chom Khong Guesthouse tel. +66-53655661
Chiang Khong River View Hotel 141 Moo 12; tel. +66-53791375 [3] Hot showers, river views, some rooms with air-con. 350-600 baht.
Nam Khong Gueshouse 408 Moo 1; tel. +66-53655102
Rimnam Guesthouse and Restaurant 166/1 moo 12 [4] 350-500 baht.
SP Guesthouse 409 Moo 1; tel. +66-53791767 [5] Dorms, single and double rooms, and one two-person guest hut. 80-200 baht.
Boom Guesthouse
Double rooms from 150 baht.
 Get out
Laos - most guesthouses can arrange a package deal with food and overnight accommodation in Pakbeng for the trip to Luang Prabang, but it is fairly simple to do as an independent traveller as well. It's worth crossing the border a day early and spending the night in Huay Xai to be up and ready to catch a boat down the river first thing in the morning.
far from Chiang Saen 55 Km. by road not much Taxi or Song-teaw better to rent motorbike to visit on the way you can visit waterfall , Village along mountain or alone Mekong riverThe Golden Triangle
Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is in Chiang Rai province, in the far north of Thailand. It is the meeting point of three countries: Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, hence its name.
The landscape is hilly, divided by the Ruak River that flows into the Mae Khong (a.k.a. Mekong) River. These rivers form a natural boundary between the three countries Laos (to the east of the Mae Khong), Myanmar (to the north of the Ruak), and Thailand (to the west of the Mae Khong).
 Get in
  • By rental car or taxi.
 Get around
  • On foot along the Mae Khong river.
  • By boat on the Mae Khong river.
  • The Golden Buddha statue beside the Mae Khong river.
  • The National Hall Of Opium.
Take a photo at the gate marking the Golden Triangle.
Go on a boat ride across to a small island belonging to Laos. No visa for Laos is required to make this trip. This is popular among tourists, and many small boats offer this service. Technically you are in Laos when on the island and can thus claim to have visited the country, although you are not allowed to enter into the rest of Laos from there without a visa.
Cheap souvenirs.
Mae Sai
Mae Sai (แม่สาย) is the northern-most city of Thailand. It is mainly a stepping stone for visits to Myanmar and has no attractions of its own.
 Get in
  • By car which can be rented in Chiang Mai and other cities
 Get around
  • On foot, exploring the border area which is probably the only place worth seeing
  • By car
The border
Take a picture with the gate marking the northern-most point of Thailand
Cross the bridge into Tachileik, Myanmar. As of September 2006, a single-day entry permit costs US$10 - travellers using this option are given a paper entry permit and their passports are held at the immigration office until they return to Thailand. Short-term visas-on-arrival are available at this border crossing but they only allow travel in the local area - to travel to the rest of Myanmar, a visa in advance is needed.
There are plenty of small shops lining both sides of the street leading to the border crossing that sell:
  • Cheap jewels (rubies, emerald and jade) imported from Myanmar
  • Cheap curio items, many of which are imported from China
  • Fresh cut fruit
Thip Sukon House Hotel = This hotel is probably the best of the lot on the same road as the old King Kobra hotel.From the 3rd floor you have a view right into Myanmar and the Sai River.
Mae Salong
Mae Salong (also known as Santikhiri) is in Chiang Rai Province, northern Thailand.
In the 1940s after the Chinese Civil war, remnants of the losing nationalist army fled to this then remote area of Thailand and set up their own little enclave, supported by opium production. In the 1980s the Thai government integrated this enclave into Thai society and as part of the process introduced a policy of substituting opium production for growing tea.
 Get in
Drive on highway 1089 between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The turn off is next to a police station. From here travel about 13km on some of the most amazingly curvy roads imaginable.
  • Excellent Tea. Local and Chinese.
  • Tea sets from China (the same set costs 8x as much in Hong Kong).
  • Chinese candies and fruits.
Chinese Food
Lampang (ลำปาง), also known as Nakhon Lampang (นครลำปาง), is the provincial capital of Lampang Province.
  • Ban Sao Nak (House of Many Pillars)
  • Lampang Herb Conservation Assembly [1]
  • National Elephant Institute (formerly the Thai Elephant Conservation Center) [2]
  • Wat Phra Kaew Tao
  • Elephant Art Work
  • Handmade Elephant Dung Paper
  • Chom Wang Restaurant
  • Pa Pong
  • Relax Pub and Restaurant
  • Riverside Restaurant
Boon Ma Guest House, 256 Taladkao Road, tel: (054) 322 653, family-run, clean, great value. 100-200 baht.
Kim Hotel, 168 Boonyawat Road, tel: (054) 217 721, fax: (054) 226 929 clean rooms,central location. Often full. 330 baht.
Lampang Backpacker Hostel, email: backpacker@thailand.com, backpacker@thai.com, [5]
Riverside Guest House, 286 Taladkao Road, Tel: (054) 227 005, Fax: (054) 322 342, 250-350 baht, often full
Asia Lampang Hotel [6]
Lampang Wiengthong Hotel [7]
Tipchang Lampang Hotel [8]
Wienglakor Hotel [9]
Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son (แม่ฮ่องสอน) is a small outpost town (pop. 7000) in Northern Thailand, near the border with Myanmar.
 Get in
 By plane
The most comfortable but also most expensive option is a 30 minute flight from Chiang Mai with Thai Airways (about 1000 baht one-way). Nonstop jet service from Bangkok to Mae Hong Son is also available from PB Air.
 By road
There are two road options from Chiang Mai, both taking 6-7 hours by car. Route 1095 via Pai (280 km) is the more scenic drive, while route 108 via Mae Sariang (350 km) is an easier drive.
 By bus
Regular services connect Mae Hong Son with Chiang Mai (Arcade bus terminal) and the entire trip will take at least 7-8 hours. There are also several minibus services catering for tourists which are a little bit more expensive than the regular buses. Buses go via Pai or Mae Sariang so take the one you like. The bus station is at the northern part of the main road (Thanon Khunlum Praphat).
There is also an overnight bus to Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) which takes about 16-17 hours.
 By train
The nearest train station is at Chiang Mai.
 Get around
This is a small town so walking is the way to get around. If your feet get cramped take one of the many tuk-tuks.
Walk around the picturesque lake and visit the surrounding wats. Wat Phra That Soi Kong Mu (aka Wat Phai Doi) overlooks the town from the west and offers superb views.
