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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.