The culture and heritage of Chiang Rai is so rich that the city seems to be strewn with a number of attractions that speak volumes about its past as well as present. The pivotal attraction of Chiang Rai is Wat Rong Khun, a Buddhist temple bearing contemporary murals and symbolic images. And then, there are other monasteries and Buddhist temples that speak up of a cultural and religious framework of Chiang Rai and Thailand as a whole. Some are Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Ming Mueang Temple, Wat Phra That Doi Tong and others. There are also landmarks and parks that hold a distinct value for the landscape of Chiang Rai such as Phu Chi Fa Forest Park, golden Triangle, Singha Park, Kok River, Mae Fah Luang Art And Cultural Park and many others where you can go and relax in the lap of nature.
You can also visit its various museums that will acquaint you with the history and culture of Chiang Rai better such as Oub Kham Museum and Hill-tribe Museum and Population and Community Development Education Centre. Don’t forget to visit its bustling markets such as Night Bazaar and Chiang Rai walking street market which are some of the quirkiest things to do in Chiang Rai!
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What to Do in and around Chiang Rai
Enjoy 29 best Chiang Rai attractions and points of interest to choose from!
#1 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 7667 times in trip plans
Pa O Don Chai Road, A. Muang, Chiang Rai, 57000, Thailand
06:30 am - 06:00 pm
Although considered to be bit odd, the Wat Rong Khun, or the White Temple, is considered to be one of the main attractions of not just Chiang Rai but the whole of Thailand. This Buddhist temple features murals that have contemporary bearings such as a mural depicting a plane hitting the Twin Towers as Spiderman and an Angry Bird look on. This temple has been designed by the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat and is acclaimed for its incredibly detailed, all-white exterior that is symbolic of Buddha's purity. The bridge to the entrance crosses over a sea of arms reaching out for help from the fiery depths of hell. Evil is symbolically strewn around the temple in the shape of skulls, demon heads, and pop-cultural figures from the underworld. Inside the temple, the decor swiftly moves from pristine white to fiery and bewildering. Some of the bizarre murals are that of:
Swirling orange flames and demon faces
Western idols such as Michael Jackson, Neo from The Matrix, Freddy Kruger, and a T-800 series Terminator.
Images of nuclear warfare, terrorist attacks, and oil pumps hammer home the destructive impact that humans have had on earth.
Harry Potter, Superman, and Hello Kitty
The temple is still under construction and is free to visit.
#2 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 6696 times in trip plans
Sob Ruak Village, Chiang Saen 57150, Thailand
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Golden Triangle is the famed border location from where you can see the boundaries of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar as they meet on the Mekong River. This point is of historic value as it was once supposed to be the center of all the poppy cultivation in Thailand. This northern corner was a stronghold of the Lanna culture that prevailed for several centuries and was called the "land of a million rice fields", which hints at the scenic charms that unfold as you make a visit over here. Chiang Rai is considered to be the gateway to Golden Triangle.
#3 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 6508 times in trip plans
Chiang Rai Province, Chiang Rai, Thailand
Apart from the world famous temples for which Chiang Rai is famous for, this district also offers beautiful views of scenic landscapes. Visit Phu Chi Fa and you will experience the spectacular mountain scenery setting between Thai-Laos border. You will also enjoy the views over Mekong River and deep into Laos. A small village of Chiang Tong District and the far away mountain in Laos can be seen from here. With the incredibly beautiful scenery, the cool weather and beautiful local flowers, Phu Chi Fa Forest Park is one place that you must visit during your tour to Chiang Rai. The place is extremely popular in the winter (November-February).
#4 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 7919 times in trip plans
Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai, Thailand
07:00 am - 07:00 pm
Wat Phra Kaeo is one of the oldest royal temples situated in Thailand. It is considered that this temple was built in the 14th century however, the structure that we see today is the one that had been completely refurbished by the king in 1978. The temple gains historical importance as it is considered to be the place where the Emerald Buddha was found. It is also one of the main centers of Buddhist education and the Sangha’s administration in northern Thailand. According to Ratna Phimwong written in Pali by Phra Bhrompanya in 1729 AD, the Emerald Buddha was sculpted by gods to present to venerable Nagsen Thera (500 BE), who stayed in Asokaram of Pataliputra (now Kumhar in Patna, India).
Apart from the spirituality that this temple exudes, its structure is also appreciated for the kind of historicity that it exhibits. The temple is built in a beautiful Lanna style structure with its facade made of intricately decorated panels. There is also a museum inside the temple that displays artifacts from the Lanna era (1296 - 1558). The temple grounds are well kept and peaceful. The Wat Phra Kaeo is often resided by monks who study here.
