Unveiling Thailand’s Best Kept Secrets: 11 Unexplored Wonders Of Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai You Can’t Miss!
Are you tired of the usual crowded tourist spots in Thailand and yearning to discover some hidden gems? Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, ancient capitals of the Lanna kingdom, are brimming with unexplored wonders just waiting to be discovered.
This article will guide you through 11 extraordinary off-the-beaten-path destinations in these cities that offer a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical awe. Get ready for an adventure!
- Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are hidden gems in Thailand that offer a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical awe.
- Some unexplored wonders in Chiang Mai include the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Doi Inthanon National Park with its highest mountain in Thailand, the Royal Twin Pagodas, Vachiratharn Waterfall, Angkha Nature Walk, Royal Agricultural Station, and Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens.
- In Chiang Rai, don’t miss the iconic White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), the stunning Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), and Singha Park.
- These destinations provide immersive experiences with nature’s grandeur while showcasing Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.
Unexplored Wonders of Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai offers a diverse range of unexplored wonders, including the enchanting Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, breathtaking Doi Inthanon National Park, majestic Royal Twin Pagodas, stunning Vachiratharn Waterfall, picturesque Angkha Nature Walk, fascinating Royal Agricultural Station, and serene Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens.
Wat Phra Buddhabat Si Roi – The Golden Temple
Wat Phra Buddhabat Si Roi is a golden temple located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is dedicated to the four sacred footprints of Buddha, which is the source of the temple’s name.
The temple is not located close to the town, but it is worth the trip to see its beauty. There are several stock photos available online that showcase the temple’s beauty.
There are two gold and black structures on either side of an impressive arch that is still partially under construction at the temple’s entrance.
The Golden Temple is a true masterpiece of Thai architecture.
Its golden exterior: The shines brilliantly in the sunlight, creating a mesmerizing sight for visitors. The temple complex is adorned with intricate carvings, statues, and colorful murals that depict various scenes from Buddhist mythology. The attention to detail in every aspect of the temple’s design is truly remarkable.
What is the history of Wat Phra Buddhabat Si Roi? The exact date of the founding of Wat Phra Buddhabat Si Roi is unknown, but it is believed to have been constructed in the 7th century. The temple is dedicated to the four sacred footprints of Buddha, which is the source of the temple’s name. The temple is located in Mae Rim’s Salouang district, which is about 70 kilometers from central Chiang Mai. The temple is relatively new, and there are no historical records of its construction. However, the temple is known to be one of the well-known temples in the ancient city of Chiang Mai, especially among the pilgrimage travelers. The temple is also home to Phra Angkhan Phen, a small and gold Buddha statue in the posture of subduing Mara, which was made at the same time as the replica of the Buddha’s footprint.
What is the significance of the Buddha’s footprint at Wat Phra Buddhabat Si Roi? Wat Phra Buddhabat Si Roi is known for its Four Buddhas’ Footprint, which is the main attraction of the temple.
- Footprints of the Buddha are a common form of Buddhist iconography. They represent either one or both of Gautama Buddha’s feet.
- As well as being an early aniconic and symbolic portrayal of the Buddha, the footprints are considered cetiya (Buddhist relics).
- Sole markings like a Dharmachakra or the Buddha’s auspicious sign number (32, 108, or 132) are common on Buddha footprints, as are engravings or paintings depicting events from the Buddha’s life.
- The Four Buddhas’ Footprint at Wat Phra Buddhabat Si Roi is believed to be a replica or representation of the Buddha’s footprints.
- The footprints have become a symbol of peace and enlightenment and a place for people to visit to find these things themselves.
- The footprints are housed in a golden case, and every year, they attract numerous devotees who come to pay their respects.
What is the legend behind the discovery of the Buddha’s footprint at Wat Phra Buddhabat Si Roi? Wat Phra Buddhabat Si Roi was supposedly established (for the legend) in the early 17th century by King Songtham of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. According to the legend, the King sent out monks to Sri Lanka to pay tribute to the footprints of the Buddha there. Upon arrival, the monks were told that the Buddha had also traveled through Thailand and that there should be footprints in their own country.
On the monks’ return, they discovered the Four Buddhas’ Footprint at the site where the temple now stands.
- The footprints are believed to be a replica or representation of the Buddha’s footprints.
- The footprints have become a symbol of peace and enlightenment and a place for people to visit to find these things themselves.
Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon National Park, located in Chiang Mai, is a true nature lover’s paradise. It is Thailand’s highest mountain and offers breathtaking views of lush green forests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.
