With rugged hills, forests, rushing rivers, characterful towns and colourful hilltribes villages, nothern Thailand is distinctly different from the south. Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest city, is noted for its history, culture, antique temples and unique traditional handicrafts. Chiang Rai is an important centre for adventure tours into remote regions, including the Golden Triangle, bordering Myanmar (Burma) and Laos, along the Makong River.
Thailand northern region comprises 17 Changwats(provinces); they are : Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phare, Sukhothai, Tak, Uthai Thani and Uttaradit. It occupies an approximate area of 170,000 square kilometers or the equivalent of 106 millions rai, bordering on the territories of Loas and Myanmar.
The north is the home of Thailand's earliest civilization and is famouse for its beautiful woman, and hospitable and courteous people, as well as many sites of archaeological and cultural interest such as the Ancient City of Sukhothai, the first capital of Thailand some 700 years ago; Buddha's Relics at Wat Doi Suthep of Chiang Mai, a highly revered place for northerners; Phra Buddha Chinarat, said to be the most beautiful buddha image in Thailand, at Wat Phra Si Ratana-Mahathat in Phisanulok. The largest dam in Thailand, and the world's seventh largest, the Bhumibol Dam in Tak.
In addition, the northern region is the home to Thailand's many colorful hill tribal people such as the Lahu of Tak and the Yoa, Akha, Karen, Hmong, and Lisu tribes of the Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai mountain regions.
The North is also noted for its rich cultural traditions and many tourists from the surrounding providinces flock to Chiang Mai for the annual Songkran Festival, and to Sukhothai for Loi Krathong.
The North is accessible by the good network of highways in the region itself and inter regional highways. Trains run from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and there are flights operated by the Thai Airways International Ltd - from Bangkok to Phisanulok, Phrae, Nan, Lampang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Tak, Mae Sot and Mae Hong Son.