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Chiang Rai


Chiang Rai is the northernmost province (changwat) of Thailand. Neighbouring provinces are (from east clockwise) Phayao, Lampang and Chiang Mai. In the north it borders Shan State of Myanmar and Bokeo of Laos. Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai province, in Northern Thailand. The town has a population of around 62,000 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.

The average elevation of the province is 580 m. The north of the province belongs to the so-called Golden Triangle, at which the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge - an area which was very unsafe because of the drug smuggling across the borders. The Mekong river forms the boundary with Laos, the Mae Sai and Ruak River to Myanmar. Through the town of Chiang Rai itself flows the Kok River. While the eastern part of the province is relatively flat river plains, the western part consists of the mountainous terrain of the Hills of Northern Thailand.
While not the highest elevation of the province, the 1389 m high Doi Tung (Flag hill) is the most important hill. The Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple on top of the hill according to the chronicles dates back to the year 911. Nearby is the Doi Tung royal villa, former residence of the Late Princess mother (mother of the present king) Somdej Phra Srinagarindra. Thanks to her activities the hills were reforested, and the hill tribes changed from growing poppy to other crops.

The province is rich in tourism resources in terms of natural attractions and antiquities, evidence of its past civilisation. It is also home to various hilltribes who follow fascinating ways of life. Chiang Rai is also a tourism gateway into Myanmar and Laos.


Populations have dwelled in Chiang Rai since the 7th century and it became the center of the Lanna Thai Kingdom during the 13th century. The region, rich in natural resources and textiles, was occupied by the Burmese until 1786.
Chiang Rai became a province in 1910, after being part of the kingdom of Lannathai for centuries. After Lannathai was incorporated into Thailand, it stayed an autonomous region and thus the Chiang Rai area was administered from Chiang Mai.
Chiang Rai province’s Golden Triangle bordering Laos and Burma was once the hub of opium production which had much influence on cultural practices and lifestyles. Until this day, entire clans live together in bamboo houses and each village has its own individual character.


Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is the northernmost province of Thailand, 785 kilometres from Bangkok. It is adjacent to Myanmar and Laos on the north, Phayao and Lampang on the south, Laos on the east and Chiang Mai on the west.

It has a total area of 11,678 and is administratively divided into 16 counties.

There are three seasons like Chiang Mai -- the hot season from March to May, the rainy season from May to October and the cool season from November to February. In the cool season, the temperature may drop to 13 C at night. It can be lower in the mountains.

Situated at about 410 metres above sea level, the area of Chiang Rai mostly consists of mountains covered with forests. There are also fertile plains along the valleys of several rivers, such as the Kok, Sai, Ing and Mekong.

1,225,013 (end Dec 2007) with 605,963 males and 619,050 females.

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