Chiang Rai is a relatively small city (200.000 inhabitants) located in the north of Thailand in the area known as the Golden Triangle border region. This is region that connects Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. In the recent years this city has become a really popular tourist destination, because it can be used as a good starting point to enter two other countries besides Thailand and because it provides access to some beautiful (unexplored) nature. Besides that there are many other things that you can see and do while you are in Chiang Rai. This city should not be confused with Chiang Mai that is located a little bit more on the south.
Although this city is located in a relatively isoloated location there are many ways to reach this city. For example, there is an international airport just 8 kilometers from Chiang Rai. You can also go there by bus (there are several options – from luxurious bus transportation to budget traveling). If you want to use the train you should be aware that the train station is located in Chiang Mai. Chiang Rai is located around 800 km from the capital Bangkok, so this means that it is not too difficult to go there by car too.
Chiang Rai is famous for its temples. The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) is one of the most visited temples in this city. This is a relatively new temple (1998) and it has some interesting murals and pictures of Buddha and some historical events from Thailand. Those who want to see a temple with longer history should check Wat Klong Wiang – a temple built in 1432. Wat Phra Kaeo was once the home of the famous Emerald Buddha which is now placed in Bangkok. Besides Buddhist temples there are few churches too. Besides religious buildings people in Chiang Rai can also visit some of the many museums, Phucheefah (a place where you can watch the sunrise), the King Mengrai memorial, Gate of Siam etc.
Those who want to be a little bit more active while in Chiang Rai can take a trekking tour, participate in rock climbing, visit some of the many waterfalls and hot springs, visit the Buddha cave and have a picnic etc.
Chiang Rai is amazing and this place will definitely become more popular in the upcoming years, so make sure you visit it before the others.