Insiders guide to temples in Chiang Rai
A town that you should not miss when travelling to Thailand is Chiang Rai. This mountainous town is four hours into the mountains on the border of Laos and Myanmar. It has a lot to offer from beautiful nature, landscapes, the golden triangle, and my personal favorites -the blue and white temple.
If you are looking for a unique photoshoot that will be insta-worthy, then look no further! I recommend you visit the blue temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten) and white temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai.
Blue temple, Chiang Rai
White temple, Chiang Rai
To choose a favorite I would have to say that the blue temple became one of my absolute favorite temples I have ever seen in Thailand. This temple is perfect for those who love the color blue or gold. It was so vibrantly blue and was just gorgeous inside and out.
Visiting the Blue temple of Chiang Rai When I went to visit the blue temple it was a bit crowded as it was around sunset. If I were to come again I would make myself wake up early to be here for the sunrise. That is always a pro-tip for traveling though, as it allows you to visit a place when there will not be crowds. Normally, I know this place can be pretty crowded during the tourist season, however I visited in 2020 when there were no tourists. Nonetheless, it is still a popular temple amongst Thai Buddhists. And I can see why! I mean look at it!
Insiders advice on how to get around Chiang Rai I found the most local and cheapest way to travel to Chiang Rai. I took the bus from Chiang Mai bus station to the Chiang Rai station. It cost around $6-8 USD (200 or 300 baht) one way. My accommodation was within walking distance from the bus station.
I recommend staying at Baramee guest house, as they had tours, free breakfast included, friendly staff, and very clean, and affordable rooms. It was in the city center and conveniently located near the bus station.
If you are interested in staying here you can book it here.
To do some sightseeing there are different options for transport. I recommend taking grab motorbike taxis, walking, taking the local bus, or the songtoews (called red cars in the North).
Seeing Chiang Rai's Blue Temple
For visiting the blue temple you can easily book a grab motorbike, as it will be a set rate. It will cost you about $3 USD one way. It is a bit out of the city center, but once you arrive I would spend some time there taking photos, praying, or admiring the beautiful lanterns. After you visit the blue temple, head on over to get some food. Right on the road near the blue temple there were several places to eat. The different options were noodle soup, hot pot, small Thai food restaurants, and a Korean place.
I had ate at the Korean place and was so pleased with the food. It was a very good price for the amount of food we had gotten. We spent about $15 USD for the whole meal and definitely over ate.
How do I get to Chiang Rai's White Temple? The White Temple in Chiang Rai is a bit out of the way from the city center, however there is an extremely cheap way to get there. For my savers out there listen up! Do not order a grab taxi, or a private car if you are wanting to find the cheapest way, because you can use the songtoews (red cars) or take a bus from the bus station. The bus station has a bus that will pass right by the White Temple and is only a whopping 20 baht $0.65. The bus you need to take is at the Chiang Rai bus station and it is bus number 8 and says white temple.
Take this bus and it will drop you off across the street from the temple.
They will ask you when you first get on the bus where to and just say the White temple (Wat Rong Khun). When you are done with sightseeing you can take the songtoew (red car) back into town. It will go back into the city center in that area, so just press the button when you are where you want to be.
Visiting the White temple of Chiang Rai The white temple is a fairly new temple and was designed locally by some artists; this gives this temple a uniqueness and a more modern look. The white temple was rather big, so I recommend spending a couple hours here.
The white temple has the temple, a museum, Thai souvenir market, and a Zen garden. It was so beautiful and serene. I mean wow. I bought some curry pastes and a small woven bag.
The temple is extremely popular, solely because of its beauty. I went a bit overboard on the photoshoot here. It was such an amazing temple to see because it was all white. It even had a unique bit where the statues were all hands and skulls. Besides that small eerie part, it is a beautiful white glistening temple in the mountains.
After you have done some shopping and sightseeing, stop and stay for a bit and eat at one of the Thai restaurants there. It has all the best Thai food and different Northern Thai dishes.
One of my absolute favorite Northern Thai food's was the famous khao soi. My friend and I had ordered multiple dishes including a green curry, khao soi, coconut crab curry, and rice. Our meal was about $6 USD or 180 baht including the food and drinks.
Here is the famous khao soi noodle curry.
If you find yourself in Chiang Rai I hope that this information helped you find your way smoothly. As always peace, love, and light.