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Chiang Mai then slowly grew in cultural, trading, and economic importance to its current status as the unofficial capital of Northern Thailand, second in importance only to Bangkok. The modern municipality dates to a sanitary district sukhaphiban that was created in It was upgraded to a municipality thesaban on 29 March , as published in the Royal Gazette , Book No. First covering just Chiang Mai was one of two tourist destinations in Thailand on TripAdvisor 's list of "25 Best Destinations in the World", where it stands at number Chiang Mai represents the prime diamond on the crown of Thailand, the crown cannot be sparkle and beauteous without the diamond Below it are clouds representing the moderate climate in the mountains of northern Thailand.

The maximum temperature ever recorded was A continuing environmental issue in Chiang Mai is the incidence of air pollution that primarily occurs every year towards the end of the dry season between February and April. Wongburanawatt stated that, in , an increasing number of city residents attended hospitals suffering from respiratory problems associated with the city's air pollution.

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During the February—March period, air quality in Chiang Mai often remains below recommended standards, with fine-particle dust levels reaching twice the standard limits. According to the Bangkok Post , corporations in the agricultural sector, not farmers, are the biggest contributors to smoke pollution. The main source of the fires is forested area being cleared to make room for new crops. The new crops to be planted after the smoke clears are not rice and vegetables to feed locals. A single crop is responsible: corn. A chart of Thailand's growth in world corn markets can be overlaid on a chart of the number of fires.

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It is no longer acceptable to scapegoat hill tribes and slash-and-burn agriculture for the severe health and economic damage caused by this annual pollution. The end is not in sight, as the number of fires has increased every year for a decade, and data shows more pollution in late-February than in late-February The northern centre of the Meteorological Department has reported that low-pressure areas from China trap forest fire smoke in the mountains along the Thai- Myanmar border.

To address the increasing amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector in Chiang Mai, the city government has advocated the use of non-motorised transport NMT. In addition to its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the NMT initiative addresses other issues such as traffic congestion, air quality, income generation for the poor, and the long-term viability of the tourism industry.

Chiang Mai has over Buddhist temples " wat " in Thai. The Administration of Chiang Mai Municipality is responsible for an area that covers approximately According to Municipal Act B. The mayor, or the highest executive, is directly elected by the eligible voters in the municipal area. The mayor serves a four-year term and is assisted by no more than four deputy mayors appointed directly by the mayor.

The mayor will thus be permitted to appoint deputies, secretaries and advisors including the mayor himself or herself totally no more than The current Mayor is Tussanai Burabupakorn, as of June The Municipal Council is the legislative body of the municipality.

It has the power to issue ordinances by laws that do not contradict with the laws of the country. The municipal council applies to all people living in the municipal area. The Chiang Mai City Municipal Council is composed of 24 elected members from 4 municipal districts who each serves a 4-year term. The script used to write this language, called the Tai Tham alphabet , is studied only by scholars, and the language is commonly written with the standard Thai alphabet. It is an elaborate dinner or lunch offered by a host to guests at various ceremonies or parties, such as weddings, housewarmings, celebrations, novice ordinations, or funerals.

Khao Soi is usually presented in a simple bowl, with fresh lime wedge, shallots, and pickled cabbage. Chiang Mai University was the first government university established outside of Bangkok. Payap University was the first private institution in Thailand to be granted university status. A number of bus stations link the city to central, southeast, and northern Thailand.

The Chiang Mai Arcade bus terminal northeast of the city centre which can be reached with a songthaew or tuk-tuk ride provides services to over 20 other destinations in Thailand including Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, and Phuket. The state railway operates 10 trains a day to Chiang Mai Station from Bangkok. Most journeys run overnight and take approximately 12—15 hours.

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Most trains offer first-class private cabins and second-class seats fold out to make sleeping berths service. Chiang Mai is the northern terminus of the Thai railway system. Chiang Mai International Airport receives up to 28 flights a day from Bangkok flight time about 1 hour 10 minutes and also serves as a local hub for services to other northern cities such as Chiang Rai , Phrae , and Mae Hong Son.

International services also connect Chiang Mai with other regional centers, including cities in other Asian countries. The locally preferred form of transport is personal motorbike and, increasingly, private car. Local public transport is via tuk-tuk , songthaew , bus, [53] or rickshaw.

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New electric tuks-tuks were introduced into the city in June As population density continues to grow, greater pressure is placed upon the city's transportation system. During peak hours, the road traffic is often badly congested. The city officials as well as researchers and experts have been trying to find feasible solutions to tackle the city's traffic problems.

Most of them agree that factors such as lack of public transport, increasing number of motor vehicles, inefficient land use plan and urban sprawl, have led to these problems. If the draft is approved by the Thai cabinet, the construction could begin in and be completed by Chiang Mai was the second city in Thailand, after Phuket and along with Khon Kaen, [58] to be developed using the "smart city" model.

The model aims to capture and populate multiple levels of information including building, social, environmental, governmental, and economic data from sources like sensors, real-time traffic information, and social forums for access by managers, governments, and citizens using mobile apps, tablets, and dashboards. The role of private sector investment, together with public sector partnership, is key to promote digital entrepreneurship. Prosoft Comtech, a Thai software company, has spent million baht to build its own "Oon IT Valley" [62] on a 90 rai plot of land as a community for tech start-ups, Internet of Things technology, software programmers and business process outsourcing services.

