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Chiang Mai

Meaning 'new capital', Chiang Mai has been the cultural and administrative centre of northern Thailand on and off since 1296. At its heart are remnants of the medieval moated walled Old City, which was built to defend against Burmese invaders.

Surrounded by hills, the modern city of Chiang Mai lies at the base of the slopes of Mount Doi Suthep, which is home to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: a sacred Buddhist site brimming with gilded stupas, rich jewel colours and intricate shrines. Climb the stairs here among beautifully-dressed local children from the nearby traditional hill tribe villages to be met by this magnificent temple complex and arguably the best panoramic views.

The rural areas encircling Chiang Mai offer many natural and cultural attractions; ranging from trekking through hilltribe villages, seeing village temples and beautiful sweeping hills, with rice paddies and tropical vegetation. Aside from these, the biggest draw of all is the handful of ethical elephant sanctuaries to be found here. Visit Patara Elephant Farm in Hang Dong City to interact with these gentle giants and embrace the chance to feed and wash them, which is sure to be a highlight of your trip. We also recommend travellers with an adventurous spirit to go bamboo rafting in Mae Wang National Park.

Within the city, cookery and massage schools can easily be enjoyed, giving you a different insight into Thai culture. Chiang Mai is also renowned as Northern Thailand's shopping capital with a wide range of crafts and textiles for sale in the buzzy night markets, bazaars and stalls. We recommend keeping an eye out for delicate silverware, leather goods and antiques, too.

The cool climate and lush landscape make Chiang Mai a marked change to the hotter climes of Bangkok and the beach resorts, so this location makes for an ideal addition to a bespoke itinerary in Thailand – especially if you are after a relaxed pace.

Features in the following itineraries

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Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had dealings with. Everything – from the individual care and attention in helping to plan the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round.
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India

From our Instagram

As you travel through #Cambodia’s countryside you’re bound to come across some friendly faces like these! 🧡
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If you’d like to go off the beaten track in this wonderful country and meet some lovely locals along the way, then please get in touch!
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Set on a secluded island in the #MerguiArchipelago, this eco resort makes for the perfect tropical escape
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If you’re also tempted by these shots of the aquamarine #AndamanSea, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to start planning your trip!
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'Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever' 🙏
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Today, 2nd October 2019, marks 150 years of celebrating Mahatma Gandhi's birthday. The celebration of Gandhi Jayanti is observed in India as a national holiday, where ceremonies and tributes are conducted across the nation.
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If you would like to celebrate this special time of year in India, do get in touch and let us help you plan a trip for 2020. 🇮🇳
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🇮🇳Reminiscent of a French village, with its bright Mediterranean architecture and flower-laden balconies, it’s no surprise that #Pondicherry (or #Pondi) is nicknamed the ‘Indian Côte d’Azur’ 🇫🇷
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Today marks #InternationalTigerDay & we couldn’t be happier that #India’s wild tiger population now touches almost 3,000! 🐅🐅🐅
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If you’d like to catch glimpses of these magnificent creatures during a tailor-made tour with us, then please get in touch!
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Our Africa Specialist captured these memorable moments during their recent stay at @matetsivictoriafalls 🦓🐘
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A beautifully designed Safari Lodge set in a vast private reserve along the Zambezi River banks. The perfect stay close to Victoria Falls, post or pre African Safari ✨
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To see more, check out our 'on location' highlight to follow our journey!
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🇨🇳 Drift down the #LijiangRiver while touring #China with us to find yourself surrounded by towering karst mountains, mirror-still waterways and sunsets like this 🌅
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✨Beautiful Udaipur✨
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A pleasure palace built in the 1700s, the location for Octopussy and many a love story, @tajlakepalace is so magical, you can’t quite believe your eyes
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Welcome to the gateway to #Asia! #Singapore is the perfect stop over destination 🇸🇬
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A colourful city packed full of contrast and a variety of ethnic districts ready to be explored!
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#LittleIndia, originally a division of colonial Singapore. Today a vibrant district with a mix of Hindu and Chinese Temples and The House of Tan Teng Niah - one of the last surviving Chinese villas in the Indian enclave
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If you'd like a taste of #India and #Singapore on your way to #Asia, get in touch to start planning your multicultural trip!
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