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||Chiang Rai, the northernmost province of Thailand is about 785 kilometers north of Bangkok. Situated on the Kok River basin, Chiang Rai covers an area of approximately 11,678 square meters with an average elevation of 580 meters above sea level. The province, which is located within the renowned Golden Triangle area where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand converge, is also known as the gateway to Myanmar, Laos and Southern China.
Chiang Rai, which was founded in 1262 by King Meng Rai,
was the first capital of the Lanna Thai Kingdom (Kingdom of a million rice fields), which was later conquered by Burma. It was not until 1786 that Chiang Rai became a Thai territory and was proclaimed a province during the reign of King Rama VI in 1910.
Today, Chiang Rai is a travelers paradise endowed with abundant natural tourist attractions and antiquities; the province itself is evidence of past civilization. Attractions range from magnificent mountain scenery, ruins of ancient settlements, historic sites, Buddhist shrines and ethnic villages as the province is also home to several hill tribes who maintain fascinating lifestyles. For those interested in the natural side of Chiang Rai, jungle trekking is recommended along various trails.
Chiang Rai which tends to be a little more 'laid back' now competes with Chiang Mai as a tourist attraction and is fast becoming a popular escape for tourists wanting to get away from the troubles they left behind.
||Virtually enveloped by mountains and valleys, Phayao is a peaceful province. Though with only modest facilities and conveniences, it is an enchanting community with delightful natural beauty and fascinating religious sites. Dating back to more than 900 years, it used to be an independent state with its own rulers before it became a part of the Lanna Thai kingdom in mid-14th century.
Phayao is about 691 kilometres from Bangkok and covers an area of 6,335 square kilometres. Administrative, it is divided into the following districts: Muang, Chun, Chiang Kham, Chiang Muan, Dok Khamtai, Pong, Mae Chai, Phu Sang, and Phu Kam Yao.
||A quiet and tranquil province, Nan nestles in a verdant valley in northern Thailand. About 668 kilometres from Bangkok, it covers an area of 11,472 square kilometres and is made up of the following districts: Mueang, Wiang Sa, Na Noi, Pua, Chiang Klang, Tha Wang Pha, Thung Chang, Mae Charim, Ban Luang, Na Mun, Santi Suk, Bo Kluea, Chaloem Phra Kiat, Song Khwae, and Phu Phiang.
The people of Nan descend from the Lan Changs (Laotians). Their forebears moved to settle around present-day Pua district which is rich in rock salt deposits, about 700 years ago at the time when Sukhothai was becoming the kingdom of the Thais. They subsequently moved south to the fertile Nan River basin which is much more extensive.
Nan's history is deeply involved with its neighbours, in particular Sukhothai which played an important role in both political and religious terms before Nan became a part of Lanna, Burma and Thailand in that order. Today Nan is still the home of numerous Thai Lue and other hilltribes who retain highly interesting customs and traditions.