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What places to visit in Chiang Rai?

Home > Destinations in Thailand > Places to visit in Chiang Rai

What to see in Chiang Rai

The most famous temple in Chiang Rai is undoubtedly the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun. This is one of the most famous and probably the most surprising temple Thailand! It is located a few kilometers out of Chiang Rai. But in the city, there are also very beautiful temples. Wat Phra Kaew and its magnificent Buddha in front of the red and gold background of the main wihaan or Wat Ched Yod and its slimmer statue or Wat Phra Singh and its beautiful roofs, you will have the choice ! And out of the city, in the mountains, you have plenty of beautiful spots to discover like Doi Chang and its coffee plantations, Doi Tung with its floral park and the royal villa mix between a Swiss chalet and a Lanna house, large tea plantations, some amazing temples and the Golden Triangle. There is also a recent temple with a huge statue of Guan-Im often mistakenly called the Chiang Rai Big Buddha (while it is not a Buddha). There are plenty of places to visit in and around Chiang Rai.
I also listed at the end of the page some good tours, excursions and activities that you can do in Chiang Rai or from Chiang Rai. Click here to see them.

Must-visit places in Chiang Rai

white-temple-chiang-rai.jpg

White Temple or Wat Rong Khun

วัดร่องขุ่น
My opinion :
starstarstarstarstar
This temple is different from those we are used to cross in Thailand with their gilding and strong colors. Wat Rong Khun is completely white. It is located 13 km in the South of Chiang Rai at the intersection of highway to Chiang Mai and highway to Phayao.
wat-phra-kaew-chiang-rai.jpg

Wat Phra Kaew

วัดพระแก้ว
My opinion :
starstarstarstarstar
In Lanna style, it housed the statue of Emerald that now is in Wat Phra Keo in Bangkok and has a copy of it.
wat-rong-seua-ten.jpg

Wat Rong Suea Ten - Blue Temple

วัดร่องเสือเต้น
My opinion :
starstarstarstarstar
Wat Rong Seua Ten is also known as the blue temple because it is its dominant color. A little outside Chiang Rai city, its interior with a magnificent white Buddha is just magnificent. Still little known by tourists because very recent, its popularity will certainly go growing very fast !
black-house-chiang-rai.jpg

Black House (Baan Dam)

บ้านดำ
My opinion :
starstarstar
As the name suggests it is a black house, actuallly several houses built by a Thai artist. It is probably the second best known place in Chiang Rai (it is a few kilometers outside the city) although its decoration consisting of skeletons and skulls of animals can disturb some visitors.
chiang-rai-wat-huai-pla-kung.jpg

Wat Huay Pla Kung (Big Buddha)

วัดห้วยปลากั้ง
My opinion :
starstarstarstarstar
The temple is often mistakenly called Chiang Rai's Big Buddha, but its impressive white statue does not represent Lord Buddha, but Guan Yin, the goddess of Mercy. TAnyway, this recent temple, partly still under construction, worths a visit ! Located a few kilometers from the city, it is really beautiful!
doi-chang-chiang-rai.jpg

Doi Chang

ดอยช้าง
My opinion :
starstarstarstarstar
This mountain offers beautiful sceneries and is known throughout Thailand for its coffee, the most famous and most delicious coffee in Thailand. Going up there, you can meet the hill tribes that grow the coffee plant and see the whole process of its transformation and of course enjoy great views, or maybe discover some surprises....
chiang-rai-sunday-walking-street.jpg

Sunday Walking Street

สันโค้งถนนคนม่วน
My opinion :
starstarstarstar
This big night market, set up in a street in the center of Chiang Rai becoming pedestrian for the occasion, is one of the things I love the most about Thailand. It is a funny and friendly place for shopping but also and above all to come for dinner and discover the Thai Street Food, one of the best and most tasteful in the world.
chiang-rai-saturday-walking-street.jpg

