Popularly known as the Rose of the North, Chiang Mai is blessed with stunning natural beauty and unique indigenous cultural identity. Found by King Mengrai the Great as the capital of the Lanna Thai kingdom by merging the various city-states in the region in 1296. Today Chiang Mai is the economic, communications, cultural and tourism centre of Northern Thailand. About 700 kilometres from Bangkok, Chiang Mai is situated on the Mae Ping River basin some 310 metres above sea level. Surrounded by high mountain ranges, it covers an area of approximately 20,107 square kilometres. The terrain is mainly jungles and mountains, parts of which are within national parks which are still fertile and verdant with plentiful flora and fauna. There are many sites and locations where tourists prefer to visit to study the lifestyle of the tribal people who live on high hills.
HOW TO GET THERE
a) From Bangkok drive on Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin) to Highway No. 32 passing the provinces of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Ang Thong and Nakhon Sawan, then take Highway No. 117 to Phitsanulok and drive on to Highway No. 11 to Lampang, Lamphun and Chiang Mai. The route is 695 kilometres.
b) From Bangkok drive to Nakhon Sawan and then take Highway No. 1 passing Kamphaeng Phet, Tak, Lampang, and Chiang Mai. This route is 696 kilometres.
The 10-hour journey from Bangkok can be made on air-conditioned buses start from the Northern Bus Terminal, contact Tel. 1490, 0 2936 2852-66, 0 2936 3670 or www.transport.co.th for more information. Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station, Tel. 0 5324 1449, 0 5324 2664
- The private coaches to Chiang Mai served daily such as Tanchit Tour Tel. 0 2936 3210-4,
- Cherdchai Tour Tel. 0 2936 0043 www.cherdchaitour.com,
- Nakhon Chai Air Tel. 1624, 0 2939 4999 ext. 1125,1126 www.nca.co.th,
- Wiriya Tour Tel. 0 2936 2827, 0 5324 7007,
- New Wiriya Tour Tel. 0 2936 2205,
- Sombut Tour Tel. 0 2792 1444 www.sombattour.com,
- Rungprasert Tour Tel. 0 2936-3638 0 2941 8833,
- Siam First Tour Tel. 0 2954 3601 www.siamfirst.co.th,
- Indra Tour Tel. 0 2656 3451
There are services from Chaing Mai’s Chang Phueak Bus Terminal to various districts in Chiang Mai. Buses ply along the northern route (Highway No. 107) passing through Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, Chiang Dao, Chaiprakan, Fang and Mae Ai. Some buses continue to Tha Ton. Local city buses ply between Chiang Mai and Lamphun on Highway No. 106. Chang Phueak Bus Station Tel. 0 5321 1586
The State Railways of Thailand operates daily services from Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong). Trains leave for Chiang Mai daily from 8.00 a.m.-10.00 p.m. For more information, contact Tel. 1690, 0 2220 4444 www.railway.co.th, Chiang Mai Railway Station Tel. 0 5324 2094, 0 5324 5363-4
The Bangkok-Chiang Mai daily flights are operated by:
- Thai Airways International Tel. 1566, 0 2628 2000, 0 2288 7000 www.thaiairways.com
- Thai Smile Airways Tel. 0 2308 8383 www.thaismileairways.net
- Bangkok Airways Tel. 1771, 0 2265 5678, 0 2265 5555 www.bangkokair.com
- Nok Air Tel.1318, 0 2251 1812 www.nokair.co.th
- Air Asia Tel. 0 2515 9999 www.airasia.com
Chiang Mai Airport Tel. 0 5327 0222-3, 0 5392 2100 A Bangkok-Chiang Mai charter flight route operated by Minor Aviation Limited Tel. 0 2792 9400 www.mjets.com
For relative short distance you can take a tricycle (Sam Lor). Short rides within the city cost between 30-50 Baht while longer rides will cost more.
Tuk-Tuks: (three-wheeled motorised taxis) are also popular for short and quick journeys. Fares must be bargained in advance.
Taxi Service: The metered fare is standardized, with the starting rate from 35 Baht and price is go up by distance and timing.
The most common means of transport is a “See Lor” (literally “four wheel”) or “Song Theao”. They all are red-coloured and look like pick-up trucks but with a roof over the back. They pick up as many passengers as they can and drop them off as the drivers reach their destinations. To go by “See Lor”, simply tell the driver your destination. Fares range from 20-30 Baht according to the distance.
Distances from town to neighbouring districts
|Mae Rim||8 kilometres|
|San Sai||12 kilometres|
|San Kamphaeng||13 kilometres|
|Hang Dong||15 kilometres|
|Doi Saket||18 kilometres|
|San Pa Tong||22 kilometres|
|Mae On||29 kilometres|
|Doi Lo||34 kilometres|
|Mae Wang||35 kilometres|
|Mae Taeng||40 kilometres|
|Chom Thong||58 kilometres|
|Chiang Dao||68 kilometres|
|Doi Tao||121 kilometres|
|Chai Prakan||131 kilometres|
|Wiang Haeng||150 kilometres|
|Mae Chaem||156 kilometres|
|Mae Ai||174 kilometres|
Distances from Chiang Mai to other provinces
|Chiang Rai||182 kilometres|
|Mae Hong Son||349 kilometres|
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