Chiang Rai, Thailand’s most northern province, is located approximately 800 km from Bangkok. The border of the province separates Thailand from both Laos and Myanmar forming the infamous “Golden Triangle” which once supplied 80% of the world’s opium. The Maekok River, flowing from Chiang Mai province into the mighty Mekong river is the major river that cuts through the rugged mountainous topography of the region. These mountains with their abundance of flora and fauna are home to many different hill-tribes which have migrated from Southern China, Tibet and Burma such as Akha, Karen, Lahu, Lasu, Yao and Shan. Chiang Rai province offers an off-beat location for trekking, mountain biking and kayaking journeys in the North.
- Visit the incredible work of art that is Chiang Rai’s White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). This one of Chiang Rai’s greatest attractions and for good reason; we recommend visiting in the early morning to avoid the crowds.
- Spend an evening wandering through Chiang Rai’s Night Bazaar; enjoy some live entertainment and taste local delicacies. If you happen to be visiting on a weekend, it’s worth visiting the Saturday/Sunday Walking street.
- Explore some of Northern Thailand’s most impressive mountainuos landscapes such as Mae Salong, Phu Chi Fah mountain and Doi Phadang.
There are regular buses with Greenbus Thailand from Chiang Mai Arcade Bus station departing for Chiang Rai at least once per hour during the day. The journey takes approximately 3.5 hours along Highway 118. If you want to reach the city centre of Chiang Rai, get off at the Old bus station, the New bus station is on the outskirts of town.
Chiang Rai’s International Airport is served by various airlines (mainly domestic) with regular flights between Bangkok and Chiang Rai. In recent years, flights have started to operate from China and Hong Kong with multiple arrivals and departures per week.
If you’re interested to explore more than the city centre, it’s best to hire a car or motorbike to get around. Public transport consists mainly of tuk-tuks and red pickup trucks (“songtaew”), you can negotiate a daily rate to take you to various attractions.