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Located in attractive countryside about five kilometres south of Chiang Mai along the Ping River, Wiang Kum Kam is an ancient city dating back to the eighth-century Haripunchai Kingdom.
Taking a horse-drawn carriage is a popular way to enjoy the ruins although some visitors prefer to take their time to appreciate this large site on foot or by rented bicycle.
The centrepiece at Wiang Kum Kam is Wat Chedi Liam (or Temple with an Angular-based Chedi).
Widely depicted in postcards, the temple features a Burmese-style pavilion (restored in 1908 by a Burmese trader) and a five-tiered chedi set on a square base – the signature style of the early Lanna period.
Each corner of the chedi is guarded by an outward-facing lion, an architectural feature that is unique to the Haripunchai style (today’s Lamphun).
Other important structures include Wat Chang Kham, containing the spirit house of King Mengrai (founder of the Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai kingdoms) and the Cultural and Local Wisdom Learning Centre which exhibits Lanna objects and traditional Lanna-style houses.
It’s a good idea to drop by Wiang Kum Kam Information Centre, where excavated earthenware pottery and artifacts are displayed in the exhibit rooms.
The Golden Island and the Second Rome Grado, the "Golden Island", stands in a picturesque lagoon amidst a maize of small islands.
It is worth to visit mostly during food and wine events.
Discover then, the natural beauty spot with two nature reserves.
Venetian charm Grado, joined to the mainland by a narrow strip of land, has a graceful Venetian style historic town centre where you can wander through the alleyways and squares flanked by picturesquely cluttered fishermen's houses: a charming world of its own where time seems to have stopped.
In the wonderful setting of "Campo dei Patriarchi" in the "old city" you can admire the early Christian buildings such as the Basilica dedicated to Santa Eufemia, from which top stands the statue of the Angel San Michele (called "Anzolo" and symbol of the city), the Baptistery and the Lapidarium.
Moreover, there, you can visit the Basilica dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie, the oldest of Grado.