Chiang Rai City is located in the north of Thailand. It remains a sleepy provincial town with a pleasant atmosphere. With endless verdant forests and mountain ranges, Chiang Rai is like heaven for nature lovers and explorers. Compared to its sister town, Chiang Mai, it has a more relaxed and down- to- earth feel but is never short on historical and cultural attractions of its own. Founded in 1262 as the capital city of the Mengrai Dynasty, after Chiang Saen, today the city retains a strong Lanna identity, mostly through its impressive collection of temples, art, language, cuisine and music. But unlike Chiang Mai, the city offers little diversity when it comes to nightlife, entertainment and shopping, and most of these are concentrated in the area around the Clock Tower. The city is gradually developing its tourism sector, beginning with its own Night Bazaar, Saturday Walking Street and Jazz Festival. The riverside remains mostly undeveloped, albeit with a few luxury hotels along the waterfront. To fully appreciate the beauty of the Mae Kok, it is best to hire a long- tail boat and take in the scenery along the two riverbanks. Chiang Rai City is all about chilling out and taking it in slowly, savoring each precious moment as it comes.
Chiang Rai International Airport is located approximately 8 kilometres from the city centre. It was named “Mae Fah Luang," after Princess Srinagarindra, mother of the previous monarch, Bhumibol Adulyadej, reigning under the dynasty name of Rama IX. This current airport was planned to be expanding to have more shops, extended runway and additional taxiway. Various public transports are available at the airport terminal such as bus and taxi that ease the passengers to take a tour to Chiang Rai.
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The best time to visit Chiang Rai is in the winter months of December to February because the weather becomes rainless and appropriate to go sightseeing and trekking. One should be carrying the right amount of winter clothing to be careful because it might be freezing after 9 pm in the city. The months of April to June are the worst months to visit Chiang Rai because it is incredibly humid and sightseeing would be uncomfortable. Besides, it is also essential to keep in mind that the winter months will be crowded with tourists because that is the peak season in Chiang Rai.
Wat Rong Khun – The epic Wat Rong Khun, otherwise known as White Temple, had to be the first on the list. It is one of the most important things to do in Chiang Rai, and in this case, its iconic status is deserved. The Wat Rong Khun is a sparkling modern temple with a vast number of quirky, surreal touch that amazes you with a genuinely breathtaking sight.
The Golden Triangle- The Golden Triangle is the spot where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet, and where the Mekong and Ruak Rivers intersects. You can stand on a balcony high on a hilltop, looking out at breathtaking views of the rivers and land below. Down below the lookout point is a giant golden Buddha statue overlooking the Mekong River, and up the hill above it is an ancient ruined temple.
Hill Tribe Village- The hills and mountains around Chiang Rai are dotted with the hill tribe villages. The people in these villages are often nomadic tribes from outside Thailand and include the famous “long neck” Karen hilltop tribes. These groups historically came to Thailand from Myanmar, and the women may wear brass rings around their necks.