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Chiang Rai | Thailand | Chiangrai city and province

Chiang Rai City in Thailand

The city of Chiang Rai is the capital Thailand’s northernmost province. It is a popular tourist destination where people from all corners of the globe visit. Strong cultural tradition prevails in this amazing province and here people generally come to see a part of the famous “Golden Triangle” or visit hill tribes and learn about their culture. The golden triangle is based at the banks of the Maekong River, which is the meeting juncture of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. Therefore, the city acts as the main access point of Laos, Myanmar and Southern China as well.

Another popular temple in the city is Wat Phra Kaew. The distance of the city from Bangkok is about 800 kilometers, and it is filled with picturesque intense mountains, hot springs, waterfalls, river valleys, historical destinations, etc. Visitors who wish to access hill tribe villages in Chiang Rai such as Akha, Karen, Lisu, Meo and Muser can use guide or do enjoyable trekking around. There are several national parks in the city and these parks provide nice facilities. Enjoyable mountain biking can also be done in the roads of the Chiang Rai city.

History of Chiangrai

The city became Mangrai dynasty’s capital after it was founded in 1262 by King Mangrai. It didn’t serve as the capital city for a long period as the newly constructed city, named Chiang Mai, took over as the new capital. After that, Chiang Rai went under the Burmese rule for hundreds of years after Burma conquered the city. Chiang Rai became Chiang Mai vassal in 1786. Then in 1899, Thailand took over Chiang Mai and finally, in 1933, Thailand declared Chiangrai as its province.

Chiang Rai is the place where the most valued statue of Lord Buddha, the Phra Kaeo, was found. It is said that around 1474, when the Mangrai dynasty’s King Sam Fang Kaen was in power, the temple was stroke by a lightnight. That event cracked the Chedi at Wat Phra Kaeo where the stunning statue was hidden in the wall. This statue is now in Bangkok, in the Royal Palace, and is called the Emerald Buddha in English. (Thai: พระแก้ว มรกต) The name Emerald was given because people thought the statue was made of Emerald but it’s actually made of Jadeite.

The population and life at Chiang Rai

The province of Chiang Rai is populated with around 1.23 million people and its area covers some 11,678 kilometers. The province is distributed into 16 districts, which are Muang Chaing Rai, Wiang Chai, Theong, Phan, Chiang Khong, Chiang Saen, Mae Chan, Mae Sai, Mae Suai, Pa Daet, Phraya Meng Rai, Wiang Kaen, Khun Tan, Mae Fah Kuang, Mae Lao and Wiang Pa Pao. Also, there are 2 sub-districts, which are Wiang Chaing Rung and Doi Luang.

People in Chiang Rai enjoy their life to the fullest. There are several festivals that the visitors take an interest in. The prominent festivals include different new year celebrations (standard new year, Muslim new year and Chinese new year); Maha Puja – Buddhist commemorative day in February; Thot Kra Tin – merit making ceremonies at temples; The Maha Songkran Water Festival (world’s biggest water-fight that takes place for nine or ten days in April); Visakha Puja and Ahsa Puja (full moon in may and late July respectively); Heh Tian, a festival of candles in August; King’s birthday on December 5th; Chiang Rai Food Fair in December; etc.

Attractions

Princess Mother Hall and Doi Mae Salong – The location can be visited by traveling through beautiful sceneries. You have to take a roadway from Mae Chan and sometimes, the road can be steep. Kuomintang museum is a popular attraction for the tourists on Mae Salong. You can visit the Doi Tung Royal Villa, which was the last residence of the King’s mother. The beautiful villa was constructed by incorporating Swiss and Lanna architectural styles. Enjoy the pristine beauty of nature as the Gate of Siam. Here you can reach the peak of a mountain and watch the mesmerizing beauty of Mekong River flowing underneath. Other popular attractions include Phu Chi Fa, Doin Tung Zoo, Wat Rung Khun and other.

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This post is also available in: French, Thai