Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son
When visiting Northern Thailand, you get the impression that you are in another world as this region seems to have a unique, charismatic flavour all of its own. For an adventurous outdoor experience head to the town of Chiang Mai which is 700 kilometres (440 miles) north of Bangkok. A trip to the lively Night Bazaar for handicrafts is an absolute must as are the many temples that abound. You should also be able to witness some of the superb local craft of umbrella making in the region.
If you decide to travel a further 180 kilometres (110 miles) to the extreme north, you could easily explore the sheer beauty of Chiang Rai as well as the legendary Golden Triangle, an area of uncertain frontiers, steeped with suggestions of illicit smuggling.
Nevertheless, it is here that you can explore the natural beauty of the lush forested mountains as you trek through this region. You could take a ride on an elephant, visit ancient archaeological sites or join the many colourful celebrations that take place all year round in northern Thailand.
Mae Hong Son
Another enchanting excursion opportunity in the north of Thailand is to explore Mae Hong Son This misty mountain retreat is situated north-west of Chiang Mai and very close to the Burmese border. The whole area becomes surrounded by lush forested jungle. Though this sleepy little town is way off the beaten track, it’s becoming more popular as tourism facilities are surprisingly well developed here.
Northern Thailand – Hill Tribes
The Hill Tribe People of these regions have their language, customs, dress and spiritual beliefs which you can see in the various crafts that they produce. An estimated 500,000 tribespeople from several groups, including the Karen, Meo, Lahu, Lisu, Lawa, Yao, Akha, and Thaton live in the jungle-covered mountain slopes in these northern territories of Thailand.