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).