The northernmost city in Thailand, Chiang Rai serves as the main commercial hub of the Golden Triangle, which contains the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. A busy town offering something for everyone, Chiang Rai is often used as a base for exploring the surrounding region.
The city is also home to a few museums that exhibit local heritage, culture, art and architecture. With its lovely green spaces, trees and flower, Saun Mai Ngam Park is a nice place to relax or attend a flower festival at year’s end. Markets and a night bazaar offer food, handicrafts, souvenirs and free cultural performances. Chiang Rai Beach is popular for picnics and riverboat cruises.
Outside of Chiang Rai, the Gate of Siam is a special place on the Laos border where visitors can enjoy lovely views. Namtok Khun Kon Forest Park offers nature walks and scenic waterfalls. Lion Hill Cave is an interesting cavern surrounded by picturesque scenery, hiking trails and picnic areas. Various tour companies operating from Chiang Rai guide tourists to nearby hill tribes to experience their culture and traditions.
Restaurants are plentiful in Chiang Rai and serve a variety of cuisines from Northern Thai to Western. Local specialty foods include khao sawy (chicken curry with noodles) and Northern Thai sausage. There is also a good supply of bars and clubs for nightlife options.