Chiang Mai Province

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Chiang Mai
Province
เชียงใหม่
Official seal of Chiang Mai
Seal
   Chiang Mai in    Thailand
   Chiang Mai in    Thailand
Coordinates: 18°50′14″N 98°58′14″E / 18.83722°N 98.97056°E / 18.83722; 98.97056Coordinates: 18°50′14″N 98°58′14″E / 18.83722°N 98.97056°E / 18.83722; 98.97056
Capital Chiang Mai
Government
 • Governor Tanin Subhasaen
Area
 • Total 20,107 km2 (7,763 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 1,646,144
 • Density 82/km2 (210/sq mi)
Human Development Index
 • HDI (2010) 0.792 (high) (rank?)
Postal code 50xxx
Calling code 053
Vehicle registration เชียงใหม่
Accession into Kingdom of Thailand 1910
Accession into Kingdom of Thailand 1932
Website http://www.chiangmai.go.th

Chiang Mai (Thai About this sound เชียงใหม่ , Thai pronunciation: [tɕʰiaŋ.màj], Northern Thai pronunciation: [tɕiaŋ.màj]) is the second-largest province (changwat) of Thailand, located in the north of the country. It is bordered by Chiang Rai to the northeast, Lampang and Lamphun to the south, Tak to the southwest, Mae Hong Son to the west and Shan State of Burma to the north.

Geography[edit]

Chiang Mai province is about 700 km (430 mi) from Bangkok and is situated on the Mae Ping river basin and is on average 300 m (980 ft) above sea level. Surrounded by the high mountain ranges of the Thai highlands, it covers an area of approximately 20,107 km2 (7,763 sq mi). The mountainous terrain of the Daen Lao Range (ทิวเขาแดนลาว) in the northern end of the province, the Thanon Thong Chai Range (เทือกเขาถนนธงชัย) stretching in a north-south direction, and the Khun Tan Range in the east of the province[1] are covered by rain forest. River Ping, one of the major tributaries of the Chao Phraya River, originates in the Daen Lao mountains. The highest mountain of Thailand, the 2,565 meter high Doi Inthanon, is located in the province. Several national parks are in the district: Doi Inthanon, Doi Suthep-Pui, Mae Ping, Sri Lanna, Huai Nam Dang, Mae Phang, Chiang Dao.

Parts of the ranges 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.

History[edit]

Pratat Doi Suthep, a temple in Chiang Mai

The city of Chiang Mai was capital of the Lanna Kingdom after its founding in 1296, during the same period of time as the establishment of the Sukhothai Kingdom. From then, Chiang Mai not only became the capital and cultural core of the Lanna Kingdom, it was also the centre of Buddhism in northern Thailand and King Meng Rai built innumerable temples.

In 1599 the kingdom lost its independence and became part of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. This ended the dynasty founded by King Meng Rai which had lasted for 300 years. The Burmese occupiers, had a powerful Burmese influence on the architecture which can still be seen today. It was only in the late 18th century that Burma was finally defeated with the leadership of King Taksin.

In 1932 the province Chiang Mai became the second level subdivision of Thailand when the administrative unit of Monthon Phayap, the remains of the Lanna Kingdom, was dissolved.

Demographics[edit]

Tribe Girls

13.4% of the population on the province are members of the hill tribes, among them the Hmong, Yao, Lahu, Lisu, Akha and Karen.

Symbols[edit]

The seal of the province shows a white elephant in a glass pavilion. The white elephant is a royal symbol in Thailand, and it is depicted to remember the offering of a white elephant by King Rama II to the ruler of Chiang Mai. The pavilion symbolizes that Buddhism prospered in Chiang Mai, especially when in 1477 the teachings of Buddha, the Tripitaka, were reviewed.

The provincial flower and tree is the Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma). The provincial slogan is In the shadow of Doi Suthep mount, blessed with rice customs and traditions, beautiful wild flowers, magnificent Nakhon Phing.

Administrative divisions & Postal Codes[edit]

Map of Amphoe

Chiang Mai is subdivided into 25 districts (Amphoe). The districts are further subdivided into 204 subdistricts (Tambon) and 1915 villages (Muban).