#5 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 5661 times in trip plans
99 Moo 1, Mae Korn, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Singha Park is a huge park that belongs to Boon Rawd Brewery estate in Chiang Rai. Boon Rawd Brewery is Thailand’s biggest beer producer. This Park was originally developed to grow barley for Boon Rawd Brewery’s beer. However, today is mainly visited for enjoying spectacular scenes of wildlife and agriculture. Inside this estate, you shall come across plantations of several kinds of fruit and crops such as para rubber trees, jujube fruits, barley fields, strawberries, star fruit, mushrooms and salad vegetables. Its Sun hemp is decorated with colorful yellow flowers and looks beautiful.
#6 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 6543 times in trip plans
620/25 Thanalai Road | Population and Community Development Association, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
08:30 am - 06:00 pm
Hill tribe Museum and Education Centre is run by a nonprofit organization called the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) with the intention of showcasing the culture of hill tribes in Thailand. This centre exhibits local crafts, all of which are for sale, and also provides information through slideshows (in a number of languages, including English) and anthropological displays. Since many people visit Chiang Rai for an extended trek to see the northern hill tribes, it would be a good idea to understand their culture first through this museum.
#7 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 5907 times in trip plans
81/1, Military Front Road, Robwiang, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
08:00 am - 06:00 pm
Visit the Oub Kham Museum that exhibits thousands of rare Lanna items, as well as the artefacts of the Tai people from neighbouring countries. This museum was conceptualized by a retired teacher Julasak Suriyachai. The museum has been named as Oub Kham Museum, derived from a northern term referring to a golden serving bowl used by the royal family during the Lanna period, which lasted from the 13th-18th centuries. There are different rooms in this museum that exhibit:
The first room exhibits Lanna arts and accessories such as silverware of Tai peoples such as the Tai Lu, old coins from China’s Yunnan province and an old divorce certificate made of silver.
The second room houses a collection of Buddha images including an ancient seated Buddha statue from the Chiang Saen era, a white marble image from Chiang Tung in Burma’s Shan State and various small seated figures made from colourful stones, some of which date back 15 centuries.
The third room exhibits crafted wooden Buddha images from Burma as well as a 500 yrs old small Buddha figurine made of gold.
The fourth room shows various items from the royal court, including an old silk sarong with gold threads from the family of the ruler of Nan, as well as old fabrics from Chiang Tung, Xishuangbanna and Mandalay.
Next is a room that imitates a cave to show how Lanna people kept their valuable items.
The sixth room is a fashion exhibition where samples of colourful garments worn by Tai people such as the dai yi, dai li, jingpo and zhong dai are displayed.
The last room is the museum’s highlight, displaying a complete set of Lanna-style throne.
#8 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 4307 times in trip plans
Chaing Rai, Thailand
12:01 am - 12:00 am
The Kok River runs from Thathon in northern Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai City. In order to enjoy scenic views around this river, you can walk along its boundaries that have been developed well for the visitors. Alternatively, you can also take long-tailed boats and cruise can be made from town to travel along both sides of lovely sceneries. Stops can be made at hill tribal villages of the Akha or Iko, Lisu, Karen, etc. Elephant rides are also available to see the surrounding area.
#9 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 3328 times in trip plans
212 House of Opium (Museum), Wiang, Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai 57150, Thailand
08:30 am - 04:00 pm
If you are visiting the famous area of Golden Triangle that sees the intersection of borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, then visit it’s House of Opium, a museum dedicated to the opium trade. Despite being a dark tale, the history of opium is fascinating and The House of Opium’s exhibition has been designed to make a big impact on all visitors. Put together by historians and multimedia experts, the show treats visitors to sound and light displays, unique photos, video exhibits and interactive presentations. This museum exhibits enormous collection of old opium pipes, weights and scales, and other drug paraphernalia. It also has a great collection of religious items; miniature carved jade animals, ornate boxes, necklaces and much more. Conceptualized in interactive manner, this museum is a must visit to understand the dark but interesting history of opium.
#10 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 1879 times in trip plans
Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai, Thailand
08:30 am - 04:30 pm
Established in 1957, this museum offers a profound preview of the past of Chiang Saen town. The Museum features displays of excavated artefacts and ancient sculptures with inscriptions, locally made Chiang Saen-style Buddha images and Lanna Thai artifacts. Its exhibit can be divided into 3 sections:
First Section: The location and history of settlement at Chiang Saen, Stucco from Wat Pa Sak, Lanna Buddha images in Chiang Saen style, Stone inscriptions, northern Thai ceramics in Chiang Rai and other related ceramics.
