Chiang Mai is often described as real Thailand, it is also the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand, and is the capital of Chiang Mai Province. It is located 700 km north of Bangkok, among the highest mountains in the country.
Chaing mai is also a great place for trips from trekking to volunteer work to visiting hill tribes.
The Chiang Mai night-life is not as concentrated or outrageous as Bangkok. There are many relaxing bars, several discotheques, live music venues and one street with hostess bars which cater to tourists. It includes a walk-in arcade with a Muay Thai boxing ring near the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel. The city maintains its liberal, laid back attitude with several areas and venues that accommodate the gay and lesbian scene. The Chiang Mai night-life is lively and goes well into the small hours. Bars and late-night restaurants are located all over the city.
At the Galare Centre, there is a free display of Thai cultural dancing and music. There is also a cluster of bars, American franchise fast food and coffee outlets.
Chiang Mai has a large and famous night bazaar for arts, handicrafts, and imported products of all descriptions, and a number of large, well-appointed modern shopping centres. You will also notice that Chiang Mai is a lot cheaper than anywhere else in thailand. The night bazaar alone sprawls along several city blocks along footpaths, inside buildings and temple grounds, and in open squares. A handicraft and food market opens every Sunday afternoon till late on Rachadamnoen Road, the main street in the historical centre, which is closed to motorised traffic. Every Saturday evening a handicraft market is held along Wua Lai road, Chiang Mai's silver street on the south-side of the city beyond Chiang Mai gate, and which is then also closed to motorized traffic. Both Saturday and Sunday events attract many local residents and tourists.