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Chiang Rai

Attractions > North > Chiang Rai

Attractions in Chiang Rai province in Thailand
Chiang Rai private tours

Thai cherry trees are in blossom

Chiang Rai is a small, charming city that provides the perfect base for exploring the scenic and cultural attractions of Thailandís far north.

Located 785 kilometres norh of Bangkok, Chiang Rai is the capital of Thailand's northernmost province. At an average elevation of nearly 600 metres above sea level and covering an area of approximately 11,700 square kilometers, the province borders Myanmar to the north, and Lao PDR to the north and northeast. The area is largely mountainous, with peaks rising to 1,500 metres above sea level, and flowing between the hill ranges are several rivers, the most important being the Kok, near which the city of Chiang Rai is situated. In the far north of the province is the area known as the Golden Triangle, where the Mekong and Ruak Rivers meet to form the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Lao PDR Inhabiting the highlands are hilltribes like the Akha, Lahu, Karen, and Hmong.

The region boasts a long history with small kingdoms dating back to the pre-Thai period, while the city of Chiang Rai was founded in 1262 by King Mengrai . It was temporarily the capital of Mengrai's Lanna Kingdom until being superseded by Chiang Mai. Today, Chiang Rai is a small, charming city that provides the perfect base for exploring the scenic and cultural attractions of Thailand's far north

The King Mengrai Stupa


Wat Phra Sing


Oub Kham Museum


Kok River


Tea Tasting at Doi Mae Salong


Doi Mae Salong


Wat Phrathat Doi Tung


Akha Women


Doi Hua Mae Kham


Mai Sai


The Golden Triangle


The Golden Triangle


Wat Phrathat Chedi Luang


Wat Pa Sak


Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti


Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao


Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao


Phu Chi Fa Forest Park


Phu Chi Fa Forest Park


Doi Pha Tang


Doi Pha Tang


Phu Chi Fa Forest Park


Hilltribe People


Doi Tung Royal Villa


City attractions in Chiang Rai

King Mengrai Monument

Commemorating the founder of Chiang Rai, the monument should be the first place to visit, since locals believe that respect should be paid to King Mengrai before travelling further. The monument is located on the city outskirts beside the road to Mae Chan.

The King Mengrai Stupa

In front of Wat Ngam Mueang atop Doi Ngam Mueang in Mueang district the stupa was built by King Chaisongkhram to contain the remains of his father (King Mengrai).

Wat Phra Sing

This temple, on Singhakhlai Road, is a fine example of Lanna religious architecture. The Phra Phuttha Sihing image, now at Chiang Mai's Wat Phra Sing, was originally enshrined here. A copy now sits in its place.

Wat Phra Kaeo

Located behind Wat Phra Sing, Wat Phra Kaeo is noted for its late Lanna image hall and several fine bronze Buddha images. The temple is more famous, however, as the place where the statue of the Emerald Buddha, now housed in Bangkok, was originally discovered.

Wat Phra Kaeo


Wat Phrathat Doi Chom Thong

This ancient hilltop temple predates the founding of Chiang Rai and commands fine views of the Kok River. It is believed that from this vantage point King Mengrai first surveyed the site of the city. Situated on a small hill west of Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple has an ancient brick chedi that is the reliquary for the remains of King Mengrai.

Oub Kham Museum

It's located near the Den Ha market, 1 kilometre from the centre of town. The collection showcases objects from the areas once belonging to, or affiliated with, the Lanna kingdoms: presentnorth Thailand and some parts of northeast Myanmar, southwest China and Vietnam. Apart from ritual objects the collection mainly consists of objects used in royal courts like lacquerware, silver jewellery. and clothing. A golden bowl once reserved for royals is a masterpiece. It is open daily from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Tel. 0 5371 3349

Ho Watthanatham Nithat

The site is a museum exhibiting ancient artetacts and written records on history, literature and local know-how as well as exhibits on royal activities by the late Princess Mother at Doi Tung. lt is open to the public Wednesday - Sunday from 8.30 a.m. until 3.30 p.m.

Kok River

This scenic river is a major transportation artery from neighbouring Chiang Mai province, especially the town of Tha Ton. The river runs some 130 kilometres through the heart of Chiang Rai passing on its way several hilltribe settlements and elephant camps from where jungle treks start. Long-tailed boats are available daily for 3-4 hour tours.

Namtok Khun Kon Forest Park

Khun Kon, also known as Tat Mok Waterfall, is located about 30 kilometres south of Chiang Rai. The 70-metre waterfall is the highest and most beautiful in Chiang Rai.


Out of city attractions in Chiang Rai

Amphoe Mae Chan

Hot Spa

Located 8 kilometres from Mae Chan, along the Mae Chan - Mne Ai Road, this complex has hot mineral water and bath - house facilities. Accommodation is also available.