Trekking - one of the main reasons for tourist to go to Mae Hong Son is to go trekking in the surrounding mountains and visiting the so-called hill-tribes. Nearly every guest house offers tours. There are also many other tours on offer.
Fish Cave (Thumpla) - near the village of Huay Pha, about 17 km from Mae Hong Son (Highway 1095), this is a beautiful spot to escape the heat
Pha Sua waterfall - 26 km from Mae Hong Son on the road to Pai, this waterfall consists of six levels and offers some fine walks
There is an interesting night market at the lake where you can buy art and handcrafts from the hill-tribes.
Many restaurants are along the main road and the night market where there are also many food-stalls.
Mae Hong Son has a broad range of guest houses, mainly located around the lake. There are several hotels within the city. If you've got your own transport there are several more resorts a little bit out of town. Take a look before checking-in because there are always changes...
Friend House, 20 Phaditchongkam Road, tel: (053) 620 119 - near the lake and town centre. 13 rooms, 100-350 baht.
Johnnie Guest House, 5/1 Udomchawnitech Road, tel: (053) 611 667 - located next to the lake, but you'll have to walk about two blocks to get to it. 8 rooms, 100-250 baht.
Palm House, 22/1 Chamnansahait Road, tel: (053) 614 022 - 14 large clean rooms near the lake with TV/UBC, 350-600 baht.
Pana Huts tel: (66) 0-5361-4331 [1]
Piya Guest House, 1/1 Khunlumphrapat Soi 3, tel: (053) 611 260 fax: (053) 612 308. Clean rooms, many with TVs and all with aircon. Good location. AC private bedroom 600 baht. 14 rooms.
Yok Guest House, 14 Sirimongkol Road, Tambon Chong Klum, tel: 6653-611523, 611318 - 9 rooms, rates 200-300 baht
Panorama Hotel tel: (66) 0-5361-1757-62 [2]
Soppong River Inn [3]
Pai (ปาย) is a small town (pop. 3000) in North Thailand, between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son on Route 1095. The surrounding district is Amphoe Pai. Both are named after the Pai River.
Pai is a predominantly tourism-oriented town, offering a relaxed atmosphere with a broad traveller & backpacker scene. In early 2006 a sudden boom in guest-house and bar construction has resulted in a great deal of spare capacity - capacity that is partially taken up by an increase in Thai people visiting after Pai was featured in a romantic Thai film.
 Get in
 By road
Route 1095 which connects Pai with Mae Hong Son (50km as the crow flies, but approx. 110km by road) and Chiang Mai (135km) is a very scenic route through the mountains which takes several hours (but worth it). It's a steep and windy drive, with lots of curves, so take a plastic bag and some motion-sickness pills if you need them.
 By motorcycle
Route 1095 isn't as bad as people make it out to be. There isn't much traffic and you can hear the cars and trucks coming. If you're a little adventurous, rent a motorcycle in Chiang Mai and make the ride up to Pai. You can stop at the waterfalls and small towns along the way, and you'll really enjoy the trip, as opposed to being motion sick in a bus for hours, and being forced to stop at the driver's friends restaurants. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous and being on a bike makes you feel like part of the mountains. The locals will think you're crazy, and the construction crews get really excited when you come through. Make sure to take some warmer clothing on your bike, as it tends to get a bit chilly in the higher portions of the ride. As a novice rider, expect the trip to take around 5 or 6 hours, including stops at sites and restaurants along the way.
 By bus
Buses and minibuses go to Chiang Mai (Arcade terminal) and Mae Hong Son. Regular public buses take around 4 hours and charge about 80 baht; minibuses take around 3 hours and tickets (sold by travel agencies) cost about 160 baht. One strategy is to get to Pai using the public bus so that you can get an idea as to how winding the road is and then you can decide if you want to splash out and get the mini bus back to Chiang Mai.
 By plane
The nearest domestic airport accepting flights from Bangkok is Mae Hong Son Airport, which has direct flights to/from Bangkok (Thai Airways and PB Air).
The nearest international airport is at Chiang Mai.
Pai now has daily service from Chiang Mai. Tickets can be bought at Aya Services in Pai, or from the ticket office in the Chiang Mai airport. It's near the Air Asia office, on the far end. Chiang Mai to Pai - SGA departs daily from Chiang Mai at 10:55am and arrives in Pai at 11:30am. Return flights are at 11:45am arriving at Chiang Mai at 12:20pm. [1]
 By train
The nearest train station is at Chiang Mai.
 Get around
The town itself is best explored on foot. For exploring further afield, bicycles (40-100 baht/day) and motorbikes (from 100 baht/day) can be rented from many agents along the main street.
Motorbike taxis are also readily available.
The town itself has no special sights; most people come simply for the relaxed atmosphere. Nearby attractions include hot springs and waterfalls, and a hilltop temple. There is also a wonderful canyon which provides the perfect spot for a sunset. This is a great spot to visit after seeing the WWII bridge built by Japanese-held POWs.
Rent a bicycle or motorbike and visit one of the nearby waterfalls and hill-tribe villages. Pai is also a major starting point for organized trekking tours which are offered by every guesthouse and travel agent.
Whitewater rafting trips abound and there are numerous elephant camps. Additionally there are several hot springs in the area.
Geocachers - there are two caches in the area
Take a look at some of the hill-tribe members selling handcrafts.
Pai has an abundance of bookshops, some of which carry harder to find titles. Many are along the bus stop road, past Aya services.
For such a small town, there's an astonishing number of restaurants, most of them catering for needs/tastes of foreign travellers; just choose the one that suits you best.
Burger House - The owner Ed & wife Jec offers 12 different real beef hamburgers, chili, sandwiches, specials, dinners, pork chops the size of a Clive Cussler novel, beer, wine, etc. Located 100 meters east of the traffic light on the main road.
Chez Swan - Has the best western breakfast in town, for 100 baht. Also offers great western foods for lunch and dinner, if you have a sudden craving for home.
Drop Inn - offers gigantic versions of Western dishes for 120-150 baht.
Good Life - Veggies and vegans will love this place. It serves organic and vegetarian foods at decent prices. It's not half bad either. The delicious breakfasts are great value. Best fresh coffee in Pai too!
Kin J - This little vegetarian restaurant between the main traffic light and the afternoon market serves a selection of purely vegetarian food daily. Get there early, as it's mostly sold out by mid-afternoon. It's only 25 baht for brown rice and two dishes.
