Days 1 to 2
If you feel you know Thailand from visiting its coastal resorts or Bangkok, you couldn't be more mistaken.
Northern Thailand feels like a different country again, a land of unspoilt mountains and lush forests. Where the first true Thai kingdoms arose, Northern Thailand is also steeped in ancient culture and art – both of which are plentiful in its natural capital, Chiang Mai (meaning 'new city’) – although it’s
actually over 700 years old.
Today it’s a bustling metropolis mixing
traditional wooden houses with boutique hotels, stylish restaurants and sleek
lounge bars. Its backstreets lined with Buddhist temples (over 300 in all) and
striking golden monuments still conjure up the great Thai dynasties though,
especially the original square surrounded by a moat, sections of fortified
wall and restored entrance gates.
Based at the sublime Four Seasons Chiang Mai you’ll
find plenty to do here, from shopping in the Night Market to
learning to cook Thai cuisine in one of the many cookery schools.
the perfect base to trek to remote mountain villages, experience life with
elephants or enjoy adventures such as white-water rafting or rock-climbing, and the temple on Doi Suithep mountain and the 13th-century ruins of Wiang Kum Kham are also easy day trips.