Bangkok is the capital of Thailand
Thai, English is widely spoken
Established by the expansionist Lanna ruler Mangrai, in 1262, Chiang Rai is Thailand’s most northernmost province, famous for its hill tribes and their surviving cultures - the Lisu, Lahu and Akha villagers still wear traditional costume and speak local dialects. The city is small enough to meander around on foot or bicycle – head to the nearby hills and forest parks or down to the river and Chiang Rai Beach. Alternatively, explore the region on elephant-back, these giant-but-gentle beasts are very sure-footed and have been used throughout the north for logging and agricultural work.
History & Temples
Buddhist shrines include the contemporary and somewhat unconventional, Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) designed by the national artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat in 1997. The temple was constructed in white, a departure from the traditional gold, to symbolise the purity of Lord Buddha whilst mirrors embedded in the structure, reflect the light and represent the Buddha’s wisdom shining out across the Earth and the universe. Heavy with religious symbolism, each element of the temple carries the artist’s imaginative touch from the red skulls atop traffic cones on the street to the bridge you have to cross to reach the main temple that is built above an ocean of ghostly hands reaching up from the cycle of death and rebirth.
It was at Wat Phra Kaew - originally called Wat Pa Yia (Bamboo Forest Monastery in the local dialect) where the Emerald Buddha was first discovered. This most revered of all Buddha images was revealed in 1434 after lightning struck the chedi where it was kept. The statue is actually made of jade and is now housed in the temple of the same name in Bangkok.
The stunning mountain scenery offers great hiking trails and access to the diverse hill-tribe villages. For those not keen on trekking, visit the Hill Tribe Museum and Education Centre where you can watch an informative slide show on the hill tribes and thier culture and view exhibits such as typical clothing, anthropological implements, everyday examples of the use of bamboo displays and traditional crafts.
Chiang Rai beach lies on the banks of the Kok River – it’s not really a beach but a popular spot for picnics and long tailed boat rides are available from which to enjoy the lovely scenery.
The Golden Triangle
Visit the Golden Triangle, an area of 367,000 square miles that overlaps the mountains of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, and where the Rivers Ruak and Mekong converge. The border location is famous for being Asia’s (and indeed the worlds) most extensive opium-producing area from the 1950s until the 21st century when Afghanistan became the biggest producer.
The best time to visit
Chiang Rai is from November to February when temperatures average at about 20 degrees Celsius.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Chiang Rai.
British Airways and Thai Airways from London Heathrow to Bangkok, Etihad Airways from London Heathrow and Manchester (via Abu Dhabi) to Bangkok. Emirates from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow (via Dubai) to Bangkok. Onward connections available.
From London Heathrow to Bangkok: 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Onward connecting flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.