The size of Chiang Mai is 40.216 km2 (15.527 sq mi). It is the largest city in northern Thailand and the capital of Chiang Mai Province. It is 700 km (435 mi) north of Bangkok near the highest mountains in the country.
This name literally means “new city” and has retained the name despite celebrating its 700th anniversary in 1996. King Meng Rai the Great founded the city as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom on Thursday, April 12, 1296.
King Meng Rai even conferred with his friends, King Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai and King Ngam Muang of Phayao before choosing the site where the capital of the Lanna Kingdom was to be founded.
Henceforth, this city not only became the capital and cultural core of the Lanna Kingdom, it was also to be the center of Buddhism in northern Thailand.
Air Pollution in Chiang Mai
A continuing environmental issue in this city is the incidence of air pollution that primarily occurs every year towards the end of the dry season between February and April.
In 1996, speaking at the Fourth International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement conference—held in that year—the Governor Virachai Naewboonien invited guest speaker Dr. Jakapan Wongburanawatt, Dean of the Social Science Faculty of Chiang Mai University, to discuss air pollution efforts in the region.
Dr. Wongburanawatt stated that, in 1994, an increasing number of city residents attended hospitals suffering from respiratory problems associated with the city’s air pollution.
During the February–March period, air quality often remains below recommended standards, with fine-particle dust levels reaching twice the standard limits.