What makes Chiang Rai fascinating is the temple and museum architecture around the city area.
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เชียงราย เป็นจังหวัดที่อยู่เหนือสุดของประเทศไทย เป็นดินแดนที่มีอากาศเย็นสบาย เป็นเมืองเก่าแก่ที่มีประวัติศาสตร์ยาวนานตั้งแต่สมัยเชียงแสนของพญามังราย ซึ่งอุดมสมบูรณ์ไปด้วยป่าไม้บนดอยสูงที่สลับซับซ้อน เป็นแหล่งกำเนิดต้นน้ำ เสมือนมนต์เสน่ห์ที่ชวนให้ผู้คนเข้ามาสัมผัสดินแดนแห่งนี้ ดินแดนที่ทุกคนสามารถเข้ามาสัมผัสได้ทุกเดือน ทุกเวลา
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Cruise Asia Ltd. was incorporated in Thailand in early 2003 to develop and operate an up-market river cruise operation on the inland waterways of Thailand. The cruises would open up an unexploited market for larger river cruise ships operating in Thailand. Initially we are targeting the scenic Kwai Noi River but in the mid-term we are looking to develop additional cruises on the Mekong River using Chiang Saen in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province as a base for cruises to Laos and to China.
Where in the world?
The Paradise Koh Yao, Boutique Beach Resort and Spa is set in the middle of Thailand's Phang Nga Bay National Reserve area, an emerging hidden treasure which remains one of the world's best kept secrets. Since its discovery by a western traveler back in the 19th century, this geological wonderland teeming with indigenous plant and animal life has captured the imagination of the world.
Phang Nga Bay’s towering limestone crags never fail to stimulate speculation of massive geological upheavals in ancient times. It is visually stunning to say the least and yet there is so much more below the surface: under the azure crystal waters are coral reefs, living fortresses evolved over countless years.
Both the common buildings (reception, spa, etc.) and the lodging are light structure buildings in natural neutral colors. The bungalows are very open, allowing the sea breeze through and enhancing the connection to the surrounding natural environment. The main living area easily becomes an open, covered (for shade) seating area. At night or for that afternoon nap, the bedrooms can be left open or closed-off for a decadent dose of air-conditioning. The bathrooms are semi-outdoor for that touch of nature feel.
Featuring materials such as wood, tiles, stones and hand-plastered white walls, the architecture is contemporary with a tropical accent. Seventy lavishly appointed studios and villas offer king size and twin beds and maximum connection to our stunning environment— open to nature while uncompromising in their comfort.
Koh Yao Island is set into the heart of these incredible natural phenomena.
The Paradise Boutique Resort subtly blends with the unique Phang Nga Bay environment. The Paradise Koh Yao Noi Boutique Beach Resort & Spa is truly one with the surrounding landscape— the resort walkway wraps around a lagoon and a small rice paddy, through rubber tree plantations, along the beach and up looking over the resort and bay. The abandoned rice paddies towards the Northern tip of the island, together with the existing trees and plants, were preserved and incorporated into the landscape design.
But the lush landscape is much more than a backdrop to the resort’s contemporary design— nature takes the clear lead in the overall look and feel of the resort. Another principal design element is the lighting which, both for interiors and exteriors, enhances the natural beauty of the resort development.
Our Indonesia Travel Guide includes a Travel Guide on Bali, Lombok, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.
The evocative skyline of this mysterious city, basks in glory along the banks of the great Mekong River. Flashes of color, burning intrigue and romance, flutter against an edgy backdrop of the reverberating street life, the ever present buzz of motorbikes fill the air, along with the heady scent of spices and fare from the busy market stalls.
The haunting combination of opulence alongside tremendous poverty, never fails to overwhelm, nor captivate your fullest attention. A scintillating combination of pandemonium and charisma, Cambodia will grab your heart and soul and never let go.
