1-Day Tour Chiang Rai Itinenary (Thailand) And Budget Travel Guide
By DAN FORTEZA
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As someone who is so fond of geography, I have always been fascinated to visit the ‘tripoint’ at the Golden Triangle where the borders of three countries of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. I always wondered what it feels like being in three countries at once. That is why I have decided to do this 1-Day Chiang Rai Itinerary tour.
After celebrating my 28th birthday in Yangon, Myanmar, I flew in to Chiang Rai, Thailand to finally see the Golden Triangle I have been dreaming to tick off on my bucket list! Sorry If I may sound so dramatic haha.
WHERE IS CHIANG RAI?
Chiang Rai is a city situated in northern Thailand, in the mountainous province of the same name. They city is near the borders of Laos and Myanmar (formerly Burma).
HOW I GOT THERE:
I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.But the majority of tourists will probably travel by bus from Chiang Mai – the biggest city in Northern Thailand. It’s just three hours away so it’s even possible to do it on a day tour. You can go via the Express or VIP bus. You can follow this link to purchase advanced tickets.
WHERE DID I STAY?
I arrived at Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI) at around 6:30 PM. I exit through the left and looked for the metered taxi stand. I gave them my hotel’s name and I was assigned a taxi. It cost me 160 THB to get to my hostel in downtown Chiang Rai.
- Hostel name: Mercy Hostel (click here to book)
- Hostel room type: Bunk Bed in Mixed Dormitory Room
You can book a room at Chiang Rai Hotel through Agoda or Booking.com. I usually book my room accommodations through booking.com. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
If Chiang Rai Hotel isn’t to your liking, try AirBnb. Airbnbs are immersed in neighborhoods, condos, and townhomes. There is a feeling you get when you stay in an Airbnb that makes you feel like you belong in that city or town. Since it is someone’s home, there is a certain amount of pride you feel while staying there. I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!
If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get up to 42 USD free travel credit by signing up via this link.
CHIANG RAI ITINERARY - THE DAY TOUR
Since I’m going to stay for only 2 nights in Chiang Rai, I made sure I’ll make the most my day the next day. That’s why I booked a one-day tour to maximize my tourism activities in the city. It was the hostel staff who booked it for me.
Here are the tour details:
- Tour cost: 1,000 THB
- Tour itinerary: White Temple; Blue Temple; Black House; The Long-Neck Village; Tea Plantation; Monkey Cave; Mae Sai; The Golden Triangle; The Opium Museum; Chiang Saen.
- Tour inclusion: Lunch, English-speaking tour guide, Transportation, White Temple Ticket.
- Time of Tour: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Considering all these places to visit, 1,000 THB is certainly worth it! While most of these places are not in the city center, it is important to note that if you’re getting around Chiang Rai on your own, most probably you’d be having difficulty especially if you’re new to the city and unfamiliar with the means of transportation. From traditional means of transportation such as tuk-tuks and samlors, to modern popular ones, such as taxis, buses, and motorcycles are available. So definitely this 1-day-tour is just a perfect deal for me!
1st Stop: The White Temple.
This epic White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun, was the first attraction on our day-tour list. It’s definitely one of the most famous places to see in Chiang Rai. The White Temple is a sparkling-white modern temple with a huge number of quirky, surreal touches. It’s a genuinely breathtaking sight, and I was surprised by just how much I loved it.
- White Temple ticket is included in the tour.
2nd Stop: The Blue Temple.
Also known as Wat Rong Seua Ten, the temple was only completed in 2016 and I think that’s why it isn’t as well-known as some of Chiang Rai’s other more top attractions. I’m pretty certain that’s about to change. Visiting the Blue Temple was actually one of my absolute favorite place in Chiang Rai.
3rd Stop: The Black House.
The Black House is actually a collection of painted wooden houses featuring art by Thai contemporary artists, most notably its designer Thawan Duchanee.
- Entrance fee is 80 THB (not included in the tour)
4th Stop: The Long-Neck Village.
The hills and mountains around Chiang Rai are dotted with hill tribe villages. The people in these villages are often nomadic tribes from outside Thailand and include the famous “long neck” Karen hilltop tribes. These groups historically came to Thailand from Myanmar, and the women may wear brass rings around their necks.
When you visit this place, besides taking photos, go and buy something they sell in order to help these people.
- Entrance fee is 300 THB (not included in the tour)
5th Stop: Tea Plantation.
A large tea plantation located about 40 km from Chiang Rai city was our next stop. It is the largest tea plantation in Chiang Rai and offers extensive views across the tea plantation in all directions. There is a cafe which offers various teas and food also. The gift shop sells tea products but is expensive. A lovely and relaxing stop.
6th Stop: The Monkey Cave.
Also known as the Fish Tail Cave or Wat Tham Pla, the monkey cave temple is absolutely overrun with monkeys haha. They’re actually quite menacing and are known to jump on unsuspecting tourists and snatch their things, so visit at your own risk!
7th Stop: Lunch.
We had our meal at around 2:00 PM and I was starving already. It was a buffet lunch arranged by our tour operator. Seeing all these sumptuous and nice-looking food of different kinds will surely fill my hunger to the max!
- Lunch is included in the tour.
8th Stop: Mae Sai.
At the photo below, I am straddling between the borders of Thailand and Myanmar. I was told by our tour guide that underneath the ground, where I am standing, is a river bordering the two countries.
If you would like to visit an authentic Thai border town there is much to see in Mae Sai for you. Tourists come to Mae Sai to see the border and shop kinds of stuff that are imported from nearby countries. Visitor would be able to shop cheap jewels that are imported from Myanmar and also antiques mainly from China.
9th Stop: The Golden Triangle.
The Golden Triangle is the spot where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet – and where the Mekong and Ruak Rivers intersect. For me, visiting the Golden Triangle is the highlight of this trip (you know why! haha).
There is also lookout point of a giant golden Buddha statue overlooking the Mekong River — and up the hill above it is an ancient ruined temple.
10th Stop: The Opium Museum.
Located next to the Golden Triangle, the Hall of Opium is a small museum with an exhibition focusing on the opium trade. The Golden Triangle area was historically known for opium trade and smuggling, and the Hall of Opium traces this history, along with the trade’s ill effects on the region.
- Entrance fee is 50 THB (not included in the tour)
11th Stop: Chiang Saen.
Just south of the Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen is one of the oldest cities in Thailand. Wiang Hiran Nakhon as it was then known, was one of the main cities of the Lanna kingdom and was the capital before Chiang Rai was established by King Mengrai in 1262. This was the last stop for our 1-Day Chiang Rai Itinerary tour.
Before we ended the tour, I took a groupie picture with fellow travelers I’ve been with the whole day of this tour.
What do you think of this 1-day tour chiang RAI itinerary?
I hope that you find this 1-DAY CHIANG RAI ITINERARY TOUR useful! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.
- Hotel / Hostel
- Booking.com. I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com. Thus, I recommend you guys trying it as well for your 1-Day Chiang Rai Itinerary. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
- Airbnb. Try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!
Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to 42 USD (2,200 Php) off your first stay. Click this link to get that discount.
- KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.
I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.
- Chiang Rai Package tours
- Viator. Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experiences worldwide.
Click here to find the best Viator deals in Chiang Rai!