One of the most popular tours to take in the city itself is one that takes in Chiang Rai’s temples and main historical attractions. Some even include massages which may not be quite so educational but are certainly a great add on if you’re in need of some rest and relaxation to go with your sightseeing!
You can choose to take either a half or a full day tour, and your car and guide will typically take you to destinations in the city like Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Phra Singha, as well as a local market and the Oub Kham Museum. These tours can cost anywhere from THB1000/USD30 to THB3,500/USD100 depending on how long they last, how many spots they stop off at and the group size you’d rather be travelling with. These are a great way to get a better understanding of the area’s culture and history.
Cooking classes in Chiang Rai
Other tours that operate in the city itself include cooking classes, which are extremely popular, especially as northern Thai cuisine is delicious and quite different to other areas of Thailand when it comes to traditional dishes. Again these will typically take in a local market where you’ll shop for some ingredients, before you learn to cook some of the speciality dishes of Chiang Rai. Expect to pay around THB700/USD20 to THB1,400/USD40.
Trekking, hiking and walking tours around Chiang Rai
Outside of Chiang Rai city, many travellers really enjoy walking and trekking tours. These are often run in conjunction with local hill tribes, and offer the opportunity not only to meet local tribes and learn about their culture and way of life, but also to appreciate the beauty of rural northern Thailand.
Whether its agricultural land or forests and mountains, a trekking tour is a brilliant way to have a day seeing more of the area, and they are fairly affordable. Usually costs are from around THB2,000/USD60 upwards depending on which type of tour you opt for.
Some will give you the chance to try your hand at local skills like weaving and basket making which can be a fun way to spend an hour or so, although some people prefer to avoid tours with these add ons as often they are a good excuse to try and upsell you local merchandise.
Other tours around Chiang Mai
There are also bike tours available if you’d rather cycle than trek, as well as tours that take in other areas of the ‘golden triangle’, including the amazing Mekong River and the infamous Hall of Opium.
A boat trip down the Mekong is a very pleasant way to pass a couple of hours, especially on a sunny day, and it’s interesting to watch local life taking place on the riverbanks as you wend your way down the river.
The area has a long history of opium production and there is a popular and very informative museum all about this illicit trade, which many travellers find an interesting part of their visit to Chiang Rai.
These tours tend to last 4-5 hours and can be scheduled to take place in the morning or evening, again including English-speaking guides they can be a fascinating way to find out more about the area. Again, prices will vary but tend to start from around THB1000/USD30, so are very cost effective compared to some of the other tours you can choose from.