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Thailand

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Chiang Mai (Part 3)
(Part 1)

The Thais call it "The Rose of the North". For most tourists it is the second city in Thailand as far as popularity is concerned. For most Thais (and also for many expats) it is the place where they want to retire. A fact is that Chiang Mai is a beautiful city, and much more quiet than Bangkok. Judge for yourself if this is your next destination, or maybe the place where you want to retire!

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Trips from Chiang Mai 

The trip you certainly should make, is a trip to Doi Suthep . However, this site has a separate page about Doi Suthep. So this "compulsory" trip to Doi Suthep is not included in this page. Another interesting trip that is not included here, is a trip to one of the handicraft centers around Chiang Mai. Any taxi- or tuk-tuk driver will be more than happy to take you there, because he gets a commission for bringing you there.  Below I  suggest trips to Chiang Mai Zoo and to Lamphun.

Chiang Mai Zoo

Overview over Chiang Mai Zoo Lake in Chiang Mai Zoo

Chiang Mai has an extensive zoo, worth a visit. Take at least half a day (if possible a whole day) for this relaxing trip. For transport within the zoo you can best buy a ticket for the train-style bus. You can jump on and off as often as you want, just for the basic fee.  This train-bus brings you to all the parts of the zoo grounds.

As you can see from the two pictures above, Chiang Mai Zoo is located on a large, beautifully located, compound. I believe that walking around this large zoo can hardly be done.  

Pandas in Chiang Mai Zoo Panda in Chiang Mai Zoo

The main attraction of Chiang Mai Zoo, with a separate entrance fee, higher than  the fee for the whole zoo,  are the giant pandas, on loan from China for ten years. They live in a very comfortable house, which is far more accurately air conditioned than your hotel room, and where you are only allowed to speak in a low voice and where flash photography is strictly prohibited.  Believe me, you will be removed if you break these rules.  many keepers are present to see if you visit the place without violating these  rules!

Gibbon in Chiang Mai ZooHeron in Chiang Mai Zoo

The zoo further has numerous animals. Just as an example I show you a gibbon (as you could know: in my opinion the most beautiful creature walking on this earth) and one of the many birds. For the birders among you: they have a large aviary, with a great collection of birds. But you will find many more animals, including orangutans, elephants and many others in this extensive zoo.  There has been a lot of negative publicity about the Chiang Mai Night Safari, which seems to be part of the zoo. I have not seen it, because it had not yet opened, but on the basis of the negative publicity I would probably not go there.



Lamphun

Canal in Lamphun Wat Phrathat  Haripunchai

Lamphun is a very interesting place to visit and you can reach it by bus from Chiang Mai within an hour.  I would not advise to stay there, but a day trip is very worthwhile. On the left hand side picture you can see that it also has a center, surrounded by water, like Chiang Mai.

The right hand side picture shows the interior of the main Temple in Lamphun (Wat Phrathat Huripunchai), located on a square in the center of the small town of Lamphun. The buildings on the Temple grounds are interesting, some of them decorated with some fine Buddhist artwork.

Hippo in Chiang Mai zoo Hippo in Chiang Mai zoo

When in Lamphun, don't forget to visit  Wat Phra Yuen, which means something like Temple with the standing Buddha. On the four sides of the building you will see a standing Buddha. You might be interested in our experience in finding this Temple, elsewhere on this site. The left hand side picture shows most of this antique Temple, whereas the right hand side picture shows you a glimpse one of the four standing Buddha images.


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