Here is a list of 18 things to do in Chiang Rai, markets, museums, temples, come and discover what you shouldn’t miss!
It is a quiet city, not too touristy, but there is a lot to see and do in the city and its surroundings.
1. The Chiang Rai market
Talat = market in Thai
It is a large covered market, open every day, where city dwellers and inhabitants of neighboring villages come to shop.
You will find everything, food, food stands, clothes, tools…
2. The night bazaar (or night market)
Talat nat = night market in Thai
An excellent place to buy souvenirs with many handicrafts stands, clothes, wooden objects, incense…
The inhabitants of the surrounding mountain tribes come here to sell their products.
There is also music from the food stands and places to eat.
The night bazaar is located near the bus station, see map
3. The city’s foundation milestone
4. The statue of King Mengrai
In homage to the city’s founder, the great king of the kingdom of Lanna (see: History of Chiang Rai).
The monument is located in a pleasant small park to the east of the day market
5. The Golden Clock Tower
Situated between the Phaholyothin Tuna and Banpaprakan, south of the day market, the Golden Clock Tower was created in 2008 as a tribute to the king Bhumibol Adulyadej by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
6. Chiang Rai beach, on the Kok river
The 130 km long Kok River runs through the city, and residents love to gather on its banks to relax and picnic, especially in summer.
The most famous stretch of shoreline is called “Chiang Rai Beach.”
7. Wat Phra Kaeo and his emerald Buddha
This temple housed a magnificent jade Buddha statue that was hidden in a stucco stupa.
In 1434 the stupa was struck by lightning, and the precious statue was discovered.
After a few adventures, a passage through Lampang, Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, then Vientiane, she finally landed at Bangkok, where she is now in the temple of the same name: Wat Phra Kaeo (from Bangkok).
But Chiang Rai still has a jade Buddha, because a replica of the original, just slightly smaller one was created as a replacement.
8. Wat Rong Khun or White temple
Wat Rong Khun is a beautiful white temple located 13 km south of Chiang Rai.
See our article :
Wat Rong Khun, the white temple of Chiang Rai (The White Temple)
9. Wat Klong Wiang
Wat Klong Wiang is a beautiful small temple, very rarely visited, decorated in the Lanna style.
10. Wat Ming Muang
Located at the intersection of the Banphaprakan and Trairat thanons, Wat Ming Meuang is a small temple housing the spirit of the city (ming Meuang) superbly carved and decorated in a Lanna style.
11. Wat Phra Sing
Wat Pra Sing has, like Wat Phra Kaew, housed a highly revered representation of Buddha that has been moved to another temple in Chiang Mai.
As with Wat Phra Kaew, the original statue has been replaced by a copy.
12. The Baan Dam museum
Baan = house; Dam = black
The Baan Dam museum is a rather special place where a Thai artist named Thawan Duchanee had a 40-year-old black house built decorated with unusual objects and furniture and many representations of death.
The museum is located far to the north of the city, but you can easily reach it from the bus station by taking a local bus that will take you there in 30 minutes.
Video presentation of the Baan Dam museum
Address: 414 Moo 13 Nanglae
Open from: 09h00 to 17:00 but closed between 12h00 and 13h00
13. The Oub Kham museum
Located 1km from the city center, it is a museum that only offers guided tours, quite expensive, 300 baht but it is worth it!
This museum has a superb collection of objects accumulated by a descendant of a former royal family of the Kingdom of Lanna, Mr. Suriyachai.
You will see precious objects, coins, crowns, often in silver, that were used in the royal courts, representations of Buddha, and other precious relics of crafts from all the different peoples of the region.
The name of the museum, “Oub Kham,” comes from the major piece, a magnificent finely gilded throne.
Video presentation of the Oub Kham museum
Address: 81/1 Na Khai Road
Open from: 09h00 to 17h00
14. Hill Tribes Museum
Located in the city center, above (3rd floor) the Cabbages and Condoms restaurant, this museum was created to allow tourists to discover the lifestyle and culture of the region’s various mountain tribes.
If you like tribal crafts, you will enjoy the museum shop.
They also organize tours in mountain villages.
Address: 620/1 Tanalai Rd, Tel. +66 53 740 088
Open from: 08:30 to 18:00
15. Hill tribes
The region is culturally very rich with a significant number of Hill Tribe: Akha, Karen, Padaung, Hmong, Lisu, Méo…
People from the region or refugees from Burma (Myanmar) and Laos.
To discover via an agency or alone by going there with your means of transport after a visit to the museum above, for example.
16. Khun Korn Waterfall, Nam tok Khun Korn (in Thai)
A beautiful waterfall 70 meters high located 30 km south of the city, in the Khun Korn forest park. It is the highest waterfall in the province.
17. Hot springs
There are three hot springs in Chiang Rai province:
The first is located 8 km from the village of Mae Chan, where you will find a spa that also offers accommodation.
The second is located in the village of Mae Lao, it is the hot spring of Ban Huay Zai Kao, but there is no swimming facility.
The third is the Wieng Pa Pao spring, located between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, on Route 1019, there is a project to build a Spa, but I don’t know where it stands.
18. Singha Park: (Rai Boon Rawd)
It is a huge park, specialized in agrotourism, which belongs to the Singha company (tiger beer).
Intended for nature lovers, you will see tea plantations, fruit trees, pretty landscapes, giraffes, zebras, cattle and can practice various activities such as hot air ballooning.
For more information see: singhapark.com
Photos: White Temple: Justin Vidamo; Khun Korn Waterfall : Nicolai Bangsgaard and Deror Avi ; Golden Clock Tower : Roundtheworld, Statue of King Mangrai : Oatz : JFL ; Emerald Buddha Statue : JFL ; Wat Rong Khun : D ; Golden Clock Tower : Aranas; White Temple wat Rong Khun: NorthThailander: NorthThailander; Black House of the Bandaam Museum: Guswandhi: Guswandhi; Guardian of the Klong Wiang Temple: Jpatokal: Wat Ming Muang: Jpatokal ; Jade Buddha : Elgaard ; Wat Sing entrance: Elgaard ; Chiang Rai River : Jtaubrey ; Night Bazar : Jpatoka