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Vacation in Chiang Mai
North of Thailand, is the mountainous city of Chiang Mai. This city is famous for its culture, festivals and rugged terrain. Chiang Mai have wonderful world class holiday resorts and entertainment. That is why tourist arrivals to Chiang Mai keep increasing every year.

Chiang Mai is also famous for its teak wood. Thus you can see beautiful teak wood furniture with exotic intricate designs. The locals use elephants to transport teak wood lumbers and arising from this culture, elephants are made into tourist attractions.

If you are a tourist vacationing in Chiang Mai, you must try hand-feeding hungry elephants. This is an unnerving experience. At the first whiff of a banana, the elephants leathery trunk shoots out and suck the banana out of your hand. If you are unprepared at how fast the elephant can move, you will be in a daze.

Elephants also entertain tourists with elephant jungle rides into a world belonging to ethnic hill tribes. These semi-nomadic tribes live in bamboo huts that are without electricity or running water. You must take an elephant ride into the hill tribe villages to really see and experience the tribal culture of Chiang Mai that has hardly changed in many centuries.

It is estimated that some half a million hill tribe villagers live in the mountainous regions of Thailand's far north. These are the poorest region in Thailand. For centuries, these tribal folks crisscrossed the borders between Laos, Myanmar, China and Tibet without any border boundaries.

Most of these chao khao (mountain people) have no nationality, and instead live according to traditional tribal law, with their own language, costumes, customs and animalistic religious beliefs.

Although you can strike out alone in search of the hill tribes, armed with a map and a phrase book, the local authorities cautioned against it. Sporadic clashes between the Thai army and drug runners from Myanmar's vast opium poppy fields are common enough independent trekking an unwise risk to take. Trekking with a native guide who can speak the tribal language and understands its customs is safer. After all, the guide can also give you a running commentary just like a tour guide.

In the city itself, Chiang Mai itself is a vibrant city. It is tranquil unlike Bangkok. Tens of thousands of people, Thais and tourists alike flock to Chiang Mai during the water festival of Songkran every April. The festival is celebrated most vigorously in this region of Thailand. During this period, tourists are advised to book their hotels and accomodations months in advance.

Night entertainment is also a tourist attraction with fabulous restaurants serving all kinds of delicious food. Bars, pubs and dance clubs pepper the city. That is why the night life is so vibrant.
About the Author
The author of this article is Chris Chew. To read more of his articles visit his blog: Asia Travel Best.
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Submitted by: chris.chew
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Comments
Jan 12th 2007, by allthai:
Many mistakes in this article.

Chiang Mai is famous for its craftpersons not teakwood. Elephants do not transport teakwood as logging was outlawed 20 years ago.

The mountain region of north Thailand is not the poorest in the Kingdom as eastern and deep southern Thailand are much poorer.
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