The city of Chiang Rai dates from the year 1262 and was founded by King Mengrai. A number of historic temples which include Wat Phra Kaew, the former home of Thailand’s treasured Emerald Buddha Statue, are living mementos to Chiang Rai’s passage through time. In addition to city temples, both the Chiang Rai White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and the Blue Temple are within 20 minutes’ drive.
Interesting museums, the Night Bazaar, two weekend walking street markets, and good nightlife and dining establishments are the other key draws of Chiang Rai itself. Modern Chiang Rai is the second largest city in Northern Thailand. It has an airport and a bus station which have services from Bangkok, Chiang Mai and other northern Thai destinations.
Chiang Rai is a comfortable base from which to explore or travel onwards to Doi Mae Salong, Mae Sai, Myanmar, Doi Tung, Chiang Saen, the Golden Triangle, Chiang Khong, Northern Laos and the landmark Phu Chi Fa mountain. Buses from Chiang Rai Bus Station 1 offer access to these places. Those who value their independence will find motorcycle hire or renting a car from Rentalcars.com are better options.
The webpages linked below provide information about the best Chiang Rai tourist attractions and activities, how to get here, and recommendations for eating, nightlife and hotels.