Northern Thailand

Northern Thailand is where the country’s earliest civilization began, and so it contains a wealth of cultural and archeological sites. The area is known for its array of cultural traditions, and the people of northern Thailand are famous for their hospitality. Tourists from all across Thailand come together at Sukhothai and Chiang Mai for the Loi Krathong and Songkran festivals.

The area is divided into two regions-the low plains of Nakhon Sawan to to Sikhothai and the mountains bordering Laos and Myanmar. The scenery of these mountain ranges is incredible; Rivers and waterfalls make for great adventure activites such as rafting, and the hills are also home to many indigenous people.

The weather in the north varies from hot (March to May) to wet (June to November) to cool (December to February). Though it is important to note that the higher the altitude, the colder the temperatures, particularly during the cool season.

Thailand’s northernmost city states were gradually incorporated into the Lanna kingdom concentrated in Chiang Mai as the Thai nation originated. The first capitol was Sukhothai and was heavily influenced by the architecture and cuisine of the Lanna states of Loas and Myanmar.

As the nation grew, the nomadic hill people remained mostly unaffected, moving back and forth across frontiers. The six main tribal groups- Karen, Akha, Lahu, Hmong, Lisu and Mien-hold a distinct place in Thailand’s history and continued growth. They have mostly settled in villages along the mountainsides, and draw significant interests from tourists looking to experience Thailand’s rural culture.

Oversees visitors looking to visit these ethnic tribes generally begin in Chiang Mai, the northern capital. A number of adventure activities and shopping opportunities are also available. Head north to Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son for rafting, trekking, and guided tours of tribal villages. Another essential stop is the Historical Park at Sukhothai, located just south of Chiang Mai. This destination provides a bevy of information regarding Thai history and culture.

20 Provinces of Northern Thailand: