Chiang Rai – This beautiful city in Thailand has a history that goes further back than its more than three-decade duration as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. It is considered one of the oldest settlements in Thailand.
Although it might not be as popular as Chang Mai in terms of tourism, what makes it a perfect destination is the strong affiliation with the Tai culture – the origin of the Lanna People – which can be seen virtually everywhere around the city.
Despite the strong cultural affiliation, the city is evolving through new art to modernize the Lanna culture in a bid to offer a new perspective for visitors looking to understand what it means to belong to the Lanna Culture.
However, before you leave on your vacation, you have to make sure that you have everything in place. From your tickets to your hotels being booked. But most especially, you need to make sure you bought your travel insurance to protect you from unexpected expenses that might result from health issues, loss or theft of properties, and cancellations among other things. You can purchase travel insurance online with AA Insurance, and broaden it as you wish on the off chance that you choose to continue voyaging.
No matter what end of the culture you want to sample –be it old or modern –there is always a place in the city to satisfy your urge. And to make this easier, we have compiled a list of places to add to your itinerary.
Chiang Rai Golden Clock Tower
If you have been anywhere near the White Temple, then you would have most likely seen the clock tower with its twisting and swirling spires. Located at the junction of Phaholyothin and Banpaprakan Roads. Built-in 2008 as an honour to His Majesty, King Bhumibhol Adulydej, this clock tower comes alive every 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm with a vibrant display of light and sound. This is quite popular amongst tourists.
Hill-Tribes Museum and Education Centre
If you plan to know more about the culture of the Hill-tribe and visit their communities, then it is important to visit this museum. Its goal is to build awareness for responsible tourism by teaching tourists about the hill-tribe communities and etiquettes to be observed while visiting the villages.
The museum opens from 9am to 6pm on weekdays and 10am to 6pm on weekends and public holidays.
King Mengrai the Great Monument
This life-size monument is a dedication to the foundation of the Lanna Kingdom, King Mengrai the Great who reigned from 1262 to 1311.
It is the very first thing you see when approaching the city from Paholyothin Road and it is backed by three big Tungs which are the Lanna flags. Locals typically stop here on their way to the city to pay their respects to the founding father. It is also a great place to get some rest and buy some souvenirs on your way to the city.
Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park
If you will like a one-stop-shop for all things relating to the Chiang Rai past and immediate history and cultural heritage, then this is the place for you. Located in a lovely lake garden, it is a very beautiful environment to learn about the kingdom’s 400-year history.
It opens from 8.30am to 5.30pm every Tuesday to Sunday and is located about 5km to the west of the city.
Oub Kham Museum
If you will love to dig deeper into the Lanna history, then I will recommend the Oub Kham Museum. It showcases all the different aspects that come together to create the Lanna Kingdom; from the costumes to the myriad rare antiques.
The different collections are housed inside 5 exhibition rooms and a man-made cave. One of the major pieces there is the golden throne of Chiang Tung created from nine pieces of ornately carved teak and gilded with gold.
The museum opens from 8am to 5pm daily and is located on Na Khai Road, about 3km southwest of the city centre.
The Naval City Pillar
A perfect display of Lanna and ancient Khmer concepts of the universe, the Naval City Pillar is a series of carved stoned pillars set on top of the Jom Thong Hill. The site as a strong supernatural feel to it and while you are there, you can easily visit downtown Chiang Rai, the Kok River, and some other places located within the vicinity.
Phu Chi Fah
This beautiful cliff gives an extraordinary view of the island and its beaches and mountains. The road that leads to the cliff alone is filled with flora and mangroves that will take your breath away.
Located in Phi Pan Nam Range on the eastern edge of the Thoeng District, it is open for visiting all day and you can go with the family.
This is one place you must visit before you end your vacation. It is a pretty famous place because it borders three countries; Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar and they all meet on the Mekong River.
It also has a history of being the centre of Poppy cultivation at a point in Thailand. Visit this place and take a peek into the remains of an ancient culture through the ruins and remnant of the glorious history of those that lived there in the past.
Doi Mae Salong
At an altitude of 1800 metres, it is not just one of the best places to visit, it is also one of the highest peaks. This place holds a historical significance as being the settlement of a former Chinese division. However, today, it has been transformed into a tourist hotspot with a unique ambiance, delicious indigenous Chinese food, and lots more.
Located at Daen Lao Range, it is open from 8am to 5pm.
Mae Kok River
This beautiful river runs from Thathon in the north into the city itself and it is miles long. You can take a boat and cruise along the river with the family, soaking in the beautiful scenery along its length.
These above are but just a few of the beautiful locations that can be visited during a visit to Chiang Rai. However, like most places, it is advisable to be careful during your stay there so as not to end up stranded or in a tight situation. Once more, I will implore you to get your holiday insurance before you commence your vacation to be protected.