Surely one of the gems of northern Thailand, Chiang Rai is a stunning destination for travelers looking for a relaxing time in a relatively small town of just over 60,000 people, full of wonderful Buddhist temples and delightful greenery.
Although there are many exciting temples to explore, Wat Rong Khun is our pick as the top destination of the city. Known as the “White Temple,” this snowy-looking temple has only been open for a few years, but has all the glamor and intrigue of a temple built hundreds of years ago. Upon entrance, get ready for a magnificent gable adorned with mythical creatures such as dragons and snakes made out of white stucco.
Quite contrary to the White Temple, there is the so called Black Temple. Created by national-artist Thwan Duchanee, the temple area has about 40 black-colored houses containing all walks of art including sculptures, paintings and even interesting animal remains and precious antiquities. The Black Temple is quite close to Chiang Rai, located just 10 minutes north of the city by car.
On the nature side of your stay, the Kok River, which flows through town, is a calm way to take in the natural scenery. If you can board a cruise you can arrange to stop in local villages, while a true adventurer might consider a three day tour aboard a bamboo raft.
For one of the finest views of the city, Buffalo Horn Hill, located within walking distance of Chiang Rai, gets you the best sunrise view in town.