Chiang Rai province

Coordinates: 19°54′N 99°49′E / 19.900°N 99.817°E / 19.900; 99.817
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Chiang Rai
จังหวัดเชียงราย · ᨧᩢ᩠ᨦᩉ᩠ᩅᩢᨯᨩ᩠ᨿᨦᩁᩣ᩠ᨿ
Left to right, top to bottom: King Mangrai Intersection, Chiang Rai Clock Tower, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Phra Sing, Wat Rong Khun, Wat Rong Suea Ten, Doi Tung Royal Villa [th], Phu Chi Fa
Flag of Chiang Rai
Official seal of Chiang Rai
"เหนือสุดในสยาม ชายแดนสามแผ่นดิน ถิ่นวัฒนธรรมล้านนา ล้ำค่าพระธาตุดอยตุง"
("Northernmost of Siam, Border of three nations, Home of Lan Na culture. The precious Wat Phra That Doi Tung.")
   Chiang Rai in    Thailand
Coordinates: 19°54′N 99°49′E / 19.900°N 99.817°E / 19.900; 99.817
CapitalChiang Rai
 • GovernorPasakorn Boonyalak (since October 2021)
 • Total11,503 km2 (4,441 sq mi)
 • RankRanked 12th
 • Total1,298,304
 • RankRanked 15th
 • Density113/km2 (290/sq mi)
  • RankRanked 45th
Human Achievement Index
 • HAI (2022)0.6307 "low"
Ranked 52nd
 • Totalbaht 104 billion
(US$3.6 billion) (2019)
Time zoneUTC+7 (ICT)
Postal code
Calling code052 & 053
ISO 3166 codeTH-57
Vehicle registrationเชียงราย
Accession into Kingdom of Siam1910
Accession into Kingdom of Thailand1932

Chiang Rai (Thai: เชียงราย, pronounced [t͡ɕʰīa̯ŋ.rāːj]; Northern Thai: ᨩ᩠ᨿᨦᩁᩣ᩠ᨿ, pronounced [t͡ɕīa̯ŋ.hāːj]) is one of Thailand's seventy-six provinces, which lies in upper northern Thailand and is Thailand's northernmost province. It is bordered by the Shan State of Myanmar to the north, Bokeo province of Laos to the east, Phayao to the south, Lampang to the southwest, and Chiang Mai to the west. The provinces is linked to Houayxay Laos by the Fourth Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge that spans the Mekong.

Chiang Rai province
"Chiang Rai" in Thai language (top) and
Northern Thai with Tai Tham script (bottom)
Thai name
RTGSChiang Rai
Northern Thai name
Northern Thaiᨩ᩠ᨿᨦᩁᩣ᩠ᨿ


The average elevation of the province is 580 metres (1,903 ft). The north of the province is part of the so-called Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Burma converge, an area which prior to the rise of agricultural production of coffee, pineapple, coconuts, and banana plantations, was unsafe because of drug smuggling across the borders. The Mekong River forms the boundary with Laos, the Mae Sai and Ruak River with Burma. Through the town of Chiang Rai itself, flows the "Mae Kok" Kok River and south of it the Lao River, a tributary of the Kok.

While the eastern part of the province is characterized by relatively flat river plains, the northern and western part consists of the hilly terrain of the Thai highlands with the Khun Tan Range and the Phi Pan Nam Range in the west and the Daen Lao Range in the north. While not the highest elevation of the province, the 1,389-metre (4,557 ft) high[5] Doi Tung (Flag Hill) is the most important terrain feature. Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong wat on top of the hill, according to the chronicles, dates back to the year 911. Nearby is Doi Tung Royal Villa, former residence of the late princess mother Somdej Phra Srinagarindra (mother of King Rama IX). Thanks to her activities the hills were reforested, and the hill tribes diverted from growing opium poppies to other crops including coffee, bananas, coconuts, and pineapples. The total forest area is 4,585 km2 (1,770 sq mi) or 39.9 percent of provincial area.[1]

National parks[edit]

There are seven national parks, along with one other national park, make up region 15 of Thailand's protected areas.


Chiang Rai was founded in 1262. Populations have dwelled in Chiang Rai since the 7th century and it became the center of the Lanna Kingdom during the 13th century. The region, rich in natural resources, was occupied by the Burmese until 1786.

Chiang Rai province's golden triangle bordering Laos and Burma was once the hub of opium production.

