Chiang Rai, Thailand's furthest northern province, is about 785 kms. from Bangkok and 580 meters above sea level. Its area, mostly covered with mountains, is 11,678 square kilometers. The most important river is Mae Kok which is about 130 kilometers long. Chiang Rai is divided into 13 Amphoes and 3 King Amphoes : Muang, Chiang Kong, Chiang Saen, Mae Chan, Mae. Sai, Mae Suai, Pa Daet, Phan, Thoeng, Wiang Pa Pao, Wiang Chai, Phaya Mengrai, Wiang Kaen and King Amphoe Mae Fa Luang, Khun Tan and Mae Lao.
Chiang Rai was founded in 1262 A.D. by King Mengrai, whose statue can be easily seen on the way to Mae Chan. It used to be the capital of Lanna Kingdom and later was conquered by Burma. It was not until 1786 that Chiang Rai became Thai territory. It was proclaimed a province during the reign of King Rama VI in 1910 A.D. Nowadays Chiang Rai is famous for its tasty lychees and the Golden Triangle in Amphoe Chiang Saen.
The Monument of King Mengrai the Great is situated at the starting point of the road to Mae Clan, Chiang Saen and Mae Sai.
Rafting in Mae Kok River The Mae Kok River, 130 kms. long, running through the heart of Chiang Rai, is said one of the most beautiful and unspoil rivers of the world. It flows gently along jungle banks and towering mountain cliffs. Along its route live several hill tribes and jungle tribes of Chiang Rai. The people are friendly and the life aboard the raft is relaxing. There are regular well, organized rafting trips to and from Chiang Rai with many interesting destinations. Two popular tours are from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and vice versa.
Phrathat Doi Tung is a holy relic that draws devout Buddhists from as far as Laos and Myanmar for annual worship.It is atop the highest Chiang Rai mountain at Doi Tung, elevation 2,000 meters. The shrine is reached by a torturous mountain road, winding its way up and down mountain sides for 17kms. off Highway No. 110. It is 48 kms. from Chiang Rai town. The unmatched panoramic view reaches to Myanmar and Laos on the horizon.
Phra Tamnak Doi Tung is a beautiful royal residence built for the Princess Mother on the way to Phrathat Doi Tung. The main attraction is Suan Mae Fa Luang, a very beautiful garden, decorated with different kinds of plants and flowers. The garden is open to visitors daily from 06:00-18:00 hrs.
The Golden Triangle is where the borders of the three countries (Laos, Thailand and Myanmar) meet. It is about 9 kilometers north of Chiang Saen. From this place, Laotian and Myanma borders can be seen across the Mae Khong and Ruak Rivers, respectively. Accommodations are available for tourists who want to stay over night. Boats can be rented for trips along the Mae Khong River.
Chiang Saen Lake To get to the lake, travel five kilometers from Chiang Saen along Highway No.1016, turning left at Km. 27, go a further two kilometers. The lake's one square kilometer of water is home to waterfowl during the winter months. Accommodations are available.
Lychee Fair is an annual fair held in May. Chiang Rai, Thailand's northernmost province, is known for the high quality of the lychees that grow in its orchards. This fair celebrates the harvest season. In addition to sales of the fruit, there are displays of other agricultural products, local handicrafts and a beauty contest to select Miss Lychee.