Here are a few good ideas to consider. Massage in Vientiane is one of the favorite things to do for any visitor. The sensory delights you find in this part of the world are hard to find elsewhere. Lao-style massage available in Vientiane is surely going to help getting rid of any tiredness you may feel. The interesting thing is that this massage also combines Thai acupressure techniques and Swedish oil, making it gentler compared to traditional Thai massage. Check out the cheap deals at Wat Sok Pa Luang.
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The weather in Surin is relatively typical of the region, with peak temperatures nearing 40 degrees C in April to May, and a rainy season beginning in May and peaking in September. The best times to visit are from October until March.
Surin has many attractions, but the most excitement centers around elephants. Surin is home to the Surin Elephant Village, where the mahouts live closely with their charges, almost like family. This goes hand-in-hand with the biggest event of the year in Surin, the Surin Elephant Round Up.
The Round Up is held in the 3rd week of November annually, but if you’re interested, book tickets early for the festival and for accommodation, as tickets for both get steadily more expensive and hard to find as the date approaches. During the festival, you will see elephants in parades, playing football, tug-of-war, and reenacting famous battles from years past. The festival is based on the long-standing reputation of the Surin elephant trainers, including the founder of the city, a legendary master of war elephants.
On the border with Cambodia, you will also find the Chong Chom checkpoint border market. The open air market hosts a wide variety of souvenir-worthy items, as well as daily essentials for the locals.
If Khmer ruins are on your to-do list, be sure to see Phanom Rung, the largest example of Khmer architecture in Thailand. The site is built on top of a dormant volcano, and the elevation provides excellent views of the surrounding countryside. The temple, dedicated to Shiva, was built in the 12th century, but the site itself was considered sacred ground long before that. The carvings on display at Phanom Rung are exemplary.
Restaurants are easy to find in Surin. For Euro-centric fare, stop in at Farang Connection. The menu offers a wide selection of imported and domestic beers. Breakfasts are a specialty and run the gamut from light (eggs, toast, and coffee) to the extravagant (the enormous “Man Sized” English breakfast – good luck finishing it all!). Oasis is a Norwegian owned eatery with an extensive pizza menu to complement their Norwegian and Thai main dishes. For local cuisine, try Sumrab Tornkruang or Larn Chang.
Nightlife can be a little easier to find in Surin, as compared to some of the other cities in Isaan. The restaurants mentioned above, Farang Connection and Oasis, are a great place to start, or to stay for that matter. Heading out from these establishments, check out the variety of local clubs and karaoke bars. Tawan Daeng comes highly recommended, with an excellent local band. Saren Pub is the current spot for the younger, upwardly mobile local set. Enjoy!
Visitors to Sakon Nakhon are in for a treat. This region abounds in natural splendor and spectacle, and time spent here immerses you in the Buddhist traditions of the nation and can even take you back in time a few million years.
Thai culture places great emphasis on respecting your elders, so we will visit our ancestors first. In the area between Sakon Nakhon and the bordering province of Kalasin, the Phu Pan mountain range houses full-skeleton fossils of sauropods from approximately 120 million years ago. The fossil record here also includes some plant and petrified wood samples, and the larger fossils can be seen in large-scale open pit excavations. Satisfy your inner archeologist with a visit to the digs.
We have to turn a lot of calendar pages to get to the next stop, chronologically speaking. Phu Pha Yon Mountain sits in the midst of a meditation center 40 km outside the city. The mountainside holds one of the best examples of prehistoric representative art. Local tribes carved depictions of people, animals, and agriculture into the side of the mountain more than 3000 years ago. Surrounded by natural beauty in peaceful surroundings, this mountain is well worth the short trip from Sakon Nakhon city.
Seasoned travelers will often tell you that the best places in any locale are the places that the locals frequent. The residents of Sakon Nakhon tend to take their leisure along the shores of Nong Han Lake. The lake covers more than 120 square kilometers and is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the kingdom. The shoreline has largely been converted into a massive public park for the city, and a number of small islets dot the lake. Hire a boat to visit the largest of these, Ko Don Sawan, to see ancient Buddha images in a deserted temple. The untamed greenery of the island makes it a popular nesting ground for several species of birds.
