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Chiang Rai Information

Chiang Rai Information by E-Biz Travel; Thailand Travel and
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 Chiang
Rai
Introduction
Chiang Rai province
covers some 11,678 square kilometres with a population of 1.23 million
at an average elevation of 580 metres above sea level, is bordered by
Myanmar to the north, and Laos to the north and northeast. The provincial
capital is 785 kilometres north of Bangkok.

Chiang Rai was founded
in 1262 by King Mengrai and was the first capital of Lanna Thai
(Kingdom of a Million Ricefields). The province contains Thailand’s
northernmost point at Mae Sai, is well known for its crisp mountain
scenery, and hilltribes, and falls within the region known as the Golden
Triangle, the area where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge.

Attractions
CITY
ATTRACTIONS

King Mengrai the Great Monument
This is located on the city outskirts, beside the northern road to Mae
Chan, and honours 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 Mengrai’s ashes and relics.

Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong
This ancient hilltop pagoda overlooks the Mae Kok River and predateds
the founding of Chiang Rai as the capital of Lanna Thai.

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
benind Wat Phra Sing, 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.

Hat Chiang Rai Located
5 kilometres 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 neighbouring Chiang Mai province, especially the town of Tha Ton
(180 kilometres 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 Ton: 10.30 AM). The river passes several hilltribe settlements
and elephant camps from where jungle treks originate.

Khun Kon Forest Park Waterfall
Located 30 kilometres south of Chiang Rai provincial capital, along
Routes 1211 & 1208, the 70-metre high Khun Kon Waterfall is the
highest in the province.

OUT-OF-CITY ATTRACTIONS

Amphoe Mae Chan

Hot Spring Located 8 kilometres from Mae Chan, along
Route 1089, this complex has hot mineral water and bath-house facilities.
Accommodation is also available.

Hilltribe Development & Welfare
Centre
15 kilometres along the route to Doi Mae Salong, the
centre aids and administers local hilltribe settlements. Hilltribe handicrafts,
including woven cloth and silverware, are on sale.

Doi Saen Chai 5 kilometres
beyond the Welfare Centre, this Akha hilltribe village can be reached
solely by 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Amphoe Mae Fa Luang

Doi Mae Salong Located some 40 kilometres from Mae
Chan, along Route 1089, 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.
Accommodation, restaurants and opportunities for horse riding and trekking
number along major attractions.

60 kilometres beyond Doi Mae Salong via Ban Thoetthai is Doi Hua Mae
Kham where a large Lisu hilltribe village is located. During December,
the area is dotted with yellow wild sunflower called Bua Tong.

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

Pha Mi Akha Village This
picturesqe 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.

Amphoe Mae Sai

Mae Sai This border town faces Myanmar across the Mae
Sai River, and is located 62 kilometres north of Chiang Rai on Highway
No. 110. Numerous shopping opportunities exist for popular Thai, Burmese
and Chinese goods.

Khun Nam – Nang Non or Lagoon of
the Seeeping Lady
Located 12 kilometres before reaching Mae
Sai Community Centre along a 2-kilometre spur Road, natural rock formations
resemble a reclining female to give the tree shaded area its name.

Amphoe Chiang Saen

Chiang Saen This riverside town facing the Mekong River
is 30 kilometres from Mae Chan via Highway No. 1016, predates Chiang
Rai and is famous for a special style of Buddha image.

Chiang Saen National Museum
This petite museum exhibits local objects d’art, including Chiang Saen-style
Buddha images and Lanna Thai artefacts. The museum is open on Wednesdays
– Sundays from 9.00 AM until 4.00 PM, except national holidays.

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

Wat Pa Sak Located outside
the city walls, some 200 metres from the Tourist Service Centre, 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
This hilltop temple has a pagoda containing a Buddha relic.

Wat Phra That Pha Ngao
Located 4 kilometres 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 South
of Chiang Saen, along Highway No. 1016 (a 2-kilometre trip from the
Km. 27 marker), this one square kilometre lake hosts migratory waterfowl
during the winter months. Birds are seen at their best and most plentiful
from November through February.

The Golden Triangle 8
kilometres 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
This riverside temple near the Sop Ruak Market, offers a spectacular
view of the Golden Triangle’s riverine and mountain areas.

Mekong River Trips 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.

