Must-see wonders of Chiang Rai

PHOTO: trairat songpao, Unsplash

Chiang Rai, in the far north of Thailand, offers an array of activities and sights. The culture here, unique to the Lanna lifestyle, presents culinary delights unlike any other in Thailand as many local dishes provide a rich, flavourful journey.

Adventurous spirits can ride through rugged motorbike trails, while art enthusiasts will appreciate local galleries and artist communities. Staying longer in Chiang Rai reveals hidden gems beyond the standard day-trip itinerary, ensuring a truly immersive experience.

Must-see destinations in Chiang Rai

White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)

White temple
PHOTO: I Do Nothing But Love, Unsplash

Wat Rong Khun, or as most people know it, the White Temple, is a must-see spot in Chiang Rai. This place is hard to miss with its all-white look, representing purity. The temple was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat and it’s a fascinating mix of old-school Buddhist vibes and modern art. Inside, you’ll find murals with nods to famous movies and pop culture. Outside, the grounds are dotted with cool sculptures and installations that grab everyone’s attention.

Singha Park

Singha Park
PHOTO: Singha Park Chiang Rai สิงห์ปาร์ค เชียงราย, Facebook page

Singha Park, located about 6 km from the White Temple in Chiang Rai, offers various activities. A large golden lion statue marks the entrance, where many visitors stop for a photo. The park features a food court with cafes and shops, ensuring guests have refreshments and souvenirs.

The park also offers adventure activities. Guests can enjoy a zipline over the tea plantations or rent bikes for exploration. Singha Park hosts an annual hot air balloon festival, adding to its attractions.

Public transport does not serve the park. Those without a car will need to take a tuk-tuk or taxi. As the park is extensive, renting bikes or taking the park’s internal transport is advisable for convenience.

Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten)

Wat Rong Sue Ten
PHOTO: Alex Chen, Google Maps.

Externally, Wat Rong Suea Ten features intricate blue decorations, akin to the White Temple but with its own unique charm. Inside, the interior is painted in bright blue with gold detailing. A large white Buddha statue, tinged with blue reflections depending on the lighting, graces the end of the main room. The vivid colours and artistic details create an arresting visual experience.

Visitors will find many photogenic spots within the temple. The detailed blue statues, including dragons and guards, amplify its aesthetic appeal. Visiting Wat Rong Suea Ten is an enriching experience for those exploring Chiang Rai’s cultural landscape.

Khun Korn Waterfall

Khun Korn waterfall
PHOTO: Krisna Promwatcharanon, Google Maps

Khun Korn Waterfall is located 15 km west of Singha Park, it’s accessible by car. Visitors park at Khun Korn Waterfalls car park before embarking on a short, slippery trek through a bamboo forest.

Even in January, the waterfall’s flow remains strong, unlike other Thai waterfalls that may dry up. This natural site is not only a feast for the eyes but also a cool retreat. Plan for about two hours to hike, take photographs, and soak in the waterfall’s freshness. Though swimming is allowed, be prepared for cold water.

Khun Korn Waterfall is inside Khun Korn Forest Park, an area rich in lush greenery and dense jungles. En route, visitors see vast rice fields and sprawling jungles, adding more to the scenic adventure. This attraction ranks high among the things to do in Chiang Rai.

Pu Kaeng Waterfall

Pu kang waterfall
PHOTO: Jirapong Jairin, Google Maps

Pu Kaeng Waterfall is one of Thailand’s most stunning natural attractions. Situated about 70 km south of Chiang Rai near the Pan district, this waterfall offers a captivating experience. It comprises nine levels, cascading through the dense Thai jungle.

To reach Pu Kaeng Waterfall, one can hire a car or songtaew from Chiang Rai. The journey involves travelling south on Phahonyothin Road towards Chiang Mai. National park entry fees are 200 THB per person and upon arrival, clear signage guides visitors to the waterfall.

Pu Kaeng Waterfall is more than just a scenic spot. It’s an opportunity to immerse in Chiang Rai’s natural beauty. Whether trekking through the dense foliage or simply enjoying the cascading waters, this location is a must-visit for anyone exploring Chiang Rai.

Pong Phrabat Hot Spring

Pong Phrabat Hot Spring
PHOTO: Eak Panpach, Google Maps

Pong Phrabat Hot Spring, just 11km north of Chiang Rai, offers a unique experience. The water is naturally heated, providing a soothing soak. The hot spring has a concrete and tiled setting, not the scenic look of national park springs. It’s rarely crowded with foreign tourists, making it a tranquil visit.

A visit to Pong Phrabat Hot Spring pairs well with a day trip to Pong Phrabat Waterfall nearby. The proximity of both attractions allows travellers to enjoy a full day of relaxation and exploration. The hot spring’s close distance to Chiang Rai city makes it accessible for a short excursion.

Although the setting is less natural, the hot spring still offers relaxation benefits. The naturally heated water can be an ideal way to unwind after a day of exploring the region.

Mae Fah Luang Garden

Mae Fah Luang
PHOTO: Tosapon Amornpitpratya, Google Maps

Mae Fah Luang Garden, located in the Doi Tung area, offers a blend of natural beauty and cultural significance. The entrance ticket costs 220 baht and includes access to an arboretum 9 km away. Visitors can take a free bus to this location. The site isn’t accessible by car for the final 2 km; song taews provides transportation to the top within 5 minutes. The garden showcases a variety of plants and flowers, making it a must-see for nature lovers.

In Chiang Rai, experiencing these natural and cultural sites enhances any visit as each location provides unique elements that contribute to a memorable trip.



A true extrovert, Thunn enjoys writing to connect with people and tell stories about his vast experiences. His passion for building relationships drives him to write engaging content with his unique voice and views.

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