|Location||785 kilometers north of capital Bangkok|
|Accessibility||Best through Bangkok|
|Yearly Average Temperature||260 C|
Why To Visit
» Abundant natural beauty
» Ancient shrines/historic sites/museums
» Intriguing tribal life
» Nature Sports
Gifted with exquisite natural beauty, Chiang Rai is considered among the most beautiful provinces in Thailand. Prominent natural attractions of the province are given below:
Chiang Saen Lake
This picturesque lake provides temporary home for various species of water birds during winter season (November to February).
Meandering through the heart of Chiang Rai, the river is the place of several tourist activities like boating, swimming etc. A number of hilltribe settlements, elephant camps and jungle treks are by the side of the river.
Khun Nam-Nang Non (Lagoon of the Sleeping Lady)
Located in the vicinity of Mae Sai Community Centre, the natural rock formations exhibit similarity to a reclining female to give the tree-shaded area its interesting name.
Tham Pum-Tham Pla (Reed & Fish Caverns)
Located near Sleeping Lady Lagoon, these caves are notable for their spectacular interiors.
Located in the vicinity of the Reed & Fish Caverns, this cave is known for its multi-colored rocks.
Tham Pha Chom
Located west of Mae Sai, this cave is known as a place of meditation and for its impressive stalactites.
Mountains are the source of perpetual attraction for the tourists. Major mountain tourist hotspots of the province are mentioned below:
Doi Mae Salong
Apart from soaking in charming natural scenery, you can get a feel of the Chinese connections of the locals. Make a tour of the Chokechamrern tea plantation. Visit the local museum and the village market, where fine teas produced around the village are sold. Indulge in hilltribe tourism and make your tour special. Horse-riding and trekking are two favorite activities of the tourists here.
Doi Tung is known for lovely mountainous scenery and fascinating tourist hotspots like Mae Fah Luang Royal Gardens and Wat Phrathat Doi Tung Temple. The trip itself provides spectacular scenic beauty. Include elephant camps and visit to hilltribe villages in your tour and it will become really worthwhile.
Doi Pa Tang
This scenic mountain becomes even more picturesque during January and February, thanks to mountain mists and cherry blossoms. The area hosts Chinese, Yao and Hmong ethnic minorities, and you can watch their lifestyle, which is different from the Thais.
Phu Chee Fah
This picturesque mountain becomes even more beautiful in February, when it wears the cloak of white wild flowers. The mountain destination also offers scenic vistas of Laos.
Doi Luang National Park
This forested park, which covers an area of 1,170 square kilometres, extends into two other provinces. Three prominent attractions of the National Park are given below:
Poo Kaeng Waterfall: A limestone waterfall with many caves.
Cham Pa Thong Waterfall: A towering waterfall, resembling the the head of an elephant.
Wang Kaew Waterfall: A limestone waterfall, higher than Poo Kaeng waterfall.
Ancient shrines sit in Chian Rai in abundance and visiting them is a unique experience. Some prominent temples of Chiang Rai are as follows:
Wat Phra Sing
Located on Singakhlai Road, the temple holds one of the oldest Buddha images in Northern Thailand. It is known for its doors which depict two ferocious guardians, the temple is a fine example Lanna Thai religious architecture.
Wat Phra Kaew
Located in vicinity of Wat Phra Singh, this temple is said to have been the original place where the Emerald Buddha resided. The image is now venerated in Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaew Chapel.
Wat Phrathat Doi Tung
This mountaintop temple on Doi Tung hill offers stunning vistas of the surrounding areas. The temple also houses some ancient Buddhist relics.
Wat Phra That Chedi Luang
This ancient towering brick pagoda, in Chiang Saen, holds its place as the tallest religious monument in Chiang Rai.
Wat Pa Sak
Located outside the city walls in Chiang Saen, this desolate temple, with ornamental stucco motifs, is considered a beautiful example of Lanna architecture.
