May 11, 2019

[Chiang Rai Day Tour] Places To Visit In Chiang Rai, Thailand

The highlight of my Chiang Mai Holiday (Read Here), would have to be my Chiang Rai experience.

I initially contemplated between a 2D1N rendezvous instead of a Full Day Tour. A peep at the 14-hourproposed agenda, and I already knew that the tour would be quite full on, a touch-and-go kind of experience, there were just way too many attractions to complete in one day, considering the return journey to and from Chiang Mai, would have already taken up 8-hours in total.

In the end, the latter prevailed, simply because logistics arrangement wise, it was less of a hassle for me, and all I wanted to see in Chiang Rai, would have already been covered as part of the tour. There is also a flight option, from Chiang Rai to Kuala Lumpur, via Air Asia. Flight tickets were almost 4X more than Chiang Mai. Scrap that.

This 14-hour excursion was definitely exhausting one, plus the scorching 40'c weather added on to the dehydation. This was not my first time pushing forth a full day agenda, so I definitely came prepared. Water.

Having dwelled on alternatives, I would highly recommend visiting Chiang Rai, in fact, if time was a constrain - skip Chiang Mai and do Chiang Rai instead. Here, I saw two of the most beautiful temples that I have ever encountered.

Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Here's a brief breakdown of what my Full Day Tour entailed. I booked my tour via KKDay, at RM168.00 (Klook offers a similar experience but at a higher rate), which included transfers from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, admission fees, and lunch, but excluded THB30 fees into Laos. There was 8 of us in the tour group.

7.30am : Hotel pickup from Chiang Mai
9am : 📍 Pha Soet Hot Spring
11am : 📍 White Temple
12pm : Local lunch
12.30pm : 📍 Blue Temple
1.30pm : 📍 Black House
2.30pm : 📍 Long Neck Village
4pm : 📍 Golden Triangle
4.30pm : 📍 Laos
5.30pm : Depart back to Chiang Mai
9.30pm : Arrival at Chiang Mai


9AM : The first league of our Day Tour was at Pha Soet Hot Spring... well... nothing to see here actually. In fact, we were advised not to even put our feet into the hot spring due to hygiene reasons. The supposed hot spring is as depicted in picture below... meh. The highlight of this place... the toilets, at THB5/entry. I can easily note that place feels more like a toilet pitstop than a hot spring village.


11AM : See, most of the tours in this area follows the same route. Hence when we arrived at the White Temple, the place was flocked with tourists. I bet if you were to visit 2-hours later, the temple would be close to empty. Nevertheless, the White Temple was majestic and elegant in it's own way. Every single element of the temple felt prefectly crafted. Despite the crowd, the temple was very well kempt. The temple house the Golden Toilet, which is also an actual toilet.

Admission Fee : 50 Baht


12PM : Lunch was at a local Thai eatery, just 5-minutes walk away from the White Temple, possibly setup just for tour groups after the temple excursion. Food was decent and included as part of the tour.


12.30PM : Of all the attractions that was part of the tour, the one that I was really looking forward to visiting was the Blue Temple, and I was blown away with it's beauty. Details and cravings felt and looked extremely intricate, in fact I think the temple is even more beautiful in actual than in pictures. Do not miss the Coconut and Butterfly Pea Ice Cream... it was the best ice cream I had in this trip.

Admission Free


1.30PM : To be very honest, after the White and Blue Temple, visiting the Black House felt somewhat secondary. Black House is part museum, part studio and part home. The place occupies quite a large parameter, spread with various standalone black houses.

Admission Fee : 80 Baht


2.30PM : Visiting the Long Neck Village was not an entirely new experience to me as a Malaysian. The long neck tribe have long existed in Sarawak. The Karen Long Neck Tribe actually lives in the village that we visited. I wonder how the way of life is with throngs of tourists visiting their homes everyday.


4PM : One of the other most anticipated part of this trip would be visiting the Golden Triangle, the 40-minute boat ride connecting Ruak and Mekong River, cruising into Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. I have now conquered 2 new countries in this league of the trip.

For this boat ride, you would need to pass your passport to the tour guide, to be submitted and kept at the Thai border/check point, and would only be return back to you after the boat ride, including the stopover at Laos. You can opt to have your passport stamped, on the last page only.

Admission Fee : 300 Baht for the Boat Ride


4.30PM : The boat ride brought us to Laos... more like to the Laos jetty, where souvenir outlets were setup just for the tourists. Though I wasn't pay attention during the boat ride commentary, Laos used to be very popular for it's Opium Vodka and Snake Whisky. To note, it's illegal to bring anything-opium into Thailand, so purchase at your own risk.

The admission fee paid to enter Laos was 30 Baht for 30-minutes. If you'd like extend your visit to 60-minutes, that would come up to 60 Baht. I'm also not entirely sure how the payment system would work if not done as part of a tour. This jetty is as far as this visa-less experience goes, there is an official Laos immigration entry for those wanting to further explore the country.

Admission Fee : 30 Baht for 30 minutes in Laos

5.30PM : We departed from Chiang Rai back to Chiang Mai, passing through many of the attractions that we visited earlier during the day, on our journey back. It took close to 5-hours before I reached back to the Hotel, at about 10.00PM. It was a bumpy journey and a long day no doubt, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience altogether.


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