Chiang Rai travel guide for first-time visitors.

Chiang rai travel

Chiang Rai, home to the most beautiful temples in Thailand.

Chiang Rai is one of the most beautiful provinces in Thailand. The city is located on the northernmost tip of the country and shares its border with Myanmar and Laos. Chiang Rai is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes and is home to the most beautiful temples in Thailand, The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and The Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten). Tourists often do not visit some of the most amazing temples in the world during their Chiang Rai travel due to a lack of knowledge.

Unfortunately, you will not find Chair Rai in the list of most of the visitors coming to Thailand. The reason behind this is less awareness about the city and the travel time. There are many visitors who travel from Chiang Mai to Chang Rai on a day trip, visit a few temples and return back to Chiang Mai. But believe me, there is a lot to see and experience in Chiang Rai, and you will need three to four days to cover all the places.

Things to know

Time zone: Chiang Rai (GMT+7)

Currency: Thai Baht (THB), (Current exchange rate)

Languages: Thai

Country calling code: +66

Tourist police helpline: (+66) 2308-0333, Hotline 1155

Tourist assistance: 1337 (ext. 9)

How to reach Chiang Rai?

Chiang Rai is well connected with all the major cities around Thailand through the air and land. Thai Airways, Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, and Thai Vietjet Airways operate daily flights to the international airport of Chiang Rai, Mae Fah Luang. So if you are in Thailand, you can easily get a flight from Bangkok and Phuket to Chiang Rai.

How to travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai?

Chiang Mai is one of the big provinces in north Thailand and it’s well connected with all major cities around Thailand. Many tourist traveling to Chiang Rai make their first stop at Chiang Mai. The travel time between Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is around three hours by bus and the road distance is around 190 km.

There are many private bus operators available at Chiang Mai bus station, Green Bus is one of the most popular bus operators in Thailand and they have multiple bus services between the two cities. The bus ticket price is between 130 to 170 Baht, depending on the bus class.

Online bus ticket booking

Green bus (online ticket)

12go asia (online ticket)

How to get around in Chiang Rai?

Chiang Rai is a small city and you will find lots of options to get around in the city. When I was in Chiang Rai, I rented a motorbike to roam around. There are many Tuk Tuk (Three wheeler auto) available near the airport and bus stand. You just have to negotiate the fare with them or the best way is to request the hotel/resort to book a cab for you.

What is an ideal time to visit Chiang Rai?

The best time to visit Chiang Rai is just after the monsoon, between October till April. The city gets beautiful during the monsoon, so if you are planning to stay for more than three days, you can still go during the monsoon. You may get rain in some parts of your day but still, you will have sufficient time to experience the city.

Best tourist places to visit in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is not just all about two beautiful temples, White Temple and Blue Temple. There is a lot you can see and experience in the city, and the best part about Chiang Rai is all the popular places are close to the city. So let’s take a look at some of the most amazing structures you should visit during your Chiang Rai Travel and based on that you can plan your trip.

Golden Triangle, border of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand

Golden Triangle is the place where three countries, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand share their border. This place is located in Chiang Rai province where you can witness the three international borders and the beautiful Mekong river. Once upon a time this place was well known for smuggling but now it’s a famous tourist place. There is a well-maintained park and a Buddhist temple.

If you are planning to visit the Golden Triangle, you can take a minibus from Chiang Mai bus terminal 1. You can also take a bus to Chiang Khong and from there you will get a boat cruise for the Golden Triangle. The bus fare is around 5o Baht and Green Bus provides its services on a regular basis.

Address: 932 Wiang, Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai, Thailand (location)

Opening hours: 24 hours

Entry fee: free (Boat rides are chargeable)

Mae Kachan Hot Spring and Geyser

Yes, you heard it right, there is also a hot spring in Thailand, Mae Kachan. The hot spring is located on the way to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai. Travelers between the two cities make a stop at this place and enjoy the natural hot spring. There is one Seven-Eleven store nearby so you can have your snacks at this place. You can also visit an abandoned building near this place, which seems was not completed.

Address: 6 Pha Soet Phatthana Village Doi Hang Chiang Rai, Thailand (location)

Opening hours: 24 hours

Entry fee: free

White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), Chiang Rai

chiang rai travel

Wat Rong Khun better known as The White Temple is one of the most iconic temples in Thailand. The White Temple is an example of the best modern human art and craft. The iconic temple was designed by the local Thai artist and architect Chalermchai Kositpipat. The design of Wat Rong Khun is inspired by modern Thai Architecture and the Lanna era.

