24 hours in Chiang Rai

Thailand, Thailand

Chiang Rai, a must to stopover if you are visiting Chiang Mai. Located in Northern Thailand, this quiet but popular province is a great getaway for various cultural experience as well as to escape from the scorching heat. We only had 24 hours in Chiang Rai because we wrongly booked our air tickets but we tried to make the most of out it! Theses are the highlights that you definitely should not miss when you visit Chiang Rai!

Wat Rong Khun

Chiang Rai

We landed in Mae Fah Luang International Airport at 930 in the morning and White Temple is our first stop. It is 25 minutes away from airport, by driving. It is hard not to notice this temple from far due to its glimmering white reflection as the sun beam shines onto it. From far it looks like a pool of white flames burning.

Wat Rong Khun, one of the most recognisable temples in Thailand, which is also more familiar as 'White Temple' among visitors.

Whimsical and macabre art installations spotted at the entrance and basically everywhere.

The crowd on a Saturday Morning.

The crowd was insane, probably because it was on a Saturday morning, or maybe it was reaching the afternoon. It wasn't an expected 'quiet and peaceful' temple visit as the staffs were speaking through a loud audio speaker repeatedly to ask visitors to remove shoes and not to stop while walking on bridge. It felt more like visiting an art installation museum rather than a temple though.

Didnt manage to get a picture right in the middle of the temple entrace because there was a line queueing to go inside. Recommend to come early in the morning.

Opening hours: 8am-5pm

Entrance fee: 50THB

The Golden Temple

Chiang Rai

Golden Temple is part of Wat Rong Khun and is located within its compound. This colour scheme was chosen by the founder of this temple to signify human's materialistic tendencies and worldly desires. Not to mention the toilet here is in gold too.

It is kinda glaring to stare at this temple in the afternoon because it is just so GOLD! however it is such a gorgeous piece of gem!

Sash can be purchased outside the temple if your dress length is above knee. I bought mine at 120 THB. There are cheaper options of course, mostly in plain white.

Wat Rong Seur Ten

Chiang Mai

Dragon, often symbolizes as power, strength and clarity in Buddhism.

Stepping into the main temple hall, it awes me with its vibrant colours that provides so much depth to the temple. The intricate paintings on the ceilings and walls, including the doors and carpets, every single details here is jaw-dropping. The entire ambience was filled with reverence and people just quietly making prayers here.

Despite there were many people flooding in and out, the vibes feel entirely different as compared to White Temple. It was a proper 'temple experience'.

Grab a coconut ice-cream dyed in blue (with colours from blue pea flowers) from the stalls beside the temple. It costs about 20-30 THB, comes with 2 scoops of coconut ice-cream, glutinous rice and coconut flesh as sides, then topped with a sprinkle of sesame. Besides, it also comes with a small cup of coconut water (which is also in Blue).

The interior, front and back  view of Blue Temple. There are two Buddha Statues here, one sitting in main hall and one standing at back wall. Both are equally gigantic and majestic.

Choui Fong Tea Plantation

Chiang Mai

Despite having only 24 hours here, we still insisted to drive 40 minutes to and fro to this place and it was totally worth it.

After driving 40 minutes from Chiang Rai central, we are here!

What I really mean when I said it was worth it.

There are a few lookout points which oversees the entire lush green plantation.

Tea Cafe, which serve all kinds of greentea-based beverages and desserts. Imagine smelling and tasting green tea in a green tea farm, all at the same time.

Our new baby's first trip, taken with Mavic Air.

Singha Park

Chiang Rai

Owned by Singha Beer company, unfortunately this place does not have any beer brewing here. Instead, it is a family friendly recreational attraction. There are mini zoo, tea plantation, flowers farm or even hot air ballons event if you come at the right season! (Mid-Nov to end of Jan). Check out the dates online if you are coming for the Balloon Fiesta (Usually Jan-Mar).

First and last sunset in Chiang Rai.

Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai Night Bazaar, don't come with expectations. The stalls are very limited and mostly selling similar foods or souvenirs. Good things are at least the food is good and it is not over-crowded.

Welcoming performance at the outdoor foodcourt.

Jim Jum.

Jim Jum, Thai street food version of hotpot. It comes with soup boiling in clay pot, chicken, some eggs, noodles and vegetables in a basket. It costs 40THB or you can order more ingredients by paying a little bit more.

We also ordered a plate of fried prawns at 40 THB from the other stall. 

Travel Tips

Chiang Rai

TRANSPORT: Drive, if you can because it can get pretty hot in central area. We had quite a pleasant experience with Chic car rent

ATTIRE: Dress moderately, preferably longer than knee-length. Always bring jacket to stand-by in case you are visiting somewhere up on mountains. Always remember to remove shoes when you are entering the main hall of temple.

WEATHER: Temperature in the morning and night can be as low as 12°, afternoon can be as hot as 30°.

FOOD: Meals here are pretty affordable. Rice/Noodles from random stalls are priced ~ 40-50 THB and beverages ~ 30-40 THB. 7-11 store is a good choice if you don't mind convenient food.

ENTRANCE FEE: 30-50 THB for temples. Choui Fong Tea Plantation and Singha Park are free to enter.

HOTEL: We didnt stay in any hotel as we drove straight to our hotel in Chiang Mai at the end of the day.

Stay tuned for our Chiang Mai post!