Thailand Cities IndigoGuide Thailand

Thailand's Cities Pui and Chiang Rai

Chiang Mai in the north is smaller and more atmospheric than Bangkok. It is popular with travellers and there is quite a good backpacker scene. It is well positioned to be a good jumping off point to explore the rest of the north and many tourists begin their travels round north Thailand at Chiang Mai. Being smaller than Bangkok, it is lot easier to get around on foot or by bicycle to see Chiang Mai's many wats and monuments. It is possible to organise treks from Chiang Mai to see North Thailand's famous hill tribes although it is preferable to do it from smaller towns or villages which are nearer to the hill villages. Chiang Mai is a good place to do cookery, yoga or massage courses.

Pai (pronounced 'bye'), in the mountains, is popular with travellers. People go to chill out, visit the hot springs and waterfalls and enjoy the scenery. There is a small, Muslim, Chinese population amongst the Thais and several long term farang. There a few bars, some with live music. Another interesting town for tourists to visit is the nearby Mae Hong Son. It is possible to go rafting and trekking from here. Another tourist attraction is the long neck village nearby with refugees where the women wear metal coils around their necks which make them look unnaturally long.

Chiang Rai in the north of Thailand is good base from which to visit the villages around the border with Myanmar and the Golden Triangle. It is possible to cross the border to visit Myanmar. The Golden Triangle is the area around the border with Thailand, Laos and Myanmar where opium smugglers would jump across the border to escape from the police. Opium growing in these hills has been cracked down on now by Thai law enforcement.