Chiang Rai (city)
|Province||Chiang Rai Province|
|Districts of Thailand||Amphoe Mueang Chiang Rai|
|• Total||23.49 sq mi (60.85 km2)|
|Elevation||1,280 ft (390 m)|
|• Density||3,000/sq mi (1,100/km2)|
Mueang Chiang Rai (Thai: เมืองเชียงราย, pronounced [mɯəŋ tɕʰiəŋ raːj]; Northern Thai: ᩮᨾᩥᩬᨦᨩᩭᨦᩁᩣᩭ: Mueang Chiang Hai; Lao: Mueang Xieng Hai) is a city in Amphoe Mueang Chiang Rai, Changwat Chiang Rai. Chiang Rai is the northernmost large city in Thailand. It was established as a capital city in the reign of King Mangrai, in 1262 AD.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Climate
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government
- 6 Buddhist temples
- 7 Tourist attractions in or near Chiang Rai town
- 8 Tourist attractions further afield, within Chiang Rai province
- 9 Education
- 10 Hospitals
- 11 Transportation
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The city was founded by King Mangrai in 1262 and became the capital of the Mangrai dynasty. Subsequently, Chiang Rai was conquered by Burma and remained under Burmese rule for several hundred years. It was not until 1786 that Chiang Rai became a Chiang Mai vassal. Siam (Thailand) annexed Chiang Mai in 1899, and Chiang Rai was proclaimed a province of Thailand in 1933.
In 1432, during the reign of King Sam Fang Kaen of the Mangrai dynasty (1402–1441), the Phra Kaeo, or Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha statue, was discovered in Chiang Rai when an earthquake split the Chedi at Wat Phra Kaeo of Chiang Rai City. The beautiful jade figure was then seen concealed within. Another telling of the story has the 'Emerald Buddha' hastily covered in mud just before marauders entered to pillage. Many years later, the clunky-looking mud Buddha was found to actually house the magnificent jade statue, perhaps by way of the earthquake mentioned above—which caused a piece of the clay to break off—revealing the jade beneath.
Chiang Rai City lies in the flat alluvial plain of the Mae Kok River, a tributary of the Mekong, between the Daen Lao Range in the north and the Phi Pan Nam Range in the south. The Mae Kok River runs along Chiang Rai's north side, flowing eastwards out of Burma at Tha Ton(ท่าตอม) town, bending northeastwards and joining the Mekong River about 40 kilometres (25 mi) northeast of the city. The Lao River, a tributary of the Kok, flows south of Chiang Rai.
There are four bridges spanning the Mae Kok river within the town's boundaries, each running south–north. Most of the terrain surrounding Chiang Rai town is either flat or has moderate hills. The exception is outward in the west and northwest directions, where limestone hills are evident, some of which have straight-up exposed cliffs. That is also the direction where most of the region's Hill Tribe people have their villages, further afield.
The city is located 860 kilometres (530 mi) north of Bangkok, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) northeast of Chiang Mai City, 62 kilometres (39 mi) south of Mae Sai and the Burmese border; 60 kilometres southwest of the town of Chiang Saen on the Mekong River across from Laos; and 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Phayao town. The Golden Triangle, the tripoint of the Thailand, Laos and Myanmar borders, is 55 kilometres (34 mi) northeast of the city.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Chiang Rai has a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen climate classification Aw). Winters are fairly dry and warm. Temperatures rise until April, which is hot with the average daily maximum at 34.9 °C (94.8 °F). The monsoon season runs from late April through October, with heavy rain and somewhat cooler temperatures during the day, although nights remain warm.
|Climate data for Chiang Rai (1981–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||34.5
|Average high °C (°F)||28.6
|Average low °C (°F)||12.8
|Record low °C (°F)||−0.2
|Rainfall mm (inches)||7.5
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1 mm)||2||1||3||10||17||19||22||24||18||12||6||3||137|
|Source: Thai Meteorological Department (Normal 1981-2010), (Avg. rainy days 1961-1990)|
Official Population count: According to the Thailand National Statistical Office, as of September 2010, Chiang Rai municipal district has a population of 199,699. With the spread of the city extending into neighboring districts, the metropolitan area is considered somewhat larger by local residents. Chiang Rai City is the capital city and business center of the Chiang Rai Province, home to 1.1 million residents.
Chiang Rai City is the capital of Changwat Chiang Rai.
