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Northern Thailand/Thailand

Introducing Northern Thailand

The first true Thai kingdoms arose in northern Thailand, endowing this region with a rich cultural heritage. Whether at the sleepy town of Lamphun or the famed ruins of Sukhothai, the ancient origins of Thai art and culture can still be seen. A distinct Thai culture thrives in northern Thailand. The northerners are very proud of their local customs, considering their ways to be part of Thailand’s ‘original’ tradition. Look for symbols displayed by northern Thais to express cultural solidarity: kàlae (carved wooden ‘X’ motifs) on house gables and the ubiquitous sêua mâw hâwm (indigo-dyed rice-farmer’s shirt). The north is also the home of Thailand’s hill tribes, each with their own unique way of life. The region’s diverse mix of ethnic groups range from Karen and Shan to Akha and Yunnanese.

The scenic beauty of the north has been fairly well preserved and has more natural forest cover than any other region in Thailand. It is threaded with majestic rivers, dotted with waterfalls, and breathtaking mountains frame almost every view.

Enjoy one of the most beautiful Lanna temples in Lampang Province. Explore the impressive trekking opportunities and the quiet Mekong river towns of Chiang Rai Province. The exciting hairpin bends and stunning scenery of Mae Hong Son Province make it a popular choice for trekking, river and motorcycle trips. Home to many Burmese refugees, Mae Sot in Tak Province is a fascinating frontier town. Less visited areas like Um Phang are becoming well known for more remote treks, and provinces like Nan and Phrae are worth the extra hike for the unusual temples and some of the best mountain scenery in the north.