(The Historic Capital of Lanna)
Chiang Mai, rose of the North, is located in a board fertile basin of Ping river, about 700 km north of Bangkok. Regarding as the principal city of the northern region, Chiang Mai consists of distinctive culture and various ethnic groups along with beautiful scenery of natural environment. Nowadays, Chiang Mai is the commercial, educational, and travel center. Among the modern civilization, there are still numerous remaining of its long and glorious culture. Moreover the hospitality of people, old local traditions and belief and a hundred of monuments are very unique.
Chiang Mai is an old city with a proud history. It was founded by King Mengrai who united several tribes and named the new land as Lanna Kingdom. In 1259, he governed the throne and built Chiang Rai as his capital in 1262. In 1291, he decided to build a new city as the capital of Lanna Kingdom. He invited King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of Sukhothai Kingdom, and King Ngam Nuang of Phayao Kingdom; both were his close friends, to help select a site for the new city.
They decided to build the new city on a fertile plain between Doi Suthep Mountain and the bank of the Ping River. The new city was completed, surrounded by a moat and wall, in 1296. It was named Nopphaburi Si Nakhonping Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai was the capital of Lanna Kingdom for a long time. It was attacked frequently and finally came under the control of Ayutthaya, then Burma. In 1774, King Taksin the Great of Thailand recovered it from the Burmese. Since then Chiang Mai province has been a part of Thailand.
Chiang Mai has been regarded as a heritage of the north for seven centuries. It is still flourished with the traditional charm and cultural presentation even many decades past. The natural beauty will be waiting for you at the moment.
(River Floating Lanterns) Festival
One of the most beautiful and popular festivals in Thailand is Loy Krathong. This takes place annually on the full moon in November (twelfth lunar month) when the weather is fine as the rainy season is over and there is a high water level all over the country. During the evening, many people will go down to their local klong (canal) or river to float their krathongs. They believe this will bring them good luck. The krathongs contain a flower, a candle and three incense sticks which are lighted before being placed on the water. The people usually make a wish at the same time. Some people believe that if the candle remains burning until the krathong is out of sight then their wish will come true. By the end of the evening, there are hundreds of flickering lights bobbing up and down on the water. Quite often there are also firework displays as well as shows and beauty contests for everyone. Overall it is really a memorable evening.
The Thai tradition of Loy Krathong started off in Sukhothai, but is now celebrated throughout Thailand, with the festivities in Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya being particularly well known.
Legends and myths abound as to the origins of Loy (floating) Krathong. In the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai some 700 years ago in the royal court there was a lady with great artistic skills named Naang Noparmart. She loved to make little lotus-shaped "Krathong" (pronounced gra-tong) with banana leaves and float them on the water with a candle, incense, and other decorations as homage to the Buddha. Even this legend mentions that the local people already celebrated a lantern festival by floating decorated lanterns on the river. When the king came to judge the best lanterns, he awarded Naang Noparmart the first prize. He further decreed that once a year, on the night of the full moon, a Buddhist holiday should be celebrated by floating lotus-shaped banana leaf boats.
Another Loy Krathong tradition is setting off fireworks, and children especially delight in this aspect of the festival. While they seem to enjoy the noise and light more than anything else, the fireworks do have an important role in many Thai celebrations, and are lit in the same spirit as candles.