Na's Kitchen - Debatably some of the best Thai food in town. Na still works in the kitchen everyday, serving delicious northern food to tourists and Thais. She speaks great English, and will even teach you a bit of Thai if you ask nicely. Na's is always a favorite of the long-stay travelers and the ones returning for a second, or third go at Pai.
There are many Western-style bars, especially along the main street that leads to the Chiang Mai bus stop. There are also many tea and coffee shops, including herbal brews.
Bebop Bar is famous for live bands.
Shisha Bar next to the police station offers a convivial atmosphere, delicious Beer Lao, excellent music, and an irresponsibly difficult drinking competition.
Fubar is slightly out of town and stays open till very early, playing excellent music and great food.
There's an abundance of guesthouses in Pai, most of them in the budget range (a bungalow goes for around 100-500 baht depending on amenities included). Mid-range options are rare and there's no top-end hotel. But Pai is not a package-tour-place.
Heading out of town there are swarms of bungalow setups.
At the bus station there is a 2007 (!) map of Pai. Get this as it will show you the location of most of the guest houses (> 100 places). There is also a discount for motorbike rental.
Phi Chi, East past the main traffic light, past Burger House on the right. 'Phi Chi' is Thai for older brother. Approx. 300 Baht per night. Quiet, clean, hot water showers, western toilets, some rooms have TV and close to everything.
Rim Pai Cottages, 99/1 Moo 3; +66-26730966 (fax. +66-22119656) is one of the more "upmarket" options in Pai and offers several kinds of wooden cottages starting at about 500 baht (double) including breakfast, which is served on a nice open terrace overlooking the Pai river.
Mountain View Guesthouse+66-841711486 - Located at the top of the hill, opposite Bebop. An unpretentious, peaceful guesthouse with gorgeous views overlooking Pai.
Pai has several Internet cafés, most on Thanon Ratchadamnoen and Thanon Rangthiyanon. They are the only example of poor value in Pai at a uniform 1 baht/minute for generally poor connections.
Pangmapha is a small town with a predominantly hill tribe population on the road between Pai and Mae Hong Son. Pangmapha is less touristic, and has a more traditional feel, than Pai.
Pangmapha does not have a full tourist infrastructure as yet but has many guest houses and offers fantastic DIY trekking amongst the abundance of mountains and forests.
Information on what to do and where to go is offered at "Border Bar" (see Drink) and at Lisu Mountain Lodge, Nongpjam Hill Tribe Village.
Phee Man Cave is the best place you have to see here. There are many stone age coffins inside the cave.
Border Bar (next to Lemon Hill guest house, opposite the day market) - recently opened (Sept.2006) bar/coffee shop. Offer free backpackers-oriented travel information, also scooter tours and 4x4 treks in a 1957 Army Jeep.
Soppong River Inn [1]
Nakhon Sawan
Nakhon Sawan (นครสวรรค์), literally Heavenly City, is a town with a population of about 90,000. It is the provincial capital of Nakhon Sawan Province and is located at the confluence of the Ping and Nan rivers in NorthernThailand.
Wat Worranatbanpot, Thammavitee Road, Amphur Muang
Wat Chom Khiri Nak Phrot This monastery is located outside of the city just before Dejativong Bridge. It is situated on a low hillock on the left of Phahonyothin Road. From the heights, one can view the scenic Chao Phraya River as well as Dejativong Bridge, the first bridge to span the Chao Phraya River, and another newly built bridge. This monastery houses the Buddha's footprints where annual celebrations take place every 12th lunar month. In addition there is a pavillion named Sala "Thevada Sang" said to be built by angels for its seemingly unlimited capacity
Khao Woranat Banphot (Khao Kop) This mountain is located behind Paknam Pho City, with a wide courtyard and beautiful flower gardens. It is a popular afternoon rest spot for the city folks. Legend has it that the mountain - top monastery was built in the Reign of King Lithai of Sukhothai over 700 years ago. There is, in addition to pagoda, a Vihara housing the Buddha Footprints. From the mountain - top, one can view the beautiful scenery of Paknam Pho City, Bung Boraphet - swamp in the Northeast and a large jungle in the west where mountain ranges appear strung out along the horizon.
Utthayan Sawan A large Public park in an area of 314 rai, is located in the central part of the city. With a small island in the middle of the small lake, the park provides all necessary facilities for recreational purposes for the locals as well as for the tourists.
Bung Boraphet Depending on the water lever, it can be a small sized lake, or a large sized swamp, occupying a vast area of approximately 140,000 rai. It is the largest aquaculture source of fresh water fish in Thailand. There is a museum and aquarium with many species of fresh water fish. Travel to Bung Boraphet may be arranged by car, a trip of about 9 kms. on Nakhon Sawan - Chum Saeng Road, while a boat from the landing behind the City Market takes about half an hour.
To the south of Bung Boraphet,16 kms. along Nakhon Sawan Tha Tako Road, there is Bung Boraphet Widlife Sanctuary or Waterfowls Park. The park is designed for recreation, abundant in wild animals and birds of different kinds.
The Source of Maenam Chao Phraya is a junction of Maenam Ping and Maenam Nan at Tambon Pak Nam Pho. The waters of the Ping flow reddish while those of the Nan flow greenish, as visible from behind a market within the provincial city of Nakhon Sawan, and when met become the source of Chao Phraya, the most important river of Thailand.
Dragon and Lion Procession Each Chinese New Year, thousands of Thai and Chinese people from several provinces flock into Nakhon Sawan to celebrate and view the procession, an annual event since 1914. The procession falls on the 4th waxing day of the Chinese 1st lunar month which usually falls around the end of January or early February of every year. This ceremony of Nakhon Sawan is organised in a more grandiose manner than those of other provinces in the country. The colorful and noisy procession includes, among other things, traditional Cantonese Singhtoh (i.e. Lions), Dwarf Lion, Hainanese style Lion, Engkaw, Lorkoh the clamorous symbol - like and a Taychew musical parade, followed by a long file of hundreds of beautiful young maidens. During the festival, however, all hotels of Nakhon Sawan are fully-booked, and the revellers celebrate day and night, as they do at Chiang Mai's Songkran Festival.
Wat Worranatbanpot [1], Thammavitee Road, Amphur Muang
Nan (น่าน) is a town in the remote valley of the Nan river in Northern Thailand, bordering Laos. The area is heavily forested with arable land used mainly for agriculture. It is an ancient city steeped in history with its long association with the Lannathai culture and the Sukhothai kingdom.
Little-known Nan goes back to the depths of the history of Thailand. For centuries it was an separate, autonomous kingdom with few relationship with the outside world.