Saturday Walking Street

ถนนคนเดินเชียงราย
My opinion :
starstarstar
Another big night market that settles in a street in the center of Chiang Rai beoming pedestrian to accommodate for a few hours vendors of all kinds (clothes, souvenirs, vegetables, artcrafts) and of course many Street food stalls
chiang-rai-night-bazaar.jpg

Night Bazaar

ไนท์บาซาร์
My opinion :
starstarstar
This night market takes place every night in Chiang Rai city right next to the Bus Terminal Number 1. You can certainly do a little shopping there but it is especially to come have dinner for cheap in a simple and typical atmosphere that I recommend it.
wat-saeng-kaew-chiang-rai.jpg

Wat Saeng Kaew Pothiyan

วัดแสงแก้วโพธิญาณ
My opinion :
starstarstarstarstar
This recent temple, its construction started in 2006, is about 50 kilometers from Chiang Rai city. It clearly worths the detour as it is certainly one of the most beautiful and impressive temples in the province.
Find a room in Chiang Rai

Other nice places to visit in Chiang Rai

Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh

starstarstarstarstar Lanna style, it also has a namesake temple in Chiang Mai. The roofs of the temple are absolutely beautiful
Cherntawan Meditation Center

Cherntawan Meditation Center

starstarstarstarstar This great meditation center is worth a visit. It is a beautiful place on the edge of a lake that breathes serenity. Besides the lake and the neighboring countryside are also worth a visit.
Fish Cave Temple (Wat Tham Pla)

Fish Cave Temple (Wat Tham Pla)

starstarstarstarstar This amazing temple full of surprises is not in Chaing Rai but rather in Mae Sai. Actually 16 kilometers from Mae Sai. With its monkeys, fishes and cave, it is really interesting and still very little known by tourists. It must be said that foreign tourists are few to go here or in a hurry to cross the border to go to Myanmar.
Doi Pha Tang

Doi Pha Tang

starstarstarstarstar A few kilometers from Phu Chi Fah, less known, Doi Pha Tang mount is ideal for watching the Mekong River down in the Laotian valley because yes, here you are at the border. An excursion here on a clear day will make you discover beautiful landscapes.
Doi In Cee

Doi In Cee

starstarstarstarstar This mountain a few kilometers outside Chiang Rai is interesting for the view it offers over the valley and for its pretty quiet lovely temple in the mountain. Inside the ordination hall, you will see a beautiful white reclining Buddha.
Wat Jed Yod

Wat Jed Yod

starstarstarstar which unlike Wat Ched Yod in Chiang Mai does not have the stucco carvings representing Boddhisatvas but houses a beautiful big sitting Buddha
Elephant Valley Thailand

Elephant Valley Thailand

starstarstarstar This elephant sanctuary opened in 2016. It offers a truly respectful and responsible meeting with the elephants experience. You will not ride them, you will not wash them, you will not watch them do tricks to entertain you, you will just observe them live their elephant life at a reasonable distance. The goal of this park is to let elephants be elephants and that's why I recommend it.
Mae Sai Border market

Mae Sai Border market

starstarstarstar This market is not in Chiang Rai but in Mae Sai city 60 kilometers further in the North. It is the last city before Myanmar. YOu can actually cross the boder there. Big and very lively, it's fun to walk around and why not do some shopping in this local market.
Phu Chi Fah

Phu Chi Fah

starstarstarstar It is the most popular and well-known mountain in Chiang Rai Province. In good weather, it offers beautiful views of Laos and the surrounding mountains. The landscapes crossed to get up there are also superb. In winter, many Thais come Phu Chi Fah to see the "sea of mist" in the morning.
Doi Mae Salong

Doi Mae Salong

starstarstarstar This other mountain in Chiang Rai province is first and foremost famous for its tea production and for the pagoda built as a tribute to the princess mother of King Rama 9. Visitors come for the freshness, the magnificent views and see the tea process (plantations, picking , roasting ...)
Wat Phra That Pha Ngao

Wat Phra That Pha Ngao

starstarstarstar This very pretty temple located in Chiang Saen is quite large. It is usually visited before going to the Golden Triangle 9 km away. From the platform next to its white perched chedi visitors can enjoy a panoramic view over the Mekong River.
Wat Phra Non

