Nestled enigmatically amongst wild, mountainous terrain; the relatively modest sized city of Chiang Rai is often considered the more laid back, less frenetic version of fellow northern city, Chiang Mai.
Situated near the ‘golden triangle’, the city is cited as a personable, charismatic gateway to the lands of Myanmar and Laos.
The northern province of Chiang Rai is home to many hill tribes, each with their own fascinating cultural practices and beliefs. There are many guided tours to visit these tribes and experience their unique way of life.
The area also boasts a wealth of mystical caves and excellent hiking through the mountains and national parks. Within the confines of the city, there are a number of richly decorated, visually arresting temples, several historical buildings, and bustling street markets abound.
There are a number of routes into the area. The quickest and most comfortable is by air, though the land routes offer a fantastic view of the Thai countryside as you journey to Chiang Rai.
Flights: Chiang Rai has its own domestic airport, with daily flights from Bangkok. The route is serviced by Thai Airways (www.thaiair.com), Air Asia (www.airasia.com) and One-Two-Go(www.flyonetwogo.com)
Overland: The Green Bus line runs between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai (www.greenbusthailand.com) and several buses run each day, taking around 3-4 hours one way.
In keeping with the rest of the country, Chiang Rai has a cool season (November to February), a hot season (March to May) and a rainy season (May to October). For the vast majority of the year, the temperature ranges between 20c and 30c. For those who don’t object to a bit of rain, the rainy season is a good time to visit, when crowds are less and prices are cheaper. In the cool season, be prepared to for cooler evenings, and pack a light jacket.
Rafting along Chiang Rai's Mae Kok river, plus elephant trekking amongst hill tribe villages around Chiang Rai
Half day tour with boat ride along the Mae Kok (river) visiting a Karen long neck village, plus try elephant trekking through the jungle and visit a Buddhist meditation site
See jade cutting and jewellery production, visit bustling markets, a temple & monkey cave in Thailand's most northern town, Mae Sai on the Thai-Myanmar border
Amazing half day tour visiting the Golden Triangle. Boat trip along the Mekong River, stop off at Don Island & an opium house, plus see Chiang Saen
Half day tour visiting spectacular Doi Tung (mountain), with visits to the beautiful Mae Fah Luang Gardens & royal residence and Wat Pra Thad Doi Tung in northern Thailand
Full day tour visiting four diverse hill tribes of Norhtern Thailand. See Akha, Lahu, Lisu and Karen tribal villages.
Ride on the back of an elephant through the jungle of Chiang Rai province, and visit the Karen tribe.
Take a boat trip along the Kok River aboard a traditional Thai long-tail boat, and visit rural villages of Chiang Rai province
Learn to prepare traditional Thai cuisine with Suwannee, plus visit a local market to see fresh produce and taste seasonal fruits
Journey deep into rural Northern Thailand, undertaking a range of activities and visiting remote hill tribe villages.
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