Chiang Mai Scene

    Chiang Mai is Thailand's principal northern province. It is some 700 kilometres north of Bangkok and covers an area of 20,000 square metres. The city is located in a fertile valley some 300 metres above sea level. Chiang Mai was founded as the capital of Lanna Thai (Kingdom of One Million Ricefields) in 1296. It flourished as a major religious, cultural and trading center until 1556 when a Burmese invasion reduced it to a vassal state. The Burmese were expelled in 1785, whereupon Lanna Thai once again became part of northern Thailand. Many lowland Thais regard Chiang Mai as being something of a national Shangri-la, thanks to its distinctive festivals, historic temples dating from the 1300s, arresting scenic beauty, temperate fruits and a crisp, invigorating cool season climate.