26 Oct Touring Historical Chiang Mai, Thailand
Touring Historical Chiang Mai, Thailand
History Of Chiang Mai
The city of Chiang Mai, as it is known today, was established after the end of its role as the tributary state of the Kingdom of Chiang Mai, which lasted from 1774 to 1939. Chiang Mai translates into “New City”, a name that was coined in 1296 when the Lan Na kingdom was founded. In the many centuries that the city has been around, it has become a major cultural, historical, religious, and economic center not just in Thailand, but also in the South East Asian region. It should come as no surprise that the city welcomes about 5 million tourists each year. In this regard, it is only surpassed by Bangkok in terms of tourist numbers within Thailand.
5 Major Chiang Mai Attractions
- Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. This is not just a top attraction in Chiang Mai, but also one of the most popular in Thailand as a whole. Wat Prathat Doi Suthep is a popular temple that also doubles up as one of the most revered among Thais, considering that it dates back to 1300s. While visiting this popular tourist hotspot, you will get to witness firsthand the immense religious symbolism that continues to make this tourist site a must-see for all Chiang Mai visitors. You can even purchase some souvenirs at the temple so that you will never forget your visit.
- Chiang Mai Aquarium. This great Thai city will also let you see the largest aquarium in the region. The aquarium was opened in 2008, and consists of over 8,000 aquatic species contained in a tank that can hold 8000 cubic liters of water. A visit to this aquarium will allow you to experience the breadth of Thailand’s aquatic life. Additionally, you will also get to see the largest aquarium tunnel in the world (133 meters).
- Chiang Mai Night Safari. A relatively new attraction, but certainly one of the best, the Chiang Mai Night Safari will take you on a two-kilometer adventure that will give you an experience you will never forget. As the name suggests, this attraction will take you on a tour that will let you see several wild animals of African, South American, and Asian origin. In this perfect trip for the entire family, you can also indulge in great Thai dishes at the restaurant area.
- Chiang Mai National Museum. If you want to get a good taste of historical Chiang Mai, Thailand, the Chiang Mai National Museum is a must-see. This museum features a broad collection of ancient artifacts that chronicle the region’s history and culture. The museum offers a great view of what the local culture entails, not just within Chiang Mai, but also within the country.
- Mae Sa Elephant Training Centre. Taking an elephant ride is one of the most exciting experiences you can have while visiting Asia, and the Mae Sa Elephant Training Centre is the place that offers this experience within Chiang Mai. In addition to the rides, the center also hosts elephant shows, which makes it a great place to visit as you tour Thailand on several levels. So, if you would like to learn more about these mighty and majestic creatures, and feel what it is like riding one, Mae Sa Elephant Training Centre is the place to visit.
Stretching Your Dollar While Traveling in Chiang Mai
Right away, Chiang Mai will let you enjoy a high quality of life for less if you are visiting from the West. Basic things like rent, electricity, food, and entertainment needs are so much cheaper in Thailand. If you are visiting alone, you can manage to live on considerably less than $1,000 a month if you make budget conscious choices when it comes to basic expenditures.
On the other hand, as you visit many of Chiang Mai’s attractions, you should consider affordable alternatives such as taking half and full day tours instead of taking individual tours. Unlike individual tours, the group tours usually let you visit more places and enjoy a greater choice of experiences for less. Entertainment can easily make your budget get out of hand, so you should plan your days out appropriately to keep your spending in check.
You should also adopt a bargaining mentality, which is deeply part of the Thai culture. In markets, public transportation, and almost everywhere else, prices include a provision for discounts. By negotiating, you can make significant savings and make your dollar last longer.
Another way to save is to eat street foods as opposed to eating in restaurants. Fortunately, street food in Thailand is quite good, and it costs up more than half what it goes for in a restaurant setting, which makes this a great way to cut your food budget in half.
Travel Tips For Chiang Mai Visitors
– When using common public transportation modes such as Tuk Tuks, the prices are always set higher for foreigners. However, haggling is expected. So, always try to get a better deal on the fare you are charged.
– When using vans to travel, don’t expect to reach your destination fast, since these vans will stop several times along the way to pick up other travelers. The benefit is that you will pay a relatively small price for your journey.
– Paying for a taxi based on the meter is usually cheaper than negotiating a lump sum amount for the entire journey. However, most taxi drivers will be reluctant to charge you based on the meter.
Prices Of Entry/Transport In Chiang Mai
For most part, entry into major Chiang Mai attraction sites is quite affordable. For instance, entry into the Wat Prathat Doi Suthep costs just 30 baht (about US $1), while a visit to the Chiang Mai National Museum will just require 100 baht.
Some places might require a little more, but the experience will certainly justify the cost. For instance, taking a Chiang Mai Night Safari will set you back 800 baht while a visit to the Chiang Mai Aquarium will require over 500 baht. At the Mae Sa Elephant Training Centre, you will have to pay 200 baht as entry fee, and the spend about 1,200 to ride an elephant for an hour.
Transport around Chiang Mai is also quite affordable, especially if you do not engage in major journeys every other day. Regular trips to the market and the mall can cost as little as 20 baht when using common taxis (songthaew). When hiring a taxi for yourself, what you pay will depend on your negotiation skills, but the price will be considerably higher then when using common transport.