Home Asia 6 Best Things To Do In Chiang Rai 

6 Best Things To Do In Chiang Rai 

by ElenaSergeeva

A great little city to visit while you are in the north of Thailand is Chiang Rai. I went on a group tour here and I can honestly say it is a fabulous place with its fair share of awe-striking Buddhist temples. 

I would say Chiang Rai is perfect for those people who are big fans of temples in general and it is one of the main reasons to go there in the first place. Besides this, it has a relaxing and soothing vibe which is more mellow than the more southern parts of Thailand which includes Bangkok.

You don’t need to spend that long in this city and I believe the daytrip I took was enough to absorb what it has to offer. However, if you wish to spend an extra day or two, I advise doing that to visit the waterfall and possibly the night bazaar.

So without further ado, here are the 6 Best Things To Do in Chiang Rai…

6 Best Things To Do In Chiang Rai – All The Places You Should Visit On Your Trip


  • How To Get There
    • Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai By Bus
    • Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai By Taxi
  • Best Places To Visit In Chiang Rai
    • 1. Wat Rong Khun Temple
    • 2. Wat Rong Suea Ten Temple
    • 3. Baan Dam Museum
    • 4. Wat Huay Pla Kang
    • 5. Thaweesin Hot Spring
    • 6. Khun Korn Waterfall
  • How To Book A Group Tour
  • FAQ’s
  • Conclusion

How To Get There

Chiang Rai is the city which is most north of Thailand, and it is a 3 hour-drive from Chiang Mai (187km distance). The best ways of getting there would be by either bus or car. 

Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai By Bus

Ticket Price from Arcade Bus Station (return): $6-$8

Journey Time: 3 hours 55 minutes

The simplest way to get to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai is to get a bus from the Arcade Bus Station. Although getting the bus there will take slightly longer than a taxi or driving a car, the good news is that it is not only easy to get but it is by far the cheapest option.

The only bus which goes to Chiang Rai in Thailand is known as Green Bus and to get this, look out for the number 166 when you arrive at Arcade Bus Station.

This isn’t difficult to spot as it is a silver bus with a green line going down either side of it.

Here is the schedule for the Chiang Rai bus

Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai By Taxi

Average Price: $100-$110

Journey Time: 2 hours 55 minutes

Going to Chiang Rai by taxi is a good option but only if you are willing to pay the price. 

This is much more expensive than going by bus and I would personally say it isn’t worth it. However, if you do want to go by taxi, it is going to be the fastest way of getting there and it gives you your own personal space.

 Taxi prices will vary considerably but it safe to say that you will be paying over $100 one way as a general average. I would personally recommend renting a car in Chiang Mai and driving there yourself as an alternative. This will cost you no more than $30-$35 on the cheap end and that is for the whole day.

You could also try to arrange a deal with a taxi company where you can hire a driver for a day. You should be able to save more money than the $200 you would be paying to get there and back if your negotiating skills are good enough.

For those who aren’t budget traveling and want to visit Chiang Rai, hiring a car or getting a taxi is the easiest way of getting there.

Best Places To Visit In Chiang Rai

1. Wat Rong Khun Temple

Opening Times: 8AM-5PM

Entrance Fee: 50 THB ($1.52) Per Person

Visiting The White Temple is one of the best things to do in Chiang Rai

As you might have seen on your Instagram feed or in your Thailand travel guide, Wat Rong Khun Temple is the temple that Chiang Rai is most famous for. It is also known as the White Temple which makes sense considering it is pretty much entirely white. There are a lot of interesting features I noticed in the design of this temple when I came here. 

It wasn’t until after that I realized that these features represented different aspects of Buddhism.

One of these in particular is the sea of hands that cover the floor below the bridge leading to the main temple. I was absolutely amazed by these, and I learned that they are a symbol of both the greed and desire that exists in all human beings. By walking along the bridge, you can gain happiness and avoid temptation, greed and desire.

Other great parts of the temple I saw was the all-white lotus statue with a buddha in the middle of it and the golden building. Check out my Instagram post below to see more.

2. Wat Rong Suea Ten Temple (Blue Temple)

Opening Times: 7AM-8PM

Entrance Fee: Free

Wat Rong Suea Ten is another fabulous temple to visit in Chiang Rai and I would say it is a must-visit while in the city.

 I visited here right after going to Wat Rong Khun and there were a lot of beautiful sights to see around the grounds. My favourite out of all of them is the white buddha statue which lies inside of the temple. 

This buddha statue had a holy and sacred feel to it which was so different from all the other buddha statues I had seen in Thai temples.

 I guess this is because of the pearl white color which gave it a luminous look but I couldn’t help but stare at it.

Other fascinating features inside of this temple include the dragon statues next to the steps and the standing buddha statue outside that you can’t miss.

The outside of the temple is a blue and gold color and Wat Rong Suea Ten is the only blue Buddhist temple in all of Thailand!

