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Popular Destinations near Chiang Rai
Favourite Cities and Hotels in Thailand

Though not quite the draw as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is a wonderful destination in Thailand. Home to many fine points of interest, the small city also serves as a perfect base to discover the exotic Golden Triangle region. With Laos and Burma on the doorstep, Chiang Rai offers the promise of extraordinary exploration.

The Gate of Siam is where many begin in Chiang Rai. From a mountain summit that rises above the Mekong River on the border of Laos, one has access to a phenomal panorama. Doi Tung Royal Villa is the residence of the mother of the King of Thailand and features ornate architectural details from an idyllic hillside perch. No visit to Chiang Rai however, would be complete without a tour of the five Buddhist temples in and around the city of 62,000 people. Set within exquisite countryside, from Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong to Wat Rong Khun, they provide a sense of spiritual escape.

  • Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong
  • Wat Rong Khun
  • Doi Tung Royal Villa
  • Doi Tung Zoo
  • Gate of Siam
  • King Meng Rai Festival
  • Lichi Fair
  • Songkran Festival
  • Loi Krathong Festival
  • Phu Chi Fa
  • Restaurants
  • Night Markets/Food Stalls
  • Baan Nattawadee
  • Rattanakosin
  • Po Sai
  • Sala Mae Naam

  • Nightlife
  • Rasta Bar
  • Turntable Jazz Bar
  • Easy Bar
  • Reggae Bar
  • Cat Bar

  • Chiang Rai has a tropical monsoon climate, with heavy rainfall and average temperatures between 22°C and 34°C from May to October. The most comfortable time to visit is from December to February, when temperatures waver between 14°C and 30°C.

    Chiang Rai Hotels

    HotelClub

    Chiang Rai Rundown

    What a difference one letter makes. While indeed folly to allege that Chiang Rai has the inherent cachet of Chiang Mai, this is no rebuff of the former. Advocates of small-batch tourism rather enjoy the mini-platform to the Golden Triangle, which nestles on the doorstep of both Laos and Burma. As a result, it helps to think of Chiang Rai in different terms, either as a chill-out day trip from Chiang Mai or as a gateway to a more intrepid style of holiday in the extreme northern recess of Thailand. ... Read more »

    The Gate of Siam is a good place to start in Chiang Rai. On one side, Laos. On the other, the formidable Mekong River. Like so many other bellwether attractions in this vital intersection of Southeast Asia, the stellar photo op is a magnificent vantage point from which to survey the incomparable tri-border area from a distance. Back in Chiang Rai proper, make time for telltale landmarks like Doi Tung Royal Villa, Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong, Wat Rong Khun, Wat Klang Wiang, Wat Jet Yot, Wat Phra Sing and Wat Rong Khun. While elegant Buddhist temples dominate the tourist agenda, the city (and province) has another side that plays out vibrantly in night markets, hawker back streets, museums and hill tribe villages.

    Chiang Rai's Top 10

    10. Oub Kham Museum is a first-rate depot for royal court bric-a-brac.

    5. Wat Rong Khun, or White Temple, is a modern, avant-garde take on Buddhist architecture.

    9. Wat Jet Yot unfurls remarkable details under seven conspicuous spires!

    4. Wat Klang Wiang dates back to the 16th century and underwent a thorough restoration in the 1990s.

    8. Wat Phra Kaeo was the 14th century home of the famous Emerald Buddha.

    3. Hilltribe Museum provides a refreshing, unadulterated perspective of what life is like for the indigenous peoples of northern Thailand.

    7. Wat Phra Sing is a brilliant showcase for age-old, local craftsmanship.

    2. Royal Villa and Mae Fah Luang Gardens grace the summit and slope of Doi Tung, a small mountain close to the border of Burma.

    6. Black House is the clandestine atelier of the avant-garde painter Thawan Duchanee.

    1. Gate of Siam is a grand perch with phenomenal views of Chiang Rai and Laos.

    Chiang Rai History

    • Mae Salong - This quiet village atop a hill offers a glimpse into the past.
    • Chiang Saen - A small town located on the Mekong, it is actually much older than Chiang Rai.
    • Doi Tung Royal Villa - This former royal residence is now open to the public.
    • Lahu Village - This ancient village near Chiang Rai operates much as it did in ancient times.
    • Mae Fah Luang Flower Garden - A garden created by the royal family to illustrate new ways of income that did not involve opium.

    Chiang Rai Art & Culture

    • Hilltribe Museum and Education Centre - This museum shows the history of the indigenous people of the area.
    • Cultural Hall Museum - This small Chiang Rai museum is a great place to learn about the history of the region.
    • Goh Loi Library - This popular library houses works of Thai literature and history.
    • House of Opium - A unique museum that shows the turbulent history of the drug trade.
    • Haw Shan Art Gallery - For great examples of indigenous art, this gallery is a great place to start.

    Chiang Rai Shopping

    • Chiang Rai Night Bazaar - Held nightly, this market is the best place to buy handcrafted items made in Chiang Rai.
    • Kaat Jiang Hai Ramleuk - This Saturday evening street market focuses on everything and anything you can imagine.
    • MZ Collection - This small shop focuses on handmade jewellery using precious stones from around the area.
    • Orn’s Bookshop - If you are looking for reading material, this is the best place to find it.
    • Gare Garon - Mostly dealing with new books, this shop also features handcrafted items from around the area.

    Gay & Lesbian Chiang Rai

    • Regency Bar - This small gay bar is a favourite place for a smart cocktail and relaxed atmosphere.
    • Banrao Massage - This gay-owned massage parlour offers a brilliant way to relax after a day of sightseeing.
    • JJ Sauna - A new arrival on the gay sauna scene, this popular spot also features a bar.
    • The North - This gay-friendly hotel in Chiang Rai has a friendly, small staff.
    • The Living Room - This trendy nightspot is open to everyone but is especially popular among gays.

