Popularly known as the Rose of the North, Chiang Mai is blessed with stunning natural beauty and unique indigenous cultural identity. Founded by King Mengrai the Great as the capital of the Lanna Thai kingdom by merging the various city-states in the region in 1296. Today Chiang Mai is the economic, communications, cultural and tourism centre of Northern Thailand.
About 700 kilometres north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is situated on the Mae Ping River basin some 310 metres above sea level. Surrounded by high mountain ranges, it covers an area of approximately 20,107 square kilometres.
The terrain is mainly jungles and mountains, parts of which are within national parks which are fertile and verdant with plentiful flora and fauna.
The weather is hot and humid. Sometimes big rain clouds move in across the hazy sky, poised to soak everyone in a massive refreshing downpour.
Chiang Mai International Airport is the major international airport for the north of Thailand. It is currently the third busiest airport of Thailand. Located less than 10 minutes (4 kms southwest of downtown Chiang Mai) by taxi from the city center,
Chiang Mai International Airport is the major gateway to the north of Thailand. Around 10 airlines operate services with more than 2,000,000 passengers, 15,000 flights and 16,000 metric tons of cargo are handled. It is open in the evening until 01:00 to cater for night departures. On January 24, 2011, the airport became a secondary hub for Thai AirAsia.