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North Northern Thailand Travel & Tourism

  • The Thailand Government defines North [ Northern ] Thailand as consisting of both [ 1 ] the 84,000 square kilometre comprising 8 provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae and Mae Hong Son, which area originally comprised the Lan Na principalities detailed in the North Thailand History link [ the Upper North ], and [ 2 ] the 86,000 square kilometres of the Lower North, comprising the provinces of Kamphaeng Phet, Tak, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit Phitsanulok and Phetchabun, which area originally comprised the Kingdoms of Sukhothai and later the northern parts of the Kingdom of  Ayutthaya, Thon Buri and Bangkok Empires.
The Differences Between The Upper North [ Northern ] Thailand And The Lower North [ Northern ] Thailand

  • One discernable difference between the Upper and Lower North [ Northern ] Thailand is topography. Upper North [ Northern ] Thailand is characterised by long valleys generally running north south. The climate has three seasons, hot [ April to May ] cool and rain [ July to September ]. Approximately 72% of the area is mountainous, 21% upland and 8% lowland.
  • The lowland is cultivated by the Tai people to produce wet rice. The agricultural practices of the hill tribes [ highlanders ] are dictated by their topography. The ethnic spread is reflected accordingly, and so to the variations in art and architecture and other tourist attractions.
  • Four major tributaries of the great Chao Phraya River start in four valleys of Upper North Thailand. Exploring these valleys is important. Chiang Mai and Lamphun are built on the Ping River, Lampang is on the Wang River, Phrae is on the Yom River and Nan is on the Nan River. The histories of these Valleys are of successive invasions of different empires, different cultures, merging ethnic groups, isolation and wars.
  • Lower North Thailand has 45% of its total land mass less than 150 metres above sea level and is thus similar to Thailand's Central region. However the two mountain extensions of the Upper North, [ 1 ] Thanon Thang Chai Range to the west and, [ 2 ] Petchabun Range to the east attract an extension of swidden hill tribe communities as in the Upper North, all part of the exodus from China of these ethnic minorities over the past hundreds of years.
  • The geographic differences in topography need to be appreciated as the ethnic, sociological and cultural differences are essentially between lowlanders and highlanders [ Hilltribes ]. These classifications and detailed explanations are discussed in North Thailand People .
  • There are any number of interests to satisfy, the natural landscape, religious temples, community architecture, military fortifications, ethnic diversity, artistic objects such as jewellery and artifacts, not forgetting eating adventures, riverside restaurants and night time entertainment. Of the 42 major sites linked we have included 13 historical cities, 7 river valleys and 5 National Parks or other places of natural interest.
  • The largerest concentration of tourist places to see in Northern Thailand are located in or around the City of Chiang Mai.