Chiang Mai is the capitol of northern Thailand, which is to say that it is the biggest city in the north, and forms a central hub for travellers. There's a lot to do, and everything seems to cost about half of what it does in Bangkok.
There are plenty of temples to visit in Chiang Mai. There are also many older temples like this located right in the middle of the city. You can walk around and visit most of them, but there are also tours available.
Doi Suthep ("Doi" means mountain in Northern Thai language) is a small mountain right next to the city. You can drive up it and visit a temple, Wat Doi Suthep, and take in some great views of the countryside.
But at night it turns into a party machine! Highballs are $2
There are some easy hiking trails at the top of Doi Inthanon, and our group came across this shrine, built around a helicopter engine. The story is that an air force helicopter crashed, and so they built the shrine to respect the dead. Instead of the normal offerings of food, there were a lot of cigarettes. I asked about it and the guide said "I think that soldiers like to smoke". Fair enough. There were also cute little plastic toy helicopters incorporated into the shrine.
The Chiang Mai Zoo is, quite boring, except for the two pandas they have on loan from China. It costs extra to see the pandas (more than it cost to get into the actual zoo), but it is worth it since pandas are pretty rare.
"Is that you, 3PO?", I asked as I passed by this store. You see this sort of thing all over Thailand. Mayb e metalworkers have a little too much free time on their hands nowadays? As I recall, Boba Fett was vastly overpriced.