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How to Spend 1 Day in Chiang Rai

How to Spend 1 Day in Chiang Rai

One day in Chiang Rai is just enough time to take in the highlights of Thailand’s northernmost city. With limited time, planning ahead and booking tours in advance is essential—look for tours that combine multiple attractions to save time or opt for a private tour to create your own itinerary. Here are some ideas.

Morning: Tour the Temples

Chiang Rai is home to some of Thailand’s most beautiful temples, which are scattered throughout the city. Visiting as part of a tour allows you to delve deeper into Thailand’s Buddhist history and heritage, and to travel between each with ease.

Tours typically cover Wat Phra Kaew and the 14th-century Wat Phra Singh, one of the city’s oldest temples. Just north of the city center, the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Sear Tean) is so-called for its bold blue and gold interiors.

Afternoon: White Temple and Waterfalls

With its snow-white façade and elaborate embellishments, the fairy-tale Wat Rong Khun (aka the White Temple) is one of Asia’s most impressive contemporary temples. Visiting the temple, which is located just outside the city, as part of a tour means that you can combine it with the nearby Singha Park, home to lakeside walking trails and a tea plantation.

Alternatively, head into the surrounding rainforest and enjoy a short hike to the Khun Korn Waterfall, a tranquil spot where you can cool off with a swim beneath the falls.

Night: Street Food and City Lights

Continue sightseeing into the evening hours during a tuk-tuk or trishaw ride around the town, which typically stop to admire the illuminated King Mengrai Monument and give you time to watch the light-and-music-show at the Clock Tower.

Conclude your evening at the Chiang Rai Night Market, where you can browse the stalls, shop for traditional handicrafts and souvenirs, and tuck into some of Thailand’s renowned street food. Look out for typical Northern dishes such as khanom jeen nam ngiao (spicy noodle soup) or khao soi (a coconut based curry).

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6 Tours and Activities

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Thailand’s Golden Triangle and Village Life

Thailand’s Golden Triangle and Village Life

Venture into the notorious Golden Triangle and discover the rich minority cultures that occupy these rolling hills on this door-to-door half-day tour. Visit a mountaintop Hmong settlement, the historic trading town of Chiang Saen, Wat Phra That Phu Khao temple, and Ban Sop Ruak village, and ride a longtail boat to the spot where Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand meet. Enjoy insights only locals can provide courtesy of your Thai guide.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$106.54
Price varies by group size
From
$106.54
Price varies by group size

The Highlights of Chiang Rai and the Akha Experience

The Highlights of Chiang Rai and the Akha Experience

star-4.5
4
Explore Chiang Rai on a full-day private tour with a professional guide. Visit Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park to see temple artifacts, botanical gardens, and traditional teakwood houses; admire artifacts from the Thai royal family at Oub Kham Museum; and marvel at the truly unique temple-as-art-exhibit of Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple. Enhance your experience of northern Thailand's rich culture as you sample authentic northern Thai dishes at a local restaurant and browse the vendors at the central market.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$150.87
Price varies by group size
From
$150.87
Price varies by group size

Chiang Rai City and Temples Tour

Chiang Rai City and Temples Tour

Make the most of even a short time in Chiang Rai by checking off the city’s historic highlights on a guided half-day tour that’s tailor-made for first-time visitors. See Wat Phra Kaeo, the original home of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra That Doi Thong, with its views of the Kok River, Wat Rong Khun, the famous “White Temple”, the King Mengrai Monument, and more. Tour includes round-trip transfers from select Chiang Rai hotels.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$56.45
From
$56.45

Half-Day Temples and City Private Tour of Chiang Rai

Half-Day Temples and City Private Tour of Chiang Rai

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2
Visit the temples of Chiang Rai on this 4-hour tour. You'll see historical sites such as Wat Phra Singh and ornate architecture like Wat Rong Khun, plus visit Oub Kham Museum to learn about the Lanna kingdom. When booking, select the tour option that matches your circumstances as either a solo or group traveler and for pickup in the city or the Golden Triangle.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$91.58
From
$91.58

Chiang Rai Night Tour by TUK TUK

Chiang Rai Night Tour by TUK TUK

Don’t get disoriented by the crowds and excitement when exploring Chiang Rai at night. Instead, follow a guide around the city after dark and enjoy a personalized experience on this small-group tour. Ramble around some of Chiang Rai’s busy markets and try your luck at haggling for jewelry, clothes, and souvenirs at the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar. Navigate the city streets and see its sights at sunset in an iconic tuk-tuk.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$63.16
From
$63.16

Chiang Rai by Night with Show, Dinner and Trishaw Ride

Chiang Rai by Night with Show, Dinner and Trishaw Ride

Discover the highlights of Chiang Rai after dark on this nimble small-group city tour. Instead of lumbering around in a crowded tour bus, take a trishaw around the city streets, passing by lit-up landmarks including the King Mengrai Monument. Enjoy dinner and a show at an outdoor theater, too; savor the flavors of Thai cuisine, not to mention the music and choreography of traditional Thai dance.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$65.58
From
$65.58