Climate[edit]

Chiang Mai has a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen Aw), tempered by the low latitude and moderate elevation, with warm to hot weather year-round, though nighttime conditions during the dry season can be cool and are much lower than daytime highs. The maximum temperature ever recorded is 42.4°C in May 2005.[3]

Climate data for Chiang Mai (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29.8
(85.6)
32.6
(90.7)
35.2
(95.4)
36.5
(97.7)
34.2
(93.6)
32.7
(90.9)
31.8
(89.2)
31.5
(88.7)
31.7
(89.1)
31.4
(88.5)
30.1
(86.2)
28.6
(83.5)
32.18
(89.93)
Average low °C (°F) 14.9
(58.8)
16.2
(61.2)
19.5
(67.1)
22.9
(73.2)
23.8
(74.8)
24.0
(75.2)
23.9
(75)
23.7
(74.7)
23.2
(73.8)
22.2
(72)
19.2
(66.6)
15.7
(60.3)
24.1
(75.4)
Rainfall mm (inches) 4.2
(0.165)
8.9
(0.35)
17.8
(0.701)
57.3
(2.256)
162.0
(6.378)
124.5
(4.902)
140.2
(5.52)
216.9
(8.539)
211.4
(8.323)
117.6
(4.63)
53.9
(2.122)
15.9
(0.626)
1,130.6
(44.512)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 1 2 2 6 14 14 16 18 20 14 5 1 113
 % humidity 68 58 52 57 71 77 79 81 81 79 75 73 70.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 272.8 251.4 269.7 258.0 217.0 177.0 170.5 161.2 156.0 198.4 234.0 263.5 2,629.5
Source #1: Thai Meteorological Department (Normal 1981-2010), (Avg. rainy days 1961-1990)
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory (sunshine)

Transportation[edit]

Chiang Mai Train Station
  • Car. Chiang Mai is on Highway 11 (super highway Rd.). Cars can be hired in the provincial capital.
  • Train. Chiang Mai is the terminal station on the northern railway route.
  • Songthaew. Songthaews are passenger pick-up vehicles.
  • Samlor. Samlors (rickshaws) can be found in urban areas.
  • Tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuks are used for short distances.
  • Buses. Chiang Mai is served by air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses from Bangkok and all other northern provincial capitals. For travel within the province itself there are older non air-conditioned buses.
  • Bicycle & motorbike. Both forms of transport can be hired in the provincial capital.
  • Air. Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) is one of the seven international airports under the aegis of the Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT). As Chiang Mai International Airport is the major gateway to northern Thailand, it plays an important role in promoting travel and tourism throughout the northern region. Today, 14 airlines serve the airport and more than 3,000,000 passengers, 15,000 flights and 16,000 tons of cargo are handled annually.

Tourism[edit]

Doi Inthanon National Park
Mae Ya Waterfall
Wat Prathat Doi Suthep

Chiang Mai province for years now has been the tourist hub of the north and one of Thailand's most important tourist destinations.[citation needed]It is considered one of the most scenic provinces in the country due to its mountain ranges, valleys, flora and fauna. Unlike most of Thailand, the climate in the north and especially Chiang Mai is cool, fresh and misty.

Attractions[edit]

Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติดอยสุเทพ-ปุย) The park consists of forests and mountain ranges. Major mountains include Doi Suthep, Doi Buak Ha, and Doi Pui. This is a main source of tributaries and streams in Chiang Mai. Sacred places, religious attractions and historical sites are located in the park complex.

Walking Street Chiang Mai municipality has organized, since 2006, the Chiang Mai Sunday Evening Walking Street at the Three Kings Monument Courtyard. It has turned into a thriving Sunday evening market which now encompasses nearly the whole of Rachadamnoen road (the main road of the old city), many of its side streets and the square in front of Tha Phae Gate. It is known for its locally made handicrafts. In addition, Chiang Mai also organises a Saturday Evening Walking Street on Woa Lai Road which runs from Chiang Mai Gate, on the south side of the old city, towards the airport.

Chiang Mai Zoo (สวนสัตว์เชียงใหม่) is located next to Huai Kaeo Arboretum. It is a large zoo, which occupies the lower forested slopes of Doi Suthep Mountain. The zoo contains more than 200 types of Asian and African mammals and birds.

Doi Inthanon National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติดอยอินทนนท์): at 2,565 m, Doi Inthanon is Thailand's highest mountain and one of the coolest peaks. Besides the actual mountain itself, there are a variety of other attractive locations such as Mae Ya, Wachirathan and Siriphum waterfalls and Bori Chinda Cave.

Pang Chang Mae Sa: The elephant shows are a demonstration of the elephants' abilities in log-hauling. After the end of the performance, visitors are able to have a go at riding an elephant.

Wat Phra Singh (วัดพระสิงห์วรวิหาร), houses the revered Phra Phuttha Sihing Buddha (พระพุทธสิหิงค์) image cast in Subduing Mara. The Buddha image is now enshrined in Viharn Lai Kham. The temple compound includes the lovely Viharn Lai Kham featuring exquisite woodcarvings and northern-style murals paintings, a magnificent scriptural repository with striking bas relief, and a circular stupa (in Lankan bell shape).

Mae Sa Waterfall (น้ำตกแม่สา) The 8-tiered waterfall in Amphoe Mae Rim occupies a natural setting among towering trees.