White Temple stores the value of local Buddhist beliefs and traditional art. The white color shows the purity of god and the glass on the top represents the wisdom of the Lord Buddha. This is a privately owned property/temple, where you’ll have to pay 100 Baht per person as an entry fee.

There is one direct but from Chiang Rai bus terminal 1, platform number 8, which goes to the White Temple. The bus fare is around 20 Baht (USD $0.65) and you don’t need to book the ticket in advance.

Address: 1 Phahonyothin Road, Pa O Don Chai, Chiang Rai (location)

Opening hours: 08 am to 05 pm

Entry fee: 100 Baht

Contact: +66536 73967

Doi Din Dang Pottery

Doi Din Dang Pottery is an open space located in a calm and serene place on a hilly surrounded by trees. It’s an open market, where you can watch how people are making traditional beautiful pottery. The surroundings are beautiful and you can enjoy a cup of coffee at the cafe. Doi Din Dang Pottery is located in Nang Lae, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai. You can drive over to this place or can take a local taxi or Tuk Tuk.

Address: Nang Lae, Chiang Rai (location)

Opening hours: 08:30 am to 04:30 pm

Entry fee: free

Contact: +66537 05291

Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), Chiang Rai

chiang rai travel

The Blue Temple is also known as Wat Rong Suea Ten in Thai and it was opened to the public in the year of 2016. This is a Buddhist temple and the architecture of the temple is unique from the other temples in Thailand. The Blue and gold color combination makes it one of the most visited attractions in the region.

Inside the temple, you will find a white Buddha statue and some other religious art. It is said that this place used to be the home of wild tigers and they used to dance here. The Blue Temple was built by a student of Chalermchai Kositpipat (who built the White Temple).

Address: 2 Maekok Rd, Rim Kok, Chiang Rai (location)

Opening hours: 07 am to 08 pm

Entry fee: free

Contact: +66643 473636

Wat Huay Pla Kang

chiang rai travel

Wat Huay Pla Kang is an iconic temple, also known as the Big Buddha Temple of Chiang Rai. The temple is famous for the white statue of the Chinese goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. It’s a Chinese-style Buddhist temple also known as the 9 Tier Temple and has a magnificent view from the top.

The temple is built on a small hill and there are stairs to reach the top. Beautiful stairs start with Dragan’s head and go to the top of the hill. You can also use the elevator to reach the top of the statue. This temple is located 6 km away from the city and can be accessed by own vehicle or Tuk Tuk.

Address: 3 Tambon Mae Yao, Chiang Rai (location)

Opening hours: 07 am to 09:30 pm

Entry fee: free

Contact: +66531 50274

Oub Kham Museum

Oub Kham Museum is a gem located on Na Khai Rd. Rob Wiang Sub-District near Den Ha market, which is just a kilometer from the city center. The museum is the best place to know the in-depth history of Thai culture. This is a private museum and it takes you into the memories of Lanna Kingdom, to visit this museum you’ll have to pay an entry fee of 290 Baht.

Address: 81/1 Nahkhai Rd, Tambon Rop Wiang, Chiang Rai (location)

Opening hours: 08 am to 05 pm

Entry fee: 200 Baht

Baan Dam Museum (The Black House)

Baan Dam Museum is a very popular tourist attraction in Chiang Rai. This place is also known as the Black House Museum or Black House Temple. Dr. Thawan Duchanee, who is a Thai artist, created this museum and it has a lot to see and experience. He built this house and later converted it into a museum and gallery. There are 40 different buildings in a beautiful garden, each house has different art and sculptures.

The big house has a collection of animal skulls and skins, which is a sign of the suffering Buddha witnessed. You will find skulls of big animals and skins of snakes on a big table. They have a collection of furniture made out of animal skin and bones. The entry fee is 80 Baht per person and it’s worth visiting the museum once.

Address: 333 Nang Lae, Chiang Rai (location)

Opening hours: 09 am to 05 pm

Entry fee: 80 Baht

Contact: +66537 76333

Important apps to download

Grab app-based taxi

Android iOS

Grab an online food app

Android / iOS

Google translate

Android / iOS

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