When to go
Most of Thailand falls in to the generic high and low season categories, including Chiang Rai.
High season - begins in November and runs through to February, bringing cooler temperatures, lush greenery from the previous months of rain, good air quality, and less rain. The downside is larger crowds and sometimes higher prices for tours, flights and accomodation.
Low season - begins in July and runs through to October. During low season the temperatures are higher, the chance of rain and storms are higher. That doesn't mean it's a bad time to visit though, if you can be flexible, there are deals to be found on flights and accomodation.
Destinations like Chiang Rai in both northern and north eastern regions can be significantly cooler during the high/cool season than central and southern provinces like Bangkok or Phuket. It's a welcome and noticable change in season which may require a wardrobe change, especially at night.
As Chiang Rai is in the northern/north eastern region, it's important you consider the smokey/burning season which affects the north, north east and sometimes central/eastern provinces. You can find more information for current and historical air quality on aqicn.org.
Need more? Read our post discussing the best time to visit Thailand.
Where to stay
Instead of recommending hotels, we think it will be more useful to share our process so you can pick based on your own critera for location, budget and style.
We always start our search on either Booking.com or Agoda. They have an easy to user interface and have some extra benefits for "Genius" and "VIP" users. You can also sometimes pay with credit card in advance if you're playing the cashback or air miles game.
- Search for specific province, city or town.
- Apply rating filters for a minimum rating or either 7, 8 or 9.
- Apply other filters: budget, fitness, breakfast, etc.
- If you have a specific location in mind, use map view to browse and make a final selection.
If there are too many properties available to choose from, increase the rating filter for less, higher rated selections.
Final notes: Prices are dynamic. Check the same hotel on both Booking.com and Agoda to see which has the best deal at any given time (go through to checkout to make sure all VAT and service charges are factored in). You can go one step further by calling the hotel and checking the price for booking directly. In our experience this saves money 50% of the time but you have less guarantees.
Knowing an emergency number could save your own, or somebody elses life. Take a photo or save these numbers on your phone:
Police & emergencies - 191
The most important number to remember. If the operator is unable to speak English, call 1155 (below).
Tourist Police - 1155 or (+66) 2308-0333
This hotline is available 24 hours a day and they will all speak English. This is an important phone number to remember - They will help you out with any concerns or questions you have and can redirect you to the correct number you may need.
Public Ambulance - 1669
Dialing this number will connect you to a public ambulance service, which will dispatch a vehicle to your location. The average response time for urban areas is around 10 minutes, but may take up to 30 minutes in rural areas. English-speaking staff should be available to assist you.
Fire Department - 199
In case of an emergency such as a house fire, or forest fire, call 199 for the Fire Department to be dispatched to your location.
Highway Police - 1193
If you plan on driving in Thailand, then you may end up needing to use this number if you break down in an unsafe place etc.
Our archive of posts from Chiang Rai
10 unseen Thailand destinations to visit before they’re too popular
A lot of destinations in Thailand have become so popular that they’re pretty much always…
Our archive of videos from Chiang Rai
Our archive of activities and things to do in Chiang Rai