The Golden Triangle. Its opium related history may have faded years ago, but the area offers other things; namely culture and nature. And to see Thai influences merge with Laotian and Burmese is quite fascinating and interesting in itself. This is where Chiang Rai comes into play. Situated in Northern Thailand, almost touching the point in which the three countries merge, this is where people head to for excursions into the area.
Just to give you an idea of the town’s geography and distance from other places, Chiang Rai is 200 kilometers northeast from Chiang Mai. It is approximately 62 kilometers from Mae Sai, a Thai border town with Myanmar and 60 kilometers southwest of Chiang Saen from the Laos border. So, you see, it is a great base to explore the area. The Lanna heritage also reigns strong here, as evident by its many temples that reflect its art style and architecture and a museum dedicated to the Lanna Kingdom.
There is more to the town than just the Golden Triangle. It is a great place to explore and learn about Thai life, the city’s neighboring villages and the area’s lush and green environment. The Mekong River, the world’s 12th largest forms borders with Laos and Myanmar. The border scenery is just stupendous. While cruising along the river make sure your camera is ready. Why? That’s because the rich biodiversity of the area is also home to the Irrawaddy Dolphin. In case you don’t know, this is a rare fish, err, mammal that is known to swim around here. Only 1200 or so are left in the wild, so if one ever pops up for air, take that picture!
Did you know that the sacred Emerald Buddha, now in the Grand Palace in Bangkok use to call Chiang Rai home? The temple, also called Wat Phra Kaew, was the site where, according to legend, the Emerald Buddha was rediscovered when lightning struck a stupa, cracking open the ground and revealing the revered image.
This is also hilltribe land. If you want to see how people lived their lives hundreds of years ago today, then this is your best bet. In fact, about 12 percent of the 200,000 population are considered hilltribes, most of which are Karen, Lisu or Akha.
Ready to take that northern adventure? Discover the Best of Chiang Rai. Hilltribes, temples, the northern aura; it is all here for you to experience and bask in. But hold on, there’s more. See what Thailand can offer you by checking out our tours page. Everything is here, beaches, mountains, cultural excursions and people who are dedicated to making your holiday the best one yet.
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