If you're looking for a part of Thailand which takes the best from the varying cultures which have left their imprint on the country, you should choose a package holiday or all-inclusive holiday to Chiang Mai from The Co-operative Travel.
Frequently nominated as one of the world's top holiday destinations, Chiang Mai earns these accolades due to its blend of history, cooler weather and a laid-back style which makes you feel as though everyone has time for you.
Ruled over by the Burmese for more than 200 years, when Thai King Taksin recaptured the city he encircled its inner core with a brick wall to ensure that they did not return. When the railway arrived in 1921, Thai people began to discover Chiang Mai for themselves - and it has held a special place in their hearts ever since.
Top attractions in Chiang Mai include the zoo, with its colonies of fur seals, Humboldt penguins and gibbons, as well as an enchanting children's area. Other natural attractions close at hand include an orchid nursery and butterfly sanctuary in the Mae Sa Valley.
Animal lovers may want to try a spot of elephant trekking on a trip to Chiang Mai. Take the opportunity to admire these intelligent creatures up close and indulge yourself with a once in a lifetime experience. Many firms now offer guided trips into the magical hills around Chiang Mai which have proved extremely popular with tourists.
There are plenty of activities and sightseeing opportunities in the city such as the Tribal Museum on the northern outskirts with its collections of jewellery, agricultural tools and musical instruments, or the Wat Jet Yot temple, built in the mid-15th century as a venue for the World Buddhist Council in 1477. In fact you'll never be short of a temple to visit as the city boasts over 300.
Even if you've never experienced Thai food before embarking on your Chiang Mai holiday, you'll find something to your taste, Fragrant and often quite spicy, it nevertheless offers good variety. Try Tom Yam, a spicy soup which can be made of chicken, beef, pork or shrimp, which makes a great light snack.
Popular evening eating destinations are the handful of riverside restaurants where you can sample a selection of Thai curries and accompaniments to a background of live music.
Karaoke bars can also be found if you think a Chiang Mai holiday is the time and place to release your inner rock god, or for late-night eating you can't beat a green curry chicken at the Viking Bar.
The inhabitants of Chiang Mai like to enjoy themselves, but their enjoyment reflects the laid-back nature of the rest of their lives. So the town does have a handful of discos, cinemas, bowling alleys and the like, but the quieter restaurants tend to be more of a draw.
If a Thailand holiday in its most authentic form has always appealed to you, then take advantage of a last minute holiday or late deal which we often have available at The Co-operative Travel. You could experience this fabulous holiday destination for far less than you expect!