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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.

Chiang Mai templeThere 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.

This was at a large temple in the centre of the city. If I had my guidebook handy, I could tell you the name.

Wat Doi SuthepDoi 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.

VW busIt's not all about the temples though. By day, this VW van looks innocent enough.

VW party machineBut at night it turns into a party machine! Highballs are $2

Doi Inthanon - monument for kingA little bit farther away is Doi Inthanon, which is Thailand's highest peak, at 8000 feet, or so. There are day tours available, which cover the cost of the entry fee into the park. It's worth it.

Doi Inthanon - helicopter shrineThere 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.

Doi Inthanon - waterfallThere are several waterfalls on the way up Doi Inthanon.

Doi Inthanon - waterfallIt's actualy kind of dangerous - pretty slippery with all that mist.

...more waterfall.

elephantsYou can also arrange to go see elephant farms near Chiang Mai. I imagine there are tours available for this too, but I usually like to arrange for a driver, just so things happen on my own timeline.

elephant taking a bathAlso at the elephant farm...

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.

Lin Hui (on the left) greets Zuang Zuang (he dirty one). There is much speculation in the Thai press about when the two are going to hook up, but, Zuang Zuang seems to be more concerned with eating.

"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.

This page was updated July 30, 2007