Chiang Rai province provides many treasures for visitors, ranging from beautiful scenery to colourful temples and an amazing variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting, and cycling.
The Mekong River forms the boundary with Laos, the Mae Sai and Ruak River with Myanmar. While the eastern part of the province is characterized by relatively flat river plains, the northern and western part consist of the hilly terrain of the Thai highlands with the Khun Tan Range and the Phi Pan Nam Range in the west and the Daen Lao Range in the north.
The north of the province is part of the so-called Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge. Prior to the rise of agricultural production of coffee, pineapple, and banana plantations the area was producing opium, and it was unsafe for tourists due to drug smuggling across the borders.
Nan province is in the remote Nan River valley, surrounded by the forested mountains of the Phlueng Range in the western part and the Luang Prabang Range in the east. For centuries Nan was an independent kingdom, but due to its remoteness had few connections to the other kingdoms. The first kingdom around the city Mueang Pua (also known as Varanagara) was created in the late-13th century. Its rulers, the Phukha dynasty, were originally related to the founders of Vientiane. However, it became associated with the Sukhothai Kingdom as it was easier to reach from the south than from the east or west. The province provides nice scenery, historical sites, remote villages and colourful temples to visiting tourists.
Surrounded by mountains and valleys, Phayao province sits in a peaceful, though modestly developed, area. Phayao town was once the centre of an independent city state until it was folded into the Lanna Kingdom in the mid-14th century. Apart from several interesting historical and religious sites, the province offers many natural attractions, including forest covered mountains and lakes.