Chiang Mai is the most important city in Northern Thailand and the hub for the region. The city dates back to the late 13th Century and was previously the capitol of the Lanna Kingdom before it was occupied by the Burmese, and ultimately integrated into Siam and then modern Thailand.
Chiang Mai is a truly cosmopolitan city with a thriving music and arts scene, a vibrant cafe culture, and great nightlife. A big expat population and a few large universities drive the modernizing of this truly hip city. Travelers use Chiang Mai as a jumping off point for Northern Thailand but most stop for a few days in the city. It’s well worth the time.