A Guide to Exploring Chiang Rai in 2020 – What to Know

Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai are not the be-all and end-all of Thailand’s tourist destinations. The country is home to many other underrated gems that not a lot of tourists are aware of, including Chiang Rai. Known as the “Art Capital” of Thailand, it is where many of Thai’s most prominent artists hailed from, including Thawan Duchanee and Chalermchai Kositpipat.

Chiang Rai is also known to be the ideal place for relaxation, as it’s not as much of a tourist magnet compared to other Thai provinces and cities. It’s considered a bit of a sleepy town, yet it’s home to stunning temples, must-see galleries, and beautiful tourist attractions. If you’re looking to visit Thailand in the near future, Chiang Rai is definitely worth including in your itinerary.

Where is Chiang Rai?

Chiang Rai is the northernmost province of Thailand, around 2 hours north of Chiang Mai. It’s situated at the junction of the Ruak River and Mekong River and shares a border with Laos and Myanmar, making it part of the famous Golden Triangle.

What is Chiang Rai famous for?

Unlike its more famous counterpart, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is more laidback. Apart from being the hometown of many of Thailand’s famous artists, the province is also popular for its awe-inspiring temples and natural beauty. If you’re fond of spending time in nature, you would love its waterfalls, hot springs, and idyllic mountain viewpoints.

How to go to Chiang Rai?

Getting to Chiang Rai is relatively easy. If you’re traveling by plane, you can catch a flight from Bangkok or any of Thailand’s major cities and head straight to the local airport. You can also opt to ride a bus from Chiang Mai and arrive at Chiang Rai in around two to three hours. If you want a more private mode of transportation, there are many services where you can rent a car from.

What are the things to do in Chiang Rai?

Visit the White Temple.

Chiang Rai boasts a ton of temples, but the most popular among all of them is the White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun. It’s created by local artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, and the structure is almost entirely white. Exploring this temple will be unlike you’ve ever experienced before as you’ll find rather eclectic pieces like concrete hands, murals of famous pop culture icons like Michael Jackson, Keanu Reeves, and even Despicable Me’s minions.

Shop unique souvenirs.

If shopping is your thing, you can head to the Night Bazaar where you can score a slew of souvenir items, including wooden mak-hots, tourist shirts, elephant trousers, and home furnishings. The Walking Street Market is the ideal place to sample some delicious street food, while the Doitung is where you can find handicrafts from indigenous populations. With every purchase, you’re also donating to the PDA (Population & Community Development Association), a national organization that supports local communities.

Relax in the hot springs.

For a relaxing experience, you may opt to go to Chiang Rai’s many hot springs, including the Secret Hot Spring, Pong Phrabat, and Huay Mak Lium. Some of them boast a scenic setting, allowing you to enjoy majestic views while enjoying the water.

Ready to take a trip to Chiang Rai?

If you’re planning on heading to Chiang Rai, Mamy Booking can assist you with booking tours and cars. Get in touch with us to see how we can be of help.