Places to visit in Chiang Rai - long neck Karen tribe

Chiang Rai: 7 Unmissable Places To Visit

The capital of Chiang Rai province, the city of Chaing Rai, is located about 200 km from Chiang Mai. A place that you should definitely not miss in the whole of North Thailand. It was a place that matched our vibe. With the perfect weather, picturesque hills, and landscapes stretching serenely, the authenticity and hospitality of the people here was a major plus factor. A gen of a place that doesn’t receive its due credit.

This blog encompasses a list of activities to keep you engaged for at least three days here! Be sure to check out the must-visit spots.

Places To Visit In Chiang Rai

1. Visit the White Temple

White temple, Wat Ron Khun

The White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun, is Buddhist. Created by the master Chalermchai Kositpipat, a local artist from Chiang Rai, it is a marvelous structure. With mirrors embedded in the walls, the primary building is named “Ubosot” and can be reached after crossing a small lake. Upon the front of the bridge, you can see inscriptions that display hundreds of outstretched hands meant to symbolize unrestrained desire. There is also a Ganesh (Son of lord Shiva) temple in the premises.

Ganesh temple inside the white temple

Guided tours are available for those interested in knowing the significance of the temple. It is important to remember that one must dress modestly, covering your shoulders, chest, back, and belly, or else you’ll be denied from entering.

  • Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM
  • Entry Fee: 100 THB for foreigners, which must be paid in cash. Thai citizens holding Thai National ID cards, monks, diplomats, people with tour leader cards, disabled persons, and children of height 120 cm or lower are allowed free entry.
  • Photography and videography are prohibited in the sanctum.

The gallery opposite the White Temple hosts the masterworks of the master Chalermchai Kositpipat. A sight that is captivating and a visual treat for art lovers is not to be missed. You can also visit the nearby Blue Temple or Wat Rong Suea Ten.

2. Meet the Tribes In Karen Village

Meeting the tribal people of north Thailand

Settled in Northern Thailand, near Chiang Rai are migrants and refugees from the neighboring countries of Myanmar (Burma), China, and Laos, a few tribal groups named Akha, Lu-mien or Yao, Lahu, Kayaw, and long-neck Karen or Kayan. Retaining their authentic lifestyle, visiting these tribes gives you an insight into their habitat. You can also buy hand-made souvenirs and get to know their daily life. We were surprised to hear the long-neck Karen villagers speak in English and have smartphones. 

While the Akha and Yao tribes sold their products enthusiastically, the Lahu tribal people were adept at making bamboo tea/ coffee cups. The Kayaw tribe indulged in weaving shawls, and the long-neck Karen were friendly. We also found a community school on the premises. 

  • Timings: 7 AM – 7 PM
  • Entry Fee: 500 THB per person

3. Watch the Light & Sound Show by Clock Tower

Light and sound show at the clock tower, Chiang Rai

The enchanting golden clock tower stands at the heart of the intersection where Banphaprakan Road meets Suk Sathit Road and Chet Yot Road. Crafted by the national artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, this masterpiece comes to life with captivating light, and sound shows thrice daily at 7 PM, 8 PM, and 9 PM, paying homage to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Stroll towards the historic clock tower to savor local delicacies from the street vendors. This nightly culinary haven welcomes visitors every day.

4. Hike to Phu Chi Fa

Located on the Eastern side of Chiang Rai on the outskirts, about 85 km from the city, hit up this spot if you love places that provide solitude. A thirty-minute hike would lead you straight into paradise. This 700 m hike is not strenuous and is well worth the view it offers and more. It gets pretty cold up there, so be sure to bundle up. 

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: Open 24*7. People go to watch the sunrise and sunset.

Phu Chi Duen and Phu Chi Dao are other places you can consider visiting during the golden hours.

5. Stand at the Intersection of Three Countries

The golden triangle

In the far north of the country, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand intersect on the Khong River called the Golden Triangle. Overlooking Laos on the right and Myanmar on the left, you’ll be at the cusp of three countries intersecting. This geographical phenomenon makes you wonder how and why the territories were marked in the past. Also called the Golden Triangle Park, a giant bronze Buddha statue stands tall here. There are several shops in the surroundings, thanks to the increased influx of tourists. You can also find bus services from Chiang Rai to visit the Golden Triangle, which is less frequent.

Twin’s Tip: We recommend renting a two-wheeler, as they are the easiest to explore. The day tours and cabs are expensive.

6. Explore the Tham Luang Cave

Wild boars soccer team at Tham Luang cave

The cave that made the news when the Thai youth soccer team and its coach went missing in 2018, the Tham Luang Cave, with its unique stalactites and stalagmite formations that stretch for about 10.3 km, should definitely be on your list. The world exploded when the news of the disappearance hit, with thousands of experts coming together for the searches. It was one of the most challenging cave rescues ever. Visiting the Tham Luang Cave was the top highlight of our whole trip. We have another blog delving deep into the cave’s specifics and the spine-chilling awe and emotions it invokes in you.

7. Ride to Doi Tung

Phra That Doi Tung

We decided to check out a viewpoint from the Tham Luang Cave. Doi Tung touted as the highest point in the Doi Nang Non mountain range, stands proudly 1389 m above the sea range. The journey that cuts through the mountain roads with heart-pounding hairpin bends bordering Myanmar is a haven for bike riders. The view that greeted us left us speechless. We also visited a nearby Buddhist temple called the Phra That Doi Tung.

  • Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM
  • Entry Fee: Free for all

If you have a little more time to spare, you can visit Khun Kon Waterfall, the Chui Fong tea plantation, and the Emerald Pool.

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