Amphoe Chiang Khong

Chiang Khong
Located 55 kilometres east of Chiang Saen, (and 114 kilometres northeast
of Chiang Rai provincial capital), this settlement faces Laos across
the Mekong River. Local tour operators can arrange for tourists to visit
Laos.

Ban Hat Khlai Marks the
Chiang Khong area where the freshwater pla buk catfish, which can attain
lengths of 2.5 metres and weights of 300 kilogrammes, are caught between
April 18 and early June each year.

Ban Hat Bai 2.5 kilometres
along the Chiang Saen – Chiang Khong Road, this Thai Lue community is
best known for its hand-woven cotton.

Amphoe Wiang Kaen

Doi Pha Tang
Some 32 kilometres from Amphoe Wiang Kaen (127 kilometres from Chiang
Rai provincial capital), this scenic mountain location hosts Chinese,
Hmong and Yao ethnic minorities. During January and February, the area
is rendered even more picturesque thanks to cherry blossom and mountain
mists.

Amphoe Thoeng

Phu Chi Fa This mountain, 25 kilometres south of Doi
Pha Tang, provides scenic views over misty valleys of Laos at sunrise.
During February, it is dotted with white wild flowers known as Dok Sieo.
Accommodation is available at Rom Fa Thong and Rom Fa Thai villages
at the foot of the hill.

Amphoe Phan

Doi Luang Naitonal Park This forested park, some 65
kilometres south of the provincial captital, covers an area of 1,170
square kilometres, and extends into areas of Chiang Mai, Lampang and
Phayao provinces. A major attraction is the Pu Kaeng Waterfall which
is composed of 9 beautiful cascades.

Trekking
A great many of the tourists
visiting Chiang Rai
make enquiries about hilltribe trekking.
They come looking for adventure and a learning experience that will
last a life time. The experience of a trek around the northern area
usually includes beautiful mountain terrain, wild and steamy jungles,
clean rivers, photogenic waterfalls and unusually shaped caves. Visitors
can journey to these places by foot, by horseback or on the back of
an elephant. Travelling by longtail boats, motorbikes, and jeeps are
becoming more and more popular as tour agencies expand their approach
to tours and trekking.

There are abundant routes for trekking
in Chiang Rai. Each route has its own characteristic. Thus, this makes
the activities and cost of each trips different from one another. Please
contact TAT local office for more information.

Some useful advice

1. Trekking alone is not recommented. It is much safer to go with the
guide of trekking agents.

2. Respect hilltribes’ beliefs and religious symbols and structures.
Be careful about what you touch. It is better to ask your guide about
some do’s and don’ts before entering a hilltribe village.

3. Avoid trading western medicines and articles of clothing. Many of
the hilltribe people are not familiar with the use western medicines.
And by trading clothing you may be adding a new element of dressing
and grooming contrary to their own. If you want to give something it
should be something to contribute to their welfare, (pens, paper, needles,
thread, cloth and material used for various hilltribe handicrafts.)

4. Photographs should be taken in specified areas. Ask before you take
a photograph of someone. Some villages do not even permit being photographed.

5. Protect yourself against the nasty little mosquitoes of Northern
Thailand. Don’t rely only on the use of prophylactic drugs. In Thailand
the many different strains of malaria parasites are resistant to many
of the drugs on the market. You should also protect yourself by wearing
long pants, long-sleeved shirts and thick socks. Also use a strong brank
of mosquito repellent when trekking. At night you should sleep under
a mosquito net and avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when
the little pests are a nuisance.

6. Do not approach the elephants during hot season, and/or when feeding
without their handlers (mahouts) present.

How
to get there
By Bus
– The 11-hour journey from Bangkok can be made on airconditioned coaches
and non-airconditioned buses originating from the Northern Bus Terminal
on Bangkok’s Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road (Tel: 936-3666, 936-2852) for further
details).

By Air – Thai Airways
operates daily flights between Bangkok and Chiang Rai.

Pls
click here to preview flight timetable or to book a flight

Festivals
King Mengrai Festival

This festival is held from January 26 – February 1 every year.
The festival features parades, cultural performances and competitions
celebrating the founder of Chiang Rai and the Lanna Thai Kingkom.

Songkran Festival 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. The
festival is annually held from April 16-18.

Lychee Fair This is held
annually in May. Celebrating the province’s tastiest fruit, this fair
features agricultural displays and exhibitions, local handicrafts, folk
entertainment and beauty contests.

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