Chiang Rai is a city located in the Northern province of Chiang Rai. The city has a population of over 70,000 people. It is a small city that is slowly developing as a tourist destination because of the jungle scenery and amazing mountain landscapes. What to do in Chiang Rai Thailand?
In Chiang Rai, there are a number of temples in the area but the big attraction is the white temple that is called Wat Rong Khung. You can also go hiking in the jungle, on road trips through the province, and there is more. The best thing is the local people are friendly and are more than happy to help.
In this post, we will go through things to do in Chiang Rai Thailand. Let’s get started!
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Is Chiang Rai Worth Visiting?
Chiang Rai is worthwhile to visit if you enjoy exploring the local temples and sightseeing with Chiang Rai’s biggest attraction being the white temple that is called Wat Rong Khung and go exploring the area.
The city is not touristy so there is a limited number of hotels, there is no real nightlife, and things are a little bit more basic for example don’t expect too many western toilets.
Where Is Chiang Rai In Thailand?
Chiang Rai is the northernmost province of Thailand. It shares a border with the state of Myanmar to the north, and the Bokeo Province of Laos to the east.
Phayao to the south, Lampang to the southwest, and Chiang Mai to the west.
Things To Do In Chiang Rai Thailand
Chiang Rai is located in the Northern Province of Chiang Rai. The city is growing as a popular tourist destination in recent years as it has become more accessible.
Here is our list of things to do in Chiang Rai Thailand.
Explore Chiang Rai City
The capital of Chiang Rai province is Chiang Rai city. It is a small and cozy little city with a few interesting sights. It is often seen as a transit city and is often a base for trips in the area but the town itself is certainly worth a look.
There is the daily night market where local tribes sell jewelry and handicrafts and you can enjoy excellent food for a small price.
The city has a number of temples. Of which the Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Phra Singh are the worth a visit.
The Hill tribes and Education center is also an interesting place to learn more about the background of the various Thai tribes in the area.
Visit Wat Rong Khung
Wat Rong Khung is often referred to as the white temple and is the most impressive building in Northern Thailand. This snow-white temple is located 13 km south of Chiang Rai and its white color must reflect the purity of Buddha.
Unlike most other Thai temples, the construction of the pass was started in 1997 and it is expected that it will continue until 2070 before the complete complex is finished.
Unfortunately, during a recent earthquake, the building became damaged and some halls can only be admired from the outside.
Hiking is a great option to explore the area this is because the surrounding area is full of grassland, forests, and rivers, with many ethnic tribes, living in the hills around the city.
It is possible to take a look at an organized tour. Often a multi-day trek is combined with an overnight stay in a village.
Guesthouses and tour offices can help you arrange a trekking and cultural trip in the area.
See The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is the name of the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar come together. You can visit the three-country point or take a boat trip on the Mekong, the most interesting is actually a visit to the Hall of Opium.
The Golden Triangle was notorious for years because of its fields full of poppy flowers, opium production, and drug smugglers and for a long time, the most heroin in the world was produced here.
The Hall of Opium is a well-designed museum where you can learn everything about the history, trade, and production of these drugs.
Visit Mae Sai
Mae Sai is the northernmost town in Thailand. Located on the border with Myanmar and is a typical Thai Border town. It is teeming with people crossing the border and that provides a colorful mix of cultures.
If you intend to travel further, you can walk to Myanmar in Mae Sai but it is also nice to see what does on here. You can also visit the temple Wat Phra That Doi on a mountain, from where you have a great view of the area.
Shop At The Night Market
Although the night market in Chiang Rai is much smaller than that of Chiang Mai, this market is just as much fun. The Thai market traders sell tailor-made products, especially for tourists. So you can take home some nice souvenirs!
Explore The Area On A Moped
The landscape of Chiang Rai has varied sites to see. In the east, you will find many rivers and the land is almost flat, while the north and west are very mountainous. It is, therefore, a great area to discover by moped.
There are several routes that lead you to the most beautiful places in the area in a few days.
Along the way, you drive past bright green rice fields and farming villages, over mountain peaks, along waterfalls and dense forest and at night you stay in the most special places.
How To Get To Chiang Rai Thailand
The airport is 8 km outside the city center and many airlines, fly back and forth between other cities around Thailand.
Chiang Rai is also easily accessible from Chiang Mai because it is only 180 km north of Chiang Mai. This can be done by plane, bus (3 hours) or part by boat and part by bus. The last option is nicer but obviously takes more time.
Once in Chiang Rai, you can explore the area by public transport or by motorbike. The city itself is flat and a fun way to get to know the city is by bike.
Best Travel Time To Chiang Rai Thailand
Chiang Rai is 1280 feet above sea level and due to the presence of grassland and rivers, it is usually slightly cooler than the rest of Thailand.
With an average temperature of 25°C. This is the busiest period, so book your hotel or guesthouse on time.
During the hot season (from March to May) it can get very hot. Temperatures of 35°C and higher are no exception. Especially in April.
The rainy season runs from May to October, with the most rain falling from the middle of July to the middle of August. Yet it seldom rains all day and it is often showers of up to 2 hours in the afternoon.
Finally, you can visit a number of temples in Chiang Rai but the big attraction is the white temple that is called Wat Rong Khung, go hiking in the jungle, road trips through the province, and there is more. The best thing is the local people are friendly and are more than happy to help.
And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on things to do in Chiang Rai Thailand was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.