Rai province is Thailands northernmost province situated
between north latitude 14º and east longitude 49º.
It covers an area of some 11,678 sq km making it the twelfth
largest province. The provincial capital, Chiang Rai city, is
approximately 785 km north of the nations capital, Bangkok.
is most famous for the things it had and lost. It was founded
in 1263 by King Mengrai of Ngon Yang who, having recaptured
a prize elephant he'd been chasing around the foot of Doi Tong,
took this as an auspicious omen for a new city. Tradition has
it that Chiang Rai prevailed as the capital of the north for
thirty years, but historians now believe Mengrai moved his court
directly from Ngon Yang to the Chiang Mai area in 1290s. Thailand's
two holiest images, the Emerald Buddha (now in Bangkok) and
the Phra Singh Buddha (now perhaps in Bangkok, Chiang Mai or
Nakhon Si Thammarat, depending on which story you believe),
also once resided here before moving on - at least replicas
of these can be seen at Wat Phra Kaeo and Wat Phra Singh.