Chiang Mai in northern Thailand has been voted the best city in Asia to visit and the second best in the world.
Readers of Travel And Leisure website chose the Thai city for its local culture, food, shopping and landmarks as well as the friendliness of the people and overall value for money.
Chiang Mai scored 91.25 out of 100 – top for cities in Asia – and second in the world, behind only Charleston, South Carolina, which scored 91.66.
Bangkok was voted fifth best city in Asia and fourteenth in the world in the same poll of readers in the magazine’s World’s Best Awards 2016.
They said that Chiang Mai had previously been overlooked by tourists seeking beaches.
‘Readers looking for a bit more peace and quiet (and the conveniences that come with being in a city) have started to favor Chiang Mai, with its miniature downtown of funky fusion restaurants, urban hotels, historic temples, and massive markets.
‘The region’s famous rice paddies are a mere 30-minute drive from the city. Some of the best hotels are situated in these paddies, including a Four Seasons and the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi.’
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said it was good to see Chiang Mai receiving international acclaim.
He added: ”The lovely weather and charming culture of the ancient Lanna capital make Chiang Mai a wonderful retreat the whole year round, and as it’s a culinary and arts centre, there’s always something to enjoy in the city as well as adventures in the surrounding hills.”
Chiang Mai is also proving popular with ‘digital nomads’ – people who use the Internet to make a living while travelling – and was named one of the best cities in the world on the Nomad List.
It’s definitely a city worth visiting… and on my list of places to go.
2. Luang Prabang, Laos
3. Kyoto, Japan
4. Siem Reap, Cambodia
7. Ubud, Indonesia No.
8. Udaipur, India No.
9. Tokyo No.
10 Lhasa, China