Wat Phra Non

starstarstar temple of the Reclining Buddha, it is especially interesting for its beautiful red brick porch
Golden Triangle

Golden Triangle

starstarstar in Sop Ruak, 67 km from Chiang Rai and 9 km from Chiang Sean, borders of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Loas meet. Minivans depart from Terminal bus number 1 and can take you there.
Doi Tung

Doi Tung

starstarstar Mountain 60 km from Chiang Rai, there are many interesting things to see. The setting and scenery which explain its nickname "Switzerland of Thailand", of course, but also the Doi Tung Palace, the garden of Mae Fa Luang, the temple of Phrat That Doi Thong and hill tribe villages .
Singha Park

Singha Park

starstarstar If named after one of Thailand's most famous beer brands, Chiang Rai Singha Park is a huge oolong tea plantation with beautiful sceneries that are very pleasant to discover by bicycle. It's a nice family outing. The park is located outside the city of Chiang Rai about ten minutes drive from the White Temple.
Choui Fong Tea Plantation

Choui Fong Tea Plantation

starstarstar Located about forty kilometers from Chiang Rai city, this huge tea plantation offers a very photogenic setting that attracts many visitors every day for some selfies in these beautiful landscapes. There is also a shop and a café (a café where you can order and drink all kinds of tea drinks).
Huay Kaew Waterfall

Huay Kaew Waterfall

starstarstar This waterfall is about twenty kilometers from Chiang Raï. In the middle of the forest, it has the advantage of having water all year round. You can bath there to cool off and pay a visit to the nearby Akha village.
Pha Soet Hot Springs

Pha Soet Hot Springs

starstarstar In Thailand, it's always nice to relax in the hot springs. There are several hot springs around Chiang Rai, Phra Soet Hot Springs are only about twenty kilometers away from the city and personally, I like them for their big mineral swimming pool in which you can swim.
Rai Mae Fah Luang

Rai Mae Fah Luang

starstarstar This beautiful park, just a stone's throw from Chiang Rai Beach, has ancient Lanna-style wooden pavilions with interesting exhibits, and is also a nice place to relax among the trees or in front of the lotus pond.
Wat Phra That Doi Jom Thong

Wat Phra That Doi Jom Thong

starstar located on a hill, it offers an interesting view of the city but the temple itself is very small and common
Wat Doi Ngam Muang

Wat Doi Ngam Muang

starstar 3 minutes walk from Wat Phra Kaew, it is an interesting step in the ascension of Doi Jom Thong on the way to Phrat That Jom Thong, the temple at the top of the hill from which you can have an interesting view of Chiang Rai.
108 pillars of Chiang Rai city

108 pillars of Chiang Rai city

starstar on the hill of Wat Phra That Doi Jom Thong, a few meters from the temple, this highly symbolic monument pays tribute to the creation of the city of Chiang Rai imagined by King Meng Rai after contemplating the surrounding area from up there
King Meng Rai Monument

King Meng Rai Monument

starstar with a statue of the King, the monument pays tribute to the founder of the city of Chiang Rai
Phu Sang Waterfall

Phu Sang Waterfall

starstar This waterfall is very easy to access because at the edge of the road. It can be a nice stop on the road to Phu Chi Fah. But on the other hand, it does not justify to come over there just to see it.
Chiang Rai Beach

Chiang Rai Beach

starstar The Chiang Rai beach is of course a river beach but a nice place to chill out and have lunch or dinner (but do not go too late). The setting is friendly and popular with locals on weekends in the dry season.