Night Bazaar: Every evening the center of the provincial city holds one of the provinces biggest markets, selling a huge variety of goods to tourists, both foreign and Thai. The market is 3 blocks long and is surrounded by restaurants, cafes and travel agents.

Chiang Mai Night Safari: The world's third nocturnal zoo and is a government nature theme park which was built to promote Chiang Mai tourism.

Entertainment/Activities[edit]

  • Elephant Show: The show begins with elephants bathing to cool themselves then mahouts would place a log harness on their backs. Finally, elephants will demonstrate their forestry skills. Some of the elephant training centers are:
Pang Chang Mae Taeng (ปางช้างแม่แตง)
Chiang Dao Elephant Training Centre (ศูนย์ฝึกช้างเชียงดาว)
Pang Chang Mae Sa (ปางช้างแม่สา)
Pang Chang Pong Yaeng (ปางช้างโป่งแยง)
  • Mountain Biking: Mountain biking is done on several routes in Chiang Mai including around the old city moat.
  • Homestay at Ban Mae Kampong: The village is in a mountainous area with jungle surroundings. Nearby attractions include waterfalls, a cotton weaving village and the Huai Hong Khrai Royal Agricultural Station.
  • Hilltribes Trekking: Of particular interest to most are the six major hilltribes which inhabit the northern highlands. The largest group is Karen, followed by the Meo, Lahu, Yao, Akha and Lisu. They share animist beliefs and honour numerous forest and guardian spirits. Each tribe has distinctive ceremonial attire, courtship rituals, games, dances, agricultural customs, languages or dialects, aesthetic values, and hygienic habits.
  • Bamboo Rafting-Whitewater Rafting: Bamboo rafting along the Mae Taeng River (ล่องแพลำน้ำแม่แตง)
  • Cruising the Ping River: Maenam Ping is the main river in Chiang Mai. While cruising, people can witness the atmosphere of Chiang Mai, as well as the local lifestyle on both sides of the Ping River.
  • Artificial Rock Climbing: Rock climbing (ไต่หน้าผาจำลอง) can be practised at the Peak Rock Climbing Plaza.
  • Golf Courses: There are many courses in the province.
  • Spas: Spa treatments in Chiang Mai includes both traditional remedies and healing arts alongside modern techniques. This treatment, in terms of service available, has escalated over the past few years and there are now innumerable locations offering spa service, often including a Jacuzzi and steam bath.
  • Shopping: Besides the shopping malls and department stores, there are a variety of local markets including the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar in downtown Chiang Mai.

Local Products[edit]

Woodcarving
Umbrellas

Chiang Mai is the center of handicrafts with a variety of antiques, silver jewellery, and embroidery, Thai silks and cottons, basketry, celadon, silverware, furniture, lacquerware, woodcarvings, and parasols.

Major Chiang Mai products include:

  • Cottons & Silks
  • Umbrellas/ Parasols: These are inextricably associated with Bo Sang where villagers have been engaged in their manufacture for at least 200 years. All materials, silks, cottons, Sa paper (manufactured from the bark of the mulberry tree) and bamboo are produced or found locally.
  • Silverware: Traditional skills and a guaranteed content of at least 92.5% pure silver invest bowls, receptacles and decorative items.
  • Lacquerware: This decorative are enhanced items made of wood, bamboo, metal, paper and baked clay, in the form of receptacles, ornaments and various souvenirs.
  • Furniture/ Woodcarving: Major woods and materials include teak, rosewood and rattan. Items may be unadorned or, especially with teak and rosewood, carved in traditional or modern designs. Woodcarving is a traditional northern Thai art featured in numerous temples. In recent years, woodcarving has increasingly embellished furniture, gracing screens, chairs, tables, beds, figurines, carved elephant indeed anything bearing a wooden surface large enough to be carved.
  • Hilltribe Products: These include silver ornaments, such as bracelets, necklace, pendants and pipes of intricate design, and embroidered items including tunics, jackets, bags, purses, caps and dress lengths.
  • Gold Plated Orchids & Butterflies: Orchids and butterflies are preserved and plated with 24-carat gold to create unusual gift items such as necklace pendants, hairpins and earrings.
  • Pottery: Chiang Mai is the centre of Thailand's pottery industry. Products include high-fired Celadon which is produced in many forms, including dinner sets, lamp bases and decorative items.
  • Sa (Mulberry) Paper Products: Chiang Mai produces handmade Sa paper products. Sa products that come in different, distinctive designs include cards, notebooks, stationery, boxes, bags, photo frames, lanterns, gift wrapping paper, etc.

Local Culture[edit]

The north of Thailand's culture is Lanna in origin and the people are very proud of their northern roots. The region is home to distinctly different food, music, arts, way of life and even language. Chiang Mai is also a melting pot of hill tribes and their own unique cultures.

