Attraction in Thailand : Chiang Rai

Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai
Khamphaeng Phet
Mea Hong Son
Nakorn Sawan

Chiang Rai province is bordered by Myanmar to the north, and Laos to the north and northeast. The provincial capital is 785 kilometers north of Bangkok and is 580 meters above sea level. 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 northern most point at Mae Sai, is well known for its crisp mountain scenery, and hill tribes, and falls within the region known as the Golden Triangle, the area where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge.

Attractions - in the city

King Meng Rai the Great Monument

This is located on the city outskirts, beside 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 architecture. 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 temple 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 kilometers 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 kilometers 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 hill tribe settlements and elephant camps from where jungle treks originate.

Khun Kon Waterfall Forest Park

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

Attractions - out of the city

Hot Spa - Amphoe Mae Chan

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

Hill tribe Development & Welfare Center - Amphoe Mae Chan

15 kilometers along the route to Doi Mae Salong, the center aids and administers local hill tribe settlements. Hill tribe handicrafts, including woven cloth and silverware, are on sale.

Doi Saen Chai - Amphoe Mae Chan

5 kilometers beyond the Welfare center, solely 4-wheel drive vehicles can reach this Akha hill tribe village.

Doi Mae Salong - Amphoe Mae Fah Luang

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. Horse riding and elephant trekking are the opportunities among major attractions.

Doi Tung - Amphoe Mae Fah Luang

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

Pamee Akha Village - Amphoe Mae Fah Luang

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.

Mae Sai - Amphoe Mae Sai

This border town faces Myanmar across the Mae Sai River. Numerous shopping opportunities exist for popular Thai and Burmese goods.

Khun Nam Nang Non (Lagoon of the Sleeping Lady) - Amphoe Mae Sai

Located 12 kilometers before reaching Mae Sai Community Center along a 2-kilometer spur road, natural rock formations resemble a reclining female to give the tree-shaded area its name.

Tham Pum-Tham Pla (Reed & Fish Caverns) - Amphoe Mae Sai

Located 1 kilometer north of the 'Sleeping Lady Lagoon', these caves are known for their spectacular interiors.

Tham Phayanak - Amphoe Mae Sai

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 - Amphoe Mae Sai

Located west of Mae Sai, this cave is noted for its beautiful stalactites, and as a place of meditation.

Chiang Saen - Amphoe Chiang Sean

This riverside town facing the Mekong River is 30 kilometers from Mae Chan, predates Chiang Rai and is famous for a special style of Buddha image.

Chiang Saen National Museum - Amphoe Chiang Sean

This petite museum exhibits local objets d'art, including Chiang Saen style Buddha images and Lanna Thai artifacts.

Wat Phra That Chedi Luang - Amphoe Chiang Sean

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

Wat Pa Sak - Amphoe Chiang Sean

Located outside the city walls, some 200 meters from the Tourist Service Center, 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 - Amphoe Chiang Sean

This hilltop temple has a pagoda containing a Buddha relic.

Wat Phra That Pha-Ngao - Amphoe Chiang Sean

Located 4 kilometers 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 - Amphoe Chiang Sean

South of Chiang Saen, 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 - Amphoe Chiang Sean

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

Wat Phra That Doi Pu Khao - Amphoe Chiang Sean

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

Mekong River Trips - Amphoe Chiang Sean

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 currents and water levels.

Chiang Khong - Amphoe Chiang Khong

Located 55 kilometers east of Chiang Saen, this settlement faces Laos across the Mekong River. Local tour operators can arrange for tourists to visit Laos.

Ban Hat Klai - Amphoe Chiang Khong

Marks the Chiang Khong area where the freshwater pla buek catfish, which can attain lengths of 2.5 meters and weights of 300 kilogram's, are caught between April 18 and early June each year.

Ban Hat Bai - Amphoe Chiang Khong

25 kilometers along the Chiang Saen-Chiang Khong road, this Thai Lue community is best known for its hand-woven cotton.

Doi Pa Tang - Amphoe Wang Kaen

Some 32 kilometers from Amphoe Wiang Kaen, this scenic mountain location hosts Hmong and Yao ethnic minorities, During December and January, the area is rendered even more picturesque thanks to cheery blossom and mountain mists.

Pah Chee Fah - Amphoe Thoeng

This mountain, 20 kilometers south of Doi Pha Tang, provides scenic views of Laos, and during February is dotted with white wild flowers known as Dok Siao.

Doi Luang National Park - Amphoe Phan

This forested park, some 65 kilometers south of the provincial capital, covers an area of 1,170 square kilometers, and extends into areas of Chiang Mai, Lampang and Phayao provinces. A major attraction is the Phu Kaeng Waterfall.

Major Events

King Meng Rai Festival - January 26-February 1

This features parades, cultural performances and competitions celebrating the founder of Chiang Rai and the Lanna Thai kingdom.

Songkran Festival - April 13-15

Traditional Thai New Year celebrations are best seen at Chiang Saen where 4 nations (Thailand, Laos, China and Myanmar) compete in boat races on the Mekong River. Beauty contests and cultural shows are added attractions.

Lychee Fair - 3rd weekend in May

Celebrating the province's tastiest fruit, this fair features agricultural displays and exhibitions, local handicrafts, folk entertainment and beauty contests.