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+ Chiang Mai
In The Know
Did You Know?
'This country…if not the promised land, is yet one which grows dearer to the heart the more one knows it, and makes the stranger feel that…he could not find a land of greater charm and sympathy.'
REGINALD LE MAY, (on Northern Thailand) An Asian Arcady (1926)
Northern Thailand has a different atmosphere to the rest of the kingdom. This is because the region did not come under the full control of Bangkok until the first decade of the 20th century. For several hundred years it existed as an independent state called Lan Na, or the 'Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields'. The traditions and language of the north developed independently from those of central Thailand. Its people even used to dress differently; the women wearing their hair long in contrast to the cropped locks of their Siamese counterparts, the men covering their bodies with intricate tattoos to ward off sickness and injury.Diversions for visitors, too, are very different, from whitewater rafting to trekking on foot or elephant, while the cities, especially Chiang Mai, have perhaps the nation's loveliest temples. This land of forested mountains and lush valleys is populated by sophisticated Buddhist lowlanders and a wide range of hill tribes.