The pleasure of “residing” in Chiang Mai, if only for a few days, is the sense of discovery that you feel by just walking out the front door of the 100 year old Main House of the Manathai Village. Tucked away on a small residential Soi, in the very heart of Chiang Mai, where centuries old temples mix with architecture that reflects the passage of time and history. Your Concierge will be happy to help you map out your journey and make some suggestions of what to see and where to go. Below are but a few examples:
Chiang Mai is renowned for it beautiful and historical Temples (Wats) and the Manathai Village has the distinction of being practically surrounded by four different temples including Wat Bu Param, located on Tha Phae Road, Wat Chetawan, noteworthy for its three impressive, heavily articulated chedi; the delightful Wat Saen Fang, featuring a lovely chedi in the Burmese style and a wiharn with richly gilded carvings on the façades and finally Wat Mahawan, which boasts a very beautiful and ornate chedi in the Burmese style topped by a gilded spire. Huge statues of lions adorn the four corners of the enclosure.
Chiang Mai Night Market: Every evening Phae Road and Chang Klan Road, between the east gate and the Menam Ping, are transformed into a huge street market with a multitude of stalls selling food, fabrics and typical local products (mainly from the hill tribes). There are also numerous small, mostly open-air, restaurants creating a truly colorful and festive atmosphere.
Tha Pae Gate: This is one of the main gates to the old city of Chiang Mai, a major landmark. Tha Pae Gate faces east, and is endowed with the astrological faculty of mula or prosperity. It was first called Pratu Chiang Ruak because it was situated near Chiang Ruak village when it was built in the reign of King Mangrai in 1296. This impressive looking Gate is a popular photo-taking spot.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep This famous and important temple dates from 1383. It enjoys a prominent position in Chiang Mai, overlooking the city from its mountainside perch. It sits about 3,520 feet above sea level and is accessible via a steep naga staircase comprising of around 300 steps. The temple has a huge golden chedi (spire), within which lie some holy Buddha relics that attract devotees from the world over. A walk around the grounds reveals a variety of colorful and fragrant flowers and murals that depict Buddha's previous lives.
National Museum: Opened in 1972, Chiang Mai National has many fine sculptures in the Chiang Mai, Dvaravati, Lopburi, U Thong and Sukhothai styles, also terracotta from Haripunchai and the footprint of Buddha with mother-of-pearl intarsia. The upper floor houses a collection of tools and other artifacts used by the hill tribes.
The Chiang Mai Zoo: Houses a botanic garden containing a wealth of exotic plants including orchids. The neighboring zoo, Thailand's largest, is well worth a visit, concentrating on native south Asian animals and rare species of birds and butterflies.
Elephant Monument: In Chang Phuak Road near the city's north (White Elephant) gate, a monument erected by King Saen Muang at the end of the 13th c. commemorates two loyal comrades in arms who saved his life when the elephant carrying him into battle during the war with Ayutthaya was killed. The two were afterwards ennobled. The White Elephant Gate takes its name from the monument.
The Gates: The old walled city is no longer the heart of Chiang Mai t oday; the new town center is situated just to the east, closer to the Menam Ping. Four of the five original city gates - Tha Phae (east), Suan Dok ("Flower Garden", west), Chang Phuak ("White Elephant", north) and San Poong (south-west) - have been rebuilt from designs based on the old models.