Chiang Mai is the hub of Northern Thailand. With a population of over 170,000 in the city , it is Thailand's fifth-largest city. Located on a plain at an elevation of 316 m, surrounded by mountains and lush countryside, it is much greener and quieter than the capital, and has a cosmopolitan air and a significant expat population, factors which have led many from Bangkok to settle permanently in this "Rose of the North".Founded in 1296 CE, Chiang Mai is a culturally and historically interesting city, at one time the capital of the ancient Lanna kingdom. Located among the rolling foothills of the Himalayan Mountains 700 km north of Bangkok, it could only be reached by an arduous river journey or an elephant trek until the 1920s. This isolation helped keep Chiang Mai's distinctive charm intact.
Chiangmai Cultural facts
Chiang Mai Province has a population of some 1,600,000 of whom 172,000 live in Chiang Mai city. 80% of the people are locals by birth and speak kam muang, which is a language close to standard Thai but which has its own distinctive script, some different vocabulary and tones. The other 20% is made up of southern Thais, Chinese, Indians and an increasing number of farang (foreigners).
Lanna was over-run by Burma in 1558 and they were not finally driven out until 1775. The legacy of those sad years is still to be seen in some architecture and customs. For twenty years after the withdrawal of the Burmese the city of Chiang Mai was deserted and much of the rest of Lanna depopulated.
Gradually the new ruler of Chiang Mai, Kavila, took control. He brought in Thai tribes from the north, Ngieo, Khoen, Thai Yai, Thai Lu, Yuan and Lao to till the land and populate the towns. It is this mix of people who are today proud to call themselves khon muang.
Inthanon Royal Project
The Doi Inthanon Royal Project is located on the main Doi Inthanon mountain road in the Hmong village of Khun Klang. It was established in 1979 as part of His Majesty's Royal Project Foundation. It is one of many re-education projects conceived to familiarize the hilltribe people with new agricultural techniques. The research station carries out work on developing marketable crops, ranging from fruit trees to flowering plants, to help the surrounding hill tribe villages, composed chiefly of Hmong and Karen tribes. There are many greenhouses where flowering plants such as lilies, roses and many others are grown. There are also greenhouses for ferns and cacti.
This is me (on the left) with my P6 friend =)