Recently we travelled from our newly adopted home of Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. Chiang Rai is Thailand’s most northern city and is located on the river Kok. It is a relaxed and laid back city, much quieter than Chiang Mai or Bangkok. However, there is still plenty of things to do and see in the city and surrounding area.
We made the 190km journey from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai via bus. We traveled with Green Bus and rebooked our tickets in advance using their app. Our bus departed Chiang Mai at 8:30am and arrived in Chiang Rai at 11:30am.
Once we arrived at the bus station we rented a scooter from Bikky Bike Rental located right across the street. After collecting our scooter we drove to our hotel, checked in and dropped off our bags.
First stop on our itinerary was to pay a visit to the famous White Temple, otherwise known as Wat Rong Khun. The White Temple is one of the most popular things do do while in Chiang Rai. Designed by the Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, this temple is a masterpiece. Located 13km south of the city it is so beautiful, you cannot miss seeing the White Temple when in Chiang Rai. There are a lot of pop culture references throughout the White Temple. Keep an eye out for faces hidden in the paintings and sculptures including Iron Man, Darth Vader and Gollum.
After visiting the White Temple we were pretty hungry and as we were driving around the country roads we spotted a sign for ‘Something Rice’. We decided to follow the sign and we came across a beautiful workshop and cafe. The cafe was set around a pond and was so peaceful. The coffee and food at Something Rice was excellent.
After our coffee fix we headed back into the city and for the Blue Temple, another one of Chiang Rai’s stunning temples. Officially known as Wat Rong Suea Ten and as you may have guessed by the English name most of the temple is blue. The Blue Temple is blue and gold with the exception of the large white Buddha that sits inside.
After the blue temple we made our way back to our hotel. We parked up our scooter and went for a walk around the city. As to be expected in Thailand during August (rainy season) there was a heavy shower of rain to we popped in to Cat n A Cup cat cafe to escape the rain. This cafe is a lovely place to spend an hour petting and playing with cats plus the coffee was excellent too!
We made our way back to the hotel to shower and freshen up. We had four things on our itinerary for the evening. 1. Dinner 2. Massage 3. Night Bazzar 4. Watch the famous Clock Tower light show.
As we wandered the streets in search of dinner we came across a cute Indian restaurant called Accha Authentic Indian Cuisine. I know you are probably thinking why would you eat Indian food in Thailand, but as we live in Thailand we eat Thai food all the time so we want to change things up. The food at Accha Authentic Indian Cuisine was excellent and to our delight we discovered they also have a restaurant a sister restaurant in Chiang Mai!
Next on our list was to relax with a foot massage. We went to Cho Kaew Thai Massage and for 200baht each we got an hour foot massage. The service was professional and it was just want we needed after a long day of travelling and sightseeing.
After our massage we took a stroll though the Night Bazzer. The impact of Covid-19 was evident here. A typically bussling area of the city, nowadays due to no foreign tourists it was very quiet. Typically the Night Bazzar is a great place to shop for souvenirs and tuck into delicious street food. We wandered round and browsed at the few stalls that were open.
Finally, we ended our night with drinks at a local bar located in front of the Chiang Rai Clock Tower. Every hour on the hour the clock bells ring there is a light show. The light show won’t take your breath away but it is one of those things you may as well see while you are in Chiang Rai.
The next morning we got up and ate breakfast in the hotel. Our bus was not departing Chiang Rai until 3:30pm so we had half a day to do some exploring. We had planned to go to Khun Korn National Park and waterfall, but unfortunately the forecast was predicted to be really bad (like monsoon bad). We decided to pass on the national park and leave it for another day. Instead we spent the day doing a self guided coffee tour of Chiang Rai. Click below if you want to read about the amazing coffee shops we discovered while in Chiang Rai.