The City Hall holds the Provincial Offices.
The Thetsaban holds the Municipal Offices.
- Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong,
- Wat Phra Kaeo, Chiang Rai,
- Wat Phra Sing, Chiang Rai,
- Wat Doi Khao Khwai,
- Wat Rong Khun, , a modern temple built since 1998 by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat
- Chedi Doi Trimoorati,.Map
Tourist attractions in or near Chiang Rai town
- Night Bazaar is a night market, located in the middle of downtown, Chiangrai. A place for souvenirs and local products, with free cultural performances. Also more than forty restaurants.
- Boomerang Adventure Park is 3 km NW of downtown. Shaped like a boomerang, the park has soaring limestone cliffs along its north side. Has two dozen 'top rope' rock climbing routes for all skill levels. Also has the only zip lines north of Chiang Mai, and Asia's largest swing. A ten minute stroll to the river from Boomerang Park is 'Lion Hill' which hosts a Buddha Cave and a natural cavern where hikers can walk in the south side, and out the north side of the scenic hill which parallels the Mae Kok river. GPS: N19.55323 E99.47528 Boomerang
- Saturday Night Walking Street just north of downtown. Hundreds of local folks display their crafts and food. Includes local dance and showcase displays.
Tourist attractions further afield, within Chiang Rai province
- Princess Mother Hall and Doi Mae Salong Located about 70 km northwest of Chiang Rai accessed by a scenic, and sometimes quite steep, road from Mae Chan. In Mae Salong there is a museum of the Kuomintang and their plight after exiled from China by Mao Zedong, and subsequently forced to leave Burma from where they entered Thailand, helping at times to fight the Communists.
- Doi Tung Royal Villa is the final residence of the mother of the King of Thailand, known as the Princess Mother. It is located in Doi Tung at kilometre 12 on highway 1149, to the west of highway 1. This magnificent villa was built on the mountain overlooking the surrounding hills and valleys in a unique mix of Swiss and Lanna architectural styles. Adjacent to the villa is a large flower-filled garden, and a memorial hall commemorating the Princess Mother.
- Doi Tung Zoo and another zoo 25 km south of town, just off of the old road to Chiang Mai. Besides a decent collection of animals, it has an entire section dedicated to birds, most of which are colorful flightless types.
- Phu Chi Fa
- The Gate of Siam is a location on the border with Laos where one can stand high up on a mountain with Laos directly in front and the mighty Mekong River flowing beneath.
- Saun Mai Ngam Park Many beautiful trees and flowers. Some are more than 100 years old. This is a place where Chiang Rai Flower festival is held at the end of every year.
Colleges and universities
- Mae Fah Luang University
- Chiang Rai Rajabhat University
- Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, Chiang Rai Campus
- Overbrook Hospital (Semi-Private) Easy access from city center, modern facility founded 1903 by Dr. Joseph Kampol, a missionary hospital, current president Dr. Ploum.
- Kasemrad Sriburin General Hospital (Private, and comparatively better quality)
- Chiang Rai Prachanukhro Hospital (Public)
Route 1 runs from Bangkok through Chiang Rai to Mae Sai on the Burma border. Chiang Rai is 839 kilometers from Bangkok, about 14 hours by car or by bus. According to official bus schedules, the bus ride to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai takes approximately an hour and 30 minutes, however the 175 km trip most often takes at least two and a half hours. All of these times should take into account the rainy season which lasts from about June to late October, this can severely inhibit travel with road sections often completely flooded and even washed out.
Several flights are available to and from Bangkok daily. Mae Fah Luang International Airport flight time is about 1 hour and 30 minutes. There are several major operators including Thai airways, Air Asia, Nok air and One to go.
There is scheduled boat service between Chiang Rai and Thaton in Chiang Mai province daily this journey will last about 3–4 hours and is a pleasant alternative to the bus ride through the mountains.
There are currently no rail services to Chiang Rai as the railway line from Bangkok ends at Chiang Mai. There have been talks of extending the rail line from Den Chai to Chiang Rai in the near future, but this is unlikely to happen as the city's population is well below 1 million and there aren't as many international tourists visiting Chiang Rai as Chiang Mai. Also there are no major industrial complexes in the region as it is largely a rural economy.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chiang Rai.|
- Chiang Rai travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Chiangrai Times Provincial and local news for Chiang Rai (English language)