It is aimed to both increase the size of Chiang Mai's digital workforce, as well as attract foreign digital talent to Chiang Mai. In January , it was announced that Chiang Mai would be launching "Mobike In", a bike-sharing app that would see the introduction of some smart bikes on the streets. The smart bikes would be available for use for both locals and tourists. It is reported that as a start, the bikes would be placed at convenient locations including the Three Kings monument, Tha Pae Gate and Suan Buak Haad Park, as well as in the old town.

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The "Mobike In" project is sponsored by Advanced Info Service Thailand's largest mobile phone operator , in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand Chiang Mai Office , together with local universities, public and private sectors. The project aims to promote non-motorised transportation and support eco-tourism. Speaking at the launch at the Lanna Folklife Museum, Deputy Governor Puttipong Sirimart stated that the introduction of such "smart transportation" was a positive move in Chiang Mai's transformation into a "Smart City" part of the "Thailand 4.

Phongsak Ariyajitphaisal, DEPA's Chiang Mai branch manager, stated that one of the areas its smart city initiative would be promoting was "smart agriculture". Eighty percent of Chiang Mai Province's population are farmers, mostly small-scale, and increasing productivity through use of ICT has the potential to improve the local economy and living standards. DEPA has also provided funding to Chiang Mai's Maejo University , to develop wireless sensor systems for better farmland irrigation techniques, to reduce use of water sprinklers and increase productivity. The university is also developing agricultural drones that can spray fertilizers and pesticides on crops which, if successful, will result in lower costs.

The drones may also detect and monitor fires and smoke pollution. Under the IBM "Smarter Cities Challenge", IBM experts recommended smarter food initiatives focused on creating agricultural data for farmers, including price modelling, farmer-focused weather forecasting tools, an e-portal to help farmers align crop production with demand, as well as branding of Chiang Mai produce. Longer-term recommendations included implementing traceability, enabling the tracking of produce from farm to consumer, smarter irrigation as well as flood control and early warning systems.

As part of the smart city project supported by IBM, Chiang Mai is also looking to use technology to boost its presence as a medical tourism hub. The IBM team focused on smarter healthcare initiatives, aimed at making Chiang Mai and the University Medical Clinic a medical hub, [66] as well as improving efficiency of hospitals for improved service delivery.

For example, healthcare providers could use real-time location tracking of patients and hospital assets to increase efficiency and build an internationally recognised service identity. Electronic medical record technology can also be adopted to standardise information exchanges to link all medical service providers, even including traditional medicine and spas. As the largest city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai already receives some long stay healthcare visitors, largely Japanese.

Its main advantage over Bangkok is lower costs of living. Quality services at low prices are a major selling point in mainstream healthcare, dental and ophthalmologic care as well as Thai traditional medicine. Its local university is also developing specializations in robotic surgery and geriatric medicine to accommodate a future aging population.

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DEPA also reported that it has developed a mobile app that uses augmented reality technology to showcase various historical attractions in Chiang Mai, in line with the government's policy to promote Chiang Mai as a world heritage city. Out of these, 35 percent were foreign tourists. The number of tourists has increased with an average rate of The major reasons that have made Chiang Mai a tourist attraction are its topography, climate, and cultural history. The influx of tourists has put a strain on the city's natural resources. Faced with rampant unplanned development, air and water pollution, waste management problems, and traffic congestion, the city has launched a non-motorised transport NMT system.

The climate compatible development strategy has gained support from policy-makers and citizens alike as a result of its many benefits. For example, tourism has played a tremendous role in promoting arts and crafts market in Chiang Mai. Tourists have increased demand for traditional crafts and art forms that has resulted in the incentives for the local artists to enhance their work thus adding to the prosperity of the sector.

The factor analysis illustrates three types of agri needs, activities and shopping, facilities, services and location and the last one attractions and environment.

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Agritoursim is a type of business that a farmer conducts for additional farm income. Farmers, through the promotions of agricultural products, provide enjoyment and educate public about farming and agriculture. Chiang Mai has agreements with the following sister cities : [79]. The main entrance is guarded by Singhs lions.

The road runs east from the temple, via Tapae Gate, to the Ping River. The temple houses an important Buddha statue: the Phra Buddha Sihing which gives the temple its name. The origins of this statue are unknown but, according to legend, it was based on the lion of Shakya , a statue since lost which used to be housed in the Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya India.

It is alleged that the head of the statue had been stolen in The possibility remains that the present statue or maybe only the head is a copy. Every year, during the Songkran festival, the statue is taken from wihan Lai Kham and carried through the streets of Chiang Mai in a religious procession during which the spectators honour the statue by sprinkling water over it. Construction on Wat Phra Singh began in when King Phayu, [2] : — the fifth king of the Mangrai dynasty, had a chedi built to house the ashes of his father King Kham Fu.

A wihan and several other buildings were added a few years later and the resulting complex was named Wat Lichiang Phra. When, in , the statue of Phra Buddha Singh was brought to the temple, the temple complex received its present name.

During restoration works in , three funerary urns were discovered inside a small chedi. It was assumed that these contained royal ashes. The urns have since been lost. From to the Burmese ruled Lanna and in this period the temple was abandoned and came under serious disrepair.