Chiang Rai, the northernmost province of Thailand is
about 785 kilometers north of Bangkok. Situated on the Kok River basin,
Chiang Rai covers an area of approximately 11,678 square meters with an
average elevation of 580 meters above sea level. The province, which is
located within the renowned Golden Triangle area where Myanmar, Laos and
Thailand converge, is also known as the gateway to Myanmar, Laos and
Chiang Rai, which was founded in 1262 by King Meng Rai,
was the first capital of the Lanna Thai Kingdom (Kingdom of a million
rice fields), which was later conquered by Burma. It was not until 1786
that Chiang Rai became a Thai territory and was proclaimed a province
during the reign of King Rama VI in 1910.
Today, Chiang Rai is a travelers paradise endowed with abundant natural
tourist attractions and antiquities; the province itself is evidence of
past civilization. Attractions range from magnificent mountain scenery,
ruins of ancient settlements, historic sites, Buddhist shrines and
ethnic villages as the province is also home to several hill tribes who
maintain fascinating lifestyles. For those interested in the natural
side of Chiang Rai, jungle trekking is recommended along various trails.
Chiang Rai which tends to be a little more 'laid back' now competes with
Chiang Mai as a tourist attraction and is fast becoming a popular escape
for tourists wanting to get away from the troubles they left behind.