August 23-25, 2023
Chiang Rai – A Crossroads of Culture, History and Art
With Rebecca Weldon
Day 1 – The Founding of Lanna
In 1262 King Mengrai founded the Kingdom of a Million Ricefields at Chiang Rai. Representing a unique culture, it expanded to cover the north of Thailand. We begin our exploration at the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park and a presentation on the history of Chiang Rai and the Mae Kok River. Then we will visit the site of the City Pillar, where Lan Na was created and the temple where the Emerald Buddha was first discovered. We will end the day and check in at The Legend Chiang Rai on the bank of the Mae Kok River.
Day 2 – Geography and History of Exchange
We will discover the geographical and cultural networks that made Chiang Rai a center of exchange. Beginning with a lecture on the past and present nature of the Mekong River basin, we will then go to Chiang Saen and explore the ancient archaeological sites and museum. Then we will visit the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar come together and became the iconic center of the opium trade. Tracing the history of exchange between the peoples of the region, we will learn how geography, linguistics and trade played a role in the evolution and economics of local cultures going back 15,000 years.
Day 3 – Modern Art and Development
Chiang Rai is known today for its art community, and will be the location of the next Thailand Biennale, featuring artists from the Mekong Region and around the world. Art has grown out of the many projects for educational, community and cultural development in the past century. Thailand’s public health program was founded in a medical mission in Chiang Rai. We will see the work of the famous artists Thawan Duchanee, Chalermchai Kositpipat and Somluk Pantiboon, who created the Black House, White Temple and Doi Din Daeng, inspiring many others to live and work in their communities, bringing Chiang Rai back to national attention as the origin of the Lanna Renaissance.
- Accommodation 2 nights at The Legend Hotel
- Meals as indicated in itinerary (food only no drink included)
- Transport van with English speaking guide to escort group
- Bottles of drinking water on tour
- Admission fees to all places
- Personal expense
- Guide and driver gratuity
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