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Thailand Travel Destinations

Chiang Rai

North Thailand




Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai

Mae Hong Son

Phi Phi Island
Koh Lanta
Hua Hin
Khao Lak
Koh Samui

Karen Village in Chiang Rai Province


    Chiang Rai

      Getting there

Chiang Rai is the tourism basis to visitors for "The Golden Triangle", target-destination for boat-trips on the Mae Kok River and the ideal basis for hill-tribe visits in this region. 

From here you can explore in exiting half- or day trips, best impressions from the border area to Burma. Visit Mae Sai, with its beautiful market in the border town, one-day-visa you'll receive directly at the border on entry.

Chiang Rai province covers some 11,700 square kilometers with a population of 1.4 million. The average  elevation is 580 meters above sea level, Myanmar borders on the north, and Laos on the north and northeast. The provincial capital is 829 kilometers north of Bangkok .

Chiang Rai was founded in 1262 by King Meng Rai and was the first capital of Lanna Thai (Kingdom of a Million Rice fields). The province contains Thailand's northernmost point at Mae Sai which is well known for its crisp mountain scenery, and hilltribes. North Chiang Rai and falls within the region known as the Golden Triangle, the area where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge. 

How To Get There:

By Bus:
The 11-hour journey from Bangkok can be made by air conditioned coaches and non-air conditioned buses originating from the Northern Bus Terminal on Bangkok's Kamphaeng Phet 2 (Tel: 936-3660 (or) 9378065 for further details).

By Air:
Thai Airways Internationals (Tel : Bangkok / Lan Luang 280-0100-110, Silom 234-3100-19, Asia Hotel 215-2020) Angle Airlines (Tel : Bangkok 953-1304) operates daily flights from Bangkok and other northern Thai cities.


Mae Salong, a Kuomintang Chinese Village in Chiang Rai's Mae Chan District


City Attractions:

King Meng Rai the Great Monument

This is located on the city outskirts, be-side the northern road to Mae Chan, and honors the monarch who founded Chiang Rai in 1262.

Ku Phra Chao Meng Rai

Situated in Wat Ngam Muang, on Ngam Muang Hillock,this stupa contains King Meng Rai's ashes and relics.

Wat Phra Sing

This temple, on Singhakhlai Road, is a fine example of Lanna Thai religious architec-ture. The Phra Buddha Sihing image now housed in Chiang Mai's Wat Phra Sing was formerly enshrined here.

Wat Phra Kaeo

Located behind Wat Phra Singh, this tem-ple is said to have been the original place where the Emerald Buddha, now enshrined in Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaeo (Chapel of the Emerald Buddha) was enshrined. Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong This ancient hilltop pagoda overlooks the Mae Kok River and predates the founding of Chiang Rai as the capital of Lanna Thai.

Hat Chiang Rai

Located 5 kilometres from the city, this scenic riverside area and promenade is a recreation area for local inhabitants.

Mae Kok River

Known in Thai as Maenam Kok, this scenic 130-kilometre long waterway runs through the heart of Chiang Rai. The river is a major transportation artery from neighboring Chiang Mai province, especially the town of Tha Thon (180 kilo-meters north of Chiang Mai provincial capital), from whence long-tailed boats make the 3-4 hour journey every day at 12.30 PM (Chiang Rai-Tha Thon: 10.30 AM). The river passes several hilltribe settlements and elephant camps from where jungle treks originate.

A Yao hilltribe girl near Mae Chan disctrict in Chiang Rai

Khun Kon Waterfall Forest Park

Located 30 kilometres south of Chiang Rai provincial capital, along Routes 121 & 1208, the 70-metre high Khun Kon Waterfall is the highest in the province.








Attractions and Roundtrips:
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Out-of-City Attractions

Amphoe Mae Cham - Hot Spa

Located 8 kilometers from Mae Chan, along the Mae Chan-Mai Ai Road, this complex has hot mineral water and bath-house facilities. Accommodation is also available.

