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CHIANG SAEN

According to an ancient chronicle the original city of Chiang Saen (Chiang: "offshoot", saen: "100,000") was built in 545 CE in an area called Yonok by Tai migrants from the Chinese province of Yunnan, and was an important city of the Lanna ("million paddies") Kingdom. No reliable written history of the city exists until the arrival of King Mengrai in the 13th century. His grandson, Saen Phu, ruler of the Lanna Kingdom, founded Chiang Saen in 1325 or 1328.

Once one of the major cities of the Lanna kingdom, it was originally called Wiang Hiran Nakhon Ngoen Yang and served as the capital before King Mengrai established Chiang Rai in 1262. The town was captured by the Burmese in the 16th century and sacked by King Rama I in 1803. Left as a ghost town for a hundred years, it was repopulated around 1900, but still hasn't really staggered to its feet. Traces of old double city walls and many other antiquities still remain in and outside the district town.

Cruises which visit Chiang Saen