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24 Things to do in Chiang Rai

 
  • For perfect winter getaways you will find many interesting things to do in Chiang Rai. Although this place is lesser known than Pattaya but when you are in Chiang Rai you will find Phu Chi Fah which means mountains pointing to the sky. This place lets you view some of the most beautiful sunrises which are simply hard to resist. Besides this Chiang Rai also has a White Temple known as Wat Rong Khun which will make you feel that it the temple from your dreams which is sparkling white with mirrors embedded deep into it.

    If you want to be a little closer to the nature you can visit the Boon Rawd’s Singha Park which is considered to be one of the biggest producer of beer. For all those shopping freak you can take a walk by the Chiang’s Rai’s Market where you can shop for some unique items for your families and friends.

    Here are the best things to do in Chiang Rai:

  • 01ATV Ride

    With the help of ATVs or 2-seater buggies, tourists, coming to Chiang Rai, located towards the extreme north of Thailand, can get a close look at the mountains and rivers of the island. As you move along these vehicles, you can stop for photo-shoots, swim sessions or for just absorbing nature in its prime form.



    Location: 
    At the mountains located on the North East side of Chiang Rai. There are 3 tours arranged in Chiang Rai – one for beginners, one covering mountains, jungle & waterfall, and one covering aspects like mountains, jungle, waterfall, valleys along with lunch.

    Highlights: 
    You get to cover all the mountains, swimming pool at the top of the mountains and various other tourist highlights through this tour. 

    Best Season: 
    Winter season, which is usually from October to February.

    Price:
    Approximate price ranges from 2000 Baht to 5000 Baht for adults and around 1750 Baht for kids.

    Difficulty level: All levels are available on these tours


  • 02Visit Art Bridge

    As the name indicates, Art Bridge is the place which bridges all kinds of gaps that artists might face in Chiang Rai. Set up by local artists from the island during 2012, Art Bridge contains a gallery to showcase brilliant art forms, restaurant, café, library, art school and souvenir shop. In the local dialect, this place is known as Khua Silapa which means bridge of art.

    Highlights – Upcoming talented artists from the island of Chiang Rai, find this to be the perfect platform to launch their works and get noticed by the external world. From the art school, interested people can learn the nuances of art. Do not miss the reasonably priced dishes at the restaurant here.

    Location – Easily accessible from the main town of Chiang Rai.

    Timings – Open from 10AM to 7PM all through the week.

    Entry – Free of cost.

  • 03Visit Chiang Rai's Night Market

    Image Credit : oso
    If there is one place in Chiang Rai where you can see Thai culture at its fullest form, it is the night market or the night bazaar. Close to the Walking Street types of Thailand, this night bazaar is where you can shop for exclusive handicraft items made of wood, scarves, bags, jewellery and many kinds of souvenirs that reflect Lanna culture and other hill tribal communities, at reasonable prices. After you have shopped till you dropped, satiate your hunger with awesome grilled dishes along with a variety of beers.

     Highlights – Do not miss to try out the authentic Thai massages from experts, folk music performances and other cultural displays that are exhibited here.

    Image Credits : cleong



    Location
    – Quite close to the bus station, right on the Prasopsuk Phaholyothin Road.

    Timings – Open in the evenings from 6.30pm and goes on till 11PM.

     Entry fee – Free of cost.


  • 04Visit Boon Rawd's Singha Park

    Thailand is one of the reputed tea producers in the world. If you want to visit the exquisite tea plantations in this island nation, you have to come to Boon Rawd’s Singha Park. Perched on top of scenic mountains, the drive to the park itself is absolutely remarkable. The plantations are set up on a farm sprawling area of close to 237 acres, with a majestic golden lion at the entrance. These tea estates are definitely worth a visit, when you come to Chiang Rai.

     Highlights- The labourers working on these tea farms are mostly from tribal communities; hence don’t miss their lifestyle and culture. The restaurant here serves excellent Western and Thai dishes.



    Location
    - In the sub district of Mae Korn, in close proximity to tourist attractions like White Temple and Khun Korn Waterfalls.

