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Chiang Mai, the culture capital of Thailand, offers more than just a rich cultural annal of 700 years of history. Offering its five million yearly visitors a glimpse of its distinct and unique culture, Chiang Mai may well be your destination for stunning temples (Wat Prathat Doi Suithep), historical ruins (Wat Chedi Luang), amazing waterfalls and national parks (Phuping Palace and National Park) and animal parks (Chiang Mai Night Safari), and interestingly unique markets (Night Market area).
Like Bangkok, Chiang Mai is a foodie’s haven, with an excellent array of good value restaurants rivaling those in Bangkok, at half the price. Walking the Night Market area will give you a taste of al-fresco or air-conditioned eating venues serving Thai and international cuisines complete with discreet live music. And when it’s time to shop, one can head off to the Night Market, Ban tawai or Borsang for handicraft, silk, antiques, Buddhist art, etc. Chiang Mai has several bars, lively discos, a street full of go go bars, karaoke lounges and a few gay venues for the large gay community who frequents the entertainment venues in the company of local Thai boys.
Chiang Mai’s 300,000 people easily gets around town on foot or by bicycle. Modified pickup trucks (songthaews) and tuk-tuk (3-wheeler, samlor) make up the public transport in Chiang Mai. While there is a limited bus service line, it is easier to navigate the town on a rented scooter.