Chiang Rai



Chiang Rai is a beautiful small city that lies in northern Thailand close to the borders of Myanmar and Laos. Though sometimes overlooked and deemed not as a popular as the much larger city of Chiang Mai it still has a lot to offer its visitors. It's a very clean, quiet and safe place compared to some of the countries other city's and towns. Whilst in the city itself attractions are some what limited, the easily accessible surrounding towns and countryside are full of things to do and see. Chiang Rai is a great hub/base camp to stay and discover the the city and all its surroundings have to offer. Also if planning on heading on through to Laos or Myanmar, Chiang Rai serves as a good place to stop before heading to the borders.


Though only small, Chiang Rai does have its own international airport albeit a little one, receiving flights from all over Thailand and surrounding countries. The city has two main bus terminals, with buses operating to and from some of Thailand's main tourist areas. If in Thailand south of Chiang Mai somewhere in the country and can't find a bus directly to Chiang Rai, then a bus to Chiang Mai then to on to Chiang Rai is a very easy option. There are taxis and tuk tuk's in Chiang Rai to get you around, though if staying in the central tourist area a bicycle or walking around is easy. Chiang Rai is a great place to rent a motorbike or scooter to get around the city or to get out and see the surrounding area. The roads are quieter here than other parts of Thailand and biking around is very enjoyable.


In and around Chiang Rai there are many places and different types of places to stay, though the highest end resorts and hotels are few and far between and a little hard to find. But saying that Chiang Rai is generally very cheap and great standards of accommodation from budget to mid range can be found for a small price especially compared to Thailand's southern islands.


As said Chiang Rai is a lot smaller than Chiang Mai and doesn't give as many choices as the bigger city, but that doesn't mean there is not anything to do. In Chiang Rai itself two of the main attractions are it's wonderful temples, different to anything else seen in Thailand. Two of its most well known temples and known throughout Thailand are Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) and Wat Rong Suea Ten (Blue Temple), these two are must visits when in Chiang Rai. Other wonderful temples to see are Wat Phra Singh (different to one of same name in Chiang Mai), Wat Ming Meuang and Wat Phra Kaeo.


Other than the temples, Chiang Rai has a range of Museums, markets, galleries and parks. Mae Fah Luang Art And Cultral Park and the Hill Tribe Museum are very interesting visits, as is the Baan Dam Museum (The Black House). Here you will find many sculptures, buildings, and art collections created by one of Thailand's most loved artists Thawan Duchanee.


Many people are drawn to Chiang Rai due to its easy accessibility to surrounding sights and activities. Take a trip to visit long neck tribes, scenic tea plantations,  temples, monuments, the golden triangle (where Thailand, Myanmar, Laos connect), amazing waterfalls, hot springs and stunningly beautiful national parks. Chiang Rai really is very underrated but once visited most are often surprised by how much it has to offer and often stay longer or return for another visit.


Whilst Chiang Rai doesn't set the world alight with its number of places to eat, you'll still easily find enough you to keep you happy. There are numerous good western and Asian restaurants along with a few good markets offering a wide range of tasty local foods. The Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House is a simply fantastic and when in Chiang Rai you must visit here for exquisite Thai and western dishes. Check them out here http://www.chivitthammada.com. Evening entertainment in Chiang Rai is generally smaller and quieter than other tourist places, but with a small area of different types of bars and drinking joints there is definitely enough to keep you amused at night times, just don't be expecting anything to crazy.


Despite its small size Chiang Rai is a great place, with a wide range of things to do in and around the city, and should definitely be on your list to visit even if only for a few days. The Chiang Rai and northern people are lovely and friendly, the place is clean and tidy and with its quiet and relaxed atmosphere it makes for the perfect place to stay and explore what the northern Thailand has to offer.