Trekking An extensive network of trails mainly used by hill tribe villagers covers the mountain areas of Mae Suai, Mae Salong, Doi Chaang, and the banks along the Mae Kok River.
Rock Climbing Limestone karst hills are mostly in the north and western parts of the province. Some have vertical sides, potentially great for climbing, though often vine covered and, as yet, unexplored. The only designated rock climbing park in Chiang Rai is Boomerang Park, with cleared routes for top rope climbing for all skill levels. GPS: N19.55323 E99.47528
Mountain Biking Chiang Rai has mountain biking due to the extensive network of paved roads with little traffic and dirt roads in the mountains.
Zip Lines and Asia's Largest Swing Called '"pie in the sky", it has an arc of 45 meters, coming down from steep limestone cliff and soaring over trees and hillside 55 meters below. Three kilometres northwest of downtown Chiang Rai.
Lion Hill Park is a planned park, free to all. Also known as "Buddha Cave Hill" it is 2 km west of Chiang Rai. The hill stretches along the Mae Kok river, and is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) in circumference. To some extent, paths have been cleared around the hill. The plan is to have at least two circumferential paths: one inside, alongside the limestone cliffs, for trekkers. The other, further out, would be broader and smoother, and suited for jogging or bicycle riding. The hill goes along the opposite bank of the river, from "Pattaya Noi", aka "Chiang Rai Beach".
Chiang Rai is rich in handicrafts such as hand-woven cotton materials in bright colored festive garments, dresses and hilltribe silver ornaments, as well as wood carvings. Certain food items are quite popular such as "naem" and "mu yo" (preserved and fermented pork sausages). Agricultural products include lychee (April–May), bananas, coconuts, coffee, pineapples, and tea.
Chiang Rai Province is emerging as a coffee-growing region for its rich and mellow arabica coffee. Coffee is grown in several areas particularly Doi Tung and Mae Salong and other areas in Chiang Rai Province
The north of Thailand's culture is Lanna in origin and the people are very proud of their northern roots. The region is home to distinctly different food, music, arts, way of life, and even language. Chiang Rai is melange of hill tribes and their unique cultures.
Khon Muang are the city folk who originally came from Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang and Phrae. Culturally, they design their houses having only one floor with wooden gable decorations called "ka-lae". They are known for their craftsmanship in wood carving, weaving, lacquer ware, and musical instruments.
Tai Yai (Shan) are a Tai ethnic group who primarily live in what is now Shan State in Burma, and also in Mae Hong Son Province in Thailand. They grow rice, farm, raise cattle, and trade. Their craftsmanship lies in weaving, pottery, wood carving, and bronze ware.
Lahu (Musor) are also from the Yunnanese area and live in high areas. They are known as hunters and planters.
Karen live in various areas of the region which have valleys and riverbanks.
Chin Haw in Chiang Rai consist primarily of the former Kuomintang (KMT army) who took refuge in the area, mainly in Santikhiri/Doi Mae Salong.
Hmong from southern China, inhabit high ground. They raise livestock and grow rice, corn, tobacco, and cabbage. They are also known for their embroidery and silver.
Tai Lue (Dai) live in dwellings of usually only a single room wooden house built on high poles. They are skilled in weaving.
Lisu from southern China and Tibet are renowned for their colorful dress and also build their dwellings on high stilts. They harvest rice and corn and their men are skilled in hunting.
Yao (Mien) reside along mountain sides and grow corn and other crops. They are skilled blacksmiths, silversmiths, and embroiders.
Events & Festivals
Wai Sa Phaya Mengrai or Phokhun Mengrai Maharat Festival is held from 23 January–1 February. The Buang Suang worshipping ceremony is to commemorate Phokhun Mengrai Maharat.
Dok Siao Ban "Blooming Siao Flower Festival" at Phu Chi Fa is held during 13–15 February. There are sports competitions and cultural performances from hill tribes at Ban Rom Fa Thai in Amphoe Thoeng.
Songkran Festival and Boat Races of Mueang Chiang Saen is held during 13–18 April of each year. In this festival, there is a parade, water bathing ceremony of the Phrachao Lanthong Buddha image, boat races, and folk performances.
Lychee Fair is held around the middle of May every year. There is a float competition, Lychee beauty contest and booths of many products at Chiang Rai stadium.
Buatong Ban or "Blooming Mexican Sunflower Festival" is held in November, affording people the opportunity to see the sunflower fields, waterfalls, and mists at Ban Hua Mae Kham, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang. There are also hilltribe performances.
Chiang Rai Flower Festival is held from the end of December to January every year. There are flower processions, flower gardens, a Miss Thinn Thai Ngarm Contest, and also the fair of agricultural products and the variety of flowers.
Chiang Saen, Mae Chan, and Doi Mae Salong are three substantially different places. Chiang Saen's culture has been influenced by its collection of Buddhist scriptures and temples. It was once the provincial capital. Mae Chan's renown lies in its silver and tribal handicrafts. Once officially unrecognized by the Thai government, Doi Mae Salong is a Chinese KMT (Kuomintang) area renowned for its natural beauty and Yunnanese culture. Besides the Chinese 93rd Infantry of the Kuomintang, several other ethnic minorities have settled down in the region including the Tai Yai, Tai Lue, Tai Khoen, and Tai Yuan.
• The area is known for its traditional Lanna music with instruments such as the sau (fiddle) and kaen (panpipe).
• The north of Thailand has its own distinctive art and crafts including bronze casting, carving, mulberry paper, Buddha images, and sign painting.
• Local handmade items popular with tourists are clay charcoal stoves, tea sets, brooms and dust pans, and umbrellas for shade and decoration.
LAST but not least Local food specialities,
from that I would explicit prefer Kaeng Khanun (´more or less´ - for some tourist more, for me less´ spicy jackfruit curry)
The staple nutrient of local people consists of sticky rice (glutinous rice) which is rolled into balls and served in small handmade bamboo containers. The rice is served steamed and some add sweeteners for a dessert rice. Typical main dishes in the area are dishes of curried chicken or shrimp and particularly kaeng khanun (spicy jackfruit curry), kaeng yuak (banana stalk curry), sai ua (grilled pork sausage), and Yunnanese and Burmese rice noodles. Khao soi is a noodle dish with chicken stock and chicken that is also popular. Nam ngiao is a traditional noodle dish with chicken or pork.
Chiang Rai in my mind (Part 1)
Chiang Rai in my mind (Part 1)