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                        Chiang Rai is the northern most province. Its capital, of the same name, is situated about 580m (1,900ft) above sea level and just 100km (62 miles) north of Chiang Mai. It was founded in 1281 and is one of the nation’s oldest cities, surrounded by glorious scenery. It has recently experienced a tourist boom and some development, with most visitors arriving to do some hill-tribe trekking or cruising on the Kok River. The mountains are inhabited by 13 different hill tribes, most coming from Tibet and China. The countryside is relatively unspoiled with high mountain ranges, hills and valleys, winding rivers and jungle. Chiang Rai is also known as on of the entry towns to the Golden Triangle, the infamous opium producing region formed around the common border point between Thailand, Burma and Laos.

Of particular interest is Wat Phrae Kaew, Chiang Rai’s most sacred wat and original home of the Emerald Buddha that now resides in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok. A similar, although not exact replica was installed in 1991.

Off the Chiang-Rai-to-Mae-Sai Highway you’ll find Thailand’s highest mountain-top temple, Wat Prathat Doi Tung, some 2,000m (6,500ft) above sea level. It was built in 911 and is believed to house a sacred relic of the Buddha and is therefore the holiest Buddhist sanctuary of the entire region. The highest mountain peak in Thailand, Doi Inthanon (2,595m or 8,51ft), is situated in the national park of the same name, and has three spectacular waterfalls. There are a few hill tribe villages along the way and spectacular views of the valleys below as you climb or drive the 47km (29 mile) road to the top. The park has orchids, epiphytes, lichens and mosses growing on the misty upper slopes. There are rich sightings for bird lovers with around 400 bird varieties. Among the rarer animals inhabiting the park are the Phayre’s leaf monkey and the Asiatic black bear. Do you want to become an editor for Chiang Rai please click

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