1 June 2019
If you want a place to relax and zone out where you can immerse into the character of an old town of Thailand that is still under developed with lot of natures and birds singing at dawn or dust….. and with not much day/night activities, ChiangRai is the place. Temperture 25 to 28c. Sunny, occassional short shower to give the nature a splash of goodness.
From Singapore to ChiangRai. One option is to take a flight to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Internationl Airport , transfer to their domestic side and take Thai SMILE airline. (I purchased this ticket via Thai Airway official website.
And if you want to avoid getting out of custom (can be super crowded), go back to the departure hall hall , check-in at counter D, go through the domestic custom again, one option is to take ThaiAir from Singapore to Bangkok and you are able to transfer within the international arrival into the Domestic depature within having to go throught arrival custom.
Another option is to take AirAsia from Singapore to Bangkok Don Mueang Airport (DMK) connecting to ChiangMai. Check-In baggages straight through.
Therefore, if you are travelling from elsewhere, Bangkok is a good based for all the short stops. If you have a long layover at the airport, go for a thai masssage!
Where to stay?
There ain’t as many international hotels in ChiangRai compared to ChiangMai, hence, I recommend staying at the Le Meridien that is 12 mins away from the airport. You can check out the prices at the various hotel booking sites. As June is the low season, this place is not crowded and the price is very reasonable. Room is huge, clean with modern design. The surrouding is quiet and tranquil. Here are the pictures: (Grande Deluxe Pool View)
The hotel has 2 huge majestic rain trees that I feel it is just so jungle spritual. Big big… too big to even take a picture. I think you can find it in the hotel website I shared above.
They have shutter bus going to places around the town where you can prebook with the front desk. It is free. Or you can hire Grab driver. Super reasonable.
Breakfast – Their breakfast spread is one of the best. Fresh ingridents and tons of selections. I like the fact that they make fresh juices for you and nice selections of cut fruits. View is pretty too. See pictures:
Night Bazaar – Tons of street food, cheap shopping and it is huge. You can have small bites as you walk. It is only available on Sat night. During the day, the area is quite nice to walk around with bars.
White Temple – It is rather small and I am not a big temples, church, mosque type of person. So for me, I spent less than 30mins there and decided to order an ice latte from a locally produced coffee stall and wait for others. Entrace fees is 50B. For girls, if you are wearing shorts and tanktop, be prepared to loan material to cover your skin before they allow you to entrance the temple. Pay attenton on the wall when you enter into the main hall.
Heard that Blue Temple is much nicer and it is only 17mins from the hotel. Hotel bus goes there too. So why not?
Where to eat?
There are tons of resturants walking distance from the hotel or around the night bazaar.
Rote Yiam Beef Noddle – Super fresh and tasty with a hint of herbal in the soup. Must Try!
Bhu Bhirom – If you are dying for a ice cold draft beer and a delicous lunch with superb service and a view of tea plantation, this is the place to be. Their Tom Yam clear soup is wow wow. While we were all drinking the beer, once the staffs noticed you left with 30%, they will bring a frozen mug and refill the beer transfering the remaining beer to the frozen mug. It makes you want to drink more and forget about everything…… I gave them a big tips for that. Every single dish we ordered was superb!
LeeLawadee – Another lovely thai resturant by the river with nice live band playing. Walking distance from Le Meridien. Enjoy sunset and dinner.
Conclusion: I recommend that you only come to Chiang Rai if you are making a trip to Chiang Mai. Two days will be enough for you to cover most of the attractions and if you like to spend some time hanging by the pool, maybe add an extra day or you can always start your day earlier and be at the pool for the beautiful sunset around 5pm with happy hour 50% cocktails. 🙂