The park is home to an array of bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers. Hiking enthusiasts will be thrilled with the numerous trails available, taking them through the enchanting landscapes of Doi Inthanon.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the impressive twin pagodas that were built to commemorate King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. With its serene beauty and natural wonders, Doi Inthanon National Park should not be missed on your Chiang Mai adventure. Doi Inthanon National Park.This Authentic Doi Inthanon Tour is waiting for You
Royal Twin Pagodas
Located in Doi Inthanon National Park, the Royal Twin Pagodas are a stunning and significant attraction in Chiang Mai. These pagodas were built to honor Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand on their 60th birthdays.
The pagodas’ design reflects the Lanna style, with intricate carvings and ornate decorations. One pagoda represents the king, while the other represents the queen.
The journey to the Royal Twin Pagodas is as impressive as the destination itself, as you navigate through lush forests and scenic mountain roads. Once you arrive, you can explore the beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding the pagodas and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Inside each pagoda, there are shrines dedicated to King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.
Don’t forget your camera when visiting these iconic structures! The Royal Twin Pagodas offer a serene atmosphere where visitors can appreciate both cultural heritage and natural beauty in one place.
What is more interesting about the Royal Twin Pagodas?
The Doi Inthanon Royal Twin Pagodas are a pair of pagodas located near the summit of Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand. The pagodas were built to commemorate the 60th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.
- The official names of the pagodas are Pra Mahatat Noppamethanedon and Pra Mahatat Nopphonphusiri.
- Do not miss out on a day trip to Doi Inthanon National Park without visiting the pagodas.
- Visitors can drive to the pagodas, which are just a 5-minute drive down the mountain from the summit.
- The top of the pagodas offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and countryside.
What is the best time to visit Doi Inthanon Royal Twin Pagodas?
The best time to visit the Doi Inthanon Royal Twin Pagodas is during the cool and dry season, which runs from November to February.
During this time, the nature trails are open, there is less chance of rain, and better visibility of the spectacular views. Additionally, the weather is mostly sunny and cool during this season, making it the perfect time to explore the national park. Royal Twin Pagodas
However! If you want to see the waterfalls in all their glory, the best time to visit is between May and November when it rains and the water is at its highest.
Wachirathan Falls, also known as Diamond Creek Falls, is a waterfall located in the Chom Thong district, nestled in the verdant mountains in the province of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
- Here are some key details about the waterfall:Height: The waterfall drops around 80 meters.
- Location: It is located in Doi Inthanon National Park near Chom Thong in the Chiang Mai Province.
- Features: The waterfall is segmented and has many layers and cascades.
- During the rainy season, it provides enough water for swimming.
- Accessibility: Visitors can get quite close to the falls and feel the spray. There are also food and drink vendors nearby.
Wachirathan Falls is one of several waterfalls in the area, and it is a popular attraction for tourists visiting Chiang Mai.
Vachiratharn Waterfall is one of the stunning natural wonders you absolutely cannot miss when visiting Chiang Mai.
With its impressive height of over 80 meters and a cascading flow of crystal-clear water, Vachiratharn Waterfall is truly a feast for the eyes.
Surrounded by lush greenery and towering trees, this hidden gem provides a serene escape from the bustling city life. As you stand at the viewing point, you can feel the mist on your face and hear the roar of the falling water, creating an immersive experience with nature.
Aside from its scenic beauty, Vachiratharn Waterfall holds cultural significance as well. It is believed to be home to guardian spirits according to local legends, adding an air of mystique and spirituality to this enchanting place. Vachiratharn Waterfall
The area around Vachiratharn Waterfall also offers hiking trails that allow you to explore further into the park’s pristine forests.
Tourvado Tip: Don’t miss out on these incredibly stunnung tours to the top of Doi Inthanon and the fantastic trekking trails: A must-try – Doi Inthanon trekking tour from Chiang Mai [Jungle trekking at Phadokseaw + Wachirathan waterfall + Royal Pagodas + Karen tribes and much more]
Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon
Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Chiang Mai, the Royal Agricultural Station is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. This agricultural research and development center showcases Thailand’s rich biodiversity and sustainable farming practices.
With over 2,000 acres of land, visitors can immerse themselves in lush greenery and learn about diverse flora and fauna that call this place home.
The Royal Agricultural Station offers a unique opportunity to witness traditional farming methods in action, such as rice cultivation and vegetable gardening. Visitors can also explore themed gardens showcasing various tropical fruits, herbs, flowers, and spices.
Don’t miss the chance to taste exotic fruits like rambutan or snake fruit right from the source!