There are many evidence of prehistoric habitation, but it wasn't until several small meuang united to form Nanthaburi on the Nan river in the mid-14th century - contemporary with the creation of Luang Prabang and the Lan Xang (Million Elephants) kingdom in Laos - that the city became a power to be taken into account. Associated with the mighty Sukhothai kingdom, the meuang took the title Wara Nakhon and played a significant part in the development of early Thai nationalism.
By the end of the 14th_century Nan was one of the nine northern Thai-Lao principalities that comprised Lan Na Thai (now Lanna) and the city state flourished throughout the 15th century under the name Chiang Klang (Middle City), a reference to its position roughly midway between Chiang Mai (New City) and Chiang Thong (Golden City, which is today's Luang Prabang. The Burmese took control of the kingdom in 1558 and deported many of the inhabitants to Burma as slaves; the city was completely deserted until western Thailand was retaken from the Burmese in 1786. The local dynasty then regained local sovereignty and it remained semi-autonomous until 1931 when Nan finally accepted full Bangkok dominion. Parts of the old city wall and several early wat dating from the Lanna period can be seen in contemporary Nan. The city of Nan's wats are distinctive: some temple structures show Lanna influence, while others belong to the Tai Lü language, a legacy brought from Xishuangbanna in China, where the Tai Lü's came from.
The city spreads out along around 4 km, between the airport at the North end of the town and the Bus station at the Southern one but its historical and commercial centre is more compact. Its area follows roughly a North-South direction, along the right bank of the river Nan. The two main axes of the town, more or less parallel, are the Th Sumonthewarat (the easternmost one and the closest to the river) and the Th Mahayot. The city’s main monuments are located at the junction of the three parallel axes, the Th Pha Kong (West), the Th Mahayot (middle) and the Th Sumonthewarat (East) and the Th Suriyapong which is perpendicular to them. As to the main shops, they can be found along the Th Sumonthewarat and its perpendicular, the Th Anantaworattidet.
In the town, three bridges connect the right bank to the left bank of the river Nan : the southernmost, the Sriboonruang bridge, the middle one, the Pattana Paknue bridge , under which are held the boat racing and the northernmost, the Nakorn Nan Pattana bridge, seriously dammaged during the august 2006 floods but fixed since the beginning of july 2007.
 Get in
Nan is connected by plane and by bus to the rest of the country.
  • PB Air connects Nan to Bangkok four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). The airport is located at the northern end of the town, on the Pua road, about 1.5 km from downtown.
  • By road, it takes from 10 to 13 hours, according to the type of bus, to travel from Nan to Bangkok. Regular buses also run from Nan to Chiang Mai (6-7 hours), Chiang Rai (6-7 hours), and Phrae (2 hours). The main bus station (Baw Khaw Saw) is located at the southern edge of the town, at the end of a road perpendicular (turning left when arriving from Bangkok) to the Wiangsa/Phrae/Bangkok road
 Get around
The local means of transport include sawngthaews, motorbike-taxis and trishaws.
 Nan National Museum
The Nan National Museum is located in the original palace of the last two Feudal Lords of Nan. The building was originally constructed, in 1903 by Phra Chao Suriyapnong Phalidet, the last but one Lord of Nan to replace his former wooden residence. After the death of the Chao Maha Brahma Surathada, the last Lord of Nan, his heirs donated this palace to the government in 1931 in order to be used as the provincial hall. The museum (Th Pha Kong; admission 30B; 9AM-4PM Mon-Sat) was inaugurated in 1973 after the new provincial hall building had been erected. Thanks to relatively recent renovations, it is one of Thailand's most up-to-date provincial museums, contrary to many of them, it also has English labels for many items on display. The ground level is divided into six exhibition rooms with ethnological exhibits dealing with the various ethnic groups round in the province, including the northern Thais, Thai Lü, Htin, Khamu, Mabri, Hmong and Mien. Silver work, textiles, folk utensils and tribal costumes can be found on display . Exhibits on Nan history, archeology, local architecture, royal regalia, weapons, ceramics and religious art are shown on the second floor, divided into two sections. The first is the main hal whic used ro be the throne hall of the Feudal Lord. The second consists of the rooms in the north and south wings. The museum exhibits a wide collection of Buddha images which includes some rare Lanna styles as well as the floppy-eared local styles. Usually made from wood, these standing images are in the 'calling for rain' posture (with hands at the sides, pointing down) and they show an obvious Luang Prabang influence. Also on display on the 2nd floor is a rare black (in fact reddish-brown) elephant tusk said to have been offered to a Nan king over 300 years ago by the Khün lord of Chiang Tung (Kengtung). Held aloft by a wooden Garuda (mythical bird) sculpture, the tusk measures 97 cm long and 47 cm in circumference. Books on Thai art and archeology are sold in a building adjacent to the museum.
 King of Nan’s Teak House
Built in 1866 with golden teak and reconstructed in 1941, this large house (Th Mahaprom, opposite the backwards entrance of the Wat Phra That Chang Kham) is now the residence of Chao Sompradhana Na Nan. It exhibits heritage antiques such as ancient weapons, war elephant ivory and photographs by King Rama V. Contact the owner for visiting (Tel. 0 5471 0605).
 The Old Wall
Constructed in 1885 by Chao Anantavorarittidet, Nan’s ruler, the wall was built in place of an old log wall destroyed by flood in 1817. Remnants of the wall - around 400 m out of the original 3 600 m - can be seen at the junction of the Th Mahawong and the Th Rob Muang, at the South-West end of the town.
 Wat Phumin
Nan's most famous wat is renowned for its cruciform bôt that was constructed in 1596 and restored during the reign of Chao Ananta Vora Ritthi Det (1867-74). It is the only built temple as if it were on the backs of two immense snakes (or Naga). Each of the four entries is preceded by a small corridor surmounted by a point shaped finely decorated (underlining the royal origin of the temple) structure and is equipped with smoothly carved doors, with Chinese demon guards in the East, flowers in the North and forest life motives of Lanna style in the West and the South. The wat’s interior is impressive. It is also a good example of Thai Lue architecture. The structure of the roof is supported by twelve teak pillars decorated with gold on black and red lacquer and elephants motives. The ceiling is also finely decorated. The flowered altar resting in the center of the bôt supports four Buddhas of Sukhothai style in the Bhûmisparsha-Mudrâ (“Buddha Invoking Mother-Earth, Bhumi to be His Witness ” or “victory over Mara” - the hand pointed down to the earth with the fingers touching the ground), facing the four directions. The shape of their ears and of their nose shows a Lao influence. Aside to the altar, sits a splendid thammdat (a dhamma seat used by teaching monks). Murals of great value and well preserved illustrating tales from the Jataka are on the northern and the Western walls as well as scenes of the local life of the time when they were painted (Europeans can even been noticed - a probable reference to the arrival of the French to which the East of the Nan valley area was yielded in 1893. ) Thai Lue were carried out during the restoration of the temple by artists at the end of the 19th century]]. The style is rather distinctive quite far from the traditional style and is close to the murals of the Wat Phra Singh of Chiangmai. The setting is however, here, that of the culture and the everyday life of Thai Lue. The two most famous scenes are of greater dimensions than the majority of the other paintings: a man whispering to the ear of a woman (on the Southern side of the Western door) and the portrait painted on the side of the Southern door, which could be the king Chao Ananta Vora Ritthi Det’s. Other natural size paintings on each side of the main entry are of Chinese influence which can be explained by the origins of Thai Lue.
 Wat Phra That Chae Haeng
Two kilometers past the bridge that spans the Nan River, heading southeast out of town, this temple dating from 1355 , under the reign of Pray Kan Muang, is the most sacred wat in Nan Province. It's set in a square, walled enclosure on top of a hill with a view of Nan and the valley. The Thai Lue influenced bôt features a triple-tiered roof with carved wooden eaves and dragon reliefs over the doors. A gilded Lanna-style stupa sits on a large square base next to the bôt with sides 22.5m long; the entire stupa is 55.5m high.
 Wat Phra That Chang Kham
After Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, this wat is the second-most important temple (Th Pha Kong) in the city. The main vihara, reconstructed in 1458, has a huge seated Buddha image and faint murals. Also in the vihara is a set of Lanna-period scrolls inscribed (in Lanna script) not only with the usual Buddhist scriptures but also with the history, law and astrology of the time. A thammdat (a dhamma seat used by monks when teaching) sits to one side. The magnificent stupa behind the vihara dates from the 14th century, probably around the same time the temple was founded, It features 24 elephant supports similar to those seen in Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai. Next to the stupa is a small, insignificant bôt from the same era. Wat Phra That Chang Kham is also eminent by having the largest hàw trai (Tripitaka library) in Thailand, but it is now empty.
 Wat Hua Khuang
This small wat diagonally opposite Wat Phra That Chang Kham comprises a distinctive Lanna / Lan Xang-style stupa with four Buddha niches, a wooden hàw trai - now used as a kùti (monk cell) - and a noteworthy bòt with a Luang Prabang-style carved wooden veranda. A carved wooden ceiling and a huge naga altar can be found inside. Stylistic cues suggest this may be one of the city's oldest wats though the temple's founding date is unknown
 Wat Suan Tan
Supposedly established in 1456, the Wat Suan Tan (Palm Grove Monastery; Th Suan Tan) comprises an interesting stupa of the 15th century (40 m high) which combines Hindu/Khmer style motives (stupa in form of prang) and, surmounting it, an obviously Sukhothai style motive in the shape of a lotus bud, modified in its current form in 1914. The heavily restored vihara contains the Phra Chao Thong Thipun, out of of early Sukhothai style bronze sitting Buddha in Bhûmisparsha-Mudrâ. It measures 4,10 meters and could have been ordered by the Chiangmai sovereign Tilokaraj following its conquest of Nan in 1449.
 Wat Min Muang
This temple is located close to the Wat Phumin on the same side of the Th Suriyaphong, further west. Its ubosoth's exterior is embellished with elegant bas-relief stucco while its interior is adorned with mural paintings depicting Nan people's way of life, painted by present-day local artists. The Holy City Pillar is enshrined in the four-sided Thai styled pavilion in front of the ubosoth. This pillar is 3 meters high, stands on a carved gilded wooden base and is topped with a four-faced Brahma, representing the four virtues on Buddhism. It is an ancient Thai totem that is still very significant. The city pillars were probably erected as a ritual centre for agrarian fertility rites in ancient Thai towns and kingdoms, in the heart of the old cities and just next to the seat of power of a king or a chief.
 Wat Phaya Phu
Located in the Th. Phaya Phu, west from the Main Police Station, this wat was built during the reign of Pra Chao Phukheng and is about six centuries old. There is a big chedi behind the vihara whare are enshrined two ancient Buddha images. The vihara's door are carved with image of mythical giant guards.
 Wat Phra That Khao Noi
This wat is located on the top of Khao Noi hill, two kilometers west of the town. The hill is 800 feet high. The recent temple buildings are nothing special but from the top of the hill, easily accessed by a road, one can see, side by side with a giant Buddha statue, the entire Nan town
Boat racing
For centuries, long-boat racing have been held annually in provinces with a major waterway running through. Long-boat racing is one of the traditional rites which commemorates the end of the Buddhist Rains Retreat. It takes place mainly in the 10th and/or 11th lunar months (around September/October) when the water level is at its peak. At present, long-boat racing is considered as a national sport. Its history can be traced back to Ayutthaya period, some 600 years ago. In that time, boat racing however was only a way to keep boat means fit for national defense.
Racing boats are usually made from dugout tree trunks and can accommodate up to 60 oarsmen (commonly dressed in the same colour) in a double row. The festival event attracts several hundreds of spectators. Trophies and prizes are given to the winning teams at the end The races on the Nan river are colourful and unequaled because the racing boats are brightly adorned with imaginatively designed prows. The cheering squads on the river bank are usually rumbustious and joyful..
Good buys include local textiles, especially the Thai Lu weaving styles. Typical Thai Lu fabrics feature red and black designs on white cotton in floral, geometric and animal designs and also indigo and red on white. The lai naam lai (flowing-water design) shows stepped patterns representing streams, rivers and waterfalls. Other excellent quality textiles are the local Hmong appliqué and the Mien embroidery.
Htin grass-and-bamboo baskets and mats and hmong silverware are also available.
Hill Tribe House Hill Tribe Silver _ 436, Th. Sumonthewarat _ Website : Hill Tribe House E-mail: hilltribehouse@yahoo.com _ Mobile : 6601 472434 / Fax : 66054 750691.
Pongparn _ OTOP shop _ 10/4 Suriyapong _ Tel : 66547 5733 Portable : 01595 5777 _ E-mail : pongparn@pongparn.com
Lan Nan Som Noek (no English sign) _ 347/7 Th. Sumonthewarat
Jaangtrakoon Th. Sumonthewarat _ Mainly clothes..