    Timings- From early morning till 5PM.

    Price – Approximately THB100 per bike per hour in case you are renting a bike.


  • 05Visit Phu Chi Fah

    This is an absolutely breath-taking cliff in Chiang Rai, which provides a scintillating view of the island, its beaches and mountains. The path that leads into this cliff is filled with dense mangroves and greenery that keep you spell bound all through the journey. The peaks in this area vary in between1200 and 1628m above sea level.

     Highlights - The sight of colourful flowers and sprawling meadows will make you go weak in your knees, especially when you come here during the season between November & January.



    Location
    – Located in the National Forest Reserve of Pa Mae Ing and Pa Mae Ngao.

    Timings- Open from 8AM to 5PM. Post this, the area gets dark and risky to travel through.

     Entry fee – Free of cost.


  • 06Visit Doi Tung

    A wonderful royal villa located in Chiang Rai, the Doi Tung palace, is one of the major landscapes in the quiet island. The simple yet elegant interiors of the palace are a pure blend of magnificent Swiss and Lanna architectural styles. This was the residence of Late Princess Mother, who contributed immensely for uplifting the living conditions of the tribal people in this area.

    Highlights – The elegant interiors of the palace are made from recycled wood, thrown away teak trees and pine trees. Do not miss the excellent wood work of constellation on the ceilings in the interiors of the palace. This depicts the star positions when the Princess Mother was born.

    Image Credits : Thanate Tan



     Location
    – Located in the Mae Fah Lung District, where sprawling and scenic gardens surround the palace.

    Timings – The Royal Villa is open from 8AM to 5PM whereas the gardens are open from 7AM to 6PM.

     Entry fee – THB80 each for the villa and gardens (per person).


  • 07Visit Oubkham Museum

    If people in Chiang Rai and all over Thailand are aware of the excellent cultural traditions and heritage that were prevalent in Northern Thailand many centuries ago during the Lanna Kingdom rule, it is due to this excellent museum. It contains cultural pieces from various kingdoms dutifully collected and saved here by an artist and teacher, Khun Julasak Suriyachai. He earlier named it as Lanna Heritage Conservation Centre.

    Highlights – Antique collections, pottery work, rare pieces & images of Lord Buddha, man-made cave, golden throne of Chiang Tung, gold-carved teakwood pieces, handicrafts, tribal costumes and more.

     Location – On the Na Khai Road, just about 3km from the main city centre.

     Timings- Open from 8AM to 5PM on all days of the week.

    Entry fee- THB100 per kid and THB300 per adult.

  • 08Visit Wat Klang Wieng

    Chiang Rai is a small island that has its heritage values intact in the form of its temples, monuments and natural extravaganza. Wat Klang Wieng is one such temple that is perfect proof for the brilliance of Lanna architectural style. The temple was constructed during 1432; however during 1903 a huge storm affected the temple, post which it was renovated fully. The temple boasts of massive shades of gold and red relief decorations and contains a ubosot, viharn and a stupa that have decorative elephants at the base. The grill work, detailed descriptions to all intricate designs and the patterns on the roofs, make this temple a huge tourist spot in Chiang Rai.

    Highlights – Do not miss the intricate images of Buddha carved on all the three levels of the temple.



    Location
    – On the Uttarakit and Rattanaket Roads.

    Timings – Open all through the day.

     Entry fee – Free of cost.


  • 09Visit Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong

    Built during as early as 10th century, this temple is located at the tallest point in Chiang Rai and hence provides a scintillating view of the entire island. The temple was constructed even before the island was made the Lanna capital. As the temple contains sacred relics and images of Lord Buddha, this is an important place of worship for the locals of the island and for people all over Thailand.

    Highlights – The chedi or stupa which is in the shape of a hexagon is made of pure gold and attracts viewers to a great extent. This 14 metre stupa, also known as the Golden Pagoda is a perfect example of the phenomenal Lanna and Burmese style of architecture.

    Location – Situated on the Arj-Amnuay Road.

    Timings – Open all through the day.

