Meaning 'new capital', Chiang Mai has been the cultural and administrative centre of Northern Thailand on and off since 1296. At its heart are the remnants of the medieval moated, walled Old City which was built to defend against Burmese invaders. The modern city of Chiang Mai is surrounded by hills at the base of the slopes of Mt Doi Suthep, home to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a Buddhist compound, and a great spot for panoramic views of the city. The areas surrounding Chiang Mai are rich in natural and cultural attractions; hill tribes, treks, and village temples. Within the city, cookery and massage schools offer 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 on offer in the colourful night markets, bazaars and stalls. The cool climate and lush landscape make Chiang Mai a marked change to the hotter climes of Bangkok and the beach resorts.