Tip: Try the blue ice cream which is sold in the small shops next to the temple, it is an absolute must-try here.

The flowers added to the blue ice-cream

 3. Baan Dam House (Black House)

Opening Times: 9AM-5PM

Entrance Fee: 80 THB ($2.44) Per Person

Baan Dam House was created by Thai contemporary artist Thawan Duchanee who is known for developing educational centers within Thai society. The museum consists of multiple buildings including The Cathedral which combines Buddhist art with various other art forms and The Small Temple.

By far the most surprising part about my experience at this museum was the fact that there were QR codes next to each of the paintings on the wall. This is known as the AR gallery and by scanning these QR codes with your phone, you would see an animated version of the painting on your phone via Instagram.

There are plenty of things to see at the Baan Dam House Museum and it is absolutely worth the price of 80 Baht in my opinion.

4. Wat Huay Pla Kang

Opening Times: 8AM-6PM

Entrance Fee: Free

Elevator Price To Top Of Statue: 40 THB ($1.22)

Wat Huay Pla Kang is another temple you must see in Chiang Rai because of the colossal white buddha statue which sits on the hill in the center of it. 

I would personally say this is the reason why you should come here and you can pay to get an elevator which goes all the way to the top of it.

I remember seeing this statue before on my Instagram hashtags and I was very impressed. However, I can honestly say that it looks much better in real life!

There are two separate hills at Wat Huay Pla Kang which includes the main one with the buddha statue on top of it and the second one which features a cone-shaped temple that you can visit. 

Upon coming here, I did notice a Chinese influence in around the temple and I was correct with that assumption as it is built in Chinese-Lanna style. This is reflected by the dragons which are next to the steps along with the statue of Guayin, the Chinese goddess of mercy.

Considering this is a free temple to visit and it is only a 20-minute car ride from the center of Chiang Rai, this is not to be missed on your trip!

5. Thaweesin Hot Spring

Opening Times: 6AM-10PM

Entrance Fee: Free

Another free little gem in Chiang Rai is Thaweesin Hot Spring which I personally visited on my daytrip. Although it is less well-known, this was part of the group tour I took and I honestly found it interesting to come here. 

There are lots of little hot spring pools all around here that you can soak your feet in and there are some restaurants and shops around if you fancy buying something.

I would personally say the best time to come to this hot spring is on the way from Chiang Mai. 

You can stop-off here, stretch your legs or even go for a dip if you feel like taking your relaxation to the next level. 

They cook eggs in this hot spring fountain

Although not the best hot spring I’ve seen, this is a classic example of a Thai hot spring which is worthy of your experience in Chiang Rai.

6. Khun Korn Forest Park Waterfall

Opening Times: 8AM-5PM

Entrance Fee: Free

Your trip to Chiang Rai won’t quite be complete without a waterfall to top it off, and Khun Korn Waterfall is the best one that you can see. It is important to mention that it is a 35-minute drive to get here from central Chiang Rai but it is worth the drive considering it is the largest waterfall in the area.

This isn’t quite Thi Lo Su but it is still very big!

Once you arrive at the entrance, you will be greeted by a jungle-style pathway which you will need to follow for around 30 minutes in total. 

This is a pretty easy walk to do so you should have no problem getting to the waterfall. 

After you get to the end of the path, you will quickly realize why you walked here in the first place. This 70-metre waterfall is huge and you are free to strip off into your swim shorts for a refreshing dip.

There are also some additional facilities here including food and drink stands and a toilet where you can stop-by if you need to.

How To Book A Group Tour

My recommended group tour for anyone coming to Chiang Rai would be the one that we took on getyourguide.com

This was perfect and like the other tours we have taken from getyourguide, it also included a pickup from our hotel in Chiang Mai meaning we didn’t have to arrange our own transport.

This tour covered most of the best things to see in Chiang Rai and it was arranged in a clear and concise way.


1. Are There Any Other Places Worth Seeing in Chiang Rai?

Although most of the best places to see are temples, I think it would be a good idea to visit the night bazaar too. This is obviously if you are planning to stay there overnight but there are live performances that go on there and it is the perfect way to experience Chiang Rai nightlife.

You could also visit Singha Park too if you are with your family and would like a day out. There is a zoo with giraffes at the park which should be an interesting sight!

2. Is A Day Enough Time To See The City?

Yes, I would say so.

I saw most of the best sights in Chiang Rai in a day so you don’t need much more than that to be honest. If you really wanted to, you could spend another day here which would give you enough time to see the temples and a waterfall or two.


Chiang Rai is home to one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand and there are plenty of other spectacular Buddhist temples to see here too. 

I absolutely enjoyed my time here and the 6 places mentioned above will give you a complete sense of what this city is all about.

Make sure to bookmark this page for your trip to the city of Chiang Rai so you can make the absolute most of your trip there!

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy