Located at the northernmost tip of Thailand, Chiang Rai is a laidback province where the curious traveler can gain countless artistic and cultural inspirations. It hides majestic temples, architectural wonders, and even impressive art pieces.
Because Chiang Rai offers little diversity when it comes to nightlife and entertainment hubs, it’s widely known as a sleepy city. Unlike the neighboring Chiang Mai, not many tourists flock here, but its tranquility only adds to the town’s idyllic charm. If you want to take the road less traveled, then a trip to Chiang Rai should be on your list when visiting Thailand.
Here are the top three attractions that make Chiang Rai a must-visit destination:
Even if you’re not an architectural enthusiast, you’ll be amazed and awestruck at the sight of Wat Rong Khun. This non-traditional Buddhist temple is a sight to behold with its unique design. The temple, designed by a notable Thai artist, is entirely white and filled with quirky details. To get inside the main temple, you’ll have to cross a bridge surrounded by bizarre concrete hands grasping upwards, which are supposed to symbolize the fallen souls of evil-doers. Brush up on your photography skills, as The White Temple will allow you to create stunning photos!
Chiang Rai used to be the capital city of the Lanna Dynasty during the 13th century, and its colorful history is apparent in the structures you’ll see. Aside from the White Temple, there are plenty of other religious shrines in the city, one of which is Wat Rong Suea Ten, also known as the Blue Temple, for the color of its exteriors. It’s designed by the same Thai artist who built the White Temple. In English, its name literally means “Temple of the Tigers Jumping Over the Channel” because tigers used to roam in this region.
Many Thai artists were born in Chiang Rai, that’s why it’s also unofficially known as the art capital of Thailand. You’ll see a wealth of art influences as you wander through the city. There’s Baan Dam, a distinctly black house that’s actually an art museum of Thawan Duchanee, a noted artist. Inside, you’ll see his eccentric work and petrified animals he used to hunt. His ashes are also stored within the statue of a mythical bird because he believed that the bird will take his spirit from hell to heaven.
Like many night markets in Thailand, Chiang Rai’s night bazaar is a bustling attraction right in the heart of the town. Expect to see lots of shops selling clothes, fabrics, and local handicrafts. It’s also lined with food stalls where you can try local delicacies from hotpot to noodles and skewers.
Chiang Rai is also the closet city to the Golden Triangle, the border where Thailand meets with Laos and Myanmar. This makes Chiang Rai a great jump-off point for travelers who want to explore more of these two other countries as well. If you’re traveling to Northern Thailand, a quick trip to Chiang Rai will undoubtedly be worth your time. You’ll find unique landmarks and inspirations that you won’t find anywhere else in Thailand! We’re a luxury hotel in Chiang Rai, get in touch with us today to book your stay.