8 Top Things to Do in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is home to beautiful temples, historic jeweled monuments, unique contemporary artworks, and other incredible attractions. If in the past, it was only a part of the Golden Triangle Tour from Chiang Mai, at present this city stands on its own as one of the must-visit places in Thailand.

Top Things to Do in Chiang Rai Thailand
Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai, Thailand | Photo by JJ Harrison under creative commons

Eight top things to do in Chiang Rai, Thailand:

Visit the world-famous White Temple (Wat Rong Khun).

This iconic, all-white modern temple was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a well-known Thai visual artist. Its interior is painted with murals featuring pop culture characters which include Harry Potter and Superman. Every aspect of this surreal modern complex is Instagram-worth like the pool of reaching hands and more, so be sure to get a lot of photos. Visiting foreigners pay 50 Baht ($1.50) as an entrance fee.

See the Clock Tower

The Chiang Rai golden clock tower is the focal point of interest in the town center because of its nightly music and light show. This timepiece landmark turns to pink, purple, and blue from 7-9:00 p.m. It was designed by Kositpipat to honor King Bhumibol Adulyadej. During the day, it serves as a traffic roundabout at the junction of Jet Yod, Phaholyothin, and Banpaprakan Roads.

Explore the Black House (Baan Dam)

The Black House is a group of 40 painted wooden houses featuring the artworks of Thai contemporary artists. It was a brainchild of Thawan Duchanee who wanted a create a collection of different types of architectural abodes which resemble black temples, beach submarine, igloos, and more. The entrance fee is 80 Baht ($2.40).

Pay respect to King Mengrai Monument

The life-size monument is dedicated to the founder of Lanna Kingdom, King Mengrai. It is the first thing you will encounter when you approach the city. You can buy different souvenirs in the craft shops nearby.

Go temple-hopping in the city

Most of the older temples of Chiang Rai can be found in the city. You can do a walking tour and visit the famous temples which include Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha Temple), Wat Phra Singha (with golden spires), Wat Ming Meuang (the 13th-century temple which is covered by crystals), Wat Doi Ngam Muang (which houses the Stupa with the cremated remains of King Phraya Mengrai, the found of Chiang Rai), Wat Phra That Chom Thong (which housed the oldest holy relics of Buddha), and Wat Ming Muang (the 700-year-old temple which is a memorial to King Mengrai’s mother Queen Chommuang).

Stroll  and enjoy a treetop canopy walk at  Mae Fah Luang Garden

This beautiful garden boasts of more than a hundred species of flowers. And within its premises, you can take a 30-meter above ground canopy walk amidst the enormous jungle trees. You will get a new perspective and view of the garden as you cross the 390-meter long suspension bridge up above. There are also giant zip lines, rope bridges, and swings. Ticket for the treetop adventure is 140 Baht ($4.50) for adults and children.

Shop all can in the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

One of the top things to do in Chiang Rai, Thailand is shop until you drop! The night bazaar is a shopping haven where you can choose from the handmade goods and crafts from different ethnic villages to the trendy apparels. It is also a place to enjoy Thai foods, drinks, music, and traditional Thai dance performances. Night Bazaar is open from 6:00 p.m.- 12:00 midnight Monday to Sunday.

And don’t miss the weekend Walking Markets if you happen to be there during Saturday and Sunday. There are more goodies to buy and take home!

Eat authentic Northern Thailand dishes.

Thai cuisines vary from region to region, so when in Chiang Rai, look for the traditional dishes like Khao Soi, the spicy boiled noodles in curry broth topped with thinly-sliced meat and crispy fried noodles. Hot pot is another traditional way to enjoy Thai meals. The cost of local dishes starts at 40 Baht ($1.25).

Tips to Remember When Visiting Chiang Rai, Thailand

  • Purchase a local 4G SIM card in the airport to stay connected or rent a pocket WiFi device.
  • The best way to get around is by hiring a Grab. Download the app prior to your trip.
  • Get enough cash by exchanging your currency to Thai Baht. ATM machines are available in the airport and around the area of the Night Bazaar.
  • The best months to visit Chiang Rai is from November to February.

They are just some of the top things to do in Chiang Rai, Thailand, so be sure to stay longer if you want to explore more awesome destinations and experience the best that this destination has to offer!

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