Some travel guide authors don’t give high scores to Chiang Rai. Chiang Rai, long eclipsed by Chiang Mai, has fewer attractions. Its wats are not as magnificent as those in Chiang Mai, and its night market is smaller.
I liked Chiang Rai because of its compactness – I could walk across the town. (Backpackers like to walk, which is why we carry backpacks rather than shoulder bags in the first place.) I also enjoyed the stage performance in the night market. On Jan 8, 2007, I watched traditional Northern Thai dancing in the night market. On Jan 11, the night market invited a couple of ladyboys, or transvestites, to perform there.