Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai, the capital of Chiang Rai province in northernmost Thailand. The city is about 200 kilometres northeast of Chiang Mai, 60 kilometres south of Thailand - Burmese border and 55km southwest of the Golden Triangle.

The city was founded by King Mengrai as the capital of the Lana Kingdom in 1262. Chiang Rai was occupied by the Burmese for several hundred years until became vassal of Chiang Mai and finally annexed totally to Siam – Thailand.

Chiang Rai City lies in the alluvial of the Mae Kok River between the Daen Lao Range in the north and the Phi Pan Nam Range in the south. The 1389-metre-high Doi Tung is the most popular hill in Chiang Rai, with the Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple, which is related to a chronicle back to the year 91, perches on top.

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Chiang Rai is considered ‘the gateway to the Golden Triangle’ and is an excellent base for exploring the region. The town is an alternative laid-back spot to Chiang Mai. The atmosphere here is calm and more relaxed, less pollution, and the city also has a famous trekking spot to visit. Compared to Chiang Mai, in Chiang Rai, homestays and volunteering camping are more common. Although Chiang Rai is often compared to the north’s capital, this city also owns its unique character and attractions, including sparkling white Wat Rong Khun temple, just located outside the city.

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Chiang Rai is covered with a lot of outstanding natural beauty, which make the city a true paradise to the nature lovers. In Chiang Mai, you can visit remote hill tribes, exotic wildlife, and explore the golden triangle, the former notorious centre of the world’s opium trade. Trekking here is a great experience with many accesses to villages of perse hill tribes groups with distinctive traditions.

Since the city is a famous stop over not so far from Chiang Mai, you could combine visiting Chiang Rai with your tour to Northern Thailand. From Chiang Mai, you can access to Chiang Rai by train or car.

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