Chiang Mai’s higher altitude generates a cooler and less humid climate than is common throughout the rest of Thailand. The Thanon Thongchai range of mountains is on the west side of the city. Doi Suthep is one of the peaks in the range and the location of the famed Phra That Doi Suthep Temple.
The Ping River flows south through Chiang Mai on its journey from Chiang Dao to a confluence at Nakhon Sawan where it merges with the Nan River to form the River of Kings, the Chao Phraya. A cruise on the Ping and a meal at one of the ambient restaurants dotted along its banks are popular Chiang Mai activities.
Nawarat Bridge is the main city bridge. Chiang Mai Railway Station is east from the bridge and Thapae Gate is one kilometre away in the opposite direction. This landmark gate is one of four built into the Old City Walls soon after King Mengrai shifted the capital of the Lanna Kingdom from Chiang Rai 700 years ago. Chiang Mai actually translates from the olden Lanna language as New City.
Sections of the city walls still remain and are located on the inside of the defensive moat which runs around the Old City district. Guesthouses, cafés, restaurants and small bars abound here and are within a few minutes on foot of ancient pagodas and beautiful temples. A Chiang Mai Old City tour is another great activity to enjoy.
The city is the capital of Chiang Mai Province. The far north of the province abuts the border with Myanmar. To the west is Mae Hong Son Province and to the east is Chiang Rai Province. Chiang Mai shares borders with the provinces of Tak, Lamphun and Lampang to the south.