Tourist’s guide to Chiang Rai in northern Thailand

Chiang Rai is a small town for a calm and measured rest. The most famous temples of Thailand are located here, and in the vicinity there are several authentic villages. This area will appeal to those who are tired of the bustling streets of Bangkok and the nightlife of Phuket.

Chiang Rai City

General information

Chiang Rai is a city located in the north of the country, almost on the border with Myanmar and Laos. The area is famous for its attractions, and, first of all, the White Temple.

This is an amazing place for Thailand, because in addition to Thais and Chinese, small peoples live here: Akha, Karen, fox and Miao. For centuries, Chiang Rai was the main city of the kingdom of Lanna, but the territory was occupied by the Burmese, and subsequently annexed to Thailand. At the beginning of the 20th century, the city became the capital of the province of the same name. Today, about 136,000 people live here.

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Since Changrai is a small city, there are few attractions here, and many interesting places are located in neighboring towns. In Chiang Rai worth a look:

White temple

The White Temple is one of Thailand’s most grandiose and impressive complexes. Here you can see amazing carved sculptures from alabaster and mirror mosaics. Most travelers come to the north of the country just to see this attraction. You can read more about it here .

White temple
Blue temple

The Blue Temple is one of the best not only in Chiang Rai, but also in Thailand, according to tourists. This is a colorful and atypical for Thais sanctuary with high gilded ceilings and bright turquoise walls. The entrance to the attraction is guarded by sculptures of dragons, and tigers are depicted on the facades of the building. According to tradition, a marble Buddha statue is located in the center of the room. Travelers note that this is a very atmospheric and pleasant place that you do not want to leave. And even those travelers who were already in many Asian shrines say that the Chiangra Blue Temple managed to impress them.

Blue temple

It will seem incredible, but the new temple was rebuilt on the ruins of the old in just one year, and, which is not typical for Thailand, there are many sculptures of deities belonging to other religions on the territory of the temple complex.

Location: 306, Moo 2 | Rim Kok, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand

Opening hours: 09.00 – 17.00

Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo)

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is a huge complex with an area of ​​95 hectares. All buildings are made in Thai style, and the statue of the emerald Buddha, which was discovered by monks near this place in 1436, is considered the pearl of the collection. In honor of the sculpture, a temple was built, which for a long time belonged only to the head of the kingdom and his family. According to the ancient Thai tradition, 3 times a year there is a ceremony of “dressing up” Buddha in clothes of different colors (depending on the season).

Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Travelers who come to the temple should pay attention to the 12 golden lions sitting near the entrance to the temple, and door panels made in the 17th century. Surprisingly, over the centuries of its existence, the attraction was able to maintain its original appearance.

Location: Na Phra Lan Road | Phra Borom Maha Rajawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Opening hours: 8.30 – 15.30

Doi Mae Salong Village

Mae Salong is a small Thai village located on the border with Burma. Located 60 km from Chiang Rai. This settlement consists of one single street, on which there is a market, and houses of local residents, and hotels for tourists.

Doi Mae Salong Village

The main feature of the area is that it is not Thais who live here, but the Chinese, who once fled here in search of a better life. Refugees earned in a peculiar way: they cultivated opium poppy and traded drugs. Only in the 80s of the 20th century, the Thai government managed to oblige local residents to grow in the fields not tea, but tea and fruit. And the area itself received a new name – Santikiri (which, however, is used only in official documents). Now almost 80% of the population of the village are engaged in the cultivation and collection of tea.

Doi Mae Salong village tea growers

Today it is a very beautiful and picturesque place. The climate here is not typical for Thailand: due to the fact that the village is located high in the mountains, it is sometimes very cold here. In May Salong, you should come to buy delicious tea and enjoy the mountain views that are exotic for Thailand.

Location: Doi Mae Salong, Thailand

Singha Park

Singha Park is owned by a Thai beer company. A few years ago, the company began work on a large-scale project, the main purpose of which was to create a leisure park for both local residents and guests of Thailand.

Singha Park

Today it is a huge territory of 13 km², on which some of the main attractions of the Thai Chiang Rai are located: a zoo, a swan lake, tea plantations and gardens. The symbol of this place is a sculpture of a huge golden lion, thanks to which it is easy to navigate. Tourists note that despite the size, the park area is always well-groomed: trimmed trees, no debris and beautiful flower beds.

Sculpture of a huge golden lion

You can travel through the park not only on foot, but also using open mini-buses. Bike rental is also available. Extreme people will also like Singha Park: there is a climbing wall and a canopy. A number of cafes and restaurants can be found on site.

