Best Entertainment in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The discreet northern city of Chiang Rai has made history since the June-July 2018 Thai Rescue Caves.

Most people associate Chiang Rai with the flooded cave of Tham Luang. But Chiang Rai has some pleasant surprises for you. Yes, we're talking about its natural beauty and history, which is sure to fascinate travelers from all over the world.

While most tourists flock to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai offers its own versions of nature and culture that you should not pass by. Many of you may already know the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun, but did you know that other fabulous temples and architectural works await?

When it comes to nature, Chiang Rai is breathtaking with its unique mountainous landscape, extensive tea plantations and colorful flower fields. You are sure to find something else of interest in Chiang Rai while avoiding the crowds of tourists.

Chiang Rai is also incredibly easy to get to. You can take one of the many direct flights from various cities in Thailand (including Bangkok and Phuket) as well as from China and Hong Kong. If you're already in Chiang Mai, take a three-hour bus ride directly to Chiang Rai.

The best 11 things to do in Chiang Rai

1. Fantastic Journey

While in Chiang Rai, you may have to pinch yourself to make sure you are awake. Chiang Rai is the hometown of some of Thailand's most famous artists, and many of its temples and other Buddhist architectural works are some of their masterpieces. Interestingly, these fantastic works of art actually reflect some truths about life.

1) Baan Dam Museum

Born in Chiang Rai, the late folk artist Tawan Duchani left many marks on the Thai art scene. One of his most impressive (and eerie) works is The Black House, which was also his home and studio. The complex consists of 40 northern Thai temple buildings, each adorned with animal remains collected by a contemporary Buddhist artist. Black House is not only about its dark color scheme, but also its dark, true concepts. The skins, skulls, horns, bones, and other animal parts, represent the inevitable end that everyone must face.

2) Wat Rong Khun

Like Yin and Yang, the White Temple is the opposite of the Black House, but the temple has its own fascinating history. Wat Rong Khun was once an old, worn-out temple until folk artist and Chiang Rai native Chalermchai Kositpipat renovated it in an entirely new style.

In addition to his sky-white appearance and intricate carvings, the artist mixes pop culture with the design of the White Temple. Also, don't forget to visit the Chalermchai Kositpipat Art Gallery in the temple complex. The gallery houses a large collection of paintings by the folk artist.

3) Chiang Rai Clock Tower

The Chiang Rai Clock Tower, built only in 2008 by Chalermchai Kositpipat, is proof that the new can also be golden. Walking around the city, you cannot miss the golden structure and details of the clock tower. At night, the clock tower in Chiang Rai will glisten with gold and there is a light and sound show every day at 7, 8 and 9 pm.

4) Wat Rong Suea Ten

Designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat's disciple, Salanok, the Blue Temple is the latest addition to Chiang Rai's colorful architecture. Wat Rong Sua Ten, painted blue and blue sapphires inside and out, is not as large as the Black House and White Temple, but your fantastic journey would not be complete without its participation. Since Chiang Rai is quite large. Getting a private car is the easiest way to explore the city.

2. Take an artistic walk through the old city of Chiang Rai

Although the most beautiful temples are outside of Chiang Rai Old Town, we still highly recommend that you explore the Old Town area to see more Buddhist art. Besides the golden clock tower in Chiang Rai, there are many small but unique temples that are never crowded. If you are tired, there are always chic cafes and local eateries nearby.

1) Wat Ming Muang

Almost as old as Chiang Rai itself (about 800 years old), Wat Ming Muang perfectly combines the styles of Tai Yai and Lanna.

2) Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Keo in Chiang Rai is where the Emerald Buddha (Phra Keo Morakot) was discovered before it was eventually moved to the Grand Palace at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Keo) in Bangkok. Today Wat Phra Keo in Chiang Rai houses its own Emerald Buddha, which is actually carved from jade.

3) Wat Phra Singh

One of the oldest temples in Chiang Rai, the temple boasts a Lanna-style viharn (assembly hall) with wooden doors created by folk artist Thawan Duchani. Like Wat Phra Keo, Wat Phra Singh was once home to one of Thailand's most revered Buddha images, Phra Singh. While the image of the Buddha is now kept at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, you can still find well-executed copies at Wat Phra Singh Chiang Rai.

3. shopping all night long

In Chiang Rai, you can shop without worrying about the midday heat! Chiang Rai Night Bazaar, in the old district of the city, opens daily, so you can always buy local handicrafts and souvenirs. The Night Bazaar is also a cultural experience with local food and traditional shows.

If you prefer the pedestrian street, it's open every Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight. Sure, you might prefer traditional arts and crafts and northern-style street food, but where else can you join in a traditional Thai dance with the locals? Foreigners are more than welcome to try Thai dancing with the locals of Chiang Rai on a pedestrian street.

4. Looking at Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and the Golden Triangle at the same time

While the Golden Triangle has a dark history of drug trafficking, the area is now safe and has become one of the most popular places in Chiang Rai. The Golden Triangle is where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos converge (the Mekong River and the Ruak River). There is also a golden Big Buddha attached to a boat. If you are planning a longer stay, you can even take a cruise to Laos or Sishuangbanna in China.

Let your feet touch the soil of three lands in one day. Explore the golden triangle, Lao market and Myanmar border with our friendly local expert.

5. Cycling through ancient civilization in Chiang Saen

Chiang San was one of the most important ancient kingdoms of Northern Thailand. Rent a bike and ride along the old city wall to the temple ruins around Chiang Sang. The area is still a hidden gem, so you can avoid not only the crowds but also the heat. Check out the Chiang Saen National Museum for more history and antiquities.

