To experience the natural beauty of Chiang Rai, take a daytrip to one of the nearby waterfalls or hot springs. On weekends they’re popular picnicking spots for locals, but on weekdays you may have them to yourself.
Khun Kon Waterfall
Streaming from the limestone cliffs at heights over 70 meters, Khun Kon waterfall is the highest in Chiang Rai province. It’s located in Nam Tok Khun Kon Forest Park about 30 km outside of Chiang Rai city. Bring your swimsuit and good shoes – you need to walk nearly 2 km through the forest to reach the falls.
Huai Mae Sai Waterfall
This two-tier waterfall in Lam Nam Kok National Park is known for its shallow lagoon which is perfect for swimming. The waterfall is about 20 km outside of Chiang Rai and flows all year, even during the dry season. As the trail is quite rugged, you can hire an elephant and mahout at the Ruan Mitra Karen hill-tribe village to take you the rest of the way.
Huai Mak Liam Hot Springs
Enjoy a peaceful bath amongst nature in the 65 C water of the Huai Mak Liam Hot Springs. The springs are located in Lam Nam Kok National Park outside of Chiang Rai. Snack shops and restrooms can be found on site.
Pong Phra Bat Hot Springs
Follow the smell of sulphur to the natural Pong Phra Bat Hot Springs just 7 km outside of Chiang Rai. The water here reaches temperatures of 60 C and bathers have the choice of soaking in the public pool or paying extra for a private tub. Full facilities are available including a restaurant and Thai massage.
Pong Phra Bat Waterfall
Just 14 km outside the city, Phong Phra Bat is the most easily accessible waterfalls from Chiang Rai. The water from the falls is ice cold compared to the nearby Pong Phra Bat Hot Springs and flows into a rocky stream that’s suitable for wading. A picnic area is available, though you’ll need to bring your own food.