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Travel & Resources: CHIANG RAI

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Chiang Rai -- area code +66-53

General Information

    Chiang Rai, gateway to the Golden Triangle, is a half-day’s drive (or short flight) from Chiang Mai. Along the way you’ll pass verdant mountain forests, emerald valleys, and electric green rice paddies. Several pristine National Parks are located along the way for hiking and appreciation of nature.

    The city of Chiang Rai is pretty sleepy, but the night bazaar is a real slice-of-Thai-life and a good place to sample local food and entertainment. Phallic worshippers my wish to visit the rings of linga at Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong. And Wat Klang Wiang is a picture-perfect northern-style temple.

    Most visitors use the city as home base for exploring nearby historic towns and natural wonders…

    Drive up into the mountains to the tea plantations of Mae Salong. Here, farms perch dramatically on steep mountain faces and Hill Tribes people (Hmong, Ahka, Lisu, Mien) wander past in colorful traditional costume. Take a walk through the winding town and try some honey-flavored oolong teas at a shop. Also up in the mountains is the royal project, Doi Tung, with a museum, Botanical Garden and Hall of Opium detailing the history of poppy cultivation. At the top of the mountain is Wat Phra Tat Doi Tung, housing important Buddha relics and offering a panoramic view of the Thai/Myanmar border.

    North of Chiang Rai is the border city of Mae Sai where tourists with passports can cross into Myanmar to shop in the exotic markets trading in goods from China and Burma.

    Northeast is the charming town of Chiang Saen, a former 14th century capital, where boats from China dock to unload goods. This quiet little town has grown up around the ancient city walls and red brick ruins, many in excellent shape and a treat for fans of lost ancient cities.


Popular Spots

Accommodations

      Click here for Chiang Rai hotels and accommodations.


Attractions

      Wat Rongkhun, photo (c) by John Goss

    • Wat Rongkhun

        On the outskirts of Chiang Rai is one of Thailand's most extraordinary modern temples, Wat Rongkhun, an ongoing project of artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Decorated entirely in pure white with mirror accents, it is designed to be best viewed glimmering in moonlight. This is a unique chance to witness the birth of an entirely new style of Thai temple.
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Bars and Clubs

    • Regency Bar UTOPIAN VERIFIED JUN 2012
        053-752-329

        Small gay bar on a side soi of the Wangcome Hotel, just a couple blocks from the night market. Friendly and relaxed place to have a drink. Opens after 8:30pm.
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Massage and Spas

      Comments from Utopians:

      "Last week I was in Chiang Rai, a city notorious for absence of gay life. I visited Spa Ya Dee Had, at 621/26 Soi Den Ha, Rop Wiang Dist, and had a wonderful oil massage. Most staff are young men and Art was my masseur. Call 061-368-4538 for and appointment." -- oatmen, Sep 1, 2015


Restaurants and Cafes



General Thai Gay & Lesbian Information

Thailand Gay & Lesbian Resource Listings by City or Province:


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