In the north of Thailand lies Chiang Mai; a fascinating, historic, culturally diverse place known to many as the “Rose of the North”. Visitors who venture to Chiang Mai will find themselves in Thailand’s second largest city, boasting more than 300 temples and a rich history that is in evidence everywhere. The north is an ethnically diverse region of Thailand that has fallen under the influence of its neighbours at various times in history; enhancing the unique culture and cuisine that is particular to this area. The old city of Chiang Mai is a marvel that truly reflects this cultural identity with its multiple dialects, highly distinctive architecture and contrasts of the traditional with the modern.
The lush surrounding countryside of Chiang Mai provides a bounty of fresh produce throughout the year, making it an ideal location to study the cuisine of Thailand. The food of the region is well known throughout Thailand for the distinctiveness of the flavours, combinations and influences. Studying Thai cooking in Chiang Mai is an excellent choice.
The surrounding countryside is more than just the provider of fabulous ingredients for Thai cooking, it offers adventures too. There are mountains to climb, waterfalls to marvel at, rivers to journey on and nature in all her colourful, tropical glory. There are numerous hill tribes in this area too and visitors are invited to visit and experience their more traditional way of life.
Chiang Mai has long attracted those with a love for the great outdoors and sporting pursuits with activities that include trekking, river rafting, elephant riding and golf amongst the top attractions. Today’s tourists though come for a multitude of reasons, including ever-growing numbers who come to explore the cuisine of the north.
If there is time during your visit to Chiang Mai, it is worth looking into the history that made it and there are plenty of museums, temples and cultural attractions to enlighten you. A city more than 700 years old, Chiang Mai, will always translate as ‘New City’ as it did when King Meng Rai the Great proclaimed it the capital of the Lanna Kingdom in 1296; founding many temples as the city grew to become the centre of Buddhism in northern Thailand. Much of even the earliest history of Chiang Mai can still be found within the moated old city.