Hilltribe Development and Welfare Centre

The centre, located some 15 kilometres along Doi Mae Salong Road. Aids and administers local hilltribe settlements. Hilltribe handicrafts, including woven cloth and silverware, are available for purchase.


Amphoe Mae Fa Luang

Doi Mae Salong

Located some 40 kilometres beyond Mae Chan, the rugged mountain of Doi Mae Salong is topped by a settlement known as Santi Khiri, home to descendants of Chinese Nationalist soldiers who settled in the area in the 1940s. The mountainside plantations of coffee and fruit orchards provide scenic variety, especially picturesque in December and January when Thai cherry trees are in blossom. Hotels, restaurants, horse-riding and trekking are among the major attractions.

Doi Tung

This northernmost mountain offers several attractions, including Doi Tung Royal Villa, built for the late Princess Mother and designed in
an architectural combination of Lanna and Swiss chalet styles; the Mae Fa Luang Botanical Garden, with colourful plants and trees of many different species within rock, aqua, palm and flower gardens, and various hilltribe villages. The mountain is topped by the revered temple of Wat Phrathat Doi Tung, which contains Buddha relics and also commands a spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

Doi Tung Royal Villa


Pha Mi Akha Village

This picturesque hilltribe village is one of the most accessible Akha settlements in Chiang Rai province, located on the way to the summit of Doi Tung.

Doi Hua Mae Kham

The site is the domicile of the hilltribe near the Thai-Burmese border, about three hours by road along the Mae Chan-Ban Thoet Thai-Ban Huai In route which winds along a steep precipice. The inhabitants are predominantly of the Lisu tribe, with a smattering of Akha, Hmong and Muser. Doi Hua Mae Kham is most scenic in November when the yellow Wild Sunflowers are in full bloom.

Doi Hua Mae Kham


Amphoe Mae Sai

Mae Sai

This border town is the northernmost point of Thailand, facing Myanmar across the Mae Sai River, and is located 61 kilometres north of Chiang Rai on Highway 110. The town presents great shopping opportunities for buying popular Thai, Burmese and Chinese goods.

Khun Nam Nang Non

The name translates as "lagoon of the sleeping lady" and is derived from a natural rock formation that resembles a reclining woman. It is located 12 kilometres before reaching the town of Mae Sai along a 2-kilometre spur road.

Tham Pum-Tham Pla (Reed & Fish Caverns)

Located 1 kilometre north of Khun Nam Nang Non, these caves are known for their spectacular interiors.

Tham Pha Chom

This cave, 2.5 kilometres west of Mae Sai, is noted for its beautiful stalactites and as a place for meditation.


Amphoe Chiang Saen

Chiang Saen

The town of Chiang Saen, delightfully situated on the banks of the Mekong River, is the site of an ancient settlement that predates Chiang Rai and survives in the ruins of city walls, moats, gateways and temples.

The Golden Triangle

Eight kilometres north of Chiang Saen, this famous riverside spot marks where the borders of Thailand, Lao PDR and Myanmar meet at the junction of the Mekong River and the small Ruak tributary. Boats on the Mekong can be hired tor travel upstream from Chiang Saen to the Golden Triangle, or downstream to Chiang Khong.

The Golden Triangle


Chiang Saen National Museum

This small museum is dedicated to the historical settlement of Chiang Saen and its ancient culture, and provides information on archaeological sites and ethnic minorities in the Mekong River basin, as well as displaying exhibits of Buddha images and Lanna artefacts. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. except official holidays.

Wat Phrathat Chedi Luang

Wat Phrathat Chedi Luang, built in 1291, is the biggest ancient pagoda in Chiang Rai province. comprising a 58-metere high, brick bell-shaped chedi with an octagonal base. The main hall and other surrounding chedis are in ruins.†††

Wat Pa Sak

Wat Pa Sak occupies a 16-acre site just outside the city walls, 200 metres from the Tourist Service Centre. The chedi, built in 1295, is decorated with ornamental stucco motifs and is regarded as one of the most beautiful examples of Lanna architecture in northern Thailand.

Wat Pa Sak

Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti

This hilltop temple, reached by a flight of 339 steps, has a chedi enshrining the Lord Buddha relic.

Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao

This small bell-shaped pagoda built on top of a hill, 4 kilometres along the Chiang Saen-Chiang Khong road, commands a spectacular view over the Mekong River and Lao PDR beyond. The temple houses a magnificent Chiang Saen-style Buddha image.

Wat Phrathat Doi Pu Khao

This riverside temple, near the Sop Ruak Market, offers an amazing panorama over the Golden Triangle and the surrounding mountains.

