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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 07, 2023
Headline for 10 Of the Best Things to See and Do in Chiang Rai - Discover what’s hidden in Chiang Rai!
Joanna James Joanna James
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10 Of the Best Things to See and Do in Chiang Rai - Discover what’s hidden in Chiang Rai!

Chiang Rai, located in northern Thailand, was a former kingdom in the 13th century. This charming and sleepy town lies in the mountainous regions and is at times called the 'art capital' of Thailand.


White Temple

Wat Rong Rong Khun, also called the 'White Temple', is a highlight in Chiang Rai. The completely white temple is stunning and very different from the colourful Thai Buddhist temples in Thailand. White is a symbol to signify the purity of Lord Buddha! Among the highlights is a bridge that leads you to hell! And paintings of pop culture idols like Michael Jackson can be discovered among the murals.


See Wat Rong Suea Ten

Also called the 'Blue Temple', its Thai name implies 'tigers jumping over the channel'! Tigers that used to live near the temple would hop over the water channels near the temple. The temple exterior is deep blue and meant to represent the skies.


Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

Chiang Rai Night Bazaar is the ideal place for shopping in Chiang Rai! You can encounter many vendors selling unique items at amazing prices, like arts and crafts, souvenirs, and many food outlets.


Thai food

Discover the food scene in Chiang Rai. Just like the rest of the country, their food scene is delectable! A favourite is khao soi, a yellow curry noodle soup, eaten with pickled vegetables and red onions.


Doi Chom Thong

This temple according to local belief, was made by ancient spirits, who lived here before Buddhism was established in the region. The principal pagoda is a mixture of the art styles of Lanna and Bhu-Ka from Burma.


Wat Jed Yod

Wat Jed Yod is among the first temples of Chiang Rai, and it mimics the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya in India. The exterior depicts diverse sculptors and principal attractions in the temple. There is also a hollow hall built into a rocky cave. It was constructed in the fifteenth century to host the Eighth World Buddhist Council!


Wat Phra Maha Chin That Chao

This beautiful temple holds significant relics of the Buddha. Among the highlights are two bell-shaped stupas constructed in the Lanna style. There is also a viewpoint offering stunning vistas of lush vegetation overseeing the temple environs. There are also the well-preserved remains of Buddhist bhikkhu Ven Kruba Sri Wichai.


Gardens at Doi Tung

Escape into the mountainsides to enjoy the beautiful gardens in Doi Tung. Just an hour north of Chiang Rai, Doi Tung has monarchial affinities and is a favoured destination of HRH Princess Srinagarindra, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej's mother. A villa was built in honour of the Princess Mother by the hill-tribe residents, whom she had supported.


Visit the Golden Triangle

The northern territories of Chiang Rai border the Mekong River, and nearby Burma and Laos. Also known as the Golden Triangle, you can find plenty of day trips and overnight tours to the region. While there, go see Sop Ruak and the Opium Museum. Also, try visiting the historic riverside villages of Chiang Saen; hotels are great in this region. The likes of Anantara Golden Triangle are some of the top places to stay at.


Visit the Black House

Referred to as the Black Dam, it is the creation of artist, Thawan Duchanee. Baan Dam includes a mixture of structures in a variety of styles. Some, have classic features typical of northern Thailand, while some of his work, the room shaped like a whale, is more avant-garde.