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The northernmost province in Thailand, Chiang Rai, has one of the richest cultures and histories of the entire country. Neighboured by the Shan State of Burma and Bokeo in Laos, there remains a great ethnic variety in the region, which has given birth to a unique culture formed by different clans who retain their individual village structures.
Pervading the region is Chiang Rai’s past as the capital of Thailand’s ancient Lanna Kingdom, dating to the 13th century AD. Consequently, Chiang Rai attractions are some of the most awe-inspiring and rewarding in Thailand. Visitors can learn about the region’s dark past as the hub of opium production, immerse themselves in the 'culture of the elephant' (a national symbol that has for centuries served as the region’s workhorse), visit glorious temples and architectural landmarks owing to Chiang Rai’s Lanna routes, and taste some of the most vibrant food in Southeast Asia. Below is a brief Chiang Rai travel guide to help you get to know some of what we think are the most exciting sites around the region.
For a full list of Anantara Golden Triangle’s area excursions with experienced Chiang Rai guides, visit Golden Triangle area excursions.
Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park: Five kilometres from Chiang Rai’s centre, this park/museum was founded by the late Princess Mother, who purchased the 140 rai plot to help assist youngsters from rural areas.
Chiang Sean: The northern part of Chiang Rai was the ancient Lanna capital, and today stands as a historical park, complete with awe-inspiring ancient monuments in the region’s signature rust-colored stone.
Doi Tung: Rising 2,000 metres above sea level, this revered mountain is home to several historical sites, including Doi Tung Palace, Mae Fa Lung Flower Garden and the Wat Phra Doi Tung Holy Relic.
Wat Rong Khun: Known as the ‘White Temple’, this remarkable structure is the life-time’s work of living artist Chaloemchai Khositphiphat, who continues to add to his Opus even today. The ornate white structure contains the glorious ordination hall, Phra Ubosot, which glitters with silver shards of mirror.
The Golden Triangle: The magnificent stretch of country where the Mekong and Ruak Rivers converge, and right where you will find Anantara Golden Triangle. The region is composed of three corners of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos, and features many ancient structural remains.
Wat Phra Kaeo: The ‘Emerald Buddha’, Thailand’s most revered Buddha image, was once housed in this wonderful temple.
Hall of Opium and Golden Triangle Park: The Golden Triangle was one time a hub of Opium production, and documenting this fascinating history is the Hall of Opium, which sits directly opposite Anantara Golden Triangle Resort.
For a full list of Anantara Golden Triangle’s transport options, including transfer to-and-from Chiang Rai airport