living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai – a VERY BRIEF History


1. In 1296, King Mengrai founded Chiang Mai (new city), as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom.

(2009-1296) nine take away six is three, zero take away nine is …)

Holy Cow, the city is 713 years old!!

I’m very surprised, because I don’t think it looks a day over 680, 695 tops.

2. King Mengrai had his people construct a wide moat and high wall, approximately a mile square, to protect his city.

Well, guess what? It didn’t work, because the city was frequently overrun and occupied by either the Burmese, or the Thais from their capital, Ayutthaya.

3. In 1774, Chiang Mai formally become part of Siam, and rose in economic and cultural terms to become the most important city in the North, and second only to the new capital city, Bangkok.

4. In 1949, Siam became known as it is today, the Kingdom of Thailand.

Is there any sign of the Lanna Kingdom remaining in Chiang Mai?

– The people of Chiang Mai are very much Thai, and speak Thai; but many also speak Kham Muang, also known as Northern Thai or Lanna.

– Northern Thailand has a unique style of food, quite different than other regions in Thailand.

– There’s also a beautiful style of architecture and furnishings, known as ‘Lanna’.

– Chiang Mai is a relatively small city, but it has over 300 wats (Buddhist temples), many dating back to the reign of King Mengrai.

– The moat and the gates to the city are the most significant landmark in Chiang Mai; and at night when the gates and the fountains are beautifully lit up, I’m sure King Mengrai would have been very proud of his city.

photo: the ‘Three Kings Monument’ is in the heart of Chiang Mai: (King Mengrai of Lanna, King Ramkamhaeng of Sukhothai, and King Ngammuang of Phayao).


May 5, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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