7/11 _ 32/4, Th. Khao Luang
Nara Department Store or Old Nara _ 400/1, Th. Sumonthewarat
Nara or New Nara (the biggest department store inside the town, with a parking lot), Th. Sumonthewarat (en face du Soi Aranyawat 2) _ A big sign points it out.
Tesco Lotus (the biggest department store in town) _ Wiangsa/Phrae road, about 2 km from the town..
Easyintersoft (software and hardware) _ 345/8, Th. Sumonthewarat _
KODAK (processing, passport photos, batteries...) _ 347/4, Th. Sumonthewarat.
Drugstore (the best wine cellar of Nan, many vintage – end of the 80’s, beginning of the 90’s -French wine, " moderate" prices) _ 347/6, Th. Sumonthewarat
The Ratchaphatsadu market, between the Th Sumonthewarat and the Th Khao Luang close to the Dhevaraj Hotel. _ For take-away dishes (chicken or fish BBQ, Thai curries…) and fresh fruits.
Yota Vegetarian Restaurant Th Mahawong 10-30B 7am-3pm Thai food
Fresh Noodles stall_ 90/3 Th Anantaworarittidet (between the 7/11 and the Ayudhya bank) 20-25B _ 5h30pm-10pm _ Thai food
Night Market _ Th Pha Kong just after the crossroads with Th Anantaworarittidet (towards the Wat Suan Tan) _ 20-50B _ 5h30pm-2am _ Thai food_ Many stalls, among which the first one on the right-hand, heading towards the Wat Suan Tan, good value and still on the right-hand but further on, closer to the Wat, Luang’s stall, a charming man who speaks French, as the sign : "Ici on parle français" shows it.
Restaurant (no roman sign) Th Mahayot (heading north from the Wat Suan Tan , before the Elephant Crossroads, on the right side of the road, after the Mitsubishi dealer _ 30-60B _ 11am-2pm _ Thai food ( very good kai yang, roasted chicken and som tam, papaya salad)
Tanaya Kitchen 75/23-24 Th Anantaworarittidet 30-60B 10am-3h30pm 5-8pm Thai , Chinese, Vegeterian food _ English menu.
Jan Paa Lap pet 57 Th Sumonthewarat (opposite Ampron GH, before Wat Pranete) 40-70B 11am-8pm Thai food (Isaan)
 Mid range
Suan Isan Th Sumonthewarat turn left at the lane next to Rung Thip Sawoei 30-90B llam-llpm Thai food
Pizza Wiangsa-Phrae Road, 2km from the city, opposite side of Tesco Lotus 40-120B _ Western and Thai food _ English menu
Poom 3 (ex Da Dario Th Anantaworarittidet (near Hotel Sukasem) 50-150B Western Thai and Chinese food _ English menu
DoReMi (« Hot Pot Suki Shabu » sign in English on the Sumonthewart road) Th Sumonthewarat, inside the « New Nara » parking lot, on the right hand Korean BBQ _ 5pm-10pm _ All-you-can-eat Dinner Buffet 69B _ Musical show from 7.30pm on.
KFC Wiangsa/Phrae Road Tesco Lotus "Mall"_ M-F 11:00am-10:00pm / S 10:00am - 9:00pm _ 40-100B _ English menu
Boat Restaurant 21/1 Th Suan Tan _ 11am-10pm _ Main dishes 40-120B / Ice-creams 30-130B Western and Thai food and Ice-creams English menu.
Dhevee Coffee Shop inside the Dhevaraj Hotel, 466 Th Sumonthewarat _ 6am-2am Bfast Buffet : 100B Lunch Buffet : 59B _ Western and Thai food _ English menu.
Sabai Dee Guest House _ Tel 0 83868 1982 _ Th Chao Fa / Soi Aryawung 2 (close to the bus station) _ Rooms 100/150B (shared bathroom / private bathroom)
Nan Guest House_ Tel 0 5477 1849 57/16 Th Mahaphrom_ Rooms 180/230B (without/with private bathroom) _ Internet 1h : 35B
Amazing Guest House _ Tel 0 5471 0893 23/7 _ Th Rat Amnuay _ 5 Rooms with sh.bath. 100-120B/160-200B / 5 Bungalows 200/250B
Ampron Guest House _ Tel 0 5477 2291 42/4 Th Sumonthewarat _ 180B(fan)/280B(aircon)
P.K. Guest House _ Tel 0 5477 1999 33/12 _ 33/12 Th Premprajarat _ 150B(s/fan)/ 250B(d/fan)/350B(aircon) _ Bike/motob rental per day 30/180B
 Mid range
Nan Fah Hotel Tel 0 5471 0284 438-440 Th Sumonthewarat 350(double)/600(quadr.)/700(sex.) _ Cable TV _ Bike/motob. rental 50/200
Grand Mansion Hotel Tel 0 5475 0510 5471 1505 Th Mahayot (heading north, just after the Wat Suan tan) 500(VIP) 350(Standard) _ TV UBC
Sukasem Hotel 05471 0141 Th Anantaworanttidet 210/300B(fan) 320/400(aircon) _ TV UBC
Fahthanin Hotel Tel 0 5475 7321-4 303/5 Th Anantaworarittidet 450/600B
 Banks with ATM
Bangkok Bank (near the Nan Fah Hotel) _ Th. Sumonthewarat
Kasikornbank (idem) _ Th. Sumonthewarat
Government Savings Bank (near the Dhevaraj Hotel) _ 478-476 Th. Sumonthewarat
Bank of Ayudhya _ 88 Th. Anantaworattidet
Siam Commercial Bank _ 79/2 Th. Anantaworattidet
Tourist Information Centre _ Th. Pha Kong, opposite the Wat Phumin _ Hours : 8.00 am - 5.00 pm.
Fhu Travel Service _ Tel 0 8471 0636 _ Fhutravel _ 433/4, Th. Sumonthewarat _ For two or three days excursions into the mountains and the Hilltribe villages.
Main Post Office _ Th Mahawong _ Hours : M-F 8.30am-4.30pm / S : 9.00am-12.00am
Internet cafés _ Many in town (around 20B/hour).
Police Station _ Th Suriyaphong (between the Th Sumonthewarat and the Th Mahayot), not far from the Wat Phumin.
Public Hospital _ Th Worawichai (neart the northernmost bridge, Nakorn Nan Pattana).
