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Chiang Rai Destination Guide

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Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts

Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Chiang Rai , created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.


Established by the expansionist Lanna ruler Mangrai, in 1262, Chiang Rai is Thailand’s most northernmost province, famous for its hill tribes and their surviving cultures - the Lisu, Lahu and Akha villagers still wear traditional costume and speak local dialects. The city is small enough to meander around on foot or bicycle – head to the nearby hills and forest parks or down to the river and Chiang Rai Beach. Alternatively, explore the region on elephant-back, these giant-but-gentle beasts are very sure-footed and have been used throughout the north for logging and agricultural work.

General Information
CapitalBangkok is the capital of Thailand
LanguageThai, English is widely spoken
Time Difference3 hours
CurrencyThai Baht
Voltage220 volts


Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. We highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your Doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.


Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.


The best time to visit Chiang Rai is from November to February when temperatures average at about 20 degrees Celsius.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Chiang Rai.

  Temp °C Rain mm


History & Temples
Buddhist shrines include the contemporary and somewhat unconventional, Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) designed by the national artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat in 1997. The temple was constructed in white, a departure from the traditional gold, to symbolise the purity of Lord Buddha whilst mirrors embedded in the structure, reflect the light and represent the Buddha’s wisdom shining out across the Earth and the universe. Heavy with religious symbolism, each element of the temple carries the artist’s imaginative touch from the red skulls atop traffic cones on the street to the bridge you have to cross to reach the main temple that is built above an ocean of ghostly hands reaching up from the cycle of death and rebirth.

It was at Wat Phra Kaew - originally called Wat Pa Yia (Bamboo Forest Monastery in the local dialect) where the Emerald Buddha was first discovered. This most revered of all Buddha images was revealed in 1434 after lightning struck the chedi where it was kept. The statue is actually made of jade and is now housed in the temple of the same name in Bangkok.

The stunning mountain scenery offers great hiking trails and access to the diverse hill-tribe villages. For those not keen on trekking, visit the Hill Tribe Museum and Education Centre where you can watch an informative slide show on the hill tribes and thier culture and view exhibits such as typical clothing, anthropological implements,  everyday examples of the use of bamboo displays and traditional crafts.

Chiang Rai beach lies on the banks of the Kok River – it’s not really a beach but a popular spot for picnics and long tailed boat rides are available from which to enjoy the lovely scenery.

The Golden Triangle
Visit the Golden Triangle, an area of 367,000 square miles that overlaps the mountains of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, and where the Rivers Ruak and Mekong converge. The border location is famous for being Asia’s (and indeed the worlds) most extensive opium-producing area from the 1950s until the 21st century when Afghanistan became the biggest producer.

Getting There+

Flight Information
Via Bangkok with Emirates or Thai Airways from Dubai to Chiang Rai.
Via Bangkok with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to Chiang Rai.
Via Bangkok with Qatar Airways from Doha to Chiang Rai.

Flight Time
From Dubai to Chiang Rai: 9 hours.

Travel Gems+

Mahout Training and Elephant Trekking
Guests staying at Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle  get to participate in a wildlife experience like no other – elephant mahout training and trekking.

Talk to our Asia, Australasia and Africa Experts

Our Travel Consultants visit our luxury hotels, villas and resorts personally.

Our dedicated Asia, Australasia and Africa Experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to Chiang Rai. Furthermore, we have 3 Travel Consultants who have personally visited Chiang Rai and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

Why Choose Elegant Resorts

As the foremost British pioneer of luxury travel – and boasting an ever-increasing collection of prestigious accolades that celebrates this – Elegant Resorts is a tour operator with the expertise, knowledge and reputation to deliver only the very finest tailor-made luxury holidays to our clients, honed by almost thirty years of experience in this niche travel business.

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