Exploring the Northwest Heartland



Exploring the Northwest Heartland

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The Northwest Heartland is a geographically spectacular region. Towering mountains, many with densely forested slopes, stretch to the Myanmar (Burma) border and contrast with the gentler scenery of the Ping and Taeng River valleys. Trekking in this beautiful landscape, with its wealth of wildlife and fascinating hill-tribe villages, is a major activity in the Northwest Heartland. Cultural attractions are also plentiful, including the ancient temples of Chiang Mai, Lamphun, and Lampang, and the unmissable Wat Phra That Lampang Luang.

Sights at a Glance

Mae Hong Son
Namtok Mae Surin National Park
Tham Pla
Mae Aw
Doi Chiang Dao
Mae Taeng Valley
Doi Suthep pp226–7
Chiang Mai pp228–31
Doi Saket
Bo Sang
San Kamphaeng
Doi Inthanon National Park
Ping River Valley
Mae Sariang
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang
Thai Elephant Conservation Center

Getting Around

The highways around Chiang Mai are well maintained, and most other roads in this area are reasonable. Lampang and Mae Hong Son have domestic airports, and there is an international airport at Chiang Mai, the main transportation hub. Many trains and buses run each day between Chiang Mai and Bangkok (11–13 hours by train, via Uttaradit and Lampang; about 10 hours by bus). Frequent local bus services link most towns and villages in the region. Isolated sights are best reached by song thaew, and guided treks and organized tours are a good way of seeing larger areas.

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