Gateway to the Golden Triangle
Chiang Rai was the first capital of the Lanna Kingdom, until it lost its status to the neighbouring Chiang Mai in 1296 AD. Although this city in the north is quieter than its larger neighbour, this makes it a perfect destination for tourists who want to escape the crowds. With beautiful scenery and cultural sightseeing spots such as ancient ruins, temples, monasteries and the hill tribe villages in the surrounding region, there are plenty of things to do in Chiang Rai.
The city was once the hub of opium trade, due to its location at the centre of the golden triangle linking Thailand to Burma and Laos. Subsequently it became a lesser explored area in the country until recent years, when tourists from around the world started flocking to Chiang Rai once more to experience rural Thai tradition at its best, such as quaint bamboo houses and the unique culture of the various hill tribes.
As a commercial centre of the golden triangle, it offers many options to keep visitors busy. From border crossings to Burma and Laos, exploring the mountainous terrain and the hill tribes that inhabit the area, to riding elephants through the forests and taking a boat trip on the Mekong or Mae Kok Rivers, there is plenty to keep busy while on vacation. Take a look here to explore the best
things to do in Chiang Rai.
While it is possible to explore the province independently, to make the best use of time while on vacation,
taking one of the tours
is recommended. There are several itineraries to choose from, including popular ones such as the golden triangle tour, border crossing tour, visit to one of the hill tribes, and elephant adventures. Another interesting option is the city and temples tours that take you past the
province’s main attractions.
Besides sightseeing, tourists have many other choices when it comes to keeping busy in Chiang Rai. For those who love to shop, the province is famous for its silks and handicrafts. Rows of stalls can be found in the city as well as the golden triangle at the border. These are good for
shopping for souvenirs,
handicrafts, pottery, clothes, gems and jewellery, besides other things such as DVDs and preserved foods, including pork.
in the area are limited compared to other tourist centres in the country. Besides the night market and a few massage parlours and bars along Jet Yod Street, there are a few Go Go Bars along a short stretch of Punyodyana Road. Don’t expect glitzy bars and nightclubs in Chiang Rai. The city offers a more laidback and rural lifestyle, and what it lacks in bars and nightclubs, it more than makes up for in the pristine natural beauty of the surrounding region.
Like other parts of the country, Chiang Rai has three main seasons, wet, cool and hot. The summer months between March and May can get unbearably warm. The wet season is from May to October. The ideal time to visit is during the cool season as it has the
with October and February being the most pleasant months. December and January can get quite cold. Another good time to visit is during one of the
Festivals in Thailand
such as Songkran. A unique sight during the festival is the boat races that take place on the Mekong River with teams from Burma, Laos and China competing against Thai teams. The King Meng Rai festival, which celebrates the setting up of Chiang Rai and the Lanna Kingdom, is another time that the city gets festive.
With the increase in the number of visitors in recent years, accommodation options in the city have improved considerably. There are several
for those who are looking for affordable accommodation. For the high end tourist, there are also some luxury options available. The best among this is the Anantara Golden Triangle. The resort, which is located on the hill side, offers spectacular views of the surrounding area, including the borders of Myanmar and Laos. This hotel also provides easy access to the nearby forests and the Mekong River. Take a look here to explore the deals and facilities at
The Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa
in Chiang Rai.
Before you book your accommodation make sure that you research the various options well. Depending on what your interests are and what tours you want to take,
that provide easy access to the surrounding sights and tour spots can make your stay more comfortable. It could also help to carry a
map of the region
to help you get around more easily.
If you are looking at the various options or information on
how to get to Chiang Rai,
due to its popularity as a tourist destination, this northern Thai city has several daily flights from Bangkok. It is also connected by air to Chiang Mai. Intercity buses link the city from Bangkok and other cities, including Chiang Mai. The nearest rail head is also at Chiang Mai.
So why not take a trip to Chiang Rai it certainly is worth a visit. Better still combined with a trip to its neighbour
and you will experience some of the most interesting and beautiful parts of Thailand this amazing country has to offer.
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