There are a number of iconic things to do in Chiang Rai that range from exploring unique temples, waterfalls and beautiful landscapes. Chiang Rai is located in the north of Thailand and is a great place to get away from the busy city. In our few days of exploring, we found that there were plenty of things to do in Chiang Rai but narrowed it down to 3 spots that stood out above the rest.
How to get to Chiang Rai
If you’re looking to travel out of Chiang Rai and throughout Thailand, be sure to use 12Go to book your train, ferry or bus. 12Go is a super cheap and reliable way to get around Thailand and other popular Southeast Asian countries.
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Where to stay
The most popular area to stay in Chiang Rai is close to the Chiang Rai Clock Tower. All around the clock tower are hostels, guesthouses and hotels. If you get yourself a moped, you can also drive yourself to the nearby shopping centre to grab some lunch or do some shopping. A nice hotel in the area is called Pah, which even does floating breakfast. A popular budget option close by is also Sook Cafe Youth Hostel.
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Things to do in Chiang Rai
RONG SUEA TEN TEMPLE
Rong Suea Ten is one of the more unique things to do in Chiang Rai. This Buddhist temple is also known as the blue temple in Chiang Rai. It’s not like any temple I have ever seen due to its amazing blue interior and incredible detail. This temple is very new compared to other temples which is why it’s not as well known.
If you’re in Chiang Rai you should definitely visit this temple before it becomes well known like Chiang Rai’s other biggest temple attraction Wat Rong Khun (the white temple).
Rong Suea Ten Opening hours / best time to visit
The temple is open from 6am till 7pm. At 6am it is still too dark to get a nice photo as the sun doesn’t fully rise till about 7am. Arrive at 7am to avoid the crowds and successfully get some nicely lit photos. By the time we left there were a few people starting to arrive.
How to get to Rong Suea Ten
We hired a moped scooter for 300baht per day from ST motorcycle so that we had all the freedom of arriving and leaving whenever we liked. I would recommend this as the best way to get there and anywhere around Chiang Rai, although you can also get a taxi to the temple as its only 15 minutes from the city centre.
The temple is completely free to visit, however as the temple is still relatively new they may add an admission fee in the future as the temple becomes more popular.
Just like most temples in Thailand, you are required to cover your knees and shoulders while visiting this temple.
KHUN KORN WATERFALL
Khun Korn Waterfall is located 30 minutes from the city centre and is a great place to enjoy nature. The walking track is only a 30 minute walk to the bottom of the waterfall. The walk is very easy and well maintained. There are also bathrooms located at the beginning of the walkway.
Khun Korn Waterfall Opening hours / Best time of day to visit
You can access the walking track of Khun Korn Waterfall from 9am and you must return by 4:30pm. The place is empty at 9am so you can have the whole walking track and waterfall to yourselves. We left by 10:30am and there were people starting to arrive so I would definitely recommend arriving at 9am if you’re keen to take photos without the people. If you go there just to swim then it might be better to wait till lunch time so its sunny and warm.
How to get to Khun Korn Waterfall
We drove our moped scooter from the city centre which took only 30 minutes. You can also get there by uber, taxi, or you can hire a tour guide to take you there and show you around for the day.
There’s no admission fee for the waterfall.
What to Expect
We wore long pants and a jumper on the hike to the waterfall then on the way back we didn’t need our jumpers because it had warmed up. You don’t need proper hiking boots. Sneakers are fine although it does get muddy. If you plan on staying there all day it would be a good idea to bring some water and snacks.
CHOUI FONG TEA PLANTATION
One of our favourite things to do in Chiang Rai is to visit the Choui Fong tea plantation. This tea plantation is a great little day trip for tea lovers. The scenery is stunning as you are surrounded by large, beautiful tea fields. They also have delicious tea flavoured cakes and drinks at their local cafe. The tea plantation is roughly one hour from Chiang Rai city centre.
Opening hours / Best time of day to visit
The cafe is open from 8am – 5:30pm daily. We arrived to the tea plantation at 7am to watch the sunrise and to take photos without anyone in them. The best time for photos is around 7am to get the golden lighting.
How to get to Choui Fong Tea Plantation
The best way to access the tea plantation is by car or motorbike. Additionally, there are sure to be some tours that you can sign up for.
There’s no entrance fee for the tea plantation. You can walk around the fields with no cost.
What to Expect
If you decide to go early in the morning it does get very cold so you should definitely bring a jumper to keep you warm. Once the cafe opens you’ll be able to sit inside away from the cold.