Thailand’s northernmost city is the gateway to the highland hill tribe villages and the Golden Triangle—the mountainous border region of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand—and it’s an ideal backdrop for an outdoor adventure. Here are some ideas for what to do around Chiang Rai.
Hill Tribe Treks
The northern highlands are dotted with rural villages belonging to Thailand’s hill tribes and both day and multi-day treks are possible. Explore villages belonging to the Akha, Lahu, and Karen tribes; learn more about their unique cultures, traditions, and cuisine; and perhaps stay overnight in a local family's home.
One of the best ways to explore Chiang Rai’s countryside is by bike. Cycle past lush rice paddies, rural farms, and tropical fruit orchards; stop to admire landmarks such as Wat Rong Khun (White Temple); and experience local life in the villages along the Lao River.
Take a day trip to the Golden Triangle and cross the Laos border, riding a ferry across the famous Mekong River. Alternatively, hop aboard a traditional longtail boat and cruise the Mae Kok River, between Chiang Rai and Thathon, near the Myanmar border.
Adventurous types can head to Singha Park, where adrenaline-fueled activities include ziplining, a climbing wall, and an adventure ropes course. There are also nature trails and cycling paths to explore, and pick-your-own fruit and vegetable gardens.
When it gets too hot in the city, escape to Nam Tok Khun Kon Forest Park, where it’s a short hike to the Khun Korn Waterfall. Alternatively, cool off at Phong Phra Bat Waterfall, just outside the city, or take a more challenging hike through Lam Nam Kok National Park to reach the Huai Mae Sai Waterfall.