Chiang Rai became a province in 1910, after being part of the Lanna Kingdom for centuries. After Lanna was incorporated into Thailand, it remained an autonomous region and thus the Chiang Rai area was administered from Chiang Mai.

Chiang Rai province is a transit point for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar (Burma) who are transported there from Sangkhlaburi district in Kanchanaburi province.[8]


The majority of the population are ethnic Thai who speak Kham Muang among themselves, but 12.5% are of hill tribes origin, a sizeable minority in the north provinces. A smaller number are of Chinese descent, mainly descendants of the Kuomintang soldiers who settled in the region, notably in Santikhiri.

Ethnic groups[edit]

Akha people

Khon Muang are the city folk who originally came from Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, and Phrae. Culturally, they design their houses having only one floor with wooden gable decorations called "ka-lae". They are known for their craftsmanship in wood carving, weaving, lacquer ware, and musical instruments.

Tai Yai (ไทใหญ่) (Shan) are a Tai ethnic group who primarily live in what is now Shan State in Burma, and also in Mae Hong Son province in Thailand. They grow rice, farm, raise cattle, and trade. Their craftsmanship lies in weaving, pottery, wood carving, and bronze ware.

Akha have the largest population of any hill tribe in the region. Originating from Tibet and southern China, they dwell on high ground around 1,200 meters above sea level. Within their villages they build spirit gateways to protect them from evil spirits.

Lahu (Musor) are also from the Yunnanese area and live in high areas. They are known as hunters and planters. Karen live in various areas of the region which have valleys and riverbanks.

Chin Haw in Chiang Rai consist primarily of the former Kuomintang (KMT army) who took refuge in the area, mainly in Santikhiri (formerly Mae Salong).

Hmong from southern China, inhabit high ground. They raise livestock and grow rice, corn, tobacco, and cabbage. They are also known for their embroidery and silver.

Tai Lue (Dai) live in dwellings of usually only a single room wooden house built on high poles. They are skilled in weaving.

Lisu from southern China and Tibet are renowned for their colorful dress and also build their dwellings on high stilts. They harvest rice and corn and their men are skilled in hunting.

Yao (Mien) reside along mountain sides and grow corn and other crops. They are skilled blacksmiths, silversmiths, and embroiders.

Phu Chi Fa mountain range


Orange trumpet (left) and Tree Jasmine (right)

The seal of the province shows a white elephant, the royal symbol, recalling that Chiang Rai was founded by King Mengrai, according to legend because his elephant liked the place.

The provincial tree is the tree jasmine (Radermachera ignea), and the provincial flower is the orange trumpet (Pyrostegia venusta).

The former provincial slogan was "เหนือสุดในสยาม อร่ามดอยตุง ผดุงวัฒนธรรม รสล้ำข้าวสาร หอมหวานลิ้นจี่ สตรีโสภา ชาเลิศรส สัปปะรดนางแล", 'Northernmost of Siam, beautiful Doi Tung, repository of culture, most delicious rice, sweet and fragrant lychee, beautiful women, the finest flavoured tea, pineapple from Nang Lae, source of the giant catfish".

The current slogan is "เหนือสุดในสยาม ชายแดนสามแผ่นดิน ถิ่นวัฒนธรรมล้านนา ล้ำค่าพระธาตุดอยตุง", 'Northernmost of Siam, frontier of three lands, the home of Lan Na culture and Doi Tung Temple'.



Chiang Rai is known for its beautiful landscapes, cultural heritage, and unique attractions. The city attracts a large number of tourists every year who come to explore its temples, markets, museums, and its natural beauty.[9]

One of the most popular attractions is the Wat Rong Khun,[10] Another attraction is the Golden Triangle, which is the meeting point of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar and offers views of the Mekong River and the surrounding mountains. Other popular attractions in Chiang Rai include the Doi Tung Royal Villa, Baan Dam Museum, the Hill Tribe Museum and Education Center, and the Khun Korn Waterfall.[11]

Chiang Rai is also a popular base for exploring the surrounding areas, including the Mae Sai border town, the Chiang Saen historical city, and the Doi Mae Salong tea plantations.


Construction of a reinforced concrete bridge, Chiang Rai province (2009)


Chiang Rai International Airport has domestic flights to both Bangkok airports, which connect to regional and international flights.