    Entry fee- Free of cost.

  • 10Visit Doi Bo View Point

    Image Credit :  IrfaanPhotography
    This is one of the lesser travelled destinations in Chiang Rai and therefore, its beauty is yet to be explored. Located at a good 993m above sea level, this point is perfect for people who love camping and having a solitary time with nature. Though it is quite scenic and provides an excellent view of the island and its surroundings, the road that leads to this point is quite risky. Roads can get slippery due to water canals passing through and guests are recommended not to travel through these roads unless they are highly skilled drivers.

    Highlights – As the point gets near, roads get sloppier, riskier and tougher to navigate through, especially in the evening hours. However during the day, you can see through almost the entire northern Thailand from here.

    Image Credits : IrfaanPhotography



    Location
    – On the road that goes to the village of Banyafu.

    Timings – Can be accessed any time.

    Entry fee - Free of cost.


  • 11Visit Doi Din Dang Pottery

    This is one of the lesser travelled destinations in Chiang Rai and therefore, its beauty is yet to be explored. Located at a good 993m above sea level, this point is perfect for people who love camping and having a solitary time with nature. Though it is quite scenic and provides an excellent view of the island and its surroundings, the road that leads to this point is quite risky. Roads can get slippery due to water canals passing through and guests are recommended not to travel through these roads unless they are highly skilled drivers.

     Highlights – As the point gets near, roads get sloppier, riskier and tougher to navigate through, especially in the evening hours. However during the day, you can see through almost the entire northern Thailand from here.



    Location
    – On the road that goes to the village of Banyafu.

     Timings – Can be accessed any time.

    Entry fee- Free of cost.


  • 12Visit Wat Phra Singh

    Buddhist temples are one of the major highlights of Thailand. Wat Phra Singh, located in the northern most island of Chiang Rai, is one of the oldest Buddhist temple of the island country. One of the main attractions of the temple, the gold-plated Pagoda is located right beneath the viharn in this temple.

    Highlights - Constructed during as early as 1385, this temple, constructed in white and gold, contains the highly revered Phra Singh Buddha image in its sanctum sanctorum. With great decors, antique golden motifs in pure Thai Lanna style, the temple contains the ubosot, viharn and a chapel bearing the footmarks of Lord Buddha.



    Location
    – Junction of Singhaclai & Tha Luang Roads.

     Timings- Temple is open from 6AM to 5PM on all days of the week.

    Price – Entry into the temple is free of cost.


  • 13Visit Khun Korn Waterfall

    The northern part of Thailand is blessed by brilliant natural elements, which includes a large number of waterfalls. Chiang Rai is no exception to this rule. As you drive past the town, you can spot waterfalls at every 50th kilometre or so. Khun Korn Waterfalls, located in the Khun Korn Forest, is the highest, most powerful and most famous waterfalls in Chiang Rai, falling from a height of 70m.

    Highlights – This waterfall creates a loud noise and the force of water is very high here, so you should expect to get completely soaked as you hike through the forest to get to these falls. You can have a relaxing cool-off session at the foot of the falls; however swimming is impossible as there are lots of rocks around.

    Image Credits : Nicolai Bangsgaard



    Location
    – Khun Korn Forest and can be found at about 30km from the main town of Chiang Rai.

    Timings – Open all through the year.

     Price – Free.


  • 14Rock Climbing

    Though Chiang Rai is one of the lesser known tourist spots in Thailand, it has lots of options for fun and adventure for tourists. Rock Climbing is one of them.

    Highlights
    – There are various levels of rocks here from about 50 to 60m in height and one can choose rocks as per his comfort or skill levels. Safety is the primary concern and all guests are taken care of properly.

     Location – Boomerang Rock Climbing & Adventure Park, at about 15minutes from the Mae Kok River.



    Best season
    – Any time of the year, but the ideal timings are from 10AM to 1PM.

    Approximate Price – Per-activity fee costs around THB1300 per person, THB800 each for a couple, per-day fee including night camping comes to around THB1500 per person, THB900 each for 2 to 9 people. Prices vary as per size of groups.

