T H A I L A N D
Chiang Mai, the largest and quite possibly the liveliest city in the north of Thailand, is home to seemingly countless wats (over 300, actually, according to Lonely Planet), hill tribe (or ethnic minority) culture--both nearby, accessible via treks and tours, and even just in town--and of course plenty of high-quality and reasonably-priced souvenirs.
To quote from Lonely Planet:
"Founded in 1296, Chiang Mai was at one time part of the independent lanna Thai (Million Thai Rice-Fields) kingdom, much given to warring with kingdoms in Burma and Laos, as well as Sukhothai to the south. You can still see the moat that encircled the city at that time, but the remaining fragments of the city wall are mainly reconstructions... Despite tourism, which is the city's number-one source of revenue, Chiang Mai is one of the least expensive large cities in Thailand..."
Which makes it a great, affordable place to soak up some culture, both past (architecture, ruins) and present. It also makes for a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
As with some of the other pages at this site, no descriptive text accompanies these nine shots below--although we'll tell you here that most are actually from the very impressive Wat Chedi Luang.
Instead, just put your cursor on top of any picture, and read a bit about it there...
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