Wat Phra Chao Lan Thong

The temple is located within the city wall, built by Prince Thong Ngua, a son of King Tilokkarat, the 12th ruler of Lanna, in 1489. A 1,200-kilogramme Buddha statue was cast. Named Phra Chao Lan Thong, it has a lap width of 2 metres and is over 3 metres high. Another statue called Phra Chao Thong Thip was also cast in brass and in the Sukhothai style.

Chiang Saen Lake

South of Chiang Saen, along Highway 1016 (two kilometres from the Km. 27 marker) this scenic 64O-acre lake hosts migratory flocks of waterfowl during the winter months. Accommodation and water-sport facilities are available.


Amphoe Chiang Khong

Chiang Khong

Located 55 kilometres east of Chiang Saen and 114 kilometres northeast of Chiang Rai town, this pleasant traditional settlement faces Lao PDR across the Mekong River.

Ban Hat Klai

This is the area where pla buek, or giant freshwater catfish, weighing up to 300 kg. are caught in the Mekong from April to June.

Ban Hat Bai

This Thai Lue community, located 25 kilometres along the Chiang Saen-Chiang Khong road, is noted for its hand-woven cotton.


Amphoe Thoeng

Phu Chi Fa Forest Park

This mountain, some 25 kilometres south of Doi Pha Tang, is characterized by high, sleep cliffs providing a panoramic view over Loa PDR. Its highest peak points out sharply towards the sky. Mist commonly shrouds the mountaintop in the early morning, especially in the cool season. During February, white wild flowers, known as dok siao, dot the area.


Amphoe Wiang Kaen

Doi Pha Tang

Some 32 kilometres from Amphoe Wiang Kaen (127 kilometres from Chiang Rai town), this scenic 1,638-metre mountain is home to Hmong and Yao ethnic minorities, and affords fine views of theThai-Lao border. During December and January, the area is rendered even more picturesque with cherry blossoms and, in the morning, mountain mists.


Amphoe Phan

Doi Luang National Park

This park, some 65 kilometres south of Chiang Rai town, covers an area of 1,170 square kilometres and extends into parts of Chiang Mai, Lampang and Phayao provinces. The park's major attraction is the Pu Kaeng Waterfall.

Namtok Pu Kaeng

This waterfall is in Doi Luang National Park located in Phan district. To get there, drive down the Chiang Rai-Phayao route for 58 kilometres to arrive at Bang Pu Kaeng. At Km.77 take a right turn and drive on for another 9 kilometres to a large waterfall amid virgin jungle with water cascading down limestone brooks. There are camping areas and jungle trekking services.


Amphoe Wiang Pa Pao

Wiang Kalong

This community located about 16 kilometres from the district office of Wiang Pa Pao. Here they found remains of ancient furnaces used to make terracotta utensils. The furnaces are shaped likes turtle shells of various sizes with a width of 2 to 5 metres.

Mae Khachan Hot Springs

The hot springs located at Tambon Mae Chedi Mai on the Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai road at Kms. 64-65, next to a stream. Villagers sell eggs to tourists to boil in the hot springs.

Khun Chae National Park

At Tambon Mae Chedi Mai of Wiang Pa Pao district, the park can be reached by taking the Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai route (Highway No.118). The park headquarters is right next to the highway at Kms. 55-56 Visitors wishing to undertake a jungle trek and camp within the park need to have the services of a guide and prepare their own camping equipment. The trek through the Khun Chae jungle is for adventure travel enthusiasts as the route passes over steep terrain and several hilltops and cliffs over 1,400 metres high. There are good viewpoints and trekkers can enjoy waterfalls, flowing streams and virgin jungle areas lush with plant life.



Special events in Chiang Rai

Wai-sa Phaya Mengrai

End of January or early February held to commemorate King Mengrai as the founder of Chiang Rai and the Lanna Kingdom, the festival features parades, cultural performances and various competitions.

Songkran and Chiang Saen Boat Races

13-15 April, Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year, is well celebrated at Chiang Saen, where boat races between teams from Thailand, Lao PDR, China and Myanmar are held on the Mekong River. Cultural shows and beauty contests to crown the Queen of the Golden Triangle
are other attractions.

Lychee Fair

Held the third weekend in May, the fair celebrates Chiang Rai's tastiest fruit, and also features various agricultural displays and exhibitions, local handicrafts, folk dancing and beauty contests.



Shopping in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is rich in handicrafts such as handwoven cotton, hilltribe silver ornaments and woodcarvings. Agricultural products include lychee (in season April-May), pineapples and tea, as well as temperate climes produce from various royal projects.




Thailand private tours, Bangkok private tours, Chiang Mai private tours, Ayutthaya..., ..., Thai private tour guide,
van rental with free private English speaking tour guide driver, for the details and prices click Terms and Conditions