Chiang Rai is the northernmost region of Thailand. It is located at the crossroads of Burma, China, and Laos. The area is called the Golden Triangle, the former site of global opium production. This has infused Chiang Rai with a mixture of cultural practices and lifestyles.

Early communities resided near Chiang Rai since the 7th century. It became the center of the Lanna Thai Kingdom during the 13th century. Burma quickly captured the region for its rich natural resources and textiles but Thailand reclaimed the territory in 1786.

Thailand means "Land of the Free People." There has been minimal, Western colonial influence in Chiang Rai. Villages, paddy fields, and fruit tree plantations cover the hillsides and plains. Entire clans reside together in bamboo houses. Each village is like a small town with their individual characters.

Chiang Saen, Mae Chan, Phaya MengRai and Doi Mae Salong are four substantially different cities. Chiang Saen is home to a collection of Buddhist sculptures and temples. It was the regional capital prior to the founding of Chiang Rai. Mae Chan is a trading post for silver and tribal handicrafts. Doi Mae Salong is a Santi Khiri village and is regarded a particularly scenic area of Thailand.   Phaya MengRai literally means King MengRai and is named after one of the rulers of the Lanna Kingdom, King MengRai was actually killed by a lightning strike.