Northern Thailand – A Fine Balance between Traditional and Contemporary

Northern Thailand - A Fine Balance between Traditional and Contemporary

A trip to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without a trip to one of its many ancient temples. We get to experience the ancient Lanna Kingdom and Buddhist cultural in the Northern part of Thailand. Brandon Ann, a travel and social photographer, took a trip to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to capture the culture and history of these beautiful cities.

Chiang Mai – The Culture Rich City

Chiang Mai City is located 700km north west of Bangkok in the mountainous Chiang Mai province of Northern Thailand. The old walled city centre is surrounded by growing urban development. On the other hand, the quieter neighbour of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is a land of outstanding natural beauty, where visitors looking to avoid the hordes can visit remote hill tribes, spot exotic wildlife, and check out the golden triangle, the former center of the world’s opium trade.

Chiang Mai is both a natural and cultural destination. The city houses numerous historical temples and attractions within walking distances of each other. In addition, Mae Sa Elephant Camp is worth a visit because this place will totally change the way you think about Thai elephants – they have been trained to paint, play football, dance and perform a string of talent shows.

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Padung Village introduces you to the ‘Long Neck Karen’ ethnic hill-tribe. The women in this village wear brass rings around their necks, wrists and ankles as part of their culture.

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If you’re a handicraft lover, you must make a stop at Bor Sang Village as this place is well known for its outstanding handicraft quality paper umbrella-making craft.

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Chiang Rai – Relax and Appreciate the Beautiful Sceneries

Chiang Mai is a relatively more modern and vibrant city where trendy bars, restaurants and boutique shops can be easily found in the city. Chiang Rai, which tends to be a little more ‘laid is suitable for tourists who like to explore the pristine natural beauty of the countryside and immerse themselves in the indigenous culture, including those of a variety of different hill tribe communities.

Besides Chiang Rai’s beautiful scenery, there are many fun and interesting things to do and see in the province. Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) has its entire building in white and consists of many mirror glass mosaics which are embedded in cement.


Just an hour and a half drive from Chiang Rai, you get to see a chunk of what it’s like living in a border town between Mae Soi and Myanmar.

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If you like to shop for unique items and street food, the night market in Chiang Rai is a must-visit.

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The locals take both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai as a place to relax after the chaos of Bangkok. The tourists, on the other hand, these are the places to experience different culture, taste fabulous food and leisurely wandering.