Sprawled untidily over the south bank of the Kok River CHIANG RAI is establishing itself as an upmarket tourist centre. The long arm of the package-tour industry has reached this northern outpost, bringing snap-happy bus-bound daytrippers, and at night the neon lights flash on and souvenir shops and ersatz Western restaurants are thronged. For independent travellers, however, Chiang Rai offers several genuine sights of interest, a good choice of guest houses and upmarket riverside hotels, and a wide choice of trekking, day-trips and other outdoor activities in the surrounding countryside.
Meanwhile, the town keeps up its reputation as a dirty-weekend destination for Thais, a game given away by just a few motels and carports – where you drive into the garage and pay for a discreet screen to be pulled across behind you.
Contemporary Hotel located in Chiang Rai Trade Center, 6 km from airport.