October 2012
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Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand – Part 1

Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand.

Overview of Chiang Rai

• The town is the main commercial center serving the Golden Triangle border region of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.
• It is an excellent base for exploring the region.
• Chiang Rai is essentially a service city for the surrounding province.
• The character is distinctly Northern and is distinct to Chiang Mai to the south.

Places to See in Chiang Rai

1. Bandaam Museum
• Bandaam Museum is located about 10 km north of the city.
• After driving 1.9 km past the Chaing Rai University on Hwy 1, turn left into Soi 13, go 470 meters & turn left into a small soi.
• Timings: 9:00 – 5:00.
• Closed from: 12:00 – 1:00
• Entry : Free

2. Duchanee
• Duchanee, the grounds include nearly 40 small black houses made of wood, glass, concrete, bricks, or terracotta in various unique styles and design scattered around the temple’s area.
• The cluster of houses accommodates:
– Thawan’s collections of paintings
– Sculptures
– Animal bones
– Skins, horns
– Silver and gold items
• Several of the houses exhibit Balinese and Burmese architecture and art.
• They date back to the Ayutthaya period.
• The artist uses bones as a source of inspiration to paint.
• It is definitely not a place for animal lovers.
• There are also various kinds of baskets and drums from many regions and countries on display at Baandam.
• Not all exhibits are open to public.
• Open to everyone except tour groups, and admission is free.

3. Taoist and Mahayana Buddhist Temple
• Munniti Chiang Rai Across from Sammakkhi Wittayakhom School on Banpaprakan is this Taoist and Mahayana Buddhist temple.
• This is a rare sight in Theraveda Buddhist Thailand.
• On the road to Pattaya Noi, is a temple dedicated to the Chinese Goddess of Mercy featuring a large statue.
• In the Ban Kheck area, is another Goddess of Mercy temple.
• Chiang Rai First Church, its largest, was built in 1914 at PratuSiri corner. It’s Presbyterian.

4. Guardian statue, Wat Klong Wiang
• Wat Phra Kaeo is a beautiful Buddhist temple on Trairat Road.
• It is famous for having housed the Emerald Buddha, in the 14th century.
• This is one of the most famous Buddha images in Thailand.
• According to legend, the statue was (re)discovered when a bolt of lightning hit a chedi (stupa) on the grounds.
• This cracked it open and revealing the Buddha inside.
• The temple grounds are lush with greenery.
• It has a house that is compact but an excellent two-story air-conditioned museum, with a near-exact replica of the Emerald Buddha which is 1mm shorter than the original.
• The original is now housed in Bangkok in the temple of the same name, on the grounds of the Royal Palace.

5. Wat Phra Sing
• Wat Phra Sing is located near the townhall.
• This town hall was used to house a major Buddha statue, the Phra Buddha Sihing.
• This statue is now enshrined in Chiang Mai.
• Like Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple now houses a replica instead.
• A special feature is the Lanna-style Ubosot and the wooden door panels that were carved by Chiang Rai contemporary craftsmen.

6. Wat Klong Wiang
• Wat Klong Wiang dates back to 1432 and is an excellent but little-visited temple.
• It showcases exuberant Lanna style at its best.
• Noteworthy are the colourful guardian statues and the elephants in the back.
• There is “No Killing Area” admonition at the entrance.

7. Wat Ming Meuang
• It is located at the intersection of Th Banphaprakan and Th Trairat.
• This is a small temple housing the spirit of the city (ming meuang) in an exquisitely carved and decorated Lanna-style, almost Laotian wiharn.

8. Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong
• This is located on Doi Chom Thong on the banks of the Kok River within town area.
• It contains what is believed to be the oldest Holy Relic even before King Mengrai built Chiang Rai.
• The Chedi containing the Holy Relic was probably renovated at the same time the town was built.
• A major religious site in Chiang Rai was from here that King Mengrai spotted the strategic location on which to establish the town.

9. White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)
• This is located at Ban Rong Khun, Tambon Pa O Don Chai, along Phahonyothin roadside at Km. 816.
• This is approximately 13 km from the city.
• This unique modern temple was designed and built by artist Chaloemchai Khositphiphat starting in 1998.
• A beautiful white ordination hall called Phra Ubosot is decorated with silver glittering pieces of mirrors.
• There are large mural paintings of the Lord Buddha in different gestures.
• A gable is decorated with a gable apex which is a leaf-shaped gable-edging which are in the shapes of Phya Naga, dragon and mythical creatures, which are entirely made of white stucco.
• There are viharn, small hall for recitation surrounding the ordination hall, museum and reception pavilion.
• The gallery exhibits paintings of Chaloemchai Khositphiphat.

Essential Information

• It opens daily at 08:00 – 18:00
• Tel: 0 5367 3579
• Fax: 0 5367 3539

How to get to White Temple?
• There is a public bus from the Chiang Rai bus station.
• To get back, flag down a public bus from the police station on the left side of the road leading back to the main highway.

Best time to visit / climate

• Thailand is largely tropical.
• It’s hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F).
• From November to the end of February, it doesn’t rain much and temperatures are at their lowest.
• From March to June, Thailand swelters in temperatures as high as 40°C (104°F).
• From July to October, although it only really gets underway in September, tropical monsoons hit most of the country.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

1. By plane
• Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport is located on Phaholyotin Road 8 kilometres from the centre of Chiang Rai.
• The airport is served by AirAsia , Orient Thai and Thai Airways to Bangkok.
• There are now daily flights to/from Macau operated by Orient Thai Airlines.

2. By Bus
• There are two bus stations in Chiang Rai.
• The old bus station and new bus station.
• There is a songthaew’ (officially a “minibus”) connecting the two bus terminals.
• It costs 10 baht per person and takes 15 minutes.
• Some drivers ask you to pay more if there are fewer than 10 passengers, despite what the official price list posted inside the songthaew says.
• You can just wait for the next one and pay 10 baht.
• Old Bus Station (Bus Terminal 1) is located in the center of town.
• Buses coming from Chiang Rai province stop here.
• From here, you take the bus south to Phayao, and north to Mae Sai.

3. Chiang Khong, on the Laos border
• Buses leave every hour or so and have the destination clearly marked.
• The journey takes two and a half hours and costs 70 THB on local bus.
• New Bus Station (Bus Terminal 2), (7km south of the city, just off the super highway).
• Buses from elsewhere in Thailand stop here.

4. By Train
• The nearest train station is at Chiang Mai.

5. By Car
• Chiang Rai is about 820 km north of Bangkok and is easily accessible from Bangkok via highways # 1 / # 32 and from Chiang Mai on highway # 118.
• For car, driver and guide hire, try Thailand Hilltribe Holidays, who offer private itineraries that cover the main sights and off-the-beaten-path areas in Chiang Rai

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at tripadvisor.in
Hotels at asiarooms.com

Blogs / Sites about Thailand – Chiang Rai

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at travelblog.org
Blogs at travbuddy.com
Blogs and reviews at lonelyplanet.com

Images and photos of Thailand – Chiang Rai

Images at google.com
Images at tripadvisor.in
Images at asian-images.photoshelter.com
Images at trekearth.com

Videos of Thailand – Chiang Rai

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