The province of Chiang Rai Thailand, lies in the heart of the fabled Golden Triangle, the area where the borders of Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and Laos converge. It is located at the Northern most tip of Thailand. The quieter neighbor of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is a land of outstanding natural beauty, where visitors looking to avoid the hordes can visit remote hill tribes, spot exotic wildlife, and check out the golden triangle, the former center of the world’s opium trade.
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Today, Chiang Rai Thailand is a traveler’s paradise, endowed with abundant natural attractions and antiquities. Attractions range from ruins of ancient settlements and Buddhist shrines to magnificent mountain scenery and hill tribe villages. For those interested in the natural side of Chiang Rai, jungle trekking is a magical experience; explore the mountains of the north along various hiking trails, many of which access the villages of diverse hill tribes groups, many of whom maintain their traditional lifestyles.
Chiang Rai town, which tends to be a little more ‘laid back’ than its more popular neighbor, now competes with Chiang Mai as a tourist attraction and is fast becoming a popular escape for tourists wanting to leave their troubles behind.
Chiang Rai, the former capital of the great Lanna Kingdom, is a fascinating province filled with cultural and natural wonders, including the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos, and Burma come together; an area that was once the hub of opium production, a trade that had much influence on cultural practices and lifestyles. Chiang Rai had stayed off the tourist radar for many years, its people enjoying very leisurely development and mostly traditional, rural lifestyles. Until this day, entire clans live together in bamboo houses and each village has its own individual character.
Recently tourism has boomed in Chiang Rai, where visitors have come to explore the pristine natural beauty of the countryside and immerse themselves in the indigenous culture, including those of a variety of different hill tribe communities. Fortunately for tourists, Chiang Rai is also a center for community development projects, helping rural villagers develop their attractions without adversely affecting their natural and cultural assets.
The average elevation of the province is 580 m. The north of the province belongs to the so-called Golden Triangle, at which the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge – an area which was very unsafe because of the drug smuggling across the borders. The Mekong river forms the boundary with Laos, the Mae Sai and Ruak River to Myanmar. Through the town of Chiang Rai itself flows the Kok River.
While the eastern part of the province is relatively flat river plains, the western part consists of the mountainous terrain of the Hills of Northern Thailand.
While not the highest elevation of the province, the 1389 m high is the most important hill. The Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple on top of the hill according to the chronicles dates back to the year 911. Nearby is the Doi Tung royal villa, former residence of the Late Princess mother (mother of the present king) Somdej Phra Srinagarindra. Thanks to her activities the hills were reforested, and the hill tribes changed from growing poppy to other crops.
Chiang Rai Thailand Video
View all our articles on Chiang Rai below
- Top Hotels in Chiang Rai - Top Hotels in Chiang Rai (with video’s of each hotel) Here’s our helpful list of the Top Hotels in Chiang Mai. If your coming to the heart of the fabled Golden Triangle area for a few days then experience the best it has to offer you. Theres a discount of up to 75% for booking [...]
- Getting to & around Chiang Rai - Getting to & around Chiang Rai Options in Chiang Rai, Thailand Although a fairly remote province, Chiang Rai is fairly well connected to the rest of Thailand and can be reached via private car, public bus, or airplane. However, it is also possible to take a train or plane to nearby Chiang Mai and then [...]
- Chiang Rai Shopping & Nightlife - Chiang Rai Shopping & Nightlife Its not something that you go to Chiang Rai for, drinking, nightlife and shopping, but there’s still options for both albeit much more laid back than its bigger brother Chiang Mai. Chiang Rai Nightlife The provincial town has a few live music pubs and discotheques. Aimed at foreign tourists, there [...]
- Chiang Rai City & Temples Tour - Chiang Rai City & Temples Tour Half Day Tour (08:30-12:00 OR 13:00-16:30) See Chiang Rai City by “samlor”, a comfortable, three wheeled, human powered tricycle, then visit the world-famous Wat Phra Kaew where the Emerald Buddha image was once enshrined. Described as the city’s “most adored temple.” As legend has it, in 1434 a lightning [...]
- Chiang Rai Golden Triangle Tour - Chiang Rai Golden Triangle tour via boat Operates 08:30 – 16:00 Daily Itinerary : Chiang Rai Golden Triangle tour via boat Depart from your hotel in the morning to Mae Sai border (The Northern most point of Thailand), Where you can also experience the local lifestyle of people at the border point. Then continue your trip [...]
- Chiang Rai Golden Triangle cycling tour - Chiang Rai Golden Triangle cycling tour The cycling is on well-planned routes on quiet roads and lanes used by the local villagers, chosen for their interest and contact with the Thai countryside and Thai way of life. The bike tours are easy exercise and relaxing in beautiful surroundings that highlight the beautiful sites around Chiang [...]
- Things to do in Chiang Rai - Things to do in Chiang Rai Of the many things to do in Chiang Rai, a few are listed here and for our recommendations just click on a box below. Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple The Wat Rong Khun, also called “the White Temple” is a temple just of Chiang Rai. It is [...]
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