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Photo of Chiang Rai

About Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai was for centuries captured and recaptured by Burma and Thailand. Now sitting at the Northern most tip of Thailand, this beautiful area is a testament to its incredible past. Go to see where the most revered Buddha statue was unearthed. The Emerald Buddha was only discovered after an earthquake split a mound of clay in two, revealing the treasure within. Some even say that the statue was buried in this clay to stop marauders from pillaging it during one of the city's many sieges. Additionally, Chianf Rai province is littered with traditional mountain villages which are great to visit for some rural culture, or just to cool down! We’ve selected the best places to stay in Chiang Rai to take in all the city has to offer.

For the warmest and driest time to visit, aim between November and March. The rest of the year will only be slightly cooler but there will be a much greater chance of rain.

What not to miss:

  • Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) - Although the actual Emerald Buddha now resides in Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaeo, this temple is still a must see. Spectacular architecture and a fascinating glimpse into the Chiang Rai's culture. It’s also just downtown!

  • Doi Mae Salong - This mountain village has a primarily Chinese community and offers a variety of activities, from a tour to General Tuan’s Tomb to tea tasting. A great way to feel a cool breeze in a stunning setting!

  • Wat Rong Khun - This private temple houses a wealth of Thai artwork and is a modern twist on the more traditional religious sites in the city. Be warned, photos inside the temple are forbidden

  • Tad Kwan Village Park & Waterfall - Visit this unspoiled village to learn about the ancient Mien tribes, or just cool off in the waterfall. It’s also possible to rent a buggy so getting around is easy.

And for the best places to stay in Chang Rai:

Go all out

  • Anantara Golden Triangle is an extravagant and luxurious resort in a rural setting. Spectacular views, a renowned spa and bordering a magnificent elephant resort.

For a luxury tented Camp

  • For serene luxury, and spectacular views in a hideaway jungle location, book the Four Seasons Tented Camp. Explore mountain trails, interact with rescued elephants, then head back to your gorgeous accommodation for sun downers and gourmet dinners.

Still undecided?

  • Browse our list of the best places to stay in Chiang Rai,

  • Widen the net to include our recommendations in Chiang Mai,

  • or contact a friendly guru for advice.

Best Hotels in Chiang Rai

  • Anantara Golden Triangle 77 rooms from £801

    Chiang Rai

    A luxury resort situated in a stunning rural part of Northern Thailand and bordering an enchanting elephant resort. Chic rooms feature spectacular views, dark teak floors and raw silks. A fabulous spa will aid complete relaxation and find endless outdoor pursuits on offer. Bliss.

    Other Activities  -  Spend time with the elephants from the next door resort.
    Hideaway  -  A tranquil escape complete with superb spa.
    Cooking classes  -  Learn how to cook Thai food at the hotel's classes.
    Sailing  -  Take a long tail boat along the Mekong River.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
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  • Four Seasons Tented Camp 15 rooms from £2213

    Chiang Rai (Golden Triangle)

    A luxurious camp hidden amongst lush vegetation in rural northern Thailand. Secluded tents offer utter tranquility and privacy. Boasting large terraces for spectacular views, luxury bathrooms and antique furniture. Spend days riding elephants or floating down the Mekong River. Glorious.

    Back to Nature  -  Hang with elephants, far from the maddening crowds, deep in the thick forest of rural Thailand.
    Local markets  -  Scour for regional handicrafts at local village markets.
    Sailing  -  Enjoy a scenic cruise down the picturesque Mekong River.
    Restrictions on children  -  Children over 10 are welcome.
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