Chiang Rai is located 785 kilometres from Bangkok and borders Myanmar in the north and Laos in the east. Built by King Mengrai in 1262 this Thailand’s most northerly province has a mainly mountainous terrain and helps form the ‘Golden Triangle’ around the Mekong River which has long been associated with colourful cultures and an illicit opium trade. The opium may have gone but the colour hasn't and the markets offer all sorts of amazing local handicrafts. Chiang Rai is a major draw for tourists keen to experience the region’s natural attractions and learn about its place in Thailand’s past as well as the culture of the local hill tribes with colorful ethnic minorities, who have migrated into the region during the past 100 years from the Asian interior and have largely preserved their traditional ways.
Located on one of the farthest northern regions of Thailand, the city of Chiang Rai is the gateway to the Golden Triangle, and is a great springboard from which to visit splendid sites in the region. Travel to Chiang Rai now and experience the natural paradise of the region with our 2015 tours and activities.
Take a Golden Triangle Cycling Tour and go on a three-day journey around the Golden Triangle, the tripoint border between Thailand, Burma, and Laos. Ride down a mixture of tarmac roads and hard-packed trails, with climbs and plains all over the trip. Start your adventure with a visit to the Opium Museum, where you will learn about the cultivation of opium and its impact on society, both on users and growers. Have lunch then ride around the Chiang Saen countryside, with plantations, temples, and villages passing you by. Visit a hilltop temple with a lovely view of the Mekong River, Laos, and Chiang Saen, before returning to the hotel and having dinner at a local restaurant. On your second day, follow the Mekong to Chiang Khong, where you will have a view of Laos from Thailand. Have riverside lunch, then try a climb up to Huai Sai Man, where you will have yet another stunning view, before returning to the hotel. End your tour by visiting Mae Sai, the northernmost town in Thailand, where you may cross the border into Burma, and go shopping at a local market.
For a more relaxing trip, venture down the Mae Kok on a River Cruise, where you’ll take a long-tail boat to a traditional Karen hill village. You’ll be able to tour the village while mounted on an elephant, and explore the Golden Triangle as well. Return to Chiang Rai by boat, then take a trishaw or tricycle to Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.