Phitsanulok (พิษณุโลก) is a historic city in Northern Thailand, about halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It is the provincial capital of Phitsanulok Province and has a population of around 80,000.
Phitsanulok is a great starting point for exploring the ancient Thai capital of Sukhothai. The local TAT office is at 209 Thanon Borom Trailokanat (08:30-16:30 daily).
 Get in
 By plane
Thai International Airways offers regular flights between Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai (40 minutes). Bus #4 runs to the airport, as do tuk-tuks for about 10-20 baht.
 By train
There are several daily services north to Chiang Mai and south to Bangkok. Both take about 6-7 hours.
 By bus
Extensive bus services connect Phitsanulok with Chiang Mai and Bangkok. As Phitsanulok is a major transportation hub, there are also regular services to the North-East. Phitsanulok is about 390 km from Bangkok. Buses take 5-6 hours for the journey. The return trip can take as long as 7 hours, depending on the Bangkok traffic). The bus to Chiang Mai takes 6 hours. The main bus station is northeast of the train station. From there buses leave for Chiang Mai, Tak (via Sukhothai), Khon Kaen and Bangkok.
Buses to Sukhothai leave across the road from the Topland Plaza Hotel. The trip takes one hour and costs around 25 to 40 baht. Sukhothai-bound buses are also available from the main bus station.
 Get around
Public buses serve the town and there is no shortage of tuk-tuks and taxis. No. 1 bus serves the route between the central bus station and the train station in the town centre, and leaves from the short road leading from the highway to the bus station.
Decent motorcycles (Honda Wave, etc.) can be rented from the shop near the central bus station, at prices somewhat higher than the Chiang Mai standard (starting ~200 baht)
Phitsanulok is not well known to foreign tourists and thus has retained the charm of a typical larger Thai city. Unfortunately, most the older parts of the city were destroyed in a disastrous fire decades ago.
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat (Wat Yai): near Naresuan Bridge. This is the most important temple in Phitsanulok and is the home of the famous Phra Buddha Chinnarat, one of the most revered Buddha figures in Thailand. The temple is host to a large fair every January.
The house-boats: once a symbol of Phitsanulok, only a few of these are left on the river and some now function as restaurants and cafes.
More sights can be suggested by the helpful Tourism Authority office at 209/7-8 Boromtrailokanat Road a few streets south of the train station (walking 5-7 minutes)
Visit the temples and stroll around a Thai city that is still unspoilt by the tourist traps of Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
Several markets offer the typical variety of food stall dishes. During the day check out the market just south of the train station, which turns into a popular night market scene in the early evening. Some of the best buys are gai yang (grilled chicken) and kweitiou pat Thai (Thai style fried noodles).
The 'Night Bazaar' along the river offers lots of tourist type food options plus after dinner shopping with the usual night market items.
Phitsanulok is not a tourist oriented city, and there is not a broad range of guesthouses. However, there are several good options at rates much lower than in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
No.4 Guesthouse. A good option for budget travellers.
LiThai Guesthouse, 73/1-5 Phayalithai Road (south of the train station), Tel: (055) 219 626-9 Fax: (055) 219 627 ext 500. Very clean, it has moderate prices starting at 200 baht (though the official rate reads 220 baht).
 Mid range
The grand Riverside hotel
Topland Plaza Hotel, 68/33 Ekathosarot Rd; tel. +66-55247800. Part of the Topland Plaza shopping centre, this is one of the better hotels. Buses to Sukhothai leave from in front of the hotel. Rates start at 900 baht. It is well worth the money, though can be noisy at night as it contains a popular night-club.
 Get out
Phitsanulok is a good stop-over from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (or vice versa).
Sukhothai is a good option for a day-trip.
Sukhothai (สุโขทัย) is a small city (population 35,713) which serves as the capital of Sukhothai Province, in lower Northern Thailand. The name translates as "the dawn of happiness".
The city is a popular tourist destination because it is located near the ruins of the ancient city of Sukhothai, which was the Thai capital during the 13th Century A.D.
 Get in
Sukothai only has a small bus station, but the city can be easily reached from the North, South, East and West.
From Mae Sot:
Minibuses run regularly from the station behind the market. The journey takes about 3 hours, passing through Tak on the way. 130 baht.
From Phitsanulok: Frequent buses operate from the main bus terminal and take about 1 hour for the 58 km trip.
From Bangkok: There are direct buses from Bangkok, but to avoid a long uncomfortable ride, take the (express) train (8 hours) to Phitsanulok and go by bus from there (1 hour).
From Chiang Mai: Buses from the main bus terminal take about 4 hours. The cheaper local buses make many stops and take about 5 hours.
 Get around
The best way to see the ruins in the Sukhotai National Historic Park is by bicycle. These can be rented from a shop opposite from the main park entrance.
The purple #1 songthaew travels to and from the bus station, which is about 3 km out of town. They run the length of Thanon Charodwithitong. The fare is 10 baht.
The large blue songthaew to Old Sukhothai leaves from a bus stop on Thanon Charodwithitong about 100 meters west of the bridge. It stops about 750 meters from the entrance to the central zone of the historic park. Fare: 20 baht.
Old Sukhothai (Sukhothai Muang Kao)
Located 12 km to the west of today's Sukhothai, this was the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom from 1238 to 1438 and contains many ruins from that period. Its importance has been internationally recognised and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The old city is a popular tourist attraction, and the site has seen much restoration since the 1960s. It is well maintained, exceptionally clean and well furnished with vendors, though with only a minimum of touts. The heavily restoration is worth noting, since with some ruins and Buddha figures it can lead to a feeling that it is a little over-sanitised, especially in the central zone. The other zones are much less "restored" and trips down unmarked tracks can lead to ruins in their untouched state.
The whole site covers an area of approximately 70 square kilometres and is divided into 5 zones. The central zone contains the majority of the ruins and a museum. Admission is 40 baht (6 am to 6 pm) plus extra for vehicles, including bicycles. Maps can be bought at the ticket office for 3 baht. The other zones (north, east, south and west) have separate fees of 30 baht. Bicycles are the favoured mode of transport, though it is perfectly feasible to walk around the central and northern zones in 6 hours or so. Bicycles are available for rental at numerous places near the songthaew stop. There is also a 20 baht guided tour by electric tram available.
