Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Thailand Tourism)

Rice field, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Mark Fischer/Flickr)

Mountains, nature photography, Doi Inthanon Chiangmai (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Chiang Mai

It’s a centuries-old city filled with temples, but Chiang Mai has embraced the modern comforts since becoming Thailand’s northern hub for tourists. Travelers can just as easily spend their days touring the city’s 300 Buddhist wats as they can lounging poolside at a boutique hotel. Surrounded by lush greenery, this expat haven is more manageable than chaotic Bangkok but still has its share of backpackers looking to party. At the heart of Chiang Mai is its old city center, a walkable one square mile surrounded by a moat and the home of the city’s famous Night Market. Chiang Mai is an hour’s drive from the popular Elephant Nature Park, where visitors can help with rescued elephants. This is a launching pad for multi-day treks, but be sure to ask your guides in advance if you want to avoid the hard-partying backpacker crowd.

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