Chiang Mai (new city) is the largest city in northern Thailand and the 2nd largest in Thailand after Bangkok with a population of 1.19 million as of 2022. Chiang Mai province has a population close to 2 million.
History of Chiang Mai
The city was founded in 1296 as the new capital of the Lanna Kingdom, which was previously in Chiang Rai. The location on the Ping river contributed to it’s importance and was part of the reason for the move. The city originally located within the four city walls and surrounded by a moat which can be seen today (much of which has been re-built) was attacked and occupied several times over the centuries with the capital moving to Lampang province for a period of time. The influence of various cultures that occupied Chiang Mai can be seen throughout the region, from the cuisine to the architecture.
The city of Chiang Mai now consists of several municipalities, namely Hang Dong to the south, Mae Rim to the north, Suthep in the west and San Kampeang in the east as well as the city center.
In early December 2017, Chiang Mai was awarded the UNESCO title of Creative City. In 2015, Chiang Mai was on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage inscription. Chiang Mai was one of two tourist destinations in Thailand on TripAdvisor‘s 2014 list of “25 Best Destinations in the World”, where it stands at number 24.
Weather in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is generally warm year round, tempered by the low latitude and moderate elevation, with warm to hot weather year-round, though nighttime conditions during the dry season can be cool and much lower than daytime highs. Temperatures can reach over 40 degrees (100+°F) in the hot season which runs from March – May and in the region of 20 degrees (60+°F) in the cool season which is between November – January. The most popular time to visit Chiang Mai is during the cool season which attracts many visitors from Bangkok as well as international visitors to enjoy the cool weather.
Tourism in Chiang Mai
From the beginning, Chiang Mai had the right ingredients for tourism – culture, climate, hotels, people, tours, scenery, power, roads, and services – which offered golden opportunities for extended visitor stays, a desired feature for successful tourism. What the city needed was some assistance in packaging these elements. This is where PATA came in. PATA first became involved in the development of tourism in Chiang Mai in 1968. PATA’s 9th Annual Workshop was held in 1968 and based in Chiang Mai, titled “Creating a New Destination”. The workshop provided an international forum for reviewing Chiang Mai’s tourism prospects while at the same time promoting it as a second Thai tourism destination other than Bangkok. In preparation for the Workshop, PATA sent an 11-member study team to Chiang Mai “to accomplish a study of the many decisions necessary to create a destination area of Chiang Mai, including an evaluation of the existing and natural assets, opportunities for development, community participation, financing, and the marketing of the product.”
Tourism has also brought benefits for the local community of Chiang Mai. For example, tourism has played a tremendous role in promoting arts and crafts market in Chiang Mai. Tourists have increased demand for traditional crafts and art forms that has resulted in the incentives for the local artists to enhance their work thus adding to the prosperity of the sector. Moreover, there are great opportunities for agritourism in Chiang Mai. The factor analysis illustrates three types of agri needs, activities and shopping, facilities, services and location and the last one attractions and environment. Agritoursim is a type of business that a farmer conducts for additional farm income. Farmers, through the promotions of agricultural products, provide enjoyment and educate public about farming and agriculture.