Chiang Rai city is the northernmost large city in Thailand, situated right on the border with Myanmar, and it’s a great place to visit if you love history, architecture, art, and exploring a new culture. There are many Things to Do in Chiang Rai, and exploring the city can be a great addition to the tropical island life you may already have experienced down south.
Best Things to do in Chiang Rai, thailand
Wat Rong Khun
Nothing can quite compare to the unique beauty of Wat Rong Khun. Blindingly white, glittering in the sun, and seemingly floating on the lake that surrounds it, this temple is truly a sight to behold. The exquisite architectural detail, grotesque and beautiful imagery, and sheer novelty of Wat Rong Khun make it one of the best Things to do in Chiang Rai. It can take a while to get there from the city centre, but I am sure that you will find the day-trip is well worth it!
Wat Phra Kaew (temple of the emerald BUDDHA)
Immerse yourself in Thai Buddhist culture with a visit to Wat Phra Kaew (or Kaeo, depending on your chosen spelling), and revel in the rich red and gold décor, chanting monks, and insight into a religion that you may not know much about. There is a relaxing garden complex to enjoy, a Buddha museum, and entrance is free!
Chiang Rai Hilltribe Museum & Education Centre
If you’re interested in history, culture, and the various hilltribes of northern Thailand, then a visit to this museum is a must. It is not quite up to Western museum standards in modernity or interactiveness, but it contains a wealth of information on the traditional tribes that still live mostly in isolation. You can also organize visits to some of the hill tribes, and tours of the tea plantations in the countryside.
Tad Kwan Village, Park, & Waterfall
Take a break from temples and city life, and seek adventure at Tad Kwan Village and Park! Visit the Tad Kwan Mien Hill Tribe Village after a fun and scenic buggy ride, check out the nearby lake and waterfall, and enjoy Thai life in the countryside, off the beaten track. The guides are friendly and informative, and a visit makes an excellent adventure day-trip from Chiang Rai.
Black House / Baan Si Dum
Often seen as the “dark twin” of Wat Rong Khun, the Black House, or Baan Si Dum, is a strange and fascinating place to visit. It’s definitely not for everyone, as it houses eerie and often scary artworks using skeletons, animal skins, erotic scenes, and animal skeletal remains. If you like interesting, unconventional art, then you will love Baan Si Dum!
Chiang Rai Night Bazaar
Head over to Chiang Rai’s popular night bazaar for delicious local Thai street food, excellent shopping bargains, and souvenir hunting! The market is well-known for its fresh fruit juices, so be sure to try one when you visit.
Related: Interesting Places in Thailand
Photo by cloud.shepherd