For ultimate tranquillity, head to Chiang Rai. The capital city in the province of the same name, this town is surrounded by natural beauty, fascinating history and developing tourist culture. Chiang Rai provides visitors with diverse attractions and an ideal base for exploring Thailand’s north.
Founded by Phaya Mengrai in 1262 as part of the Lao-Thai Lanna kingdom, Chiang Rai became a Siamese territory in 1786 and a province of Thailand in 1933. In the early centuries, however, Chiang Rai was overruled by Burma (now Myanmar) for 700 years until 1786. Chiang Rai sits about an hour away the Golden Triangle – the point where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet – and is therefore named after the opium production and trade that occurred here in past centuries. It is this elaborate and captivating history which makes Chiang Rai the culture-saturated preserve it is today.
Once you’ve explored your share of grand temples, Chiang Rai boasts jungle trekking, river boat rides, rock climbing, visits to authentic hill tribes and much more! Take a day to visit the nearby waterfalls of Kun Korn or Pong Prabat, then soak yourself in the natural hot springs at Pha Soet or Huai Hin Fon. The colourful night markets provide ample opportunity to mingle with the locals, purchase souvenirs, devour traditional food and immerse yourself in Thai culture. Other nearby activities and places to visit include the Hilltribe Museum Education Centre, Tham Tu Pu Buddha Cave, Lion Cave, Mae Fah Luang Art & Culture Park, Boomerang Adventure Park and the regional golf courses! With so much beauty and adventure, it’s no wonder Chiang Rai is quickly becoming such a praised Thailand holiday destination.
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