Dates back to 1296. It was founded by King Mengrai who united several tribes and named the new land as Lanna Kingdom. In 1259, he governed from the throne and built Chiangrai as his capital in 1262. In 1291, he decided to build a new city as the capital of Lanna Kingdom. He invited King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of Sukhothai Kingdom, and King NgamNuang of Phayao Kingdom, both were his close friends, to help select a site for the new city.
They decided to build the new city on a fertile plain between Doi Suthep Mountain and the bank of the Ping river. The new city was completed, surrounded by a moat and wall, in 1296. It was named Nopphaburi Si Nakhonping. Chiang Mai was the capital of Lanna Kingdom for a long time. It was attacked frequently and finally came under the control of Ayuthaya, then Burma. In 1774, Taksin the Great King of Thailand recovered it from the Burmese. Since then Chiang Mai province has been a part of Thailand.
It became important as a cultural and religious centre for hundreds of years. The next phase of it’s history starts from the 16th to 18th century and was dominated by Burmese invasion and occupation. Finally it ended with the recapture by a noble from Lampang (Chao Kawila) and King Taksin from Bangkok. From then on, it once again flourished with the resumption of trade with Burma and China and also the logging industry. The 20th century saw increasing links with Bangkok but it wasn’t until the 1930’s that Chiang Mai was fully incorporated into the Thai kingdom (before then it had been ruled by local noble families).
A major attraction of Chiang Mai is Doi Inthanon National Park which is home to the mountain Doi Inthanon which stands 2,575 meters (8,448 feet) above sea level and is Thailand’s highest mountain. Rivers like Mae Klang, Mae Pawn, Mae Ya, and Mae khar originates from this very place. The mountains forested slopes include evergreen Pine and deciduous Teak.
The climate up there is more like that of Northern Europe frost and fog are natural occurrences all the year round. Chiang Mai is so rich with cultural heritage and is well known for the center of Asian handicrafts such as wooden furniture, silverware, Thai silk, and woodcrafts. Many tourists come to visit beautiful temples, shop at Night Bazaar and enjoy a lot of activities such as, home stay, Mountain Trip, Trekking, Elephant Riding and Bamboo Rafting in the river.