The Siam Magazine

Thai Lifestyle and Culture at Its Best.

The North is the uppermost region of Thailand.
It’s filled with destinations bothhistorical and beautiful, replete with mountains and waterfalls. Due to its elevation, its mountains serve as the source of many of the region’s most important rivers.

The Mekhong River first enters Thailand through the North, pouring into the country through the Golden Triangle in the Chiang Saen district of Chiang Rai Province. The northern region as a whole covers an area of 93,690.85 square kilometers, or about 0.06% of the world’s surface. If you compared this to other countries, this would be equivalent to the size of Hungary and slightly smaller than South Korea.

Its borders touch the neighboring countries and regions as follows:
To the west and north lies the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma).
The north and the east is the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The south borders the central area of Thailand (Phitsanulok and Sukhothai) as well as the western area (Tak).

The North is composed of 9 provinces: Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Naan, Phayao, Prae, Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Lamphun, and Uttaradit.

4-2Because of its variegated, mountainous terrain, the region includes many important national parks, including:
The national parks in the Chiang Mai province, includingDoiInthanon, DoiSuthep-Pui, DoiPhaHomPok, DoiWiangPha, PhaDaeng, Mae Tho, Mae Wang, Sri Lanna, Nam Dang, Ob Khan, and Ob Luang;
The national parks in the Lamphun province, including Mae Ping andDoiKhun Tan
The national parks in the Chiang Rai province, including DoiLuang, KhunChae and Lam NamKok;
The national parks in the Lampang province, including Chae Son, Doi Chong, Mae Wa, and ThamPha Thai;
The national parks in the Phayao province, including DoiPhu Nang, Mae Puem, and Phu Sang;
The national parks in the Uttaradit province, including PhuSoi Dao, Nam Nan, and Ton SakYai;
The national parks in the Mae Hong Son province, including Mae Surin, ThamPla – Nam TokPhaSuea, Mae Ngao, and Salawin;
The national parks in the Nan Province, including DoiPhuKha, KhunSathan, Srinan, Mae Chim, Nanthaburi, andThamSagoen;
The national parks in the Phrae province, including WiangKosai, Mae Yom, and DoiPhaGlong.

There are also several important hydroelectric dams:
– The Sirikit Dam of Uttaradit province.
– The Mae NgatSomboon Chon Dam in Chiang Mai province.
– The MaeKuangUdomThara Dam in Chiang Mai province.
– The Kiewlom Dam in Lampang Province.
– The KiewKho Ma Dam in Lampang Province.

The Northern styles of clothing differ according to their ethnic origin, since people of many different ethnic groups each reside in their own unique area of the North.

As for Northern Thai woman they wear an ankle-length sarong, popular with both the young and old. The sarong is both exquisite as it is magnificent, hemmed in beautiful designs. Above the sarong, the women wear a colorful and elegantly designed round collared shirt, with perhaps a broad sash across the chest and their hair in a bun.

4-3The men wear long legged trousers in one of three varieties, either called, “Tieow,” “TieowSa Do”, or “Tieow Ki,” all made from cotton and dyed dark blue or black. Their shirt,a cotton piece with short sleeves, a round neck, and five buttons down front, is called the “Suea Mo Hom,” and is colored like trousers. This style is for work. Alternate versions have a Chinese style collar with long sleeves, a sash around the waist or thrown over the shoulder,and a turban on their head.

Some folk wear this shirt, the “Suea Mo Hom,” the three varieties of trousers and the waistband, and adorn themselves with accessories, usually colored silver or gold.

Northern Thai cuisine includes such delicacies as the areca nut and savory dishes wrapped in areca leaves, created by fermenting the soft parts of the leaves to bring out the sour and astringent flavors, then mixing them with salt or sugar according to taste. Other than the areca leaves, the old-fashioned people of the North like to smoke cigarettes rolled with banana leaves, about an inch in diameter and a handspan in length. The people call this manner of cigarette, khiyo, or burikhiyo. Its popularity perhaps stems from the colder weather in the north, where people like to smoke to warm up their bodies in the cold.

Other than the tourist hotspots already mentioned, the one unique and attractive feature that continues to allure tourists is the personality of the Northern Thai people. This charm can be seen when they speak. Their sweet and melodic dialect of Thai shows a politeness and gentleness of heart, a bounteous generosity and an immediate friendliness. It’s a guarantee, that should you have the opportunity to visit the North of Thailand, you’ll be impressed with all those you meet.

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