Bangkok and the southern areas of Thailand often get much of the attention when planning a golf holiday. However, the northern region of Thailand has plenty to offer visitors, especially those planning a golf tour in Chiang Rai
One of the highlights of northern Thailand is Chiang Rai. The city is situated in Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai Province and is the largest northern most city in the country. If you are searching for a golf break with a more relaxing feel than you might find at the popular resorts of Thailand, Chiang Rai is a very good option.
The city of Chiang Rai was founded in 1262 and has plenty of historical and culture attractions for visitors to enjoy away from the golf course.
You could easily spend a week in Chiang Rai on a golf package holiday, combining the marvellous golf courses with the sights and sounds of the city and province.
Geography and Travel
Chiang Rai is situated on the flat alluvial plain of the Mae Kok River, which is a tributary of the Mekong. It’s a mountainous province and the city is close to the borders of Laos and Myanmar. This makes it a good destination for those who would like to book a golf package in more than one country.
There are four bridges which span the Mae Kok River and they each fall within the boundary of Chiang Rai. Much of the terrain around the city is flat, becoming hilly the further away from the centre you travel.
There are limestone cliffs to the north-west of the city and this is the place where you will find local hill tribes and their villages.
Chiang Rai is over 800 kilometres away from Bangkok and roughly 200 kilometres north-east of Chiang Mai. To reach Chiang Rai for a golf holiday, the best option is to fly to Bangkok and catch a connecting fight up to Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport. The airport is served by AirAsia, Nok Air, Bangkok Airways, Lion Air and Thai Airways.
Where to Stay
There are many accommodation options in Chiang Rai and you can choose to base yourself in the centre of the city or outside the city, in the countryside.
Anantara Golden Triangle is one of the best choices for those who would like to stay in a rural location when playing golf in Chiang Rai. This luxury resort is located next to an elephant sanctuary and features stunning rooms complete with spectacular views, dark teak floors and raw silks.
If you would like to stay close to a Chiang Rai golf course, Waterford Valley Golf Club and Resort comes highly recommended. Boasting an 18-hole golf course, accommodation, restaurants and a swimming pool, it’s a great place to start a Chiang Rai golf tour.
However, if you would rather stay in Chiang Rai city, you have many options, ranging from boutique bed and breakfasts to top-end hotels and resorts.
Weather and Best Time to Travel
Chiang Rai has a tropical wet and dry climate, meaning the time of year should be taken into consideration when booking a golf package.
Winters tend to remain dry and warm and this is the best time to play golf in Chiang Rai. Between November and February, the average temperature remains at 20 degrees, with few rainy days which is perfect for playing golf.
If you are planning a golf tour and have time restrictions, you can still visit Chiang Rai for a golf holiday at other times of the year and have a great time. However, the monsoon season runs from April through to October and there will be heavy rain at times.
Things to do Away from the Golf Course
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions away from the golf course in Chiang Rai. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is a good place to start. Although the Emerald Buddha now resides in Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple itself is spectacular, with fascinating architecture.
For a glimpse into village life, head to Kwan Village Park and Waterfall. The traditional village has remained unspoiled and you can learn about local village life and the ancient Mien tribes before viewing the waterfall and taking a dip in the water below.
Shopping in Chiang Rai is not complete without spending at least one night wandering the night markets. The main Chiang Rai night bizarre is open seven days a week and you will find everything from handmade crafts, souvenirs, clothes and food.