After my week Bangkok I met back up with Graceie and we spent a week in Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand. We caught the night train first to Chiang Mai. Sadly we were in Chiang Mai for most of a week and spent 5 days of it sick in bed with a terrible flu. After that nothing was going to improve our memories of Chiang Mai so we went up to Chiang Rai. Cooler and quieter than the rest of Thailand, Chiang Rai is a very nice place to wind down after the craziness of Bangkok.
Here’s some of our favorite things we did in Chiang Rai
We actually hitchhiked from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and after hitchhiking in over 20 countries of the world I think it was almost the easiest of all! We waited not more than 5 minutes for each of our 3 rides. 2 Rides in the outskirts of Chiang Mai and then one ride for 3 hours. The roads are very nice here and we were very comfortable lying in the back of the pickup truck in the sun. seriously it was one of the best rides we ever had. They stopped once for the toilet and a snack and when it came time to leave us they dropped us in the very centre of Chiang Rai near the night market.
20m from where our driver dropped us was the door of Norn Nung Len Hostel. A newly opened hostel run by 2 of the friendliest Thai people I’ve met. If anyone is travelling through Chiang Rai I really recommend this hostel for location, cleanliness, friendly staff, high speed internet and very competitive price. We liked it so much we stayed a week. You can usually get the best price on Booking.com
Just towards the North of Chiang Rai is The Kok River and we walked across the western bridge at sunset. I will let the photo tell the rest of the story.
The Chiang Rai Night Bazaar is right n the centre of town, very near to the bus station. Here you can find all the souvenirs you will ever need, as well as clothes, jewellery, toys, traditional Thai Dancing and music and of course food! There is a food court int he middle but we usually went right to the back of the market where there is one stall selling the best fruit shakes for 25 Baht and BBQ Chicken and pork with rice for cheep.
20 minutes drive to the south west of the city is the Singha Park. (See map) When you see this park you will appreciate that a lot of work has gone into rolling the grass, the flowers are trimmed and shaped and the roads and bike paths perfect. You can hire a bike for 150 Baht an hour and take a ride or for 50 Baht jump on the safari style bus to take in the view. Further into the park there’s some cool lakes and even a zip line. Its not really my type of park personally but its fun too see how some Thai people spend their holiday or weekend.
About 15 minutes drive (see map) to the North West of Chiang Rai is Wak Huay Plakang, a 9 tier temple and on the hill near by is a white Big Buddha. You can go into the temple and even climb up the 9 floors for the view at the top. It gets a bit hard for tall people in the last flight of stairs but nothing we aren’t used to after travelling in Asia, the land of short people! The view of the Big Buddha is the best from floor 9!
These hot springs are also located north west of Chiang rai (see map) and can be include in a nice easy motorbike day trip to the 9 Tier Temple and the Pong Phra Waterfall. We were there in the rain and were cold from riding on the motor bike. Its free to rest your feet in the hot water, for 20 Baht, (60c USD) you can lie/swim in 2 nice pools. Plenty of room for everyone and lovely and warm. And apparently for 50 Baht each you can get a private room with a private pool.
On google maps there’s 2 locations for this waterfall. The correct one is the one at the national park or whatever they call them here. (See map). Its a 900m walk over average terrain, rocks, a bit slippery here and there and the waterfall its self is pretty small. However we enjoyed the walk and had a nice cool refreshing bath under the falls. Take bug repellent. And it free!
At 8 and 9 pm every day you can see a cool lights show with loud music at the Clock Tower. (See Map)
For more information on crossing from Chiang Rai to Laos look at my next post: Crossing To Laos From Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand