Chiang Mai, which means "new town" was founded by King Mengrai in 1296 and took over from Chiang Rai Lanna Kingdom's capital. The king built a moat and wall around the city for a shield against the Burmese looting. Lanna kingdom weakened gradually and the city lost its importance and were often occupied by Myanmar and the stronger Ayutthayanska kingdom in the south. In the period after the fall of the city was so depopulated that the remaining residents packed up and moved to Lampang. Chiang Mai was completely abandoned for 15 years between 1776-1791.
Today, Chiang Mai has a population of 700,000 and over 300 Buddhist temples. Phrabat Wat Doi Suthep is the most famous and was built in the 1383rd Wat Chiang is the oldest, with its long history.
Chiang Mai is also famous for its celebration of Thai festivals, Loy Kratong (usually in November), Songkran (mid April), and a three-day Flower Festival special for Chiang Mai is celebrated in February.