Wat Phra That Pha-Nga
Located on the Chaing Saen-Chaing Khong road, this hilltop pagoda provides beautiful vistas of the Mekong River.
Wat Phra That Doi Thong
Overlooking the Mae Kok River, this ancient hilltop predates the founding of Chiang Rai as Lanna Thai capital.
The Hill Tribes
Chiang Rai is a favourite destination of the tourists who wish to witness the fascinating lifestyle of the hilltribes residing in the area from close quarters. Goods made by the hill tribes are very popular purchases.
Trekking is the best way to admire these tribes. Hilltribe treks comprise hiking, elephant rides and rafting, and include stops or overnight stays at hilltribe villages.
Pamee Akha, Baan Haad Klai and Baan Haad Bai are three popular hilltribe trek stops.
Pamee Akha Village
Located on the way to Doi Tung, this scenic village is one of the most accessible Akha settlements in Chiang Rai.
Baan Haad Klai
Crown destination in Chiang Khong area famous for freshwater plabuek catfish, which can grow to length of 2.5 metres and attain weight of 300 kilograms.
Baan Haad Bai
Located on Chaing Saen-Chaing Khong road, this village of Thai Lue community is known for its hand woven cotton.
Chiang Rai hosts two museums which provide insight into Lanna royal and religious life.
Chiang Saen National Museum
The museum hosts fine pieces in the Chiang Saen style, which include amulets, silver and stucco work, and a demon mask. The recently discovered stone from Wat Sang Kha Kaew Don Tun deserve to be seen.
Haw Kham Mae Fah Luang Royal Museum
Located on Rajyotha Road, it is in a beautiful Lanna style teak wood building. Encased by picturesque gardens with a lake, it focuses is on religious objects - wooden Buddha images, carved wooden screen, stone markers and many other similar things.
Oub Kham Museum
Located near Den Ha wet market, it is also surrounded by a lovely garden. It provides glimpses of Lanna's royal past: costumes, peacock fans, chairs and similar things. The museum is particularly known for the golden bowl, which was used only by the royal family.
Tourist attraction in Chian Rai are in plenty. Here are some more.
Monument of King Meng Rai
Located on city contours, the place honors the monarch who established Chaing Rai in 1262.
Ku Phra Chao Meng Rai
Situated on Ngam Muang Hillock, this stupa contains King Mengrai's relics and ashes.
Sou Ruak or The Golden Triangle
Located 9 km to the north of Chiang Saen county is this world-famous place where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.
Chiang Rai is ever ready to welcome the tourist, but during the festivals, the atmosphere is most colorful. Vivacious as they are, the inhabitants of the place love to celebrate their festivals. Most prominent among them are given below.
King Meng Rai Festival
Celebrated in honor of King Meng Rai, the founder of Chaing Rai and Lanna Thai Kingdom, this festival features parades, cultural performances and competitions .
As the name suggests, the festival is dedicated to the province 's tastiest fruit. The fair features agricultural exhibitions, folk entertainment, beauty contests and local handicrafts.
» Elephant Riding
» Mountain Biking
|Summer||March to May|
|Rainy||May to October|
|Winter||November to February|
How To Reach
International tourists can reach Chiang Rai via Bangkok. Various means of reaching Chiang Rai from the capital are mentioned below:
Daily flights operate between Bangkok and Chiang Rai.
Time taken: 1.15 hrs. (appr.)
Direct trains to Chiang Rai are not available. Take a train for Lampang or Chiang Mai, and then board a bus.
Luxury and normal buses are available from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal. You can also move on rented car/taxi.
Time taken 11 hrs. (appr.)
Journeying within Chiang Rai has become very simple, thanks to variety of means available.
» Minibus services
» Three-wheeled taxis (tuk-tuk) and motorcycle taxis
» Hired bicycle or motorbike
Getting to Nearby Provinces
» Bus services
» Rented van/jeep/car/taxi
Accomodation & Dining
» Budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation easily available
» Food shops and restaurants aplenty
» Wide variety of food, ranging from local dishes to international cuisine