A collection of articles, stories, thoughts and opinions on Chiang Mai, Lanna and Thai culture.

By | Thu 12 Mar 2020

Chiang Mai culture, like romance to Paris, spirituality to Lhasa and legend to Cairo, oozes from every pore.

Chiang Mai sits at a crossroads for many important trade routes and for a millennium has been a market town and resting spot for vibrant and diverse traders passing through. As the capital of the Lanna Kingdom for over seven centuries, Chiang Mai has also developed a very distinctive culture of its own embedded in everyday social life, as well as its many wonderful traditions and ceremonies still celebrated and practiced today.

The people of Chiang Mai are Lanna people who speak Kham Mueang, a distinctive language still widely used in the north of Thailand. Surrounding the city are also vast mountainous areas populated by dozens of ethnic tribes, each with its own distinctive culture, language and traditions.

It is this complex mix of peoples, living in harmony, which contributes to making Chiang Mai a city of fascinating cultural heritage.

The seven-century one square mile moated city contains 38 temples, most of which are still centres of the local community. The bustling markets which sit next to the main city gates are where hill tribes and locals meet up daily and trade. Shops and stalls overflow with handicrafts and unique cultural produce. A few times a year, notably Songkran and Yi Peng, the city becomes a showcase of our deep cultural heritage as we celebrate the Thai New Year or the lunar festival.

Chiang Mai’s culture is distinctive, unique and something locals hold very dear and with great pride.