Location: 99, Moo 1 | Mae Kon, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

Opening hours: 09.00 – 17.00

Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

Thailand is famous for its markets, because you can find anything on them, and they can also be morning, evening or even night. The most popular Chiang Rai market opens at 18.00-19.00 and is open until midnight. All tourists are eager to get here, because here is the largest selection of souvenirs (magnets, soap made of flowers, Buddha figures, etc.), clothes, jewelry and fruits. There are also many cafes and eateries next to the market, and live attractions of Chiang Rai – street performers – always appear in the main square.

Chiang Rai Night Market

You should come here to feel the nightlife of Thailand, and also try Thai delicacies at the food court.

Location: Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

Opening hours: 18.00 – 00.00

Black House – Baan Si Doom – Baandum Museum

The Black Museum is often mistaken for a temple, although in reality it is a modern art gallery with quite specific exhibits. Gutted snakes, decaying carcasses of animals, skeletons of rams, compositions of feathers and beaks of birds are exhibited in numerous buildings on the territory of the complex. Near the main building there is a pet cemetery and very original sculptures. According to the artist himself, who created this museum, he wanted to show Hell on Earth.

Baan Si Doom

Despite the not very pleasant exhibits, tourists say that the museum is tastefully decorated and the black temple in Chiang Rai will be interesting for all creative people.

Location: 414 Moo 13, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand

Opening hours: 9.00 – 17.00

Wat Huai Pla Kung Temple

Wat Huai Pla Kung is an unusual multi-storey temple in Thailand, located near the city of Chiang Rai. The pagoda is built in the Chinese style, and at the entrance there are huge multi-colored snakes. This attraction of Chiang Rai is not very popular with tourists, as it does not have a rich history and unusual design, but you should visit the temple in order to see a huge Buddha statue located at the foot of the complex.

Wat Huai Pla Kung Temple

Location: 553 Moo 3 | Rimkok Subdistrict, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand

Opening hours: 9.00 – 16.00


Chang paradise in Thailand is not a popular resort, therefore, in comparison with other cities there are not so many hotels and hotels (only about 200). But the prices here are very low.

Room in 3 * hotel Grandma Kaew House
Grandma kaew house

The cheapest option is to stay in a private house or mansion. The price will be equal to 4-5 dollars per day. Such accommodation is suitable for those tourists who want to get to know the local culture or live near the sights.

The most budget hotel room for two will cost $ 8 per day. This already includes breakfast, Wi-Fi and air conditioning. The same number in high season will cost $ 10.

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How to get from Bangkok

Bangkok and Chiang Rai are separated by 580 km, so it will take about 7-8 hours to get from point A to B. You can do this in the following ways:

By plane
By plane to Chiang Rai

This is the fastest and most expensive option. Its convenience lies in the fact that you can go to Chiang Rai immediately after arriving at the airport in Thailand. Tickets can be found on popular search engines on the Internet. Flight time is just over an hour. Flights are operated several times a day. Cost one way – about $ 35. It should be borne in mind that often Moscow – Bangkok tickets cost as much as Moscow – Bangkok – Chiang Rai, so you should immediately look at the route with transfers.

By bus
Bus to Chiang Rai

Bus is the most budgetary and popular way to get from one city to another. Almost all buses leaving Bangkok leave the MoChit bus station every half hour. The ticket price varies from 400 to 800 baht depending on the class of the vehicle. The most budgetary bus company is Goverment bus, which is engaged in the transportation of the second class. However, this does not mean that this office is worse: all buses in Thailand are quite new and have air conditioning. You can also purchase tickets to VIP or 1st class. Buying them is worth at least an hour before the trip (depending on the time of day) at the box office. In Chiang Rai, a bus travels to the Arcade Bus Terminal. Travel time is 8-10 hours.

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By train
By train to chiang rai

And the last option is the railway. Tickets for trains are more expensive than buses, and they should be booked in advance (especially for bedding). If you need to leave for Chiang Rai on the first day of arrival in Thailand, then the best option is to book a ticket through You can pay by credit card or Paypal. You do not need to print a ticket: just pick it up at one of the company’s offices in Thailand. The cost of a ticket to the reserved seat is about 800-900 baht. Travel time is 10 hours.

Chiang Rai is worth a visit in order to see the mountains, large tea plantations and huge parks.

Even more useful information about the city of Chiang Rai, the Black House and the White Temple – in this video.

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