6. Reaching for the sky in Phu Chi Fa

Two hours from downtown Chiang Rai is Phu Chi Pha, one of the most popular places to view the sea of mist and sunrise among Thai travelers, which remains out of sight among foreign visitors. Pointing to the sky, as its name suggests, the silhouette of Phu Chi Pha Peak against the backdrop of sunrise is a stunningly unique sight.

Once you catch the sunrise at more than 1,600 meters above sea level, do not leave immediately after that. Phu Chi Pha spans the border between Thailand and Laos, so you can see the Mekong River, forests, and mountains on the other side after the fog disappears. Although you can enjoy the sea of mist in Phu Chi Pha all year round, visit in December or January for wild Himalayan cherry trees.

7. Enjoy a unique mountain adventure in Doi Pha Tang

There weren't many people there, not even Thai locals. This makes Doi Fa Tang a great place for explorers. In addition to the panoramic views of mist and clouds from Hill 101, Hill 102 and Hill 103 (the top that rises to a height of 1,653 meters), Doi Fa Tang is unique with the rocky cliffs that look as if they are torn apart or Chong Fa Kad.

Look through the rocky gateway, and as the waves of fog dissipate, you can see the Mekong River and the valleys of Laos below.

Like Fu Chi Fa, Doi Fa Tang is colored pink from December to January with wild Himalayan cherries.

8. Admire the flowers and balloons in Singa Park

Singa Park is the property of the Boon Rawd brewery. Yes, the producer of the famous Singa beer. But the park is all about agritourism, and you'll find orchards, vegetable farms, flower fields, tea plantations, and family-friendly attractions. There are also many events ranging from music festivals to bike events, and Singha Park International Balloon Fiesta (every February).

Don't visit Singa Park without trying fresh farm products, good food and drinks. Oolong tea, is one of their best products. If you prefer a cool and sweet drink, try oolong bubble tea. Visit the White Temple, the Golden Triangle and Singa Park and enjoy an authentic northern restaurant where the legendary Mark Vince once served.

9. Find Royal Locations in Doi Tung

At 1,500 meters above sea level, Doi Tung is the perfect place to enjoy a breath of fresh air. Walk among the lush greenery and colorful flowerbeds of Mei Fa Luang Garden.

Nevertheless, there is more to Doi Tung than nature. As the center of the Doi Tung Development Project, organized by the Mei Fah Luang Foundation under the auspices of Royal Patronage, you can learn how the poppy fields and opium trade have evolved into sustainable agricultural projects.

Support the local hill tribes by buying their fresh vegetables, fruits and other products, including silk clothes. Since the Doi Tung Development Project was initiated by Princess Mother, you can also visit her Royal Villa Doi Tung in Lanna and Swiss style. Visit both the White Temple and Doi Tung Royal Villa, and then enjoy a mouthwatering northern Thai lunch, at a local restaurant.

10. Drink delicious tea and take delightful pictures at the tea plantations

Chiang Rai has some of the most beautiful tea plantations in Thailand and top quality tea. Each has its own charms and offers different teas, so take your time:

1) Choui Fong Tea Plantation

When you are looking for something to quench your thirst at 7-Eleven or supermarkets in Thailand, you will find a huge number of tea brands such as Oishi, Ichitan, Lipton, Unif and Malee. The tea leaves behind all these famous brands are grown on the Chow Fong tea plantation.

The Chow Fong Tea Plantation for over 40 years is the largest and perhaps the most beautiful tea plantation in Chiang Rai. There are two branches, one in Mae Fa Luang and the other in Mae Chan. Tea plants are grown on the descending hills and if you visit the Mae Chan branch, do not miss its on-site restaurant. Sit on the terrace overlooking the tea plantations, have a green tea smoothie and try other tea desserts such as green tea tiramisu. Visit the White Temple, Blue Temple, Black House and refresh yourself with a visit to Chow Fong Tea Plantation.

2) 101 Tea Plantation

Doi Mei Salong is home to several tea plantations, all of which grow first-rate tea. However, the tea that made it to the world stage and took first place came from 101 tea plantations. Placing first at the World Tea Festival in 2004, their oolong tea. 101 Tea Plantation is rightly famous. Fortunately, the mountain remains blissfully still while sipping hot tea in such a fabulous location.

Their Four Season tea and herbal teas are also well known.

101 Tea Plantations has an interesting history. The founder's family is Taiwanese, and they have been harvesting tea for generations. The company is also involved in a royal initiative to help the hill tribes. Having previously grown and sold opium, the hill tribes in the area now work for the tea plantation and have a better quality of life.

3) Wawee Tea Plantation

Over 30 years ago, Wawee Tea Plantation was the first Thai tea plantation to grow oolong tea. Located on the picturesque Doi Waui grounds, the plantation produces Taiwanese Ching Qing tea as well as Assam and local teas. In addition to tracing the origins of Thai oolong tea, you can see the local life of the Ching Hou people (Chinese who migrated from Yunnan to Thailand via Myanmar and Laos). Their village is on Doi Wawee, and growing tea is their way of life.

11. Visit Wat Huay Pla Kung at Night (Visit Wat Huay Pla Kung)

Another temple, but it's not ordinary. Everything about Wat Huai Pla Kung is magnificent. You can see the nine-story pagoda and the giant white statue of Guan Yin from afar, and inside the temple hall is another large wooden image of Guan Yin.
You can go to Wat Huai Pla Kung during the day, but you can also enjoy the lighting at night.

That's all there is to do in Chiang Rai, but that's not all you can do on your trip. Combine your visit to Chiang Rai with trips to other charming cities in Northern Thailand.

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