Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. Chiang Rai is essentially a service city for the surrounding province. Despite its relatively small population, the city has respected universities and other civic facilities. The character is distinctly Northern and is distinct to Chiang Mai to the south in various ways. The food is definitely spicier and the ethnic composition includes a good percentage of hill tribes and Myanmar exiles such as various varieties of Karen tribes people.