Looking for Thailand’s most incredible natural wonders? You’ll find many of them in northern Thailand. Here’s a region that’s rich in beautiful landscapes, and has waterfalls, jungles, mountains and nature reserves aplenty. It’s a playground for the outdoor pursuits enthusiast – a place for trekking, rafting, climbing and meeting the indigenous hill tribes.
The largest city in northern Thailand – and the fifth largest city in Thailand – is Chiang Mai. A land of misty mountains, Chiang Mai balances the traditional and the contemporary. It’s a city where the air is cleaner, the roads quieter and the buildings much lower than in Bangkok. As well as being a tourist attraction packed with temples and street markets, Chiang Mai has a modern side that’s bursting with artisan cafes, trendy shops and original art galleries. And, thanks to its affordable rents, laidback atmosphere and mild climate throughout the year, it has become a haven for expats. Despite its rural setting, Chiang Mai has several family-friendly neighbourhoods, international schools, hospitals, shopping malls and European restaurants.
The north offers opportunities to hike in the Salawin National Park, raft your way to the Nam Tok Thilawsu waterfall, spend time with wildlife in the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, and visit the ruins of temples in Sukhothai. Once the sun sets, you’ll find the most vibrant party scene in the far-northern city of Pai.