    Chiang Rai Outdoor

    • Clock Tower - Stop by this clock tower each night for a beautiful outdoor display of light and colour that should not be missed.
    • Phu Chi Fa Forest Park - Locals and tourists alike flock here for some of the most beautiful natural settings.
    • Tham Khao Luang Cave - This nearby cave offers a chance for underground adventure.
    • Sop Ruak - Many people come to this centre of the Golden Triangle to ride bicycles.
    • Chiang Dao Elephant Trek - Just outside of Chiang Rai, this popular activity brings one closer to the sacred animal of Thailand.

    Chiang Rai Sports

    • Catch a wave with Planete Wakeboard.
    • Climb a cliff in Chiang Rai at Boomerang Rock Climbing and Adventure Park.
    • Ride the rapids with Ping River Rafting Tour.
    • Sail around the beautiful waters of Chiang Saen Lake.
    • Hike the shores of the beautiful Mae Kok River.

    Chiang Rai Events

    Wai Sa Phaya Mengrai or Phokhun Mengrai Maharat Festival takes place at the end of Janaury.

    Dok Siao Ban or Blooming Siao Flower Festival is held in mid-February in Thoeng District and eatures sports competitions and cultural performances from hilltribes.

    Songkran, the most popular of all festivals in Thailand, occurs in mid-April.

    Lichi Fair features parades, beauty contests and other events at Chiang Rai provincial stadium in May.

    Chiang Rai Flower Festival is a celebration with flower processions, gardens and an agricultural fair in late December and early January.

    When To Go

    Chiang Rai has a tropical monsoon climate with heavy rainfall from May to October and average summer temperatures in the 72°F (22°C) to 91°F (33°C) range.

    The most comfortable time to visit the province is from December to February, when temperatures waver between 54°F (12°C) and 88°F (31°C) and precipitation is minimal.

    Getting Around

    Chiang Mai is the most popular gateway to Chiang Rai. A one-way bus ride takes about three hours. For a more scenic and casual pace, many prefer to charter a long boat upriver.

    The city operates a small airport with daily service to and from Bangkok. Route 1 runs through Chiang Rai from the capital and on a good day, the drive takes somewhere in the vicinity of fourteen hours.

    Public transport in Chiang Rai is a typical combo of tuk-tuks and baht bus share taxis. The number of meter taxis in the city has gone up over the last decade but is far off the pace of Chiang Mai.

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    Siam Triangle Hotel
    Reviewer score
    3.4
    out of 51 Reviews
    267 Moo 9 Tambon Wiang Chiang Rai Amphoe Chiang Saen 57150

    Siam Triangle Hotel features modern and luxurious accommodations ideal for travellers exploring this part of Chiang Ra... More hotel details

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    Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort
    Reviewer score
    4.4
    out of 51 Reviews
    221/2 Moo 20 Kwaewai Road Tambon Robwieng Amphur Muang Chiang Rai 57000

    Whether travelling for business or pleasure, Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort provides quality accommodation and professi... More hotel details

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    Amarin Resort Chiang Rai
    Reviewer score
    0
    out of 50 Reviews
    179/1 Moo 20 Tumbol Robveing Amphhur Muang Chiang Rai 57000

    Amarin Resort Chiang Rai is located right in the heart of Chiang Rai city, in the north of Thailand. This property off... More hotel details

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    Chiangkhong Teak Garden Hotel
    Reviewer score
    0
    out of 50 Reviews
    666 Sai Klang Road Moo 8 Wiang Chiangkhong Chiang Rai 57140

    Set against the beautiful backdrop of Mekong River, Chiangkhong Teak Garden Hotel forms the perfect holiday accommodat... More hotel details

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    Piyaporn Hill Paradise
    Reviewer score
    0
    out of 50 Reviews
    858 Mu 1 Wiang Phang Kham Mae Sai Chiang Rai 57130

    Piyaporn Hill Paradise features fully facilitated accommodations and scenic location for holidaymakers wanting a relax... More hotel details

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    Rimkok Resort Chiang Rai
    Reviewer score
    3.0
    out of 51 Reviews
    6 Moo 4 Maekok Road Amphur Muang, Chiangrai 57100

    This property offers the delightful combination of the refined and gracious service of traditional northern Thai hospi... More hotel details

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    The Imperial Golden Triangle Resort Chiang Rai
    Reviewer score
    4.2
    out of 52 Reviews
    222 Golden Triangle Chiang Saen Chiang Rai 57150

    Presenting you a blend of warm and cosy hospitality with friendly services, the Imperial Golden Triangle Resort is you... More hotel details

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    The Palm Garden Hotel Chiang Rai
    Reviewer score
    4.4
    out of 51 Reviews
    375/1 Pho Khun Road Soi 8 Robvieng Muang Chiang Rai 57000

    The Palm Garden Hotel Chiang Rai offers quality lodging services along with Northern Thailand Hospitality in Chiang Ra... More hotel details

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    Laluna Hotel & Resort Chiang Rai
    Reviewer score
    4.5
    out of 52 Reviews
    160 Moo 14 Sanambin Road Muang Chiang Rai 57000

    Offering all the modern facilities, this property provides you all the maximum comfort that is needed for a pleasant a... More hotel details

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    Mantrini Boutique Resort Chiang Rai
    Reviewer score
    4.3
    out of 52 Reviews
    292/13 Moo 13 Robwiang Muang District Chiang Rai 57000

    Offering new perspective of hospitality that blends the essence of Lanna's art with today's travel and lifestyle,Mantr... More hotel details

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