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What to Do Near Chiang Rai

Updated: Jan 26

After being in Chiang Mai and having loved it, we decided to visit Chiang Rai and take a car to follow a loop until the golden triangle and back. We would recommend doing that since it gives you a lot of flexibility to enjoy some tea tastings or visit the following highlights at your own pace. Let's go to show you what we would do near Chiang Rai.


1. White temple


This is a classic temple that is one of the symbols of Thailand. Many people have seen pictures of such temple before even coming to the country. It's very photogenic and in real life it looks even better than in the pictures, at least on a sunny day. Of course, it's popular and therefore, you will see many locals if it's on a weekend or a holiday, which is what happened to us ^^ But it was still very much worth it to see it. There are many interesting things such as sculptures representing the hell, which is from where you enter into the temple. Inside the temple itself there are many paintings of famous movies and historical things such as Matrix, Pokémon or the 9/11. It's not allowed to take pictures so you have to imagine it.



Chiang Rai white temple reflected on beautiful lake



2. Blue temple


The blue temple is kind of the small brother of the white temple and it's basically blue. A little bit smaller and not as busy. But it's in a nice place close to affordable resorts by the river that we would recommend if you get some nice deals. We paid 40€ a night with breakfast and swimming pool and the rooms are quite nice and big.



Chiang Rai blue temple



3. Giant Guanyin statue. Often referred as the "Big Buddha"


This statue is huge, being 90m tall! It's very impressive and for 40 bhat you can go to the top and see what the statue could see if it had eyes.




Apart from this there are two more buildings, including a Chinese temple with a nice wooden statue as well.








4. Tea plantations


We've done a dedicated post on tea plantations because the tea plantations of the north are very beautiful. They also produce much of the tea that is consumed elsewhere. We found tea from the north of Thailand sold in many places of Bangkok.





5. Golden triangle


The golden triangle is famous because you can see Laos and Myanmar directly by the banks of the river from Thailand. You could literally swim to both countries since they're only 100m and 300m away from Thailand when crossing the river haha






6. Opium museum


That was very interesting as well, since this region of Thailand was very famous for Opium cultivation and has a lot of history of using it for medicine use at the beginning until it became more of a social problem. The Thailand tribes learnt to use the drug for medicine purposes only but when trading started, it became a source of social problems and many people became addicted to it. It's a quite impressive collection of historical facts about Opium as well as some shocking pictures and sculptures





7. Wat Pa Sak Historical Site


This was one hidden gem not so far from the golden triangle that we would also recommend checking out since it has some temple ruins that date of the 14th century and that are still very well conserved, with a total different architecture than the current temples.






8. Wat Phra That Pha Ngao


Similarly, this temple is also quite old and has many different architectures inside. Moreover, you can head up to the top of the mountain from the temple itself by following a quite steep staircase. From there, you can have beautiful views of the Mekong river.







9. Thamluang Khunnam Nangnon National Park


This national park is nowadays very famous because of the movie about the Thai Cave Rescue that explains the rescue operation of the 13 children that were stuck in a cave in Thailand. We didn't go there because nowadays you cannot enter more than 20m inside the cave. But we would really recommend seeing the movie.


10. The center of Chiang Rai


The center of Chiang Rai is not comparable to Chiang Mai in terms of tourists attractions but if you happen to be there you can check out the temples, the market and the clock tower :)





We hope you liked this post as well! Nice greetings from Bangkok ^^

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