     Difficulty level – Intermediate.





  • 15Hiking

    Chiang Rai, though a relatively small island in Thailand, is home to many adventure activities. Hiking is one of them. There are exclusive and trained operators who introduce guests to thrilling and unexplored areas in the island.

    Highlights –Trekking & hiking enthusiasts believe that the hiking trails in Chiang Rai are one of the best in the world.

    Location –Mae Salong Ban Santi Khiri, Bamboo Nest, Por Las calles de Mueang, Akha Hills & Waterfalls and Frontera con Birmania are some of the best hiking trails that you can find in South East Asia.

    Image Credits : Domy Kamsyah



    Best Season
    – December to February.

     Approximate Price – Roughly around THB800 for a day tour.

    Difficulty Level – There are various trails (easy, medium and difficult) available and people can choose the ones based on their comfort levels.



  • 16Camping

    Chiang Rai, though a relatively small island in Thailand, is home to many adventure activities. Hiking is one of them. There are exclusive and trained operators who introduce guests to thrilling and unexplored areas in the island.

    Highlights –Trekking & hiking enthusiasts believe that the hiking trails in Chiang Rai are one of the best in the world.

     Location –Mae Salong Ban Santi Khiri, Bamboo Nest, Por Las calles de Mueang, Akha Hills & Waterfalls and Frontera con Birmania are some of the best hiking trails that you can find in South East Asia.

    Image Credits : soggy lettuce



    Best Season – December to February.

    Approximate Price – Roughly around THB800 for a day tour.

    Difficulty Level
    – There are various trails (easy, medium and difficult) available and people can choose the ones based on their comfort levels.


  • 17Jet Skiing

    If you are a water sports lover, you will love Chiang Rai for more than one reason. First and foremost, you get wonderful private beaches to enjoy adventure activities like jet skiing. Secondly, you will tbe hrilled to see that they are priced quite reasonably.

    Highlights – The lakes are neat and warm and guests are given private access based on the terms and conditions of the resort where they stay in. You can contact Planete Wakeboard for exciting jet skiing offers.

    Location – All the beaches and lakes in Chiang Rai.



    Best Season
    – Jet Skiing can be enjoyed all through the year at Chiang Rai.

    Approximate price - Skiing charges are applied on per minute basis. You can take up the courses by paying THB75 per minute for a vehicle with 4 ppl. For heavier vehicle, it is around THB80 per minute.

     Difficulty level – Medium.


  • 18Canoeing

    Kayaking and Canoeing are two famous activities that can be undertaken when you come to the northern island of Chiang Rai in Thailand.

    Highlights – These boat trips take you through to the rich orchards and rich grass lands of Chiang Rai, where you will see exciting birds like swallows from a close distance. You can take long tail boats or bamboo rafts as per your convenience to enjoy the farms and hills of this island.

    Location – Kok River, village of Mae Salak, village of Ruammid, Tha Ton and almost all the rivers and villages of Chiang Rai Island.

    .

    Best Season
    – Winter season, preferably between November and February is the best time to take up canoeing tours in this island.

     Approximate Price – long tail boats costs around THB3800 per boat for a round trip and bamboo rafts costs around THB8000 to THB12000 per boat. The cost includes food and beverages.

    Difficulty level – Easy.


  • 19Horse and Ostrich Riding

    One of the strangest activities that you must try out when you come to the quiet little island of Chiang Rai, is to ride on an ostrich. This is probably something rare and you should make use of the same when you come here. The farms that provide these facilities also have accommodation and good dining options so that guests don’t have to travel too far.

    Highlights – The farms that provide ostrich rides also provide horse rides as well, which you can enjoy during your vacation here. Ostriches are quite familiar with the guests, so you can be assured of a lovely time, when you come here.

    Image Credits : Marv



    Location
    – Num Chock Horse Back Riding Farm & Wana Horse & Ostrich Farm.

    Best Season – December to February.

    Approximate Price – THB150 for around 4 minutes of ostrich riding.

    Difficulty level – Easy.