There is daily boat service between Chiang Rai and Tha Ton.


There is no railway system in Chiang Rai. The nearest station is Chiang Mai Railway Station.


Chiang Rai province is intersected by Asian Highway 2, which runs for over 13,000 kilometres (8,100 mi) from Denpasar in Indonesia to Kosravi in Iran, and by Asian Highway 3, which runs for over 7,000 km (4,300 mi) from Kentung in Myanmar to Ulan-Ude in Russia.

Decent bus services are available in the province. In more remote areas, songthaews are the norm.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Map of 18 districts

Provincial government[edit]

Chiang Rai is divided into 18 districts (amphoes). The districts are further divided into 124 sub-districts (tambons) and 1,751 villages (mubans).

Local government[edit]

As of 26 November 2019 there are:[12] one Chiang Rai Provincial Administration Organisation (ongkan borihan suan changwat) and 73 municipal (thesaban) areas in the province. Chiang Rai has city (thesaban nakhon) status. Further 72 subdistrict municipalities (thesaban tambon). The non-municipal areas are administered by 70 Subdistrict Administrative Organisations - SAO (ongkan borihan suan tambon).[2]

Human achievement index 2022[edit]

Health Education Employment Income
61 71 53 19
Housing Family Transport Participation
42 37 45 20
Province Chiang Rai, with an HAI 2022 value of 0.6307 is "somewhat low", occupies place 52 in the ranking.

Since 2003, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Thailand has tracked progress on human development at sub-national level using the Human achievement index (HAI), a composite index covering all the eight key areas of human development. National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has taken over this task since 2017.[3]

Rank Classification
  1–13 "High"
14–29 "Somewhat high"
30–45 "Average"
46–61 "Somewhat low"
62–77 "Low"



  1. ^ a b "ตารางที่ 2 พี้นที่ป่าไม้ แยกรายจังหวัด พ.ศ.2562" [Table 2 Forest area Separate province year 2019]. Royal Forest Department (in Thai). 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2021, information, Forest statistics Year 2019, Thailand boundary from Department of Provincial Administration in 2013{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  2. ^ a b รายงานสถิติจำนวนประชากรและบ้านประจำปี พ.ส.2562 [Statistics, population and house statistics for the year 2019]. Registration Office Department of the Interior, Ministry of the Interior. (in Thai). 31 December 2019. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b "ข้อมูลสถิติดัชนีความก้าวหน้าของคน ปี 2565 (PDF)" [Human Achievement Index Databook year 2022 (PDF)]. Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) (in Thai). Retrieved 12 March 2024, page 26{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  4. ^ "Gross Regional and Provincial Product, 2019 Edition". <>. Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC). July 2019. ISSN 1686-0799. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Thailand - Mountains beginning with Doi Tung - Doi Tung to Doi Wiang Pha".
  6. ^ a b c d "ข้อมูลพื้นที่อุทยานแห่งชาติ ที่ประกาศในราชกิจจานุบกษา 133 แห่ง" [National Park Area Information published in the 133 Government Gazettes]. Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (in Thai). December 2020. Archived from the original on 3 November 2022. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "ข้อมูลพื้นที่อุทยานแห่งชาติ (เตรียมการ) 22 แห่ง" [Information of 22 National Parks Areas (Preparation)]. Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (in Thai). December 2020. Archived from the original on 3 November 2022. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  8. ^ "Putrajaya's migrant deluge woes", The Star, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 13 May 2015,
  9. ^ "The official website of Tourism Authority of Thailand". Retrieved 10 May 2023.
  10. ^ Barnes, Jo (16 December 2022). "Top 10 Very Best Things to Do in Chiang Rai, Thailand". Your Lifestyle Business. Retrieved 10 May 2023.
  11. ^ Berger, Arthur Asa (18 March 2014). Thailand Tourism. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-82478-7.
  12. ^ "Number of local government organizations by province". Department of Local Administration (DLA). 26 November 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019. 12 Chiang Rai: 1 PAO, 1 City mun., 72 Subdistrict mun., 70 SAO.

External links[edit]


Religion in Chiang Rai

  Buddhism (90.81%)
  Christianity (8.82%)
  Islam (0.27%)
  Hinduism (0.04%)
  Confucianism (0.02%)
  Sikhism (0.1%)
  Not Religious (0.2%)
  Unknown (0.01%)
  Other (0.01%)