How to Spend 2 Days in Chiang Rai
Two days in Chiang Rai gives you time to take in the city sights, experience local culture and cuisine, and discover Thailand’s northern highlands. Plan ahead to maximize your time and choose tours that combine multiple destinations for the best value. Here’s how to spend two days in Chiang Rai.
Day 1: Follow the Temple Trail
Morning: Opting for a city tour ensures that you maximize your time in Chiang Rai and see all of the city’s landmarks. City tours usually cover the contemporary Wat Rong Sear Tean (Blue Temple); the ancient Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Phra Singh; and the Hill Tribe Museum, which details the region’s ethnic minorities.
Afternoon: Devote the afternoon to the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), one of Thailand’s most iconic temples; visit with a guide to discover hidden details. Afterwards, stroll around the gardens and tea plantations of Singha Park, or hike through the rainforest and cool off with a swim at Khun Korn Waterfall.
Night: Continue sightseeing into the evening on a night tour by tuk tuk or trishaw. Stop to watch the nightly light and music show at the Clock Tower and admire the illuminated King Mengrai Monument. For a cultural feast, opt for a traditional Thai dinner show, which combines regional cuisine with live music and folk dance performances.
Day 2: Thailand’s Golden Triangle
Morning: Chiang Rai is the gateway to Thailand’s Golden Triangle, the meeting point of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. With just one day to explore, look for a day trip that combines a visit to the Golden Triangle with a stop at one of the region’s ethnic minority villages, or opt for a private tour and devise a personalized itinerary.
Afternoon: The village of Chiang Saen is the last stop before arriving at the meeting point of the three countries. Spend some time exploring the village’s ancient ruins; visit the Hall of Opium museum; or enjoy a longboat cruise on the Mekong River.
Night: Spend your final night browsing Chiang Rai Night Market. This is the best place to purchase unique souvenirs or traditional handicrafts, but it’s also renowned for its delicious street food. Order a bowl of khanom jeen nam ngiao (spicy noodle soup) or sample khao soi (a coconut based curry), both popular northern Thai dishes.