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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 10 Places to Visit in Chiang Rai - One of the Oldest Settlements in Thailand
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Top 10 Places to Visit in Chiang Rai - One of the Oldest Settlements in Thailand

It was founded in 1262 therefore has many ancient architectures. At present, there have been newer additions making this city have both modern and ancient perspectives.


Wat Klang Wieng

It was built in 1432 and is one of the most elaborately and ornately decorated temple in the world. Unlike many temples, this is a bright red temple with the ornate grillwork painted in gold colour. It looks quite royal.


Wat Phra Kaew

It was known as the Wat Pa Ye, which in English means the bamboo forest temple. It is said that in 1434, there was a huge storm and a huge bolt of lightning had struck this temple and cracked it. This chaos had revealed a beautiful Buddha Statute that was made in green jade. Undoubtedly, this shrine is regarded as one of the most holy Buddhist temples in Thailand. It is guessed that this statue was made in the 14th Century but where it came from, is still a mystery. The original Emerald Buddha was then relocated to the temple of Emerald Buddha in Bangkok. However, a replica of the statue, carved from a block of Canadian jade, resides in the Wat Phra Kaew.

There is a museum inside as well and there are many exhibits of the ancient Buddhist relics.


Wat Rong Khun

Known as "The White Temple", it stands out due to its white colour and usage of glass in the plaster. The white symbolises the purity of the Buddha and the glass signifies the Dhamma and the Buddha's wisdom.

It was built in 1997 and is therefore, a reflection of the modern perspective. It was designed by Chalermachai Kositpipat, a local artist. The temple is still being built as it is supposed to have nine buildings in total; including a gold ubosot, a hall to enshrine the Buddhist relics, a living quarters for the monks, an art gallery and also a centre for meditation.


Chiang Rai Clock Tower

Located in close proximity to the white temple, where the Phaholyothin Road and Banpaprakan Road meet. It was built in 2008 as a tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej and the clock tower resembles the style of the White Temple. Best times to visit would be at 7 pm, 8 pm and 9 pm as the clock tower light up.


The Golden Triangle

Marks the point where Thailand, Laos and Burma meet. Therefore, you are able to see the different landscapes belonging to 3 different countries from a single point! An ideal place to stay would be The Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, which is considered to be a top hotel in Chiang Rai.


Mae Fah Luang Garden

Visit this garden if you are interested in walking on a 390-metre-long suspension bridge, that stands about 30 metres above the ground and view the jungle from a unique perspective.


Tribal Villages

The most common villages are Karen and Akha Village. You might need to take a translator with you to fully understand the culture. You will also come across long neck villagers who wear heavy brass rings around their neck to elongate their neck, as it is said that it is part of their tradition. Though it was at one point done for beauty while some claim it was to protect them from tigers.


Oubkham Museum

One of the best museums to visit if you want to know about the history of the Lanna Kingdom and all the traditions.


Doi Bo View Point

It is a lesser travelled destination, however if you choose to visit this, you will be in awe, especially if you are a nature enthusiast. It is situated more than 900 metres above sea level and gives a scenic view of the island. The trek is slightly challenging, especially during the rainy seasons but it is worth it.


Khun Korn Waterfall

There are many waterfalls in the Northern Thailand and this is one of those. This is situated 30 kilometres away from the main town in Chiang Rai and is the highest one in the area!