Chiang Rai is a city in Northern Thailand located about 185 kilometers from Chiang Mai. Chiang Rai is perfect for a day trip from Chiang Mai. We think it’s an absolute must to visit! Where in Chiang Mai you can find many old temples in Chiang Rai, there are newer ones like the White and Blue Temples. We love exploring places by motorbike but this time we decide to go on a private tour with TakeMeTour, as it’s a 3-hour ride to Chiang Rai and a guide can tell us all about the places. In this blog, we will tell you all about the perfect day trip and the things you can’t miss when visiting Chiang Rai.
1. Wat Rong Khun aka White Temple
Wat Rong Khun is one of Thailand’s most special and famous temples. To foreigners the temple is known as the White Temple, you can definitely see where that name comes from! The temple is open for visitors since 1997. An artist from Chiang Rai, named Chalermchai Kositpipat, completely rebuilt a temple and created the White Temple as you can visit now. The temple is incredibly beautiful and unique. Every detail of the temple has meaning. The bridge is the Gate of Heaven while the hands in front of the bridge reach from hell. Good to know: since this temple is famous, it can be very crowded.
Please be respectful of Thai culture and religion, make sure to dress properly!
2. Wat Rong Seur Ten aka Blue Temple
This Blue Temple is as special as the White Temple, maybe better; it isn’t as crowded! The temple was completed only two years ago and therefore not many people know about it – yet. The area of the temple once was the natural habitat of tigers, that’s why the name of the temple translates as ‘House of the Dancing Tiger’. The blue and golden colors of the temple make for great colorful pictures (which we love!) and you’re allowed to take pictures inside the temple (which isn’t allowed inside the White Temple).
3. Eat Khao Soi, Local Dish
A must-eat dish when you are visiting Northern Thailand is Khao Soi. This is Maartje’s absolute favorite Thai dish. You can’t find it easily elsewhere in Thailand so try it out while you’re in Northern Thailand. During our TakeMeTour our guide brings us to a cute local restaurant where we enjoy the best Khao Soi ever. So what is Khao Soi? Khao Soi is a noodle soup with coconut milk, hand-cut noodles, vegetables, and traditionally with chicken, but that’s often optional. The crispy noodles on top make the dish even more delicious and unique.
4. Baan Dam Museum aka Black House
The Baandam Museum is a much darker place compared to the white temple. Baan Dam Museum, also known as Black House and Black Temple, is not a religious attraction but it is a legacy of the artist Thawan Duchanee. This museum is visited by many tourists and honestly, we couldn’t really see why. With its exhibits of animal remains (crocodile skin, bear fur, and much more), gothic Thai architecture, and dark vibes it didn’t really feel like our place. Or maybe just not at that moment. We must say, the woodwork is incredible. It’s a fascinating place, but you should decide for yourself if it’s in a positive or negative sense!
5. Wat Sang Kaew Phothiyan aka Lotus Temple
Wat Sang Kaew Phothiyan is the perfect stop on your way to Chiang Rai and it’s an off the beaten path attraction. Its location isn’t in the city center of Chiang Rai but in the province of Chiang Rai. This temple construction only finished a couple of years ago and therefore only a few people know about this temple, so it’s a very quiet and peaceful place. The translation of Wat Sang Kaew Phothiyan is ‘A lotus that sprouts and emerged from the water emits lights like a sparkling gem with brilliant light’, which is why our local tour guide named it the Lotus Temple.
Do you have more time to explore? Check out Chiang Rai’s other landmarks: the golden clock tower, the night bazaar for some shopping + food, and stop on your way to Chiang Rai at hot springs to dip your feet in!
TakeMeTour organizes day trips throughout all of Thailand. What we love about their concept is that they believe experiencing a local’s lifestyle is the best way to explore a country. On their platform, they connect locals with travelers, how awesome is that?! This is something we are huge fans of, we really like meeting local people and getting to know insider-stories about places. Besides that, food is an important factor for us while traveling. Therefore we love the collaboration of TakeMeTour with LocalTable. This way you can try the local flavors during your tour. That’s a great way to learn about Thailand’s culture, don’t you think? Also important, they advocate ethical and sustainable traveling, there aren’t tours on their platform that include elephant riding for example.
Try out TakeMeTour !
Enjoy your trip to Chiang Rai and let us know if you liked the temples as much as we did.
Ooh and tell Maartje if you love Khao Soi as much as she does.
Any questions? You can always send us a message!
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