This informative yet engaging paragraph highlights the main attractions of the Royal Agricultural Station while emphasizing its educational value. It uses concise sentences with active voices to maintain clarity and readability.
What’s more about it?
The Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon is an agricultural facility located in Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand. It was founded in 1977 with the aim of improving the lives of Thai tribesmen1
. Here are some key facts about the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon:
- The Station supports Thai tribesmen to cultivate crops and improve their agricultural practices.
- It is a working agricultural facility that grows flowers and vegetables and conducts research.
- The produce used in the restaurant on site comes from the Station.
- The Station serves as a research station for agriculture and forestry.
- There are 11 villages and 37 communities in the area surrounding the Station, with a population of over 7,640 Hmong and Pgakûuyau people.
- The Office of the Royal Development Projects Board is responsible for running the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon.
The Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon grows a variety of flowers and vegetables. Some of the vegetables grown at the Station include Fennel, Celery, Zucchini, Green Pepper, Tomato, Cherry Tomato, and string beans.
- The Station also has a winter vegetable garden that visitors can tour.
- Additionally, the Khun Wang Royal Project, which is a part of the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon, grows a variety of high-altitude crops including Arabica coffee, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, and peaches.
- In terms of flowers, visitors can see fields of cherry blossoms, tulips, lilies, and cauliflowers.
Overall, the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon grows a diverse range of crops and flowers.
Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens
Nestled in the serene mountains of Chiang Mai, the Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens is an enchanting oasis for nature lovers. Spread across a sprawling 1,000 acres, these gardens are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna that showcases Thailand’s rich biodiversity.
With its meticulously manicured landscapes and tranquil ambiance, it offers a perfect escape from the bustling city life.
As you wander through the gardens, you’ll be greeted by vibrant flower displays, picturesque ponds, and lush greenery at every turn. The highlight of the Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens is undoubtedly its impressive collection of orchids.
With over 400 species on display, including rare and exotic varieties, it’s a paradise for orchid enthusiasts.
Immerse yourself in nature as you stroll along winding paths that lead to scenic viewpoints offering breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding mountains. Don’t forget to visit Mae Sa Waterfall within the gardens – its cascading waters create a soothing soundtrack that adds to the overall serenity.
Aside from exploring on foot, visitors can also hop on a tram tour that takes them through different sections of the gardens while providing interesting insights into various plant species and their ecological significance. Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens
Unexplored Wonders of Chiang Rai
Experience the mystical beauty of Chiang Rai’s White Temple, immerse yourself in the serenity of the Blue Temple, and marvel at the wonders of Singha Park. Discover these hidden gems that will leave you captivated and craving for more!
The White Temple
The White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun, is an iconic attraction in Chiang Rai that mesmerizes visitors with its exquisite beauty. This stunning white temple stands out against the lush green surroundings and showcases intricate architectural details that are truly a sight to behold.
Designed by renowned Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple is adorned with sparkling mirror mosaics and ornate carvings, creating a breathtaking visual display. Inside the temple, you’ll find splendid murals depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology and pop culture references.
The White Temple is not just a religious site but also a work of art that represents Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.Full Day Discovery Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle, Karen Long Nek Tour
The Blue Temple
The Blue Temple, also known as Wat Rong Suea Ten, is a stunning attraction located in Chiang Rai that shouldn’t be missed during your visit to the city. This unique temple stands out with its vibrant blue exterior adorned with intricate details and golden accents.
The mesmerizing architecture of the Blue Temple makes it a photographer’s paradise, offering endless opportunities for capturing memorable moments.
Inside the temple, you will find an equally breathtaking interior filled with beautiful murals depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology and teachings. These captivating paintings showcase the artistic talents of local artists and add to the spiritual ambiance of the temple.
The Blue Temple is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of hope and regeneration. It was built in 2005 by renowned artist Chalermchai Kositpipat as a way to give back to his community and inspire people through art.
Nestled in the scenic foothills of Chiang Rai, Singha Park is a captivating destination that offers an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor activities. Spread over 9,000 acres, this picturesque park is known for its lush greenery, rolling hills, and breathtaking views.
Visitors can explore the park on bicycles or take a leisurely stroll along the well-maintained paths while enjoying the fresh air and stunning landscapes.
One of the highlights of Singha Park is its sprawling tea plantation where visitors can witness firsthand the careful cultivation process that goes into producing some of Thailand’s finest teas.
The Golden Triangle is a captivating destination in Chiang Rai that offers a glimpse into the history and culture of Southeast Asia. Situated at the meeting point of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, this area gets its name from its past connection to the opium trade.