Central zone - It contains 11 ruins in 3 square kilometres, interspersed with moats, lakes and bridges to some island-bound ruins. Mat Mahathat is one of the most spectacular, with a large seated Buddha figure set amongst the pillars of a now ruined sala, and a central chedi flanked by two standing Buddha figures. Wat Sra Sri also has a large chedi and Buddha figure, but is reached by a bridge to the island. There are some nice views from the other side of the lake.
North zone - Wat Phra Phai Luang contains the remains of a number of buildings plus a large prang with stucco reliefs. More impressive is Wat Sri Chum, which contains a massive seated Buddha figure peering through an opening in its enclosure. Look for a stairway on the left as you enter the enclosure; it leads up and behind the buddha image, though the passage is not always open.
Rent a bike and explore the ruins of Old Sukhothai.
Visit the park at sunrise and admire the Buddha figures in the orange glow of the morning sun.
Pay a visit to the ruins at Si Satchanalai Historic Park, 55 km from new Sukhothai.
Walk around the fresh market (In new Sukhothai) in the early morning and try the tastes of many kinds of local food Sukhothai people like to have e. g. sticky rice with deep fried pork, sweet deep fried beef or spicy pork salad wraped with the banana leaf You can have a look about what more to do in Sukhothai at http://mysukhothai.blogspot.com
Rent a motorbike in new Sukhothai and appreciate the local life style
Have "Sukhothai" Noodle!! - It's a must
Poo and Kung, Thanon Charodvithitong. This is a Belgian run restaurant offering Thai and Western food and a wide selection of cocktails. From 30 baht for main courses.
Chopper Bar, Thanon Pravetnakorn. A rooftop restaurant and bar with good service, live acoustic guitar music, and Thai and Western menu. From 40 baht for main course.
Sukhothai Night Market, There are varieties of local food that you can find in the night market in new Sukhothai. The night market is called "To-rung", it also covers the area that the food stolls are along "Rachathani" temple's fence.
Kru Eew, One of Sukhothai noodle restaurants in new Sukhothai, there are not only Sukhothai noodle but also Sukhothai style padthai, vietnamese food, dessert, etc. The restaurant is only opened in the day time which mainly serves for brunch and lunch.
Fueng Far, The restaurant that mainly serves for dinner. It could also be a drinking place which ou can enjoy sipping beer by the "Yom" river. The food is called "Fish food" - the plenty of Sukhothai local fish (Pla) dish especially spicy dishes e.g. Tom Yom Hua Pla (Fish head tom yum), Look Chin Pla Krai Luak Jim ('Pla Krai' - one type of fish, it's the Pla Krai fish ball boil and dip with spicy suace - recommended), Kob phat kra pao (Stir fried basil frog). The restaurant is located by the Yom River, it takes 1 minute by motor bike from the beginning of the "Wat Ku Ha Suwan" Soi. Well, it is not recommended you to walk there because it is quite dark.
In sukhothai Historical Park
A Buddha figure at the market at the historical park. They are available in all historic styles, sizes and materials. Remember that it is considered bad luck to buy a Buddha for yourself, so you should be buying gifts!
In New Sukhothai
Thongchai Wittayu: The biggest electronic store selling electronic stuff which could offer much better price than the department stores and considered the best price in all over Sukhothai. The products are digital cameras, memory cards, mp3, etc. You could only ask around when you are hanging out in new Sukhothai, most of people know the store.
Yupa, Thanon Pravetnakorn. This is a teak house with a small number of basic rooms and some dorm beds. With fans, cold water and shared bathrooms, these are good value at the low price of 120 baht.
TR Guest House, an own family run this guest house, They have rooms with fan and air condition and bungalow with fan. All with private shower and toilet. Price from 150 - 450 Baht Also free transport from bus terminal Call 055-611-663. Free internet, Motorbike for rent.
Baan Thai, Thanon Pravetnakorn. This is a typical guest-house, with a restaurant and a number of rooms available. Rooms contain a fan and share a bathroom, with hot water available. 150 baht a night.
 Mid range
Orchid Hibiscus Guest House, 407/2, Old City Sukothai, Tel: +66 55 633 284. A small guest house with clean rooms, a swimming pool and Italian/Thai owners. It is in biking distance to the old city, but there are only two restaurants in walking distance of the hotel! The owner is very helpful, but you are never quite sure if he understands your request. The pool, breakfast and the garden make up for this..
Lotus Village [1] is a cozy boutique hotel in the heart of Sukhothai. All rooms are in Thai style teak houses with verandas, surrounded by fish ponds, lotus flowers and beautiful tropical gardens. The lobby is an excellent place to relax and read a large selection of magazines, books and newspapers. Other services include local transport, travel bookings, cars with driver, and guides in French and English.
Mountain view guest house, 23/3 moo8 maung kao maung sukhothai tel + 66 55 601111 mobile +66 [0] 817404449 guest house with 6 rooms with swimming pool including breakfast owners very helpful and will take you to and from the historical park which is 4 kms. away
Tak (province)
Tak Province is in Northern Thailand.
Tak (ตาก) is the provincial capital of Tak Province.
 Other destinations
Mae Sot - town with border crossing into Myanmar (foreigners restricted to same-day entry/exit from the Thai side only)
Umphang - there are many popular natural places such as Thi Lo Su waterfall and Doi Hua Mot hill; trekking and rafting are most popular activities, especially with foreigners
Mae Sot
Mae Sot is in Tak Province, Thailand. It has an elevation of around 210 metres.
 Get in
 By road
Access from Tak is along Highway #105 via Doi Musoe (870m) and Doi Son (784m).
Frequent minibuses connect Mae Sot directly with Tak bus station, starting at 05:30 and finishing around 19:00, and in theory departing every 30 minutes - however those that are already full can be expected to leave early, and those that are not will probably go late. The journey takes about 90 minutes and costs 50 baht/person. The surcharge for putting a bicycle on the roofrack is 50 baht.
 By air
Mae Sot airport is about 2km west of the edge of town, and just 1km from the border. The airport is no longer in use.
Myawaddy in Myanmar (overnight stays not permitted)
© Wikitravel, 01.2008.
Текст взят с сайта Wikitravel.org


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Vladislav K.
24-01-2008 15:21
Key for province map:
1 - Chiang Mai
2 - Chiang Rai
3 - Kamphaeng Phet
4 - Lampang
5 - Lamphun
6 - Mae Hong Son
7 - Nakhon Sawan
8 - Nan
9 - Phayao
10 - Phetchabun
11 - Phichit
12 - Phitsanulok
13 - Phrae
14 - Sukhothai
15 - Tak
16 - Uthai Thani
17 - Uttaradit