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Getting There

By Plane -- Thai Airways (870 Phaholyothin Rd.; tel. 05371-1179; www.thaiair.com) has daily flights from both Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports in Bangkok to Chiang Rai (flying time: 85 min.). Thailand's many budget carriers, Air Asia (tel. 02515-9999 in Bangkok; www.airasia.com), Nok Air (tel. 02627-2667 or 1318; www.nokair.com), SGA (tel. 05379-8244; www.sga.co.th), and One-Two-GO (tel. 1126; www.fly12go.com) all make regular connections.

Chiang Rai International Airport (tel. 05379-8000) is about 10km (6 1/4 miles) north of town. There is a bank exchange, open daily 9am to 5pm, and a gift shop. Taxis hover outside and charge 200B to town.

By Bus -- Three air-conditioned VIP 24-seat buses leave daily from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (tel. 02936-2852) to Chiang Rai (trip time 11 hr.; fare 859B). Buses leave hourly between 6am and 5:30pm from Chiang Mai's Arcade Bus Terminal (tel. 05324-2664; trip time 3 1/2 hr.; fare 263B VIP, 132B second-class air-conditioned). Chiang Rai's Bus Terminal couldn't be more conveniently located -- on Phrasopsook Road, off Phaholyothin Road, near the Night Market just in the center of town. Tuk-tuks and samlors (pedicabs) are easy to catch here for trips around town, which cost from 40B to 60B.

By Car -- The fast, not particularly scenic, route from Bangkok is Highway 1 North, direct to Chiang Rai. The direct route from Chiang Mai is along Route 118. A slow, attractive approach on blacktop mountain roads is on Route 107 north from Chiang Mai to Fang, and then Route 109 east to Highway 1.

Visitor Information

The TAT (tel. 05374-4674) is located at 448/16 Singhaklai Rd., near Wat Phra Singh on the north side of town; and the Tourist Police (tel. 1155) are located on Phaholyothin Road, by the junction with Wisetwiang Road. The monthly guide Welcome to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is distributed free by some hotels and has a good, reliable map of the town.

Orientation

Chiang Rai is a small city, with most services grouped around the main north-south street, Phaholyothin Road. There are three noteworthy landmarks: the small clock tower in the city's center; the statue of King Mengrai (the city's founder), at the northeast corner of the city, on the Superhighway to Mae Chan; and the Mae Kok River, at the north edge of town.

Singhaklai Road is the main artery on the north side of town, parallel to the river. The bus station is on Prasopsuk Road, 1 block east of Phaholyothin Road, near the Wiang Inn Hotel. The Night Market is on Phaholyothin Road, next to the bus station.

Getting Around

By Samlor or Tuk-Tuk -- You'll probably find walking to be the best way to get around town. However, there are samlors parked outside the Night Market and on the banks of the Mae Kok River; they charge 30B to 40B for in-town trips. During the day, there are tuk-tuks, which charge 40B to 60B for in-town trips.

By Bus -- Chiang Rai's frequent local buses are the easiest and cheapest way to get to nearby cities. All leave from the bus station on Prasopsuk Road, near the Wiang Inn Hotel.

By Motorcycle -- Motorcycling is another good way to get out of town. Soon Motorcycle, 197/2 Trirat Rd. (tel. 05371-4068), charges 200B for a 100cc motorbike.

By Car -- Budget has a branch at the Golden Triangle Inn, 590 Phaholyothin Rd. (tel. 05374-0442), offering the standard rate beginning at 1,500B for a Honda Jazz.

Fast Facts

Several bank exchanges are located on Phaholyothin Road in the center of town and are open daily from 8:30am to 10pm. The post office is on Utarakit Road, 2 blocks north of the Clock Tower There are a few Internet cafes along the main drag, Phaholyothin Road, with service for as little as 30B per hour.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.