First Trip to Chiang Rai

During my previous visits to Thailand, I have never been to the northern part of the kingdom. For that reason, I was super excited for this trip that I took to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. First I reached Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Luang  International Airport with a one hour and 20 minutes flight from Bangkok. The city of Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai province which is the northernmost province of Thailand next to the borders of neighbouring Myanmar and Laos. The city of Chiang Rai is everything that I have expected from a provincial city. It is a pleasant change from the hectic and crowded life of Bangkok. Life seems to go in slower pace in Chiang Rai, but it does not necessarily mean that the city does not have a lot to offer.

Welcome to Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai International Airport
This chicken Khao Soi is northern Thai’s specialty

And for this first post, I will start with some places which I visited in Chiang Rai city centre area. And there the first place I visited during my stay was the Clock Tower which is located at the heart of the city. The clock tower has a very intricate design and it has become one of the landmark of Chiang Rai. And when you think that the design is already interesting enough, it gets even better in the evening. This is because this clock tower comes to life every hour between 7 to 10 pm, as the clock tower will be illuminated with changing colourful lights and Thai music will be heard. The clock tower is located in the centre of a busy roundabout so we still need to be aware of the traffic.

It is 7 pm and the clock is coming to life with colours and music
This space in the middle of the road is the best location for the clock show

It suddenly started to rain when the I was at the clock tower so I went to a nice cafe nearby to get something for dinner. I ordered a lovely chicken Khao Soi, a kind of curry noodle which has become the signature dish of northern Thailand. It was light and the hot curry soup is really nice to have in a rainy evening like it was then. After the rain stopped, I decided to explore the Saturday Walking Street which is just a couple of minutes away. As the name described, the walking street is practically an open market which take place on a section of closed street. Similar to other markets in Thailand, we can found various things in like traditional food, snacks, drinks, clothes, souvenirs, fruits among many others. And on Sundays, there is also the similar street market called Sunday Happy Street which is held to the southwest of Chiang Rai.

Saturday Walking Street opens at dusk not far from the Clock Tower
Fruits and other agricultural products are sold in the Walking Street

Most tourists visiting Chiang Rai do not really spend the night in the city, as many of them explore Chiang Rai just as part of their day trips and they would spend the night in neighbouring city of Chiang Mai instead. But I manage to stay in Chiang Rai for a couple of nights to explore what the city has to offer before continuing my journey to Chiang Mai. For the following several posts, I will share the my experience during my trip to this province. Till then!



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