Chiang Rai City

Remote Mueang Chiang Rai District Chiang Rai Thailand Published on: 08-06-2016

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  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Chiang Rai is a city in Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai Province. Chiang Rai is the northernmost large city in Thailand.

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Why Chiang Rai City is special ?

Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. The metro area has a population of 200,000 and is the main commercial centre serving the Golden Triangle border region of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. It is an excellent base for exploring the region. Chiang Rai is essentially a service city for the surrounding province. Despite its relatively small population, Chiang Rai has respected universities and other civic facilities.

The character is distinctly Northern and is distinct to Chiang Mai to the south in various ways. The food is definitely spicier and the ethnic composition includes a good percentage of hill tribes and Myanmar exiles such as various varieties of Karen tribespeople.


What to explore at Chiang Rai City?

Remote hilltribe villages perched on rugged, mist-shrouded mountains; opium warlords leading mule trains through the dense jungles of the Golden Triangle; ancient temples set in picturesque riverbank towns aside the mighty Mekong: Chiang Rai conjures up evocative and exotic images.

Chiang Rai has such a diversity of attractions that its capital is often overlooked. This small delightful city is worth getting to know, however, with its relaxed atmosphere, good-value accommodation and great local food. It’s also the logical base from which to plan excursions to the more remote corners of the province.


How to get to Chiang Rai City?

By plane

Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI) is located on Phaholyotin Rd 8 km from the centre of Chiang Rai. Car rental is available on arrival from several companies as well as in town.

By bus: There are two bus stations in Chiang Rai: the old bus station and new bus station.

- Old Bus Station (Bus Terminal 1) is located in the centre of town. Buses coming from towns in Chiang Rai province such as Chiang Khong and Mae Sai stop here.

- New Bus Station (Bus Terminal 2) is 7km south of the city, just off the Super Highway. Buses from elsewhere in Thailand stop here. Greenbus services to and from Chiang Mai stop by here on the way to the Old Bus Station, or on the way to Chiang Mai after departing from the Old Bus Station.

There is a songthaew (officially a "minibus") connecting the two bus terminals. It costs 15 baht per person and takes 15 minutes. Some drivers ask you to pay more if there are fewer than 10 passengers, despite what the official price list posted inside the songthaew says. You can just wait for the next one and pay 15 baht.


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5.0 days
235.13 USD
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Mueang Chiang Rai District Chiang Rai Thailand

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Tips for you

  • The city itself can be explored on foot, but for trips into the province consider renting a car or a motorbike.
  • There is a TAT office opposite the old town hall on Singhaklai, open 08:30-16:30, with some useful maps and pamphlets.
    What to know
  • Change facilities and plenty of ATMs can be found on Phaholyothin.
    What to know
  • For those who want to shopping, you can visit the Night Bazaar or Morning Market. The largest shopping mall is Central Plaza Chiang Rai, a couple of clicks south of the centre on Route 1.
  • There is lots of good food to be found in Chiang Rai, but most tourists seem to end up eating at the Night Bazaar.
  • Chiang Rai is a rather featureless town; many streets look similar and many downtown ones are one-way, so it can be a confusing city to negotiate and your only decent landmark is the famous clock-tower.

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