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Chiang Mai is Thailand's principal northern city. Chiang Mai is the provincial capital of a largely mountainous province, also called Chiang Mai, which is some 20,000 square kilometres in area.
Chiang Mai city is 700 kilometres north of Bangkok, was founded in 1296, and is located in a fertile valley some 300 metres above sea level.
Chiang Mai is, quite simply, Thailand's major centre for quality handicrafts. The visitor need merely visit the nearest city emporium or night market to purchase an extraordinary variety of antiques, silver jewellery, hilltribe opium pipes and embroidery, Thai silks and cottons, basketry, celadon, silverware, furniture, lacquerware, woodcarvings and parasols.
A major advantage of shopping in Chiang Mai is that the visitor may watch artisans working within the city and in several outlying villages, particularly along the Bo Sang-San Kamphaeng road where, in genuine cottage industries, parasols, silk and cotton weaving, jewellery, wood-carving, silverware, celadon and lacquerware are manufactured, and number among popular purchases.

Chiang Rai province covers some 11,678 square kilometres, is bordered by Myanmar to the north, and Laos to the north and northeast. The provincial capital is 785 kilometres north of Bangkok and is 580 metres above sea level.
Chiang Rai was founded in 1262 by King Meng Rai and was the first capital of Lanna Thai (Kingdom of a Million Ricefields). The province contains Thailand's northernmost point at Mae Sai, is well known for its crisp mountain scenery, and hilltribes, and falls within the region known as the Golden Triangle, the area where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge.

The Golden Triangle
8 kilometres north of Chiang Saen, this riverside area marks the spot where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge.
Wat Phra That Doi Pu Khao This riverside temple near the Sop Ruak
Market, offers a spectacular view of the Golden Triangle's riverine and mountain areas.

Mekong River Trips
Boats can be hired from Chiang Saen to travel upstream to the Golden Triangle, and downstream to Chiang Khong. The trip to the Golden Triangle takes some 30 minutes, the trip to Chiang Khong about 1 hour and 30 minutes depending on river currents and water levels.

Lampang
This province covers an area of 12,534 square kilometres. The provincial capital is approximately 100 kilometres south of Chiang Mai and 600 kilometres north of Bangkok. Lampang enjoys fame as the only Thai provincial capital in which horsedrawn carriages are an everyday mode of transport, and for its Elephant Conservation Centre some 35 kilometres north of the provincial capital. Each year, generally during February, the Centre organises a fund-raising Elephant Khantoke Fair. The provincial capital contains several Burmese-style temples of note.

Mae Hong Son
This predominantly mountainous province edges Myanmar (Burma) and covers an area of 12,681 square kilometres. The provincial capital is 924 kilometres north of Bangkok. The province is famed for its mountain scenery, waterfalls, hilltribe villages, national parks such as Nam Tok Mae Surin, the Tham Lot Forest Park, the Tham Pla Forest Park and the Pha Sua Waterfall, the picturesque wild sunflower fields of Doi Mae U-Kho which bloom each November and December, and seasonal (July-December) white-water rafting opportunities on the Pai River.

Nan
The province covers an area of 11,472 square kilometres. The provincial capital is 668 kilometres north of Bangkok. This former city-state dates from the Sukhothai period (1238-1350), and was probably established in 1282 when Khun Fang, brother of the founder of the Laotian capital Vientiane, set up a court some 70 kilometres north of the present provincial capital. Nan came under the influence of Chiang Mai and later the Burmese before being reintegrated into northern Thailand and fully coming under Bangkok’s control during the early 1900s



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