Phayao Panorama, North Thailand (click to view in full)
Historians attribute the establishment of the Lanna Kingdom as a contiguous political region to King Mangrai who founded Chiang Rai in 1262 and Chiang Mai in 1296. The Lanna Kingdom's history is as abundant and varied as the rich green forest that forms the area's wealth. Journey in any direction outside the towns to witness the outstanding beauty of the land.
Incorporation into the Siamese state did not occur until 1892, and in 1932 Chiang Mai was made a province of Siam. The priorities and politics of northern Thailand have always been separate from those in Bangkok. Lawlessness persisted on the northernmost mountains until road building projects in the 1970's and 1980's, contested by force, pushed into fiefdoms that were de facto commanded by local warlords. There is certainly something wild about northern Thailand. The dense forest, the ranging mountains, the fertile valleys, the fast rivers, provide for an independent life.