Today, it has transformed into a fascinating tourist spot where visitors can explore various landmarks and learn about the region’s intriguing past.
One of the highlights of the Golden Triangle is the Hall of Opium Museum, which provides an immersive experience showcasing the history and impact of opium cultivation.
The museum takes visitors on a journey through time with informative exhibits and multimedia presentations. Additionally, travelers can enjoy panoramic views from scenic viewpoints overlooking the convergence of three countries or take boat rides along the Mekong River to witness local life along its banks.
Clock Tower Chiang Rai
One of the most iconic landmarks in Chiang Rai is the Clock Tower, a captivating structure that stands tall and lights up the night sky. Located in the heart of the city, this architectural gem was designed by renowned Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
The Clock Tower is not merely a time-telling device; it’s a work of art that beautifully combines traditional Lanna and contemporary styles.
Every evening, as darkness falls, the Clock Tower comes alive with an enchanting light show, adding even more magic to its already mesmerizing presence. The intricate details and golden accents make it a sight to behold.
Watching the clock tower change colors against the backdrop of Chiang Rai’s bustling streets creates an unforgettable experience for visitors.
Beyond its visual appeal, the Clock Tower holds historical significance as well. It serves as a reminder of Chiang Rai’s rich cultural heritage and pays tribute to King Mengrai, who founded the city centuries ago.
Standing at this vantage point allows you to soak in both tradition and modernity while becoming immersed in Chiang Rai’s vibrant atmosphere.
Hidden Gems for Food and Shopping
Looking to indulge in local cuisine and shop for unique souvenirs? Chiang Rai has an array of hidden gems, from local restaurants serving mouth-watering dishes, to bustling markets offering traditional handicrafts.
Join us as we uncover the best spots for food and shopping in Chiang Rai! Don’t miss out on these hidden treasures – read more now!
Best Local Restaurants in Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide variety of local restaurants to satisfy even the most discerning palate. Here are some of the best places to indulge in authentic Thai cuisine:
- Phka Sa Restaurant: Located near the Clock Tower in Chiang Rai, this restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere and a menu filled with flavorful dishes. Don’t miss their signature dish, Phad Kra Pao Moo (stir-fried pork with basil leaves), which is bursting with aromatic spices.
- Khao Soi Mae Sai: If you’re looking to try one of Northern Thailand’s most famous dishes, head to Khao Soi Mae Sai. They specialize in khao soi, a rich curry soup with egg noodles and your choice of protein. The flavors are perfectly balanced and will leave you craving more.
- Ban Mai Rim Nam: This riverside restaurant is known for its stunning views and delicious seafood. Feast on fresh river prawns, grilled fish, or spicy papaya salad while enjoying the tranquil ambiance of the Kok River.
- Cabbages & Condoms: Don’t let the name fool you – this unique restaurant serves up delectable Thai dishes while promoting safe sex education and supporting social development programs. Try their traditional Pad Thai or opt for something more adventurous like their deep-fried catfish salad.
- Sawasdee Bistro: Nestled in the heart of Chiang Rai’s old town, Sawasdee Bistro offers an array of mouthwatering Thai and international dishes. From flavorful curries to juicy steaks, there’s something for everyone at this charming eatery.
- Nang Non Kitchen: For a truly immersive dining experience, visit Nang Non Kitchen where you can participate in cooking classes and learn how to prepare authentic Thai dishes from scratch. The friendly staff will guide you through each step, ensuring that you take home valuable culinary skills.
- Tum Rabeab: If you’re in the mood for traditional Thai comfort food, look no further than Tum Rabeab. This local eatery specializes in home-style dishes such as Tom Kha Gai (coconut soup with chicken) and Gaeng Ped Yang (red curry with roasted duck).
- Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House: For a relaxing break from sightseeing, stop by Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House. In addition to their aromatic coffee and delectable pastries, they also offer a menu featuring Thai favorites like green curry and spicy papaya salad.
- Nam Khang Restaurant: Located in the heart of Chiang Rai’s night market, Nam Khang Restaurant is a popular spot for those seeking authentic street food flavors. Try their grilled pork skewers or coconut sticky rice for a true taste of Thailand.
- La Vie en Rose Cafe & Bistro: This charming cafe serves up delicious European and Thai fusion dishes in a cozy setting. Enjoy classics like steak frites or venture into more exotic flavors with their green curry spaghetti.
Places to Go Shopping in Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai is not only known for its cultural and historical attractions but also for its vibrant shopping scene. Here are some places where you can indulge in a unique shopping experience:
- Night Bazaar: The Night Bazaar in Chiang Rai is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide variety of goods including clothing, accessories, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It’s the perfect place to find unique items while enjoying the lively atmosphere.
