Chiang Rai

Thailand's tourist pearl in the Golden Triangle

Categories: Chiang Rai Thailand

With 70,000 citizens, the city of Chiang Rai (not to be confused with Chiang Mai, 200 km away), located in the far north of Thailand 850 km north of Bangkok, is pleasantly manageable. In the metropolitan region including the immediate surroundings live about 200,000 people. A good 15 % of them are not ethnic Thai, but belong to mountain tribes such as Karen or Meo. Chiang Rai is located in a mountainous border area called the "Golden Triangle", which can be experienced on trekking tours.
Chiang Rai - the white temples of Wat Rong Khun© Radarani / Fotolia

At a distance of 50 km from Chiang Rai, at the tributary of the Ruak into the Mekong, the border lines of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) meet. Another tributary of the Mekong, the Mae Nam Kok, or Kok for short, is the river along which Chiang Rai extends in a bank plain over an area of about 60 square kilometres. The city can look back on almost a thousand years of history.

In the 13th century, Chiang Rai was founded as the residence and capital of the kingdom of Lan Na, which stretches over northern Thailand and today's Chinese, Burmese and Laotian areas. Founder and name-giver of the city was King Mangrai. Later the city was under Burmese rule for a long time. From the end of the 18th century Chiang Rai belonged to the vassal territories of Siam as part of the Kingdom of Chiang Mai until it was finally annexed by Siam (Thailand) in 1899.

Chiang Rai can offer a row of Buddhist temples worth seeing like Wat Phra That Chom Sak, Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong or Wat Phra Kaew. Besides, the still unfinished white temple (Wat Rong Khun) is of quite special originality. It is the individual private (art) work of the architect Chalermchai Kositpipat who has begun the construction of the temple complex completely in white held, donation-financed as a pious sacrifice more than twenty years ago.

The planned completion date of the building, which is decorated with a multitude of sculptures and paintings, is 2070. Also impressive is the temple Wat Hua Pla Kung with its nine levels, dominated by a Buddha statue 100 meters high. Absolutely recommendable, in order to dive into the world of the Chiang Rai inhabitants and to be fascinated by the colourfulness of this world, are the still very authentic night markets. Especially interesting is the Saturday market.
Chiang Rai - Tiger Caves Temple© markus / Fotolia

Here urban and rural traders and producers offer their goods for sale. Live musicians add atmosphere to the market events. Pure relaxation is offered by the huge Singha Park, which can be explored with rental bicycles, with its animal enclosures and other attractions. Just as relaxing is a visit to the Rai Maeh Fah Luang Culture Park, which impresses with its extensive museum facilities in a lot of green.

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