Other visits suggestions in Chiang Rai

  • Oub Kham Museum
    2 km from downtown, this renowned museum of Chiang Rai has an impressive collection of artifacts of Lanna Kingdom.
  • Doi Mae Salong
    This other mountain in Chiang Rai province is first and foremost famous for its tea production and for the pagoda built as a tribute to the princess mother of King Rama 9. Visitors come for the freshness, the magnificent views and see the tea process (plantations, picking , roasting ...)
  • Doi Mae Salong
    This other mountain in Chiang Rai province is first and foremost famous for its tea production and for the pagoda built as a tribute to the princess mother of King Rama 9. Visitors come for the freshness, the magnificent views and see the tea process (plantations, picking , roasting ...)
  • Doi Mae Salong
    This other mountain in Chiang Rai province is first and foremost famous for its tea production and for the pagoda built as a tribute to the princess mother of King Rama 9. Visitors come for the freshness, the magnificent views and see the tea process (plantations, picking , roasting ...)

Tours in Chiang Rai and around

This selection includes tours, excursions and activities that I have personally tested or were tested by people I fully trust but also offers by recognized agencies or websites known for their seriousness and quality.

visit chiang rai with bee a licensed thai guide

Visit Chiang Rai with Bee a licensed Thai guide

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Visit Chiang Rai with Bee, a Thai licensed guide guide who speaks good English. She will bring you to discover all the facets of Chiang Rai province. The detailed program of your visits will be established by discussing with her based on her suggestions, your tastes, and desires. Bee will also take care of booking a minivan with driver to offer you a complete service.

2-day 1-night trekking in chiang rai mountains

2-Day 1-Night Trekking in Chiang Rai mountains

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Go on a trek to discover the beautiful landscapes Chiang Rai mountains, meet the Karen, spend the evening and sleep in a Lahu village, swim in a waterfall... Enjoy Northern Thailand nature for 2 days and one night!

ethical encounter with elephants in chiang rai

Ethical encounter with elephants in Chiang Rai

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Spend half a day with elephants, which do not do tricks, which you do not show, for a moment of ethical sharing with these gentle giants. You will walk alongside them in the mountain, prepare food for them, take them to bath...

1-day trekking in chiang rai mountains

1-Day Trekking in Chiang Rai mountains

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Let's trek for 1 day in Chiang Rai mountains to 2 hill tribes villages and a waterfall with a local guide.

3-day 2-night trekking in chiang rai mountains

3-Day 2-Night Trekking in Chiang Rai mountains

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Go on a 3-day trek to discover Chiang Rai mountains and forests, sleep in a Lahu village, camp under the stars, swim in a waterfall and wake up in an incredible setting!

chiang rai famous temples from chiang mai

Chiang Rai famous temples from Chiang Mai

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Visit the most beautiful temples in Chiang Rai : one all white and one all blue! We'll also go to the unique Black House museum, also the lotus temple unseen in Thailand and have one of the best Khao Soi in Chiang Rai for lunch.

countryside cycling in chiang rai with northern- and northeastern-style lunch

Countryside Cycling in Chiang Rai with Northern- and Northeastern-Style Lunch

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Let's bike around my village and enjoy the countryside charms of Chiang Rai. You'll see local farms and temple, as well as mountain views. Then we'll have delicious Northern and Northeastern Thai lunch at a local favorites' restaurant. They serve one of the best Larb (Spicy Minced Pork Salad) in Chiang Rai.

Places to see elsewhere in Thailand

Wat Tham Chiang Dao

wat tham chiang dao

Wat Tham Chiang Dao, cave temple offers a beautiful scenery with a pond and fish and allows to visit a beautiful 360-meter-long lit cave, Wat Tham Phra No. There are others but for which you have...


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Wat Khao Chong Krajok

wat khao chong krajok

Built on the top of a hill, it is the first thing you will see when you arrive in Prachuap. The building itself is not very impressive but the view over the city and the two bays is just amazing....


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Wat Tham Sua

wat tham sua

temple on a small hill located about twenty kilometers from Kanchanaburi, it has a gigantic Buddha and offers a 360 degrees view over the countryside


arrow_circle_right View details about Wat Tham Sua

Giant Tree

giant tree

This majestic centenary raintree located about 20 kilometers outside Kanchanaburi city is undoubtedly one of the must vitis places in Kanchanaburi! Below its shadow, you feel so small.


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