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Chiang Rai

General information

Considered by many as a smaller and quieter version of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is both of these, retaining the feel of a small provincial Thai capital without the number of tourists you may see in other provincial centers. Chiang Rai, is a good base to explore the hill tribe villages near the Golden Triangle, the remote area where Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet. The ethnic villages of the Karen (long neck), Akha and Yao are some of the popular hill tribe groups to visit.

Every house in each village sells hand-made products, particularly textile weaving, since tourism has replaced agriculture as their main source of income.

Weather Chart

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Weather summary

The dry season runs from November to May/June, with little if any rain expected throughout the region for much of this time. After the cooler winter months, from mid-January temperatures start to rise, peaking between March and May when it is not unusual for the mercury to break into the high 30’s and even 40 °C + especially in the central regions. These sky-high temperatures can last well into the rainy season, however with the rains comes cloud cover and a rise in the humidity, making travel less comfortable.

The south-west monsoon usually arrives between May and July. Initially the rain usually comes in the form of short downpours, lasting an hour or two, clearing the way for warm, clear skies. As the rainy season progresses, the rain can becomes heavier and more constant, traditionally reaching peak levels in August and September. In the early wet season (June to August) temperatures generally remain high (avg daily temp: 28 °C-34°C), although they drop dramatically in the winter months of October and November.

By November, the rainfall and hot, sticky weather will have decreased significantly, with dry weather returning for the next six months. From October to January, temperatures can be relatively cool, especially in the north of the country at higher altitude (avg daily temp: 17°C -26°C). Throughout the region at this time of year, evenings can be chilly due to the lack of cloud cover and the temperatures relatively low.

Highlights of Chiang Rai
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