Second Section: Important monuments in Chiang Saen and excavation and renovation of ancient monuments in Chiang Saen and also its surrounding area.
Third Section: The Mekong River, religious objects, folk art of the northern minority groups in Chiang Rai, such as Tai Yuan, Tai Yai, Tai Lue and various hilltribes.
#11 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 4155 times in trip plans
Chiang Rai, Thailand
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Situated within the province of Chiang Rai, Chiang Saen is a small district and is also one of the oldest settlements in the Kingdom of Thailand. It is located along the Mekong River. This area is quite interesting to visit as you can see the contemporary residences peeping themselves through the ancient structures that still grace the city. One of the World Heritage sites, this district. Many of the finest buildings of these bygone times are, sadly, little more than dilapidated ruins poking forlornly through a green cloak of vegetation, but there are still many fine examples of preserved or renovated temples and stupas that reflect the architectural history of Chiang Saen. These structures reveal the external influences on building styles during the city's past, such as Khmer, Singhalese, Lao and Sukhothai forms, that pertain to the different periods in Chiang Saen's history.
#12 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 2740 times in trip plans
Rai Mae Fah Luang, Rop Wiang, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
08:30 am - 05:30 pm
This cultural park is situated on the west of Chiang Rai City and serves as an art and cultural haven. This park houses lush green grounds and has welcomes people who wish to learn about the indigenous culture. Originally known as the Rai Mae Fah Luang, the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park was part of the Youth Leadership Project initiated by the late princess Mother. It provided lodgings for the ethnic minority youths who came to attend schools and also learn about living in urban areas. Today, the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park is the region's largest collection of art items from the Lanna culture or Tai culture (the ethinic minorities that live in northern Thailand, China's southwestern region, the Shan States in Myanmar, northwestern Vietnam and western Laos). Opened to tourists, the Park features not only antique artifacts but also beautiful Lanna architecture such as the "Haw Kham" (Golden pavillion), which was built by Chiang Rai people to celebrate the Princess Mother's 84th birthday. Other attractions include "Haw Kaew" where permanent exhibition on teakwood is featured alongside year-round revolving exhibitions and a botanical collection of indigenous plants from the northern region.
With and area of over 150 rai, the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park serves as a venue for art exhibitions and cultural performances.
#13 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 3324 times in trip plans
Wiang, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai, Thailand
06:00 pm - 11:00 pm
For an insider’s view into the culture of Chiang Rai, visit its night market that bustles with local items, cries and people. This bazaar is conveniently near the centre of town, a short walk from the bus station. Besides having semi-permanent shops, one area is devoted to individual sellers who spread out their wares on the ground. This is one market where you can collect your Thai souvenirs to take back home. It is well known for offering hill-tribe fabrics, silver, beads and needlework. The night market also has a lot of food stalls, and most of them offer Thai food that cooked a little less spicy to cater to tourists’ taste and there’s even live music to keep you entertained while you eat.
#14 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 3807 times in trip plans
Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai, Thailand
08:00 am - 04:30 pm
Wat Ming Mueang temple was considered to be established by Chao Nang Talamae Sri, wife of King MengRai and daughter of a Burmese King from PhaKo city (Hong Sao Wadee). This temple was a personal temple of Phra Nang Uao Ming JomMuang, King MengRai’s mother. With a structure that showcases a blend of Tai Yai and Lanna Art, this temple showcases a number of antiques for study into the indigenous culture. The ceiling hiding place is decorated by the picture of swans in Triphum and Bali style. This structure houses the famous gilded stucco Buddha image, called LuangPhorPhra Sri Ming Muang. There is also a magnificent sacred well, named “Bor Nam Chang Mup,” since its Kong-style roof arch is adorned with statues of couching elephant with its face to the east. In the back is a Lanna-style Chedi, called “Phra That Ming Muang,” ornamented with gilded tierred umbrella in Myanmar art. The relics of Chao Nang Talamae Sri, received from Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Somdet Phra Sangharaja, are housed inside. This temple is a must visit to understand Thailand’s native faith, religion, culture and art.
#15 of 29 Things to do in Chiang Rai | Added 2000 times in trip plans
Doi Tung, Chiang Rai, Thailand
06:00 am - 07:00 pm
Wat Phrathat Doi is located on the mountain top of Doi Tung (the highest in Chiang Rai) at Km. 17.5. This temple is considered to be the most important place of worship for Buddhists in the North. The temple contains the left collar bone of the Buddha. There, on a clear day, one can have a breathtaking panorama of the forested border areas. The chief objects of interest at the temple are a pair of chedis that are thought to date to the original construction i.e 911.