Chiang Rai Overview
Chiang Rai is often considered Thailands most northern city (Mae Sai being a large town). It may be in Chiang Mai's shadow as far as numbers and tourism is concerned but it is very much a city all on its own when it comes to other Thai locations.
The air is cleaner but can suffer a bit from the 'slash and burn' effects by Thai farmers further afield. This normally becomes noticeable in the summer months (May - August). This is not severe for, unlike Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is not built against high mountains therefore the 'smog' doesn't become 'trapped' and lingering about.
Often mis-spelt 'Chang Rai' the city now has a sizable expat population. Advantages over Chiang Rai include; cheaper, quieter, cleaner air quality and cooler. The downside to Chiang Rai is that it may become a very boring place to live in if you're single.
Chang Rai Facts
Population: 170,000 (Metropolitan)
Size (Municiple): 20 Sq. Miles
Distance from Capital by Air: 430 miles
Distance from Capital by Road: 480 miles
Typical Visa Run Destination: Mae Sai
Seasons and Weather.
Despite Chiang Rai being one of the most northerly of the Thai cities the heat can still get to you in the month of April. The wettest is normally September and the coldest is usually December and January.
Cool Season - October to February. Avg Temp - 20 C
Hot Season - March to May. Avg Temp - 29 C
Wet Season - June to September. Avg Temp - 26 C.
Provincial Map of Chiang Mai