[Chiang Mai] Discover Southern Chiang Mai
From south-west to south-east of Chiang Mai, there appear several districts form the southern shore of the city. As the alternating small villages and preserved nature, these districts are the heaven of tranquillity that benefit from the close proximity of a city of nearly one million inhabitants; combining cultural wealth and economic dynamism towards the future.
Located about 20 kilometers south-west of the city of Chiang Mai and south of Mount Suthep, Mae Wang is a grandiose district where nature is honoured. There are indeed many rivers and waterfalls, as well as preserved forests. Mae Wang is a peaceful place for traditional Thailand. There are still a few attractions like hiking, riding elephants, visiting hill tribe villages (Hmong and Karen), or rafting.
Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest peak rising to 2,565 meters, is not located in the same district as Mae Wang. Near the very top, two stupas attract Thai across the country to gather and enjoy the lush of vegetation. Of tourism in the province of Chiang Mai, the summit offers stunning views of the area. Moreover, at this altitude it is better to wear a sweater, especially in December and January.
The small district, Sanpathong, is only 15 kilometers south of Chiang Mai. The district physiognomy is relatively simple since it is composed of small towns and villages, interspersed with some forests. The great advantage of this district is that Sanpathong is very close to Chiang Mai, but also a few kilometers west of Lamphun, an important province of the region.
The major attraction of this district is the market Sanpathong. Open only on Saturday morning, it is deemed to present the best local farmers’ products—such as fruits and vegetables. Better to be there in the early morning because after 11 AM, most merchants have already taken off.
At 20 kilometers south-east of Chiang Mai, Lamphun city; considered as the ancient royal capital for several centuries, is nowadays the capital of the province. Being called an important city to the region with its 150 000 inhabitants, Lamphun is a province where you can find everything you need. The lifestyle is finely adapted to Western standards, that is; banks, supermarkets, restaurants, hospitals, and clinics.
Among the attractions of the city center, there exist a number of temples such as Wat Phrathat Hariphunchai. The province of Lamphun is also known throughout Thailand for the cultivation of cotton, silk, and longan. 30 kilometers south of the city, the beautiful March Ping National Park is recommended by all tour guides.
Mae On district, the east of Chiang Mai and San Kamphaeng, is quiet and peaceful, having no real urban center. The particularity of this district is its famous slopes climbing appointed, suitable for both professionals and beginners. Moreover, Mae On is also the place where the Chiang Mai Highlands Golf and Spa Resort is located, one of the best golf in the region.
Since Mae On, continuing to the east, the road is passing through the mountains and hills of Khun Tan National Park, towards the province of Lampang. The scenery is enchanting, made of waterways and wooded hills tropical trees. Some restaurants and coffee shops are on the way for you to enjoy.
In the immediate extension to the east of the city of Chiang Mai, San Kamphaeng district is known for its many silk factories. Shops and small factories are indeed aligned on both sides of the avenue San Kamphaeng. Besides silk, there are also craft workshops, potters, and manufacturers of the famous colorful umbrellas and parasols Bo Sang.
Another local attraction is the cave of Muang. It can be reached by descending a long staircase that continues inside. Once at the bottom of the cave, we discover huge underground chambers formed over centuries. Natural stalactites resembling stupas were even converted to religious sites by the inhabitants.
San Kamphaeng district has a latest attraction worth visiting. A short distance from the cave, found bathing hot springs. Nestled in a wooded area surrounded by mountains, some baths can reach 100 degrees. To prove it, boiled eggs are even for sale! The water also has curative powers, making it very popular among the Thais.