Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai
Offerings at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai. Photo Creative Commons License Steve Evans.

Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, is nipping at the heels of Bangkok for the title of most popular destination in Thailand. It is easy to see why - it has a striking mountain backdrop, over 300 temples and a historical atmosphere. It's also a modern, friendly, internationally-flavoured city with much to offer visitors: food, accommodation and shopping are all top quality and cheap, and the nights are cooler than in southern Thailand.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
The holiest shrine in northern Thailand, this Buddhist temple crowning Doi Suthep mountain was founded in 1386 under miraculous circumstances.
Wat Chedi Luang
Built in 1391 and expanded later, this impressive temple was damaged in the 1545 earthquake and never rebuilt. It once contained the Emerald Buddha.
Wat Chet Yot
Located in peaceful green grounds, this unique and elegant temple was built in 1453 to host the Eighth World Buddhist Council. Its design is based on the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India.
Wat Chiang Man
Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai, begun in 1306. It enshrines the Crystal Buddha, one of the greatest treasures in Thailand.
Wat Phra Singh
The Temple of the Lion Buddha is an important Buddhist monastery founded in the 14th century. It houses two medieval Buddha statues and includes some notable Lanna architecture.