Chaing Rai is often described as Chiang Mai, just on a smaller scale. South of Burma and part of the famous Golden Triangle, it's one of Thailand's most rural areas and has an interesting history of opium production. Visitors who come to this northern Thai city love the change in scenery compared to Thailand's busy capital and if your aim is to see the real ... More>Thailand, make a Chiang Rai hotel a priority!
Once you've arrived in the city, climb aboard a tricycle, tuk-tuk or hire a driver to chauffeur you around. The city's temples provide the main sites of interest, especially the magnificent Wat Phra Kaew, the city's most celebrated Buddhist temple. Undoubtedly, the most unusual temple is the Wat Rong Khun. This white, glittery wonder is a modern structure that is still evolving today. Once you feel as if you have had enough of walking around ancient buildings, pack a bag and arrange a nature trek. Easily organised from your Chiang Rai hotel, guides are readily available to take you to the village of Ban Ruammit, Lahu, Mien or Akha.
If you're looking for an authentic meal, check out Banphaprakan and Thanalai Road. For something different, head to the night market and have a progressive dinner from one vendor to the next. The night market is one of the main tourist areas and you'll find a truck load of trinkets and treats to take home for your friends. When you're done for the night, ask your driver to take you via the city's roundabout that flashes, sparkles and plays music. Choose your accommodation from our list of Chiang Rai hotels, guesthouses and resorts here.