It can be a lot of fun to join local festivals while on vacation, even if you don’t understand what you’re celebrating! Thailand’s traditional New Year’s celebration is in April each year, and is called Songkran. The festival traditionally marks the beginning of the rainy season. While Songkran can be an excuse for rowdy behavior in more southerly cities of Thailand, in the northeast it is a more civil event. People pour water on one another to cool off and to share a laugh. Most businesses will close during Songkran days, so expect larger crowds, but the more, the merrier.
Should you be in the region in October, there is the annual Wax Castle Parade. Competing teams spend countless hours building replicas of popular temples and structures, and then form a parade to show off their handiwork.
When its souvenir time, take a trip to Ban Charn Arts and Crafts, or Wha Yai and Ban Don Daeng. Ban Charn Arts & Crafts Center is a training and distribution center for the local crafts of woodcarving, silk production, and blacksmithing. Wha Yai and Ban Don Daeng are renowned for local silk products and textiles. Take home a memory or two!
This area was formerly part of the Vientiane kingdom, and is only 25 kilometers away from the present day Vientiane, Laos. The region was historically marred by conflict. In 1827, King Rama III of Siam allowed a favored lord to build Meuang Nong Khai. All was well for a time, but in the 1870’s – 1880’s, the region was repeatedly attacked by the Yunnanese. The Thai and Lao residents of the region were able to successfully defend themselves and retain control. The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, opened in 1994, builds on this tradition of good relations and is working to improve development and trade in the region and cross-border.
Nong Khai is liberally dotted with waterfalls. Among these, make it a point to seek out Namtok (“nam” is water, “tok” is fall) Than Thong, Namtok Than Thip, Namtok Chet Si (“Seven Colors”, named for the refraction of light through the water creating rainbows), and Namtok Chanaen.
Another great attraction is Sala Kaew Ku, also called Wat Khaek. The park features concrete statuary from many predominant religions, contrasting the Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian icons in an unusual setting. You will find the naga, or river dragon, heavily represented, and the entire park leans toward the Hindu faith a little more than to the others. The park was built in the late 1970’s, and the founder’s remains are still enshrined onsite. You can find the park about five kilometers west of Nong Khai.
Also be sure to visit Thasadej Indochina market, located in the town of Nong Khai along the Mekong River. Covering more than one kilometer of waterfront, the bazaar boasts duty-free goods from China, Vietnam, and Laos, including foods and sweets. Local goods and handicrafts are also on offer here, and you really must have lunch at one of the numerous food stalls inside the market. The food here is a great value and wonderfully flavorful.
Getting around locally is no problem. For the less adventurous (or easily lost!), stick with the tuk-tuks that are well known from Bangkok. You can typically hire one for 40-50 Thai baht (THB) per person. If you are able to find your own way around, many shops offer bicycles for rent, and motorbikes are available as well. Remember that you’ll have to produce your passport in order to rent a motorbike, and helmets are mandatory, but often ignored.
If you missed lunch at the market, don’t worry. There are plenty of other opportunities. Street food sold by the vendors along the riverside road (Rimkhong) and along Prajak Road is very good and completely inexpensive. For a Vietnamese meal, stop in at Daeng Naem Nueang. You can dine in, or ask for a carry-out and take it away to your favorite local spot.
Nong Khai won’t offer you gigantic shopping malls, extra-large nightclubs, or earth-shaking discos. It will offer you peace and tranquility, and the chance to experience Issan for yourself. Its another facet of Thailand, and one you will treasure. Bon Voyage!
At around 250 kilometers (160 miles) from Bangkok and directly linked by both train and highway, it functions as a frequent stop-off point on the way to northeastern Thailand and Laos beyond. It was first established during the late 1600s when King Narai of Ayutthaya built the city as a defense against potential threats of attack from the regions Laotian and Khmer neighbors.
