Chiang Rai Hotel - Thailand accommodation and travel guide  
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Chiang Rai Hotel - Thailand accommodation and travel guide

The northernmost province, Chiang Rai is 785 km north of Bangkok and is 580 m above sea level. It is one of the more rural parts of Thailand, where natural jungle and farm lands cover much of the landscape. The more mountainous areas, where many crops won't survive have over the past, given their lands to the cultivation of poppies, which were used in the making of opium and until recently this was Chiang Rai's main source of income other than tourism. This trade, due to the clamping down of law enforcement in the area, is now all but gone and Mayanma (Burma) and Laos are now the prime producers this narcotic, though the area is still considered part of the famed 'Golden Triangle'.

Founded in 1262 by King Meng Rai, Chiang Rai was the first capital of Lanna Thai (Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields). The province contains Thailand's northernmost point at Mae Sai and is well known for its mountain scenery, hill tribes and spectacular waterfalls. The area now competes with Chiang Mai from a tourism point of view and tends to be a little more 'laid back' so is fast becoming a popular escape for tourists wanting to forget the troubles they left back in their home countries.

Its mountainous terrain and general isolation has afforded the province its unique culture. The wats or temples of the province are distinctively beautiful and well worth a visit. For those more interested in the natural side of Chiang Rai, jungle trekking is recommended along various trails that cross the province's 11,678 square km.

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