- Walking Street Market: Located in the heart of Chiang Rai’s Old City, the Walking Street Market is a must-visit for those looking for handmade crafts, local artwork, and delicious street food. The market is open every Saturday evening and offers a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
- Central Plaza Chiang Rai: For those who prefer modern shopping malls, Central Plaza Chiang Rai is the place to go. This multi-level mall features a wide range of international and local brands, as well as dining options and entertainment facilities.
- Baandam Museum (Black House): Besides being an art museum showcasing the works of late Thai artist Thawan Duchanee, Baandam Museum also has a gift shop where you can find unique handcrafted items made by local artists. From intricate woodcarvings to pottery and textiles, there’s something for everyone here.
- Hilltribe Handicrafts: Chiang Rai is home to several hill tribe communities who are known for their traditional handicraft skills. Visit one of the many hill tribe villages or markets around Chiang Rai to get your hands on beautifully crafted textiles, jewelry, and other handmade products direct from the artisans.
- Golden Triangle: If you’re interested in exotic goods like rare spices, herbal remedies or locally produced tea and coffee beans, then make sure to visit one of the markets near the Golden Triangle area. These markets offer a unique shopping experience with a mix of traditional and modern products.
- Chiang Rai City Center Market: Located near the Clock Tower, this bustling market is a great place to find fresh produce, local snacks, and cheap clothing. It’s also a fantastic spot for people-watching and immersing yourself in the local lifestyle.
Great Restaurants in Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai is not only known for its stunning attractions but also its vibrant food scene. Here are some great restaurants in Chiang Rai where you can satisfy your taste buds:
- Cabbages & Condoms: This unique restaurant serves delicious Thai cuisine while promoting safe sex and raising funds for charity. Don’t miss their signature dishes like green curry and pad Thai.
- Baan Rub Aroon: Located in a charming wooden house, this restaurant offers a cozy ambiance and a menu filled with traditional Northern Thai dishes. Try their khao soi, a popular local curry noodle dish.
- La Vie en Rose Café: If you’re craving European flavors, head to this French café that serves delectable pastries, sandwiches, and crepes. Don’t forget to try their homemade macarons.
- Nongbeer Bistro: Known for its live music and laid-back atmosphere, this bistro offers a wide range of Thai and international dishes. Their BBQ pork ribs are highly recommended.
- Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House: Situated in a beautiful garden setting, this coffee house serves excellent breakfast options along with tasty baked goods and refreshing beverages.
- Ban Phor Liang Meun Terrace Restaurant: Enjoy panoramic views of the Golden Triangle while dining at this scenic restaurant. Their menu features both Thai and international cuisines.
- Saengkaew Khanna Gourmet Parlor: Indulge in fine dining at this elegant restaurant located within Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort. Expect impeccable service and exquisite dishes prepared with the finest ingredients.
- Baan Dam Café (Black House): Visit this unconventional café set amidst sculptures created by renowned artist Thawan Duchanee. The café serves unique snacks and refreshing drinks.
- Locus Native Food Lab: Experience modern Thai cuisine at its best in this innovative restaurant that combines traditional flavors with contemporary twists. Their tasting menus are a must-try.
- Huay Kaew Restaurant: For an authentic Northern Thai dining experience, head to this local eatery that serves traditional dishes like khao soy, sai ua (spicy sausage), and nam prik ong (chili dip).
In conclusion, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are gems waiting to be discovered in the land of Thailand. With their hidden wonders, from the enchanting Elephant Jungle Sanctuary to the breathtaking White Temple, these cities offer a unique blend of nature, culture, and history that cannot be missed.
So pack your bags and embark on an adventure to unravel Thailand’s best-kept secrets in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai!
What are some of the unexplored wonders in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai?
Some of the unexplored wonders in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai include the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), Doi Mae Salong, and the Golden Triangle.
How can I get to these unexplored wonders in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai?
You can reach these unexplored wonders by hiring a local guide or driver, renting a car or motorbike, or joining organized tours that cover these off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Are these unexplored wonders suitable for all types of travelers?
While some of these places may involve hiking or climbing stairs, most of them are accessible to all types of travelers. However, it is important to check individual attractions for any specific accessibility concerns.
Why should I visit these lesser-known attractions in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai?
Visiting these lesser-known attractions allows you to experience a different side of Thailand away from crowds and commercialized tourism. You can explore unique architectural designs, stunning natural landscapes, and immerse yourself in authentic cultural experiences that are often missed by mainstream tourists.