If you wish to decompress a bit from the big city noise, towering highrises and fumes of Bangkok, spend a few days in Chiang Mai. CM is a lovely mid sized city, with a deep Wat history and many beautiful city and forest Wats, as well as nice city center hotels and outlying high end resorts and spas. The Tha Phae Gate area (old city center) and nearby Loi Kroh markets at night are active with world tourists, and if you want to just relax and mingle with farang for a while, watch football on the big screen and sit outside cafe style and watch people go by, the ex pat fav "John's Place" near the Tha Phae gate is great. Many Thais have told me that they go to CM to get away from BKK on weekend visits. Chiang Mai is also a starting point if you wish to venture north to the nearby elephant camps and other activities found in the flora and fauna of beautiful northern Thailand.
This description is just a snapshot and my brief comments here do not do Chiang Mai and the region justice.
This video was produced by a Christian school in Thailand and you'll get some hymn singing at the end of the package (not often found on DhammaWheel
), but it's a nice videotour of the area, with a quick shot of a local Wat at :40 :
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