Wellington Travel Guide
Chiang Rai is a provincial capital and Thailand's northernmost city, and, historically, the gateway to the storied "Golden Triangle" where the opium trade has loomed large. The city, however, is eager to swap its opium-growing legacy for a tourist-friendly image, and continues to move in that direction with the recent development of a few luxury hotels, the addition of new restaurants to the scores of existing ones, and the bolstering of its colorful downtown night bazaar with the added lure of cultural performances that continues to draw visitors and residents alike. There are Buddhist temples here, both ancient and modern, and public parks peppered with beautiful trees and flowers. For the most part, though, at least for now, Chiang Rai remains a destination for day-trippers from nearby Chiang Mai, as those opium poppies, slowly but surely, begin to wilt on the stalks.
Chiang Rai is the northernmost large city in Thailand, situated on the flat alluvial plain of the Mae Kok River, a tributary of the Mekong.
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