While the city and greater metropolitan area are a sprawling urban center of nearly half a million inhabitants, Korat is surrounded by wide agricultural areas, specializing primarily in rice paddies and currently expanding into crops like sugar cane or cassava. The region has not yet created its identity as a prime tourism destination, but offers a variety of activities and sights, plenty of charm and low- end prices to encourage its image as a travel destination.
In the 1970s during the Vietnam war, Korat served as the home base for the Royal Thai Air Force, as well as constituents of both the United States Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. While the US and New Zealand Air Force troops have long since left and the Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base has been replaced by the Nakhon Ratchasima Airport in functions of civil transportation, you can still explore the Vietnam War era’s history with a visit to the base.
What may be of greater interest, however, are the many architectural and cultural wonders able to be found in and around Korat. A traveler could spend days enthralled by the highly-intact ruins of Phimai Historical Park, perusing a variety of religious icons and sites, shopping at the expansive Klang Plaza Chomsurangyat shopping center, or even relaxing poolside at the local Waterslide Park with its Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Korat also offers a whole range of accommodation options, ranging from budget friendly to luxury suites. Korat may not yet be a major tourist destination but its hotels are all well facilitated and every traveler should find something to their taste and pocket.
While the city is fairly sizeable, getting to and from it, as well as around it, is a relatively easy task. Inside Korat, you can travel via tuk-tuk, motorbike taxi (a half-motorbike, half-tuk-tuk hybrid), regular taxi, bicycle rickshaw (also known as samlor), or songtaew, the most popular form of transportation, which comes in the form of a pickup truck converted into a minibus. Getting into Korat is easy by bus or train, since it lies along the major routes for both, although reaching it by plane still a travel option in its relative infancy, with daily flights between Bangkok and Korat and only weekly flights to other major cities like Phuket or Chiang Mai.
However, many return, and this time as tourists, or even as expats preparing to settle down, having found in Khon Kaen the perfect mixture of culture and commerce, and the latter at a much lower cost than in the more prominent tourist centres.
Culture and commerce have a happy way of co-existing in Khoen Kaen, as can be seen every day on the streets of the city. Smartphone-juggling executives and orange-robed monks sample the goods from the early-morning street vendors of Khon Kaen together, before going their separate ways to their very disparate daily lives.
Khon Kaen is widely known for its production of Mudmee silk, which is woven by hand in Amphoe Chonnabot, which is open to visitors.
Khon Kaen is host to the largest university in the North East, a major centre of education and technology, and is expected to be pronounced as the export centre for the region some day soon. As it is also convenient for cross-border visits, both the D.P.R. of Laos and Vietnam operate consulates here to facilitate visa applications. Cambodia is also literally ‘around the corner’, so what better starting point could there possibly be for exploring the region?
The modern city of Khon Kaen is quite new, having been established about 200 years ago by King Rama I. The area was ruled by the Khmer Empire in the 12th century, all of which contributed to the fascinating mix that is Khon Kaen today – that is, save the dinosaurs: this location has been home to many previous cultures, as well as, if one is to believe the local lore, giant dinosaurs! Visitors to the nature reserves are, however, assured that the chances of encountering anything larger than a buffalo in our time are very slight.
There are plenty of places to eat well in Khon Kaen, and although the best deals may be the ones found on pushcarts outside the food emporiums, restaurants cater to every taste, western, eastern and in-between, extremely well, mostly at local prices, making this city an even more attractive as a holiday destination for the resourceful.
Getting to Khon Kaen is the least of your worries. Air conditioned buses from Bangkok run at half-hour intervals, Thai Airways operates daily flights from the capital and, if you prefer the scenic route, trains for Khon Kaen depart from Bangkok's Hualampong Railway Station throughout the day.
Upon arrival you can choose your mode of transportation.
There are ample tuk-tuks and songthaews (always negotiate the rate for the tuk-tuks in advance as they vary considerably depending upon the driver) and the most recent introduction: metered taxis, which may be more familiar to most European travellers and offer remarkably competitive rates, just like most other rates in this attractive spot, which so far has successfully passed up an inclusion on the main tourist maps.