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North of Thailand
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North
    Covering a total area of some 169,644 square kilometres, the Northern Region of Thailand is mainly mountainous with dense jungles. It is also the sources of several important rivers including the Ping, Wang, Yom and Nan. which converge into the mighty Chao Phraya at Nakhon Sawan. Because of its fertile soil, farming flourishes. The North has been the location of many ancient civilisations and today remains fairly populous.
    TERRITORIAL AREA
    The region borders on two countries, both by mountains and rivers. The northern frontier runs from Tak Province upward to Mae Hong Son. some districts of Chiang Mai and on to Chiang Rai. To the ease. the border touches mainly on Laos demarcated mostly by mountain ranges from Phetchabun upward through Uttaradit. Nan, Phayao and Chiang Rai. Only the sectors passing through Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong districts are marked by the Maekhong River along a stretch of 90 kilometres.
Bordered by Burma and Laos, characterized by forested mountains lower extremities of Himalayan foothills - and fertile river valleys, northern Thailand encompasses part of the fabled Golden Triangle and was the cradle of Thai civilization where, several centuries ago, small independent kingdoms held away.
    In 1238, the aptly named Sukhothai ("Dawn of Happiness") became the first truly independent Thai kingdom where the Thai alphabet was created and nascent art forms developed.
    Diverse elements, including crisp mountain scenery, exotic hill tribes, forests worked by elephants, colourful festivals, invigorating Cool Season weather, ancient cities, exquisite northern Thai and Burmese style temples, and friendly people contribute to northern Thailand's enduring charm.

Chiang MaiChiang Mai, the principal northern city, some 700 kilometers north of Bangkok, was founded in 1296 and is located in a fertile valley some 1,000 feet above sea level. Chiang Mai is famous for beautiful women, historic temples dating from the 1300s, crisp mountain scenery, distinctive festivals and handicrafts, and several formerly itinerant hill tribes of Tibeto-Burman origin.

Chiang RaiChiang Rai, northeast of Chiang Mai, and 785 kilometres from Bangkok, lies in the very heart of the Golden Triangle and is particularly famed for majestic mountains and many highaltitude hilltribe villages. Popular attractions include Chiang Saen, an ancient capital facing Laos across the Mekong River, and the mountaintop Wat Phra That Doi Tung which commands a spectacular view of surrounding mountains, and several Akha hilltribe villages.

SukhothaiSukhothai, 427 kilometres north of Bangkok, is notable for massive sentinel stone Buddha images that preside over ruins within the old city walls. The largest temple, Wat Mahathat, and Wat Si Chum, with its massive seated Buddha measuring some 11 meters from knee to knee, merit special attention.

PhisanulokPhitsanulok, some 60 kilometres south of Sukhothai, is famous as the site of the riverside Wat Phra Si Rattana Maha That which enshrines the venerated Phra Buddha Chinarat, cast in 1357, and commonly regarded as Thailand's most beautiful Buddha image.

Mae Hong SonMae Hong Son, a 35-minute flight northwest of Chiang Mai, is the tiniest and most isolated northern provincial capital, nestling in a valley surrounded by mountains containing several hill tribes and Burmese style temple.

 
     
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