Hilltribe Development & Welfare Centre

15 kilometers along the route to Doi Mae Salong, the centre aids and administers local hilltribe settlements. Hilltribe handicrafts, including woven cloth and silverware, are on sale.

Doi Saen Chai

5 kilometers beyond the Welfare centre, this Akha hilltribe village can be reached solely by 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Doi Tung

This northernmost Thai mountain con-tains several scenic spots, including the Doi Tung Royal Villa, the Mae Fah Luang Botanical Garden, the mountaintop Wat Phrathat Doi Tung which affords a spectacular view of the surrounding area, and contains Buddha relics, and various hilltribe villages in natural settings.

Pamee Akha Village

This picturesque village is one of the most accessible Akha settlements in Chiang Rai province, and is located on the way to the summit of Doi Tung.

Doi Mae Salong

Located some 40 kilometers beyond Mae Chan, a mountaintop settlement known as Santi Khiri is home to descendants of Chinese Nationalist soldiers who fled to, and settled in Thailand, in 1940. Mountainside plantations of coffee, and fruit orchards, provide scenic variety. The area is particularly picturesque in December and January when Thai cherry trees are in blossom. Accommodation, restaurants and opportunities for horse-riding and elephant trekking number among major attractions.

Mae Sai

This border town faces Myanmar across the Mae Sai River, and is located 62 kilometers north of Chiang Rai on Highway No. 110. Numerous shopping opportunities exist for popular Thai and Burmese goods.

Khun Nam Nang Non

(Lagoon of the Sleeping Lady) Located 12 kilometres before reaching Mae Sai Community Centre along a 2-kilometre spur road, natural rock formations resemble a reclining female to give the tree-shaded area its name.

Tham Pum-Tham Pla (Reed & Fish Caverns)

Located 1 kilometer north of the 'Sleeping Lady Lagoon', and 1.8 kilometers from High-way No. 110, these caves are known for their spectacular interiors.

Tham Phayanak

Located within a few hundred meters from the Reed & Fish Caverns, this cave is regarded as being especially beautiful thanks to its multi-colored rocks. Tham Pha Chom Located 2.5 kilometers west of Mae Sai, this cave is noted for its beautiful stalactites, and as a place of meditation.

Chiang Saen

This riverside town facing the Mekong River is 30 kilometers from Mae Chan via Highway No. 1016, predates Chiang Rai and is famous for a special style of Bud-dha image.

Chiang Saen National Museum

This petite museum exhibits local objects, including Chiang Saen-style Buddha images and Lanna Thai artifacts.

Wat Phra That Chedi Luang

This ancient 88-metre high brick pagoda, next to the museum, is the tallest religious monument in Chiang Rai.

Wat Pa Sak

Located outside the city walls, some 200 metres from the Tourist Service Centre, this deserted temple, with ornamental stucco motifs, is regarded as being one of the most beautiful examples of Lanna architecture in northern Thailand.

Wat Phra That Chom Kitti

This hilltop temple has a pagoda containing a Buddha relic.

Wat Phra That Pha-Ngao

Located 4 kilometres along the Chiang Saen-Chiang Khong road, this temple's hilltop pagoda offers a spectacular view of the Mekong River and Laos.

Chiang Saen Lake

South of Chiang Saen, along Highway No. 1016 (a 2-kilometre trip from the Km. 27 marker), this one square kilometer lake hosts migratory waterfowl during the winter months. Birds are seen at their best and most plentiful from November through February. Accommodation and water-sports facilities are available.

The Golden Triangle

8 kilometers north of Chiang Saen, this riverside area marks the spot where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos con-verge.

Wat Phra That Doi Pu Khao

This riverside temple near the Sop Ruak Market, offers a spectacular view of the Golden Triangle's riverine and mountain areas.

Mekong River Trips

Boats can be hired from Chiang Saen to travel upstream to the Golden Triangle, and downstream to Chiang Khong. The trip to the Golden Triangle takes some 30 minutes, the trip to Chiang Khong about 1 hour and 30 minutes depending on river cur-rents and water levels.


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