|Chiang Rai, was founded in 1262 by King Meng Rai, was the first
capital of the Lanna Thai Kingdom
(Kingdom of a million rice fields), Chiang Rai was later conquered
by Burma. It was not until 1786 that
Chiang Rai became a Thai territory and was proclaimed a province
during the reign of King Rama VI in 1910.
Chiang Rai, the northernmost province of Thailand is about 785
kilometers north of Bangkok. Situated on the Kok River basin,
Chiang Rai covers an area of approximately 11,678 square meters
with an average elevation of 580
meters above sea level. The province, which is located within the
renowned Golden Triangle area where Myanmar,
Laos and Thailand converge, is also known as the gateway to
Myanmar, Laos and Southern China.
Today, Chiang Rai is a travelers paradise endowed with abundant
natural tourist attractions and antiquities; the province itself is
evidence of past civilization. Attractions range from magnificent
mountain scenery, ruins of ancient settlements, historic sites,
Buddhist shrines and ethnic villages as the province is also home
to several hill tribes who maintain fascinating lifestyles. For
those interested in the natural side of Chiang Rai, jungle trekking
is recommended along various trails
Thai Airways has daily flights connecting Bangkok with Chiang Rai.
For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 0 2280
0060, 0 2628 2000, the Chiang Rai Office.
The coach ride from Bangkok to Chiang Rai is probably best made
overnight since passengers can avail themselves of sleep prior to
an early morning arrival. There are both air-conditioned and
non-air-conditioned bus services from Bangkok’s Northern Bus
Terminal (Mochit 2 Bus Terminal) on Kamphaengphet 2 Road. The
journey may take approximately 9-11 hours.
Take Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin Road), turn to route No. 32
passing Ayutthaya, Angthong and Singburi Provinces and change to
route No. 11 passing Phitsanulok, Uttaradit and Phrae Provinces
then turn left to Highway No. 103, drive through to Ngao District
and turn right onto Highway No. 1 which takes you to Phayao and
Chiang Rai Provinces. The total distance is 785 km.
There is no direct train to Chiang Rai. You have to take a train to
Lampang (9 hrs. from Bangkok) or Chiang Mai (11 hrs.) and then take
a bus to Chiang Rai. (2 hrs. from Lampang and 1.30 hrs. from Chiang
Mai) For more details, call the State Railway of Thailand, 1690
Chiang Rai Festivals are thoughtout the year.Most Festival are
||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.
||Lychee Fair This is held annually in May. Celebrating the
provinces tastiest fruit, this fair features agricultural displays
and exhibitions, local handicrafts, folk entertainment and beauty
||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.