What to Expect on Your Chiang Rai Visit

What to Expect on Your Chiang Rai Visit

Are you planning to travel to Chiang Rai? Because if you are, you’re definitely in for a treat. Chiang Rai is a city where time seems to move at a slower pace than it does in other parts of Thailand. Despite its slow-town vibe, it offers no shortage of wonderful sights and fun-filled activities for you to enjoy. We’ll tell you exactly what you have to look forward to during your trip in the sections below, and we’ll give you a few tips to make your stay even more worthwhile. Let’s begin by talking about what you shouldn’t expect on your Chiang Mai adventure:

What Not to Expect in Chiang Rai

Being located between two mountain ranges, Chiang Rai is not the place to enjoy the world-renowned beaches that Thailand is known for. There are no beaches in the area—at least not the kind that you’d find in Phuket, for example. The shopping and nightlife options in the city are also quite limited. You’ll be able to buy local artisan crafts and textiles, but don’t expect any mega shopping centers like those in Bangkok. Instead, the city provides a tranquil haven where you can immerse yourself in the historic and spiritual sides of Thai culture. The local hospitality scene (restaurants and hotels) are top-notch as well, allowing you to soak in all that culture with all the comforts you’d expect from a world-class destination.

What to Enjoy in Chiang Rai

Now, let’s go over exactly what’s in store for you on your visit. There’s quite a lot to look forward to, and we’ll go over some of the most noteworthy aspects of Chiang Rai that you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.

1. See breathtaking architecture

Thailand’s architecture is definitely unique, but what makes Chiang Rai’s special is that it has been infused with the artistic identity of the locals’ Lanna heritage. The White Temple known as Wat Rong Khun is one prime example of this. It’s actually a museum, and its design looks like it’s come straight from a fantasy fiction novel.

2. Trek to visit hill tribe communities

Trekking in the lush hillsides of Chiang Rai is an activity that puts you right in the middle of the natural beauty of the land. To make the experience more meaningful, you can visit Thailand’s oldest tribal villages up in the mountains to immerse yourself firsthand into these ancient people’s unique way of life.

3. Take a river tour down the Mae Kok

You can also go on a Make Kok river tour complete with an authentic Thai lunch. Doing so will allow you to see the many glorious sights around Chiang Rai, and it’s an excellent way to get to other destinations worth visiting, such as the natural hot spring formations, fruit plantations, and elephant sanctuaries.

4. Dive into the culture

Chiang Rai is home to dozens of different museums, galleries, and cultural parks—each one devoted to a different aspect of the local customs and lifestyle. There, you’ll be able to learn about the region’s rich, centuries-long history, providing you a glimpse into the past and how it all ties into modern times.


The activities highlighted above represent only a fraction of what Chiang Rai has to offer. When you plan a visit, we recommend that you spend at least two or three days to maximize your time, although you can easily stay longer and still have plenty left to explore. If you’re looking for the perfect accommodations to set the stage for your visit to Chiang Rai, get in touch with The Riverie by Katathani today and we’ll be happy to make the arrangements!