Located in the highlands of northern Thailand, Chiang Rai is home to beautiful wilderness, colourful hill tribes, exotic wildlife and an abundance of trekking routes. The city centre is small enough to wander around and take in the sights by foot, from the historic Wat Phra Kaew – home to the Emerald Buddha, to the modern White Temple. There is also an excellent Hilltribe Education Centre, where trekking enthusiasts can find valuable information about the surrounding wilderness.
Outside of the centre, the Chiang Rai province itself is beautiful. This area, more commonly known as the Golden Triangle, is historically synonymous with the opium and heroin trades, and where Burma, Laos and Thailand all meet. Superb vistas abound, as well as the historical towns of Chiang Saen – one of the oldest in Thailand with a lovely situation on the banks of the Mekong and Mae Sai, the northern most Thai town, on the Burmese border.