Chiang Rai is a town in Northern Thailand and commercial centre of the Golden Triangle, border of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.
The town and the surrounding Chiang Rai province is a great ‘off the beaten track’ destination for travellers (gay or straight) who want to explore the beautiful mountainous north of Thailand and its many attractions including the ruins of ancient Lanna Kingdom, Buddhist shrines and experience the unique local culture.
Getting to Chiang Rai
Thai Airways fly from Bangkok to Chiang Rai International Airport. The flight time is about one hour. Chiang Rai Airport is located 8 km from the town centre. Alternatively, there is a bus service from and to Bangkok. The journey time is 12 hours.
Travellers in Chiang Mai can take a bus to Chiang Rai. The journey time is just over 3 hours.
Getting around Chiang Rai
Many of the best sights and attractions are outside of the town. Virtually all hotels will offer ‘all private’ or shared tours or the area. Alternatively, consider renting a car (with or without your own driver).
Motorcycles are available to rent but we suggest that this option is only suitable for the most experienced riders due to the risk of accident or injury.
Things to See & Do
The former center of the world’s opium trade, intersection of three countries and two rivers. It is the meeting point for Laos, Myanmar and Thailand and where the Mekong meets the Ruak River. The Hall of Opium is worth visiting.
Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)
Extraordinary temple decorated in pure white and mirror accents, designed by artist Chaloemchai Khositphiphat. Located about 13km from Chiang Rai. (Part of the temple has been damaged by the earthquake in 2014).
Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong
Temple housing what is believed to be one of the oldest Holy Relics in Thailand. The temple is believed to have been built before Chiang Rai.
Doi Tung & Mae Fah Luang Garden
Beautiful Royal Villa that features a unique combination of Swiss and Lanna architectural styles located on a mountain overlooking surrounding hills and valleys. The Villa was home to the mother of King Bhumibol and is now open to the public. The equally stunning Mae Fah Luang Garden is one of the most impressive in Thailand. Highly Recommended.
A place for souvenirs and local food and products, with free cultural performances.
Mae Fah Luang Art & Cultural Park
Beautiful park with two lakes and halls containing a royal collection of Lanna craftsmanship.
Border city, 61km north of Chiang Rai where tourists with passports can cross into Myanmar to shop in the exotic markets for goods from China and Burma.
Once a major city of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Sean is now a historical town with rich culture of fascinating temples, stupas and Buddha images. The town’s museum is home to Lanna Thai artefacts and relics of the past. Located 30 km from Chiang Rai.
Chiang Rai · Hotels
Due to its geographic location, Chiang Rai provides a laid-back atmosphere. Many beautiful resorts are set on the mountain or by the river. We list those that have proven popular with gay guests.
Why this hotel?: Riverside location. Great views. Close to Night Market.
The very stylish riverside Le Meridien Chiang Rai offers spacious, luxurious rooms with fantastic views. It has a great location, within a 20 minutes’ walk to the Night Market and Wat Phra Kaew temple.
Le Meridien features an outdoor pool, a restaurant, free WiFi and other excellent facilities. The friendly staff at the concierge are happy to organise day trips by boat or car to all the important sights.
bar, cafe, restaurant, shop, swimming pool, steam room, sauna, sun terrace, gym, spa, free wi-fi
Why this hotel?: Central location. Free shuttle to Night Market. Great value.
Contemporary boutique resort, located a few minutes from the airport and just outside of Chiang Rai city centre.
The Mantrini combines traditional Lanna style with modern design. The rooms have a minimalist décor and feature a range of services and modern amenities, fast free WiFi. Free shuttle to the Night Market.