Chiang Rai, whilst 2 hours away on a local bus, from Chiang Saen was only 37 Baht each way, so it’s a cheap place to visit, even for a day trip. The bus is meant to run hourly, but actually only tends to leave Chiang Rai when it is full, so this does make the timetable a little unreliable. Accommodation when you get there, can be found fairly inexpensively, and we stayed in a 4 bed dorm for 99 Baht each which is as cheap as chips, and the beds were very comfortable too! Here are some things we did in Chiang Rai which we would recommend to others:
1) Rent a Moped (150-200 Baht)
Much cheaper than getting tuk tuks everywhere, allows for more freedom and adventure (if you call getting lost on the way to the cinema and almost missing the film an adventure), and is much cooler than walking in the stifling heat of the day.
2) The Night Bazaar
We were there on a Saturday, which hosts a much larger market than usual, and it was pretty awesome. Our favourite part was the huge food court, which showed football on the big screen, and had all sorts of delicious feasts available. The Sushi in particular is great value for money, and very yummy (5 Baht for a piece of Sushi – that’s 10p!!). It’s also a good place to get a massage (100-200 Baht depending on how long, and what type of massage you go for).
3) Wat Rong Khun AKA The White Temple
Now we are not massive temple lovers, as far as temple lovers go, and have already started to find them all a bit samey to be totally honest, however, this place was on a whole new level. No more explanation is needed, just take a look at the photos. It’s also quite an easy temple name to remember…I just think (What’s wrong hun) 🙂
4) Go for a quiet drink
Jet Yod Road in Chiang Rai is the main and really the only place where we found any bars/pubs. It is not a place for a crazy night out, but we certainly enjoyed a few drinks and a couple of intense games of Jenga and Connect 4.
5) Visit Lion Hill Cave AKA The Buddha Images Cave
To our regret we didn’t actually visit here, but two of our friends did, and they have highly recommended it (and donated photographs – Thanks Micayla!). Apparently to get there you go down a dirt track with yellow ribbons dotted along on the trees, it looks like a bit of a dump on the way in, but don’t let that dissuade you. On the west side is an intricate and vast cave with a huge Buddha statue inside and as you go further East there is a Cavern with three chambers which looks pretty immense. There are some beautiful trekking routes around here, along the river and further back through some jungle, so don’t do what we did, and miss out on this if you do visit Chiang Rai.
The city of Chiang Rai has a certain type of character which Craig and I both enjoyed soaking up and we soon realised that more than one night and two days, could and should be spent here.
We hope that our experiences will be useful for you and if you can think of anything else then please comment or reply and let us both know. Either below or on the left.