Thailand Chiang Rai Unidentified smiling asian male farmer working rice planting in the field on June 16 2017 in Chiang rai
Thailand Chiang Rai Wat Rong Khun White Temple
Thailand Chiang Rai market

Near the borders of Laos and Myanmar lies the smaller and lesser visited former seat of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Rai. This small provincial town offers visitors several important historical and cultural attractions — including Wat Rong Khun, or the “white temple”, which isn’t actually a temple at all, but an ambitious art exhibit built in 1997. Chang Rai also serves as the perfect relaxing base from which to explore the region's many attractions and gorgeous countryside.

10 days

Wats and mountaintops up North

The best of Northern Thailand
Chiang Mai (3 days) Chiang Dao (3) Doi Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Station (2) Chiang Rai (2)
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  • Bangkok

    Bangkok

    Known by the locals as Krung Thep, Thailand’s capital city is a sprawling, sweaty fusion of old and new, where towering skyscrapers emerge from crumbling pavements, and historic temples are circled by colourful tuk tuk cabs and monks clad in vibrant orange robes...
  • Ko Lanta

    Ko Lanta

    In Krabi Province on Thailand’s Andaman coast lies the island of Ko Lanta, where coral-fringed golden beaches and mangroves give way to sleepy streets and a rocky, jungly interior...
  • Ayutthaya

    Ayutthaya

    Founded in 1350 and destroyed by invading Burmese in 1767, the once-glorious city of Ayutthaya was a former Siamese kingdom, preceding Bangkok as the capital of Siam...
  • Kanchanaburi

    Kanchanaburi

    Although best known for its sobering role in WW2 history — with sites including the Death Railway, Bridge over the River Kwae (Kwai) and Allied War Cemetery — Western Thailand's Kanchanaburi has plenty to offer tourists wanting to stay a little longer...
  • Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai

    Nestled in the mountainous north of Thailand and surrounded by lush countryside, the former seat of the Lanna Kingdom is perhaps best known for its 14th to 17th-century temples, including the former royal temple Wat Chedi Luang and mountaintop Wat Doi Suthep...
  • Chiang Dao

    Chiang Dao

    Lying in the shadow of the craggy peaks of Doi Luang Chiang Dao mountain and surrounded by rainforest, lies the small rural village of Chiang Dao...
  • Doi Inthanon

    ...
  • Doi Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Station

    Doi Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Station

    Of the scores of doi — "mountain(s)" in the Northern dialect — worth visiting in Northern Thailand, few have the effect of this 1,928m hill station blanketed in praya suekrong (Thai cherry blossom) and other temperate flowers and birdlife...
  • Krabi

    Krabi

    Krabi introduces epic Andaman Sea scenery that also stars limestone massifs at Railay, Thailand's premier climbing destination...
  • Trang

    ...
  • Khao Sok

    Khao Sok

    The South’s most popular nature reserve, Khao Sok National Park is home to 738-sq-km of virgin lowland jungle, towering limestone karsts, waterfalls, caves and the dazzling man-made Cheow Lan Lake...

Where to go in Thailand

Our recommended places

Bangkok

Bangkok

Known by the locals as Krung Thep, Thailand’s capital city is a sprawling, sweaty fusion of old and new, where towering skyscrapers emerge from crumbling pavements, and historic temples are circled by colourful tuk tuk cabs and monks clad in vibrant orange robes.

Once a small trading post for the 15th century Ayutthaya Kingdom, this thriving metropolis is now home to over 10 million souls, and is considered one of Asia’s premier tourist destinations. Whether you explore the capital’s historic district, hone your haggling skills at one of the many markets, brave the red light district or fill up on world-famous street food, there is something for everyone in this ever-evolving city.

Ko Lanta

Ko Lanta

In Krabi Province on Thailand’s Andaman coast lies the island of Ko Lanta, where coral-fringed golden beaches and mangroves give way to sleepy streets and a rocky, jungly interior.

Despite frequently topping the lists of best Thai islands, Ko Lanta remains largely unspoiled, with an emphasis on low-rise developments and a slower, more cautious approach to tourism than some of its noisier neighbours. Spend your time relaxing on one of the dozen beaches on offer, enjoy world-class diving or visit one of the many nearby islands — Ko Kradan, Ko Ngai or Ko Rok all boast fantastic beaches and snorkelling.

Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya

Founded in 1350 and destroyed by invading Burmese in 1767, the once-glorious city of Ayutthaya was a former Siamese kingdom, preceding Bangkok as the capital of Siam. In the past a prosperous trading port, Ayutthaya remains a popular day trip from Bangkok, with the extensive ruins of the old city preserved in Ayutthaya Historical Park.

Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi

Although best known for its sobering role in WW2 history — with sites including the Death Railway, Bridge over the River Kwae (Kwai) and Allied War Cemetery — Western Thailand's Kanchanaburi has plenty to offer tourists wanting to stay a little longer.
The nearby Erawan National Park is home to a number of caves and one of the most popular waterfalls in the country — a 7-tiered series of falls with emerald green ponds and a head which allegedly resembles the Erewan, the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. In the city, visitors can enjoy a Khmer temple ruins tours or explore the scenic River Kwae area, with peaceful bamboo raft journeys down the river available.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

Nestled in the mountainous north of Thailand and surrounded by lush countryside, the former seat of the Lanna Kingdom is perhaps best known for its 14th to 17th-century temples, including the former royal temple Wat Chedi Luang and mountaintop Wat Doi Suthep. Although its wonderfully preserved historic centre is now surrounded by a sprawling modern city — in Thai the name Chiang Mai literally translates as “new city” — visitors will find plenty of time to relax in this peaceful northern metropolis, whether it is visiting one of its many temples at dawn, hiking to a nearby waterfall or enjoying a rejuvenating Thai massage.

Chiang Dao

Chiang Dao

Lying in the shadow of the craggy peaks of Doi Luang Chiang Dao mountain and surrounded by rainforest, lies the small rural village of Chiang Dao. Only two hours drive from Chiang Mai, this countryside retreat offers a selection of options for outdoor enthusiasts, from climbing Thailand’s third highest mountain to exploring the impressive 12km-long Chiang Dao limestone cave complex. Visitors can bathe their tired limbs in one of the nearby hot springs or hike to a refreshing waterfall in Pha Daeng National Park.

Doi Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Station

Doi Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Station

Of the scores of doi — "mountain(s)" in the Northern dialect — worth visiting in Northern Thailand, few have the effect of this 1,928m hill station blanketed in praya suekrong (Thai cherry blossom) and other temperate flowers and birdlife.

Krabi

Krabi

Krabi introduces epic Andaman Sea scenery that also stars limestone massifs at Railay, Thailand's premier climbing destination.

Khao Sok

Khao Sok

The South’s most popular nature reserve, Khao Sok National Park is home to 738-sq-km of virgin lowland jungle, towering limestone karsts, waterfalls, caves and the dazzling man-made Cheow Lan Lake. Also known as Ratchaprapha, the lake was formed in the 1980s by one dam and countless vertical limestone castles sculpted by nature's hand. Due to its size, the park houses a number of rare species, including tigers, gibbons, hornbill birds, a variety of orchids and the giant parasitic Rafflesia flower. The park is also known as a top destination for watersports, caving and trekking.

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