Welcome to Chiang Rai Province
Table of Contents
Chiang Rai is home to the entire spectrum of Thai accommodation, from some of the cheapest budget beds in the north to what are arguably the country’s most decadent resorts.
Accommodation is broken down into three categories. We’ve listed high-season walk-in rates, excluding the ‘plus-plus’ that most top-end places charge, which in Thailand is made up of 10% service and 7% government tax.
$ less than 600B
$$ 600B to 1500B
$$$ more than 1500B
Although not generally associated with food, Chiang Rai is a great place to eat, especially if you’re interested in investigating northern Thai cuisine.
The following price ranges indicate how much you should expect to pay for a main dish in Chiang Rai Province.
$ less than 150B
$$ from 150B to 350B
$$$ more than 350B
2.1 Flights & getting there
Getting There & Away
The province’s air hub is Chiang Rai, from where there are frequent flights to/from Bangkok. Several of Chiang Rai’s towns are linked to to destinations by bus. It’s also possible to reach the province via boat, from Laos.
Thais respect a good haggler. Always let the vendor make the first offer, then ask ‘Can you lower the price?’. This usually results in a discount. Now it’s your turn to make a counter-offer. Always start low, but don’t bargain unless you’re serious about buying. If you’re buying several of an item, you have much more leverage to request and receive a lower price. It helps immeasurably to keep the negotiations relaxed and friendly.
Dangers & Annoyances
Thailand is generally a safe country to visit, but it’s smart to exercise caution, especially when it comes to dealing with strangers (both Thai and foreigners) and travelling alone.
- Assault of travellers is relatively rare in Thailand, but it does happen.
- Possession of drugs can result in a year or more of prison time. Drug smuggling carries considerably higher penalties, including execution.
- Disregard all offers of free shopping or sightseeing help from strangers. These are scams that invariably take a commission from your purchases.
Assault of travellers is relatively rare in Thailand, but it does happen. Causing a Thai to ‘lose face’ (feel public embarrassment or humiliation) can sometimes elicit an inexplicably strong and violent reaction. Often alcohol is the number-one contributor to bad choices and worse outcomes.
Border Issues & Hot Spots
Thailand now enjoys friendly relations with its neighbours, and most land borders are fully functional passages for goods and people. However, the ongoing violence in the Deep South has made the crossing at Sungai Kolok into Malaysia dangerous, and most Muslim-majority provinces (Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla) should be avoided by casual visitors.
Check with your government’s foreign ministry for current travel warnings.
Belying Thailand’s anything-goes atmosphere are strict punishments for possession and trafficking of drugs, which are not relaxed for foreigners. It is illegal to buy, sell or possess opium, heroin, amphetamines, hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana. Possession of drugs can result in at least one year or more of prison time. Drug smuggling – defined as attempting to cross a border with drugs in your possession – carries considerably higher sanctions, including the death penalty.
Thais can be so friendly and laid-back that some visitors are lulled into a false sense of security, making them vulnerable to scams of all kinds. Bangkok is especially good at long, involved frauds that dupe travellers into thinking they’ve made a friend and are getting a bargain, when in fact they are getting ripped off.
All offers of free shopping or sightseeing help from strangers should be ignored. They will invariably take a commission from your purchases.
Theft & Fraud
Exercise diligence when it comes to your personal belongings. Ensure your room is securely locked and carry your most important effects (passport, money, credit cards) on your person. Take care when leaving valuables in hotel safes.
Follow the same practice when you’re travelling. A locked bag will not prevent theft on a long-haul bus.
To avoid losing all of your travel money in an instant, use a credit card that is not directly linked to your bank account so that the operator doesn’t have access to immediate funds.
Touts & Commissions
Touting is a long tradition in Asia, and while Thailand doesn’t have as many touts as, say, India, it has its share. In Bangkok, túk-túk drivers and other new ‘friends’ often take new arrivals on city tours. These almost always end up in high-pressure sales situations at silk, jewellery or handicraft shops.
Touts also steer customers to certain guesthouses that pay a commission. Travel agencies are notorious for talking newly arrived tourists into staying at inconveniently located, overpriced hotels thanks to commissions.
Some travel agencies masquerade as TAT, the government-funded tourist information office.