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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Chiang Rai Attractions – Explore one of Thailand's Oldest Settlements
Joanna James Joanna James
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Chiang Rai Attractions – Explore one of Thailand's Oldest Settlements

Second capital of the illustrious Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Rai is an ancient city home to the Lanna peoples Tai ethnic culture; reflected in a myriad of museums, vintage locations and old temples.


Wat Rong Khun

Located just 5kms from the city centre of Chiang Rai this glistening white temple was created by painter and visual artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Tapping into his unique creativeness the artists has created a sparkling fusion of white elements that showcase the purity of Buddhist teachings; as reflected in Buddha's lessons of hell, karma, earthly sins and heaven. All aspects of the temple bear resemblance and relevance to these teachings. Entering the main chapel is only via a footbridge that spans a pool upon which upturned hands indicate the sufferings of hell. Inside are statues of Buddha that seem to be floating on lotus blossoms; this image is enhanced with the glistening gold murals that serve as backgrounds to the statues. The temple is well worth a trip from your Lanna hotel which in itself can be a marvellous experience whether you choose city centre accommodation or the likes of Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.


Chiang Rai Clock Tower

This beautiful attraction is located at the intersection of Banpaprakan Road and Phaholyothin Road. The tower is a reflection of the beauty seen at Wat Rong Khun with twisting and twirling golden spires encircling an equally glittering clock. Reflecting the stylings of Wat Rong's architecture the structure was erected in 2009 in honour of his Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej. Head over to the tower by the hours of 19:00, 20:00 or 21:00 and you will be treated to a marvellous display of lights and sound.


The Hill Tribes Museum and Education Centre

If you are interested in delving further into the fascinating hill tribe culture of the Lanna people do pay this museum a visit. The museum serves as a centre to educate tourists on the cultural morals and correct etiquette to observe when visiting the hill tribes of Chiang Rai. The place comprises of 2 exhibit centres; the first deals with the history, traditions and customs of the 7 tribes that occupy the northern hills of Thailand. While the other exhibit hall comprises of traditional colourful costumes as well as the use of bamboo as an indigenous material for the manufacture of many goods.


King Mengrai the Great Monument

Considered the 'Spiritual Heart of Chiang Rai' King Mengrai has the honour of having this statue dedicated to him. Deemed as Mengrai the Great (1262 to 1311) he was the founder of the illustrious Lanna Kingdom. The statue of the king is enhanced by 3 golden tungs – Lanna Flags - and is the first iconic attraction to catch your eye when entering the city. Many locals can be seen paying respect to the founder father while the nearby craft shop too is quite a crowd puller for buying excellent souvenirs.


Mae Fah Luang Art and Culture Park

Located 5kms from the western edge of the city this centre is ideal for gaining an insight into Chiang Rai's heritage. The place well chronicles the 400 year old history of the place through its fascinating collection of religious objects and many ancient artefacts.