Chiang Mai Special Interest Travel

Here are some links to information pages for those looking for specific travel information on things other than the run-of-the-mill sights of Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is a natural base camp for trekking and other adventurous activities. You can book over-night treks through many agents when in Chiang Mai, and there many other 'softer' options available as well.
Gay / Lesbian
Chiang Mai is generally a very relaxed place, and that extends to its gay scene. There are a number of gay-owned businesses in the town, and at times Chiang Mai comes closest to having a "community" atmosphere, although it lacks a well-defined center. Unfortunately, Chiang Mai is the only city in Thailand with a big gay population but no pride event.
Health & Fitness
In recent years, "medical tourism" has become the new buzzword for the development of Thailand's tourism industry. What this means is encouraging people to come to Thailand, have a little elective surgery, and then recuperate on some nice beach. The idea is not as crazy as it may sound. Some of Thailand's private hospitals are capable of world class healthcare, accredited according some of the toughest standards around. While they might be expensive for many Thais, these hospitals are still able to offer a high standard of care for far less than a hospital stay in most western countries will cost.
For a city with so many public spaces and monuments, Chiang Mai is rather short on parks, as are most Thai cities. Still, it does have a few nice parks worth mentioning.
Shopping sometimes seems to be Chiang Mai's reason for being. It is after all the primary night-time activity. You'll find shops selling local handicrafts - silk, cotton, woodcarving, saa paper, silver, etc. - all over town, but the real scene can be found in two areas.