Hilltribes[edit]

Akha the largest population of any hilltribe in the region. Originating from Tibet and Southern China, they dwell on high ground around 1,200 meters above sea-level. Within their villages they build a spirit gateway to protect them from evil spirits.

Hmong from southern China. Prefer higher elevations. They raise livestock and grow rice, corn, tobacco and cabbage. Known for their embroidery and silver.

Karen occupy valleys and riverbanks.

Lahu from Southern China and live in high areas. They are known as hunters and planters.

Lisu from southern China and Tibet are renowned for their colorful dress and also build their dwellings on high poles. They harvest rice and corn and their men are skilled in hunting.

Tai Lue live in dwellings of usually only a single room wooden house built on high poles. They are skilled in weaving.

Tai Yai, Burmese in origin, harvest rice, farm, raise cattle and trade. Their craftsmanship lies in weaving, pottery, wood carving and bronze ware.

Yao reside on mountainsides and grow corn and other crops. They are skilled blacksmiths, silversmiths and embroiders.

Events and Festivals[edit]

The roads along the moats of Chiang Mai are full of vehicles during the water splashing festival of Songkran

Bo Sang Umbrella Festival (งานเทศกาลร่มบ่อสร้าง) is held in January at Bo Sang Handicraft Centre. The festival features paper products, paper parasols in particular, cultural shows, a parade showing traditional ways of life, and several contests.

Flower Festival (งานมหกรรมไม้ดอกไม้ประดับ) is held in February. The festival includes ornamental garden flower contests, floral floats parade in the morning and beauty pageants. The parade begins at Chiang Mai Railway Station and passes Nawarat Bridge and ends at Nong Buak Hat Park.

Songkran Festival (งานประเพณีสงกรานต์) is held annually from 13 to 15 April. The 13th of April is the Great Songkran day featuring the revered Phra Phuttha Sihing (พระพุทธสิหิงค์) Buddha image parade around Chiang Mai town for bathing, sand pagoda forming, blessing of elders, and water splashing.

Doi Suthep Pilgrimage (งานประเพณีเดินขึ้นดอยสุเทพ) On the night of Visakha Bucha Day, worshippers gather to light candles and make the 7-kilometre pilgrimage up to the temple on Doi Suthep.

City Pillar Inthakin Festival (งานบูชาเสาอินทขิล) is held to invoke blessings of peace, happiness and prosperity for the city and its residents. Buddha images are paraded around the city. It is held at Wat Chedi Luang for 7 auspicious days and nights in the 7th lunar month.

Yi Peng Festival (งานประเพณียี่เป็ง) is held annually on Loy Krathong day (วันลอยกระทง). The festival features the release of lanterns into the sky to worship the gods. There are also fireworks, lantern contests, and beauty pageants.

Art[edit]

Chiang Mai province is known as one of the world's top centers for the cottage industry. The area is produces traditional handicrafts made by craftsmen using skills which have been down through countless generations. They include: silverware, lacquerware, celadon pottery, silk and cotton, hand-painted paper umbrellas and more.

Local Food[edit]

Khao soi
  • Nam phrik ong is a type of Nam phrik chili paste which is made of minced pork and tomatoes. It is usually eaten with soft-boiled vegetables, pork crackling, or deep-fried crunchy rice cakes.
  • Nam phrik num meaning "chili paste young man", is another kind of paste which can be eaten with pork crackling.
  • Sai ua is a local sausage that is very aromatic and spicy and is usually eaten with sticky rice.
  • Kaeng meaning "curry", is not made with coconut milk in the north.
    • Kaeng Om is a spicy curry consisting of intestines
    • Kaeng khae is a spicy curry consisting mainly of vegetables.
  • Khao Soi is a noodle dish which can be made from chicken, pork, or beef made with coconut milk and garnished with chopped fresh shallots, pickled cabbage, chilli paste to taste, and a slice of fresh lime.

Learn[edit]

Popular subjects for study among visitors to Chiang Mai are Buddhism, muay Thai (Thai boxing), Thai cooking, Thai massage, and Vipassana meditation.

Retirement[edit]

There are approximately 50,000 expatriates living in Chiang Mai.

Sports[edit]

There are two main sport stadiums in Chiang Mai and its environs: 700 Year Stadium and Province Stadium. 700 Years Stadium is on Klongchonpratan Road, 7 km (4.3 mi) from Chiang Mai University. There are swimming pools, diving pool, basketball arena, and 11 tennis courts.

Media/Contact[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Northern Thailand
  2. ^ The code 25 was assigned to a planned district Wiang Kham, which however wasn't created.
  3. ^ "Daily Climate Weather Data Statistics". Geodata.us. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 

External links[edit]