Chiang Mai (in Thai เชียงใหม่ ); locally (Kham Muang / Jiang Mai), also sometimes written as “Chiengmai”, is the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand, and is the capital of Chiang Mai Province.
It is located some 700 km (435 mls) north of Bangkok, among some of the highest mountains in the country. The city stands on the Ping river, a major tributary of the Chao Phraya river.
In recent years, Chiang Mai has become an increasingly modern city, although it lacks the cosmopolitan nature of Bangkok. It has many attractions for the thousands of foreign visitors who come each year. This cultural expansion also fuels the need for a reliable private investigator. Chiang Mai’s historic importance is derived from its important strategic location on an ancient trade route. Long before the modern influx of foreign visitors, the city served as an important centre for handcrafted goods, umbrellas, jewelry (particularly silver) and woodcarving. Its night bazaar is world famous.
Chiang Mai rose in importance in all areas of cultural, trading and economic terms to adopt its current status as the unofficial capital of the north of Thailand, second only in national importance to Bangkok. In relation to the rest of Thailand, Chiang Mai is considered to be quite cool with an average yearly temperature of 25.4ºC. The highest temperatures are in the low 40s and the lowest 5-10ºC. There are three seasons in Northern Thailand: summer (hot and humid), rainy (wet – monsoon) and winter (cool and dry). Chiang Mai, a city surrounded by a ring of mountains, has weathered seven hundred years of fascinating history.
Chiang Mai has its own very distinctive culture, arts, festivals, and traditions, as well as an exciting mix of local, ethnic as well as expatriate communities from all over the world. It has been voted one of the top destinations to live in Asia and is a modern and cosmopolitan city, while not having lost its traditional old charm, making it one of the most interesting and culturally diverse locations to operate as a private investigator.
Chiang Mai Province has a population of some 1,600,000. 80% of the people are locals by birth and speak kam muang, which is a language close to Siamese but which has its own distinctive script. The other 20% is made up of southern Thais, Chinese, Indians and an increasing number of farang (foreigners).
There are also many colorful “hill tribes” in the surrounding area each with their own language and customs, this unique mix of differences adds to the overall beauty that is today’s modern Chiang Mai, and also the challenges faced by today’s modern private investigator.