  • 20Fishing

    How about going on a fishing trip and getting your fresh catch cooked at the restaurants just the way you want it? Sounds too good to be true? Not if you are in the northern most island of Thailand, Chiang Rai. There are some great fishing parks here which house a decent number of marine species for you to catch.

    Highlights – Resorts that have fishing parks provide fishing rods on rent and also sell baits at affordable rates so that guests can have a good time. You can get to catch interesting species like giant Mekong catfish, common snakehead, carps, Tilapia, Striped catfish and pacu.

    Image Credits : Heath Alseike



    Location
    – Khiengdoi Fishing Park, Chiang Rai Fishing Park, Dao Daeng Fishing Park, Nong Bung, Mae Chan Resort & Fishing Park and a few more.

    Best Season – November& December.

     Approximate Price – THB80to THB100 per day or THB30 per hour.

    Difficulty level – Easy.


  • 21Visit Wat Rong Khun

    Image Credit : maxim303
    Also known as the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Thailand and undoubtedly a landmark destination in Chiang Rai. The temple has undergone major renovation work as of today, thanks to eminent visual artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat and construction work is still on going here. The temple is an important centre of education of Buddhist values and the teachings of Lord Buddha.

    Highlights – Pieces of glass used in the plaster of the temple, glisten beautifully when sunlight falls on it.



    Location
    – Just about 15km towards the island’s south west direction. AC taxes are available in plenty from the main city to the temple.

    Timings- The temple is open from 8AM to 6PM.

     Price – Entry into the temple is free; however devotees are encouraged to contribute towards the construction of the temple. Currently construction is on hold, due to want to funds.


  • 22Visit Mae Fah Luang Art And Culture Park

    The culture of Thailand is quite unique due to the presence of a large number of tribal communities here. Mae Fah Luang Art & Culture Park was imparting education to certain ethnic minority tribes. Today, since it doesn’t impart education anymore, it is a museum which holds priceless collections reflecting authentic Thai and Lanna cultures.

    Highlights – The Golden Pavilion (Haw Kham) containing intricate woodworks of Lord Buddha (belonging to as early as 17th century) and the Haw Kham Noi Pavilioin containing an enviable collection of timeless mural paintings.

    Location – Quite far from the main town of Chiang Rai; can be reached by taxis and tuk-tuks.

    Timings – Open from 8.30AM to 5.00PM on all days of the week except Mondays.

     Price – Students, Seniors & differently-abled – THB50, Officials – THB70, Local tourists – THB100 and Foreign tourists –THB200.

  • 23Visit Clock Tower

    Located right in the main town of Chiang Rai, the clock tower with its bright golden architectural style is definitely a crowd puller. If the architecture and pattern of this tower is similar to the White Temple, it is because both of these structures have been designed by the same artist, Chalermchai Khositpipat. The tower was open to public during 2008 as an honour to His Majesty, The King.

    Highlights – The clock tower, which is quite ordinary during day times, takes a magical turn during the night hours. Every evening, at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm, don’t miss the chimes and laser lights-cum music show. All of these happen when the colour of the tower changes from golden to pink to green.



    Location
    – At the junction of Thanon Jet Yot & Thanon Baanpa Pragarn.

     Timings – Open all through the day.

    Price – Free.


  • 24Bird Watching

    Given its proximity to the extreme northern side of Thailand and the presence of large number of lakes in it, the small and quiet island of Chiang Rai is an absolute delight for ornithologists. There are lots of regular and seasonal birds that can be found in thousands at the lakes, when visited during the right season.

    Highlights – On your lucky days, you can spot some extremely rare kinds of birds here like special ducks, Purple Swamp Hens, Ruddy Shelduck, Spot-billed Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Falcated Duck, Baikal Teal, Baer’s Pochard, wildfowls and many more.

    Location – Chiang Saen Lake,Thong Dum and Nong Sa Lab.

    Best Season - November to January.

    Approximate Price – No specific charges for bird watching. These are offered as part of various Chiang Rai packages.

    Difficulty level – Easy.