1. Chiang Mai has a longer history than Thailand itself.
Chiang Mai was founded in AD 1296 by Praya Mung Rai to be the Capital of Lanna Kingdom. The location was picked with the sense of rich fertile land for doing agriculture where one side is connected to the mountains and the other side is connected to the Ping river. Lanna, meaning the land of millions of rice field, was later conquer by Thon Buri Kingdom, a newly form kingdom, which will then become Thailand. Today, our historical culture is more than 700 years old while Chiang Mai is a province in Thailand but we have our own language, writing, culture, food and life style so visiting Chiang Mai will definitely give you a different experience then any other parts of Thailand.
2. Our moat that surround the old city was suppose to be a square with each length at 1.63 km.
While the moat isn’t a perfect square it did came close with each side having the length between 1.62 – 1.67 km. The moat is now built with modern bricks but in it’s original form was build with dirt that was dug to create the cannel surrounding the moat and enclosed with bricks. When Chiang Mai was built, the moat was created to protect us from any kind of invasion from our neighbour Kingdoms. Now, the moat have been rebuild multiple times so while it isn’t in its original form it have been rebuilt to a much more modern form and still a beautiful sight to visit. It also tells the story of our past with constant war and invasions from the Thai Kingdom and Burmese Kingdom at that time.
3. The Lantern festival was just created a few years ago.
The lantern festival is celebrated during Loy Krathong or what we call Yee Peng Festival where we thank the goddess of water for bringing water to our crops and fields. Releasing lanterns was original meant to be where we would release all our bad karma or bad luck with the lantern and let it fly far away. Other than releasing lanterns we would also light up traditional candles surrounding our houses and decorate it in a traditional way. Traditional, we would release only a few lanterns to celebrate the Yee Peng festival. However, becoming a lantern festival just started recently where thousands of lanterns would be released at the same time combine with the full moon night light in the sky creating a magnificent sight not to be missed.
4. Chiang Mai is the best place to celebrate the Songkran Festival, period.
The Songkran festival is celebrate through out Thailand and originally was when we celebrate Thai’s new year. Traditionally we would show respect to our elder by pouring a little of water above their hands but in recent time it have grown to a full body splashing festival. What make Songkran so special in Chiang Mai is that, we have our own unique culture and our city layout is just so perfect for Songkran. We are historical richer in our tradition with the way we celebrate this holiday (since we are many hundred years older than Thai-Bangkok). You’ll find all the temples and local people displaying our tradition with decorations, clothing and culture which can not be found in any other places in Thailand. Another import feature that makes Chiang Mai a great place to celebrate Songkran is the Moat. The Moat is Chiang Mai’s old city squared shape wall surrounded with water so what we do during Songkran is walk around the Moat and use water from the cannel surround the Moat to splash water at each other with each splash we also greet “Sawadee Pee Mai” or Happy New Year.
5. Chiang Mai is fulled with stunning temples.
In the old city alone where the Moat surround us with only 1.63 square km., we have more than 30 temples. If you are wondering why there are so many, mainly is because in the old days we believe that build a temple in front of our houses would bring us good deed, a peaceful life and a display of wealth. With that believe, many of our ancestors build temples in front of their houses and once they are built, it’s permanent. Doing anything with it will only cause you bad karma so thats one of the reason we have so many temples. Fast forward, our temples are a stunning view in Chiang Mai and part of what make us a destination you can’t missed.