|Wat Phra Kaew
Located behind Wat Phra Singha, this temple is said to have been the original place where the Emerald Buddha. (now venerated in Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaew Chapel of the Emerald Buddha)
The Mae Kok River
known in Thai as Maenam Kok, this scenic 130km long waterway runs through the heart of Chiang Rai. The river is a major transportation artery from neighboring Chaing Mai province, especially the town of Tha Ton (180 km north of Chaing Mai provincial capital), whence long-tailed boats make the 3-4 hour journey every day at 12:30 (Chaing Rai-Tha Ton: 10:30). The river passes several hill tribe settlements and elephant camps from where jungle treks originate.
Laan Tong Village
Located 13 kilometres from Mae Chan, along Route 1089, this complex has flower garden, nature park, cultural village, mulberry orchard, paper mulberry and tea phanntation.
Doi Tung is located in Mae Fa Luang District and can be reached by taking Highway No.110 for about 48 kilometers and turning left onto Highway No. 1149, an asphalt road leading directly to Doi Tung. The route winds through beautiful scenery with many interesting sites including the Doi Tung Palace (Pra Tamnak Doi tung), the Mae Fa Luang Garden and Akha and Muser tribal villages. IN addition to scenic lookouts, the most notable attraction is the Phra That Doi Tung Holy Relic, an old religious site atop the mountain.
Also located on Doi Tung Mountain is a beautiful royal residence known as Phra Tamnak Doi Tung. The royal villa, situated on the slopes of the adjacent Pa Kluay Reservoir, was to serve as a royal winter retreat for the Princess Mother, who passed away in 1995 and was originally built on the theory that the local hill tribes would be honored by the royal presence and thereby cease their opium cultivation.
The main attraction for visitors to Phra Tamnak Doi Tung is 'Suan Mae Fa Luang', the beautiful landscaped gardens filled with hundreds of different kinds of plants and flowers, named in honor of the Princess Mother and the Doi Tung Development Project established by the late Princess Mother in 1987.
Rai Mae Fah Luang
Rai Mae Fah Luang is a cultural centre and centre of Lanna Studies dedicated to the conservation and promotion of Lanna heritage.There are 5 exhibit areas namely
a. The Botanical Gardens and Nature Park
b. The Haw Khumm(Golden Pavilion)
c. The Haw Khum Noi (Small Golden Pavilion)
d. Sala Kaew-A ceremonial space for riturals
e. Haw Kaew-Gallery of Lanna Cultureal Arts.
Rai Mae Fah Luang opens daily from 10.00-18.00 hrs. except Monday.
Entrance fee: Baht 200
Phra That Doi Thung
Wat Phra That Doi Thung, a major place of pilgrimage, is situated just below the 1330 m (4365 ft) summit of Doi Thung. At the beginning of March tens of thousands converge on the wat by car, bus, motorbike or on foot, making their way up the steep 17 km (11 mi.) road which branches off Highway 110 near the village of Ban Huai Krai. The summit offers a superb panorama over the north Thai countryside and it is well worth the trouble of driving there just to see the view. The temple buildings are less interesting, being mainly of recent origin.
Pamee Akha Village
Located on the way to Doi Tung, this scenic village is one of the most accessible Akha settlements in Chiang Rai.
Mae Sai which is about 62 kilometers from the provincial seat on Highway No. 110 is Thailand's northern-most district. Mae Sai borders on Myanmar's Tha Khi Lek marked by the Mae Sai River with a bridge spanning both sides. Foreign visitors are allowed to cross over to Tha Khi Lek market by presenting their passports and paying a fee at the Mae Sai immigration checkpoint. In addition, there are tour services to Chiang Tung in Myanmar, which is approximately 160 kilometers north by road.
Chiang Saen National Museum
Located in old town Chiang Saen, this museum exhibits artifacts excavated locally including a well-known Chiang Saen-style bronze Buddha image and Lanna Thai artifacts. Inscription stones from Phayao and Chiang Saen itself can be found in the museum. In addition, there are exhibitions of indigenous art objects of the Thai Yai, Thai Lu and other hill tribes. These items include musical instruments, ornaments and opium-smoking accessories. The museum is open on Wednesdays through Sundays from 9.00a.m. to 4.00p.m., except on national holidays.
Chiang Saen Lake
Drive five kilometers south of Chiang Saen, along Highway No. 1016 (Chiang Saen-Mae Chan route), take a left turn and you will find Chiang Saen Lake: a large natural reservoir with scenic surroundings. The lake is home to large flocks of migratory waterfowls which are most plentiful and can be seen at their best from November through February. In addition to the scenery, accommodations and water sports facilities are available.
The Golden Triangle
A trip to Chiang Rai province would not be complete without seeing the notorious Golden Triangle first hand! This famed border location where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet on the Mekong River was once supposed to be the center of all the poppy cultivation in Thailand.
Travel approximately 9 kilometers north of old town Chiang Saen, along the road parallel to the Mekong River to the area where the borders of Thailand, Myammar and Laos converge. This area where the Mekong River meets the Ruak River is locally referred to as "Sop Ruak". Within this area are remains of many ancient places and structures attesting to the fact that the area had been settled by people in the past. It is also the area where various legends concerning the Lanna ancestors originate.
Boats can be hired in order to view the upstream scenery of the Golden Triangle and to travel downstream to Chiang Khong. The trip to the Golden Triangle and Chiang Khong would take approximately 40 minutes and 1 hour respectively, depending on river currents and water levels.
Mae Chan, which is about 29 kilometers to the north of Chiang Rai, serves as a trading post where the Akha and Yao hill people sell their goods and buy manufactured items. Silver and other tribal handicrafts are available at local shops.
The Population and Community Development Association (PDA) is a non-government organization responsible for some of the most effective tribal development projects in the region. The popular "Cabbages & Condoms" restaurants, with branches here and in Bangkok (and now a resort in Pattaya), carry their important message of safe sex and family planning. On the top floor of this office is a small Hilltribe Museum that's heavy on "shop" and light on "museum," but the admission goes to a good cause. Open daily 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; admission fee is 50B ($1.20)/person. Address: 620/25 Thanalai Rd., east of Wisetwang Road (tel. 0 5371-9167)