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Things to do in Chiang Rai

Things to do in  Chiang Rai

Welcome to Chiang Rai

One of Thailand’s last strongholds of Tai culture, the mountainous region of Chiang Rai—situated just north of the busier, more developed Chiang Mai—provides a cultural escape from the tourist-heavy islands and cities of the south. More than 50 wats (temples) dot the province’s hills, including Wat Rong Khun (White Temple), known for its snowflake-like spires. Take a guided tour of the Chiang Rai Temple Trail to see the most impressive of the bunch, from wooden Wat Phra Singh to Wat Phra Keow and its jade Buddha; visit a hill tribe village; or traverse the borders of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos on a bike or trekking tour of the Golden Triangle.

Top 10 attractions in Chiang Rai

#1
Golden Triangle

Golden Triangle

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The mountainous border regions of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand come together in the exotically named Golden Triangle—a haven of Buddhist architecture, lush forest, and colorful riverfront villages. Located in the Chiang Rai province at Thailand’s northernmost tip, the Golden Triangle is thick with wonders, both natural and man-made.More
#2
White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)

White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)

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With brilliant white spires, eaves, and bridges that all glitter in the sunshine and reflect in surrounding pools, the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) is Chiang Rai’s signature sight. The building’s surroundings and interior are filled with art inspired by everything fromThe Matrix, to Hello Kitty andKung Fu Panda.More
#3
Choui Fong Tea Plantation

Choui Fong Tea Plantation

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Perched in the highlands near Chiang Rai some 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level, the Choui Fong Tea Plantation has been producing some of Thailand’s highest quality teas for nearly half a century. Benefitting from the rich soil and climate of the region, the plantation grows Assum, Oolong, green and black teas, which are handpicked and then blended by tea specialists from Taiwan.Visitors to the Choui Fong Tea Plantation can see firsthand how tea is grown. Neat rows of tea trees cascade down a hillside, where workers can be seen carefully picking the leaves by hand. Next door to the plantation building is a cafe and shop, where you can sample teas and treats with stunning views overlooking the plantation or purchase teas or tea-themed souvenirs to take home.More
#4
Hall of Opium Museum

Hall of Opium Museum

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Set at the intersection of Thailand, Laos and Burma (Myanmar) known as the “Golden Triangle,” the Hall of Opium Museum seeks to inform its visitors about the history and effects of the opium seed.The Golden Triangle area is historically well-known for its role in the growth and distribution of opium. Tracing from its first use over 5,000 years ago to current abuse and addiction issues, learn about the opium trade’s past and present both in this area and worldwide. There are several educational multimedia exhibitions throughout, including ones on the process of production and the dangers of consumption. Walk through a dark tunnel to a flowerbed of poppies, the plant from which opium is derived, to enter.More
#5
Chiang Saen

Chiang Saen

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Chiang Saen is a town in northern Thailand on the bank of the Mekong River that is known for its historic ruins. Though Chiang Saen is a small, sleepy town by modern standards, until the 14th century it was home to a powerful independent kingdom. Ruins of the ancient kingdom of Chiang Saen can still be seen, including temples, Buddha images, and the old city walls, and there is an excellent history museum.Chiang Saen is also near the "Golden Triangle" where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. The town offers hotels and guesthouses as well as restaurants, banks, and an immigration office.More
#6
Doi Mae Salong

Doi Mae Salong

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Amid the rolling peaks of the Daen Lao Rang mountains, Doi Mae Salong is the gateway to some of Northern Thailand’s most scenic landscapes. The village of Mae Salong is known for its rich Chinese heritage, while the surrounding highlands abound with jungle-clad slopes, hillside tea plantations, and ethnic minority villages.More
#7
Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong

Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong

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Make the trek to hilltop Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong to enjoy its peaceful grounds and sweeping views of Chiang Rai. The temple’s architecture is of the traditional Lanna style and its golden stupa dates to the 14th century, though local lore indicates this site has been a holy place since the 10th century. It is fabled that the founder of Chiang Rai, King Mengrai, surveyed the location of the city from this hilltop.More
#8
Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park

Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park

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The Lanna Kingdom, an area in Northern Thailand culturally distinct from any other region, was founded in the 1400s and became a vassal state in the late 1700s. The Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, located just west of central Chiang Rai, houses the finest collection of Lanna art and artifacts in Thailand, including many teak pieces from across Northern Thailand.Apart from the museum, the cultural park features several other points of interest dotted throughout its meticulously manicured grounds. Rising from the center is the Golden Pavilion (Haw Kham), a temple-like royal residence built in 1984 from the materials of 32 Thai wooden houses and presented to the Princess Mother on her 84th birthday.More
#9
Oub Kham Museum

Oub Kham Museum

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This private museum has an impressive collection of artifacts from the ancient Lanna kingdom of northern Thailand. The collection includes carved thrones, embroidered costumes, Buddha images, antique jewelry, and priceless items used by royalty like the oub kham – the golden bowl that the museum is named for. There are minimal signs, but the English-speaking tour guide will ensure you know the story behind each item.Don’t forget to take a walk around the museum grounds which are resplendent with traditional Lanna architecture, statues, and fountains.More
#10
Mae Sai (Maesai)

Mae Sai (Maesai)

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The northernmost town in Thailand, and one of the few official crossings to Myanmar, Mae Sai (Maesai) is an ideal starting point for tours of the Golden Triangle.The Mae Sai valley is in Chiang Rai province, and the busy border town at its heart is in a hilly location on cliffs bordering the Mae Nam Sai river.Take a walk around the hilly town to visit Wat Phra That Doi Wao for views into Myanmar from the temple.Being a busy border town, Mae Sai has plenty of accommodation, food stalls and restaurants. Shops here sell Burmese lacquerware, gems and jade.More

Trip ideas

Chiang Rai Temple Trail

Chiang Rai Temple Trail

How to Spend 3 Days in Chiang Rai

How to Spend 3 Days in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai Hill Tribe Villages

Chiang Rai Hill Tribe Villages

Recent reviews from experiences in Chiang Rai

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Amazing temples and lunch!
Odyssey29940429294, Nov 2019
Sightseeing Join Tour Chiang Rai / Pick up only in Chiang Rai
Cookie was a lovely guide, she was friendly and on time for pick up and our activities during the day.
star-5
My friends and I had a wonderful...
Kimberly_K, Dec 2016
Private Tour: A Glimpse of Myanmar and the Golden Triangle Trip from Chiang Rai
Our guide, I'm not sure how to spell his name but we pronounced it like Chucky he spoke great English and he was very knowledgeable about everything we did on our tour.
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This tour was fantastic!! It was...
kirsten.hopkinson, Mar 2016
Private Tour: A Glimpse of Myanmar and the Golden Triangle Trip from Chiang Rai
The visit to the Karen tribe was fantastic and not something we'd have been able to see if we didn't take the tour!
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