Discover the unexplored city in Thailand – Chiang Rai
Want to visit Thailand, as an authentic traveller rather than a typical tourist? [Yes, that is possible!] Well then we have some off-beat places for you to visit, and some different things for you to do! Choose the quieter, but equally interesting sister town of Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai! A more relaxed yet energizing set of days await you! With abundant outdoor activities, cultural attractions, stunning properties and much more – this unexplored city has a lot more to offer than you know of.
About Chaing Rai
Lying in the alluvial pains of the Mae Kok river, Chiang Rai is actually one of the biggest cities of Northern Thailand. It was in 1262 that King Meng Rai established Chiang Rai as the first capital of the Lanna Kingdom. This lineage is clearly visible in the culture of the city. Even though the city has stayed away from the tourist radar for a while, it has come up in a big way with its natural beauty and outdoor appeal as its unique selling proposition.
Chiang Rai is a natural paradise, and gives you much more than the usual touristy options to choose from for your activities here. Eco-Tourism forms the primary theme of most tours here. Here is what you can experience at Chiang Rai.
The Caves Are Calling
If you aren’t scared of the dark and would like a walk into the unknown, the natural caves of Chiang Rai are exciting. The Fish Cave/ Monkey temple sits inside a cave. Within this cave is a jewelled Buddha, the other side of which overlooks the much spoken about golden triangle – the meeting point of Thailand, Burma and Laos. There is also Tham Phra cave!
Yes, this may sound boring, but it has more to offer than meets the eye. Apart from the leisurely cycling around the relatively flat city, you can also opt for an adventurous cycling tours. These will take you out to the far flung wilderness, dirt tracks, rickety bridges and rugged hill paths. These tours can also be overnight, and involve some sightseeing.
Chiang Rai has 2 championship golf courses, amidst the beautiful mountains and picturesque scenery. The lush green valleys provide the perfect view, and the course has a perfect balance of leisure and obstacles.
A Water Retreat
There are multiple hot springs in Chiang Rai, with the riverside dotted with with beautiful properties. A soak in a natural hot water pool is deeply relaxing. Don’t forget to notice people boiling eggs in the hot springs! For those of you who are in a more adventurous mood, get on board the bamboo rafting activity!
Through The Jungles
Owing to the plethora of wilderness in Chiang Rai, Jungle treks are very famous. You can trek through winding paths and trees, or also choose to explore jungles on an elephant back. There will be multiple waterfalls on your way! Most hotels and guest houses arrange these treks for their guests.
Chiang Rai is also famous for its plunging waterfalls with gushing water in scenic surroundings. Some of these are within the national park, and some need you to hike up to them. [The hike if the adventurous highlight of the whole experience!] Some still pools give you a chance to shed those clothes and jump in as well!
Hill Tribes Await
Chiang Rai is home to Thailand’s 6 biggest ethnic tribes. A visit to the city almost definitely includes a visit to the villages of these hill tribes. In some cases overnight stays can also be included. You get to learn about the livelihood and culture of these authentic ethnic tribal people, interact with them and also purchase some local handicrafts.
The Golden Triangle
By far one of the most mainstream tourist visits of Chiang Rai includes a visit to the golden triangle i.e. the meeting point of 3 countries, Thailand, Burma & Laos. You can visit the house of opium as well, because the area was famous for opium trade.
The White Temple Visit
Wat Rong Khun is also known as The White Temple due do its dazzling white color inlaid with mirrored glass. It is a contemporary, unconventional, privately owned, art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple. The most important and well known areas in this temple are The Bridge of the Cycle of Rebirth and The Gate of Heaven. The entrance fee is low, and this temple is a must go to.
Chiang Rai does have a Night Bazar and some nightlife to offer. There are also bars, pubs, massage parlours, etc. The clock tower is a famous point as well. However the city’s charm lies in its outdoorsy nature. You can explore its markets and restaurants as well, however for the real Chiang Rai experience stick to nature and its ways!
For a great experience at Chiang Rai, it is necessary that you pick your hotel right! Possibly one of the best stays shall greet you at Le Meridien. This is where Lanna architecture and Thai hospitality blend in to give you a memorable stay. Having been recommended and awarded by Thailand Tourism itself, Le Meridien offers multiple rooms and packages. You will be spoilt for choice in terms of cuisines and food!
With a fitness centre, pool, access to nearby cultural zones, planned trips and excursions, offers for events ranging from meetings to weddings and spas – Le Meredien ensures that you are well taken care of and get more than your money’s worth!
Chiang Rai awaits you with its adventure, thrill, serenity and beauty! Don’t wait any longer. Take the plunge of exploring the unexplored.