, like Chiangmai has a very ancient history. It
was once a fortified city complete with walls and moats. When the
city fathers decided to modernize, however, part of the walls were
buried under asphalt. A section of Paholyothin Highway passing in
front of the Golden Triangle Inn and King Meng Rai's monument, is
on top of part of the Ancient City's wall. A section of the moat
can still be observed near the Chiangmai Gate.
When coming to Chiang Rai, people
often ask the question, "What can I do and see here
in the city of Chiang Rai?"
Actually, there are a
number of things that you could do. One only needs to hire a motorcycle
which goes for about 150 to 200 baht a day. The more intrepid traveler
might opt for a bicycle, which could be hired anywhere from 80 to
150 baht per day (Helmets not included).So where do you
Allow me then to take you around the city of Chiang
Rai. Let's start with the Hilltribe Museum and Education Center.
Museum and Education Center
Many tourists come to Chiang Rai to
visit a hilltribe village at one point in time during their short
stay. We therefore recommend tourists to visit this museum in order
to learn more about the hilltribe people and understand their culture
before heading off to the mountains.
The Hilltribe Museum and Education
Center is located on the third floor of the Population and Community
Development Association's Building. It is adjacent to the Cabbages
and Condoms restaurant, which is a public-benefit restaurant with
an objective to promote condom usage for birth control and protection
A 25-minute slide show, which can
be heard in 5 languages (Thai, English, French, German and Nihongo)
will give you a brief introduction to hilltribe culture. The museum
is a great alternative to visit in case you come to Chiang Rai during
the rainy season. There are loads of information printed in English
Language. The museum staff can also give you a guided tour of the
Oub Kham Museum :
Northern Thailand is also known as
the Lanna Kingdom. Over the millennia, the Lanna people have changed
into the people that now populate Chiang Rai and its surrounding
provinces. Their rich culture however, is thankfully preserved by
the private collectors like Atchan Julasuk, the owner of the Oub
The Oub Come Museum is located near
the Den Ha intersection. Entrance to the museum will costs about
200 baht. This is money well spent considering the impressive collection
of Lanna-period treasures.
The museum also has a small handicraft shop where you can purchase
fine hand-woven silk products.
Chiang Rai Beach
Down the road from the Oub Come Museum
is a place called Chiang Rai beach. Can this be possible? It used
to be called Pattaya Noi or Little Pattaya by local residents, but
has been renamed Chiang Rai beach. It actually is the bank of the
Kok River and is very popular among locals because of the beautiful
scenery that includes a very crinfo/picturesque limestone outcrop.
Several restaurants have been established
and also a number of huts located at the very edge of the bank of
the Kok River providing an unobstructed view of the beautiful scenery.
It is easy to get drunk on the beautiful surrounding salone. If
you do get drunk, nobody will mind if you flop down on a mat and
get some z's. Just six-kilometer from downtown, this short bike
ride to Chiang Rai beach is an easy trip.
Longer Bicycling Trips :
Now, are you ready for more cycling
adventure? There are a number of places that can be reached by a
bicycle. One such place is the Huay Mark Liam hot spring. This route
will take you along one side of the Kok River and then cross over
to the other side of the river by a hanging bridge. The total distance
of this route is about 65 kilometers. Therefore, this route is not
recommended for all persons. About 20 kilometers of this route is
on dirt trails on hilly terrain. During the rainy season, this route
can become a bit technical. You will have a chance to visit the
elephant village on this route. I will tell you more about this
route next time.
So now that you have a better idea
of where to go, what about Bicycles? There are several places where
you can rent bicycles. My favorite shop is called Fat Free located
along Thanalai Road near Pratu - Chiangmai (Chiangmai Gate). There
are other shops that have limited numbers of bicycles as shown in
the map. Rent a bike that suits your needs. Biking around Chiang
Rai is a novel way of getting around.