Wait, Chiang Rai has a beach? Well, Chiang Rai Beach isn’t your typical Thai beach. Here, you won’t find Longtail boats, coconut-lined, white sandy shores or turquoise water.
Truth be told, this spot isn’t even really a beach, it’s simply a riverside bathing spot that is popular among locals and tourists visiting Chiang Rai. Well, you are in the mountains!
Still, if you’re looking for a place to cool off in the hotter months, or if you’d like to find a spot in Chiang Rai to unwind, then Chiang Rai Beach might just be your ticket.
Where is Chiang Rai Beach?
Chiang Rai Beach is located on the river banks of the Kok River, a little out of town near Queen Sikrit Park.
Getting here requires an approximately 15-minute ride or drive from the center of Chiang Rai.
You can either ride here yourself if you've rented a scooter, or, alternatively, take a Tuk Tuk or Songthaew. The cost of getting here from the Chiang Rai city center is roughly 50 Baht.
What to Expect at Chiang Rai River Beach
As I mentioned, Chiang Rai Beach isn't your typical "beach" in Thailand. However, funnily enough, you'll still find those quintessential Thai tourism cliches set up on the shore including massage huts and restaurants!
There are tall and jagged rock formations and a Buddha statue resting on a rock on the other side of the river bank. The entire scene is relaxing and beautiful. Preferring nature to the hustle and bustle of city life (even tame Chiang Rai), I found this spot to be my favorite place to spend time in the city.
When I visited Chiang Rai Beach on the first occasion, it was relatively quiet and secluded. I noticed that most of the small businesses there weren't operating, which meant that I had the entire "beach" or riverbank, to myself.
On the following visits, however, I met other backpackers and travelers who had come down in the early afternoon to relax and cool off in the fresh flowing river water. The water flow was calm enough to swim in, although you'd need to be careful if there's been a downpour.
Wat Tham Phra (Buddha Cave Temple)
On the opposite side of Chiang Rai Beach, you'll find a small Buddha Cave Temple known as Wat Tham Phra. The cave itself has a fairly small cavern, with nothing much more than a single Buddha statue inside.
There are also a few cheeky monkeys hanging about here, so watch your belongings!
RELATED: Hiking the Monks Trail in Chiang Mai
Where to Stay - Accommodation Guide
Looking for a great accommodation pick near Chiang Rai? Here are three options for every budget.
- Best Luxury Pick: The Riverie by Katathani - Nestled on the island in the middle of the Kok River, The Riverie by Katathani offers luxurious rooms surrounded by lush gardens and amazing views.
- Highly Reviewed Guest House: SuanTung Guest House - This is one of the highest-rated budget guest houses in Chiang Rai. It’s super central, only a few minutes walk to the night market and the clocktower and the bus station.
- Epic Hostel: Get Hi Hostel with a 9.9/10 rating with hundreds of reviews, this might be the top-rated hostel in Thailand. Get Hi is a great jungle social hostel in Chiang Rai for young adult travelers who want to meet people and have fun.
More Northern Thailand Travel Guides
I hope that you found this article useful in planning your trip to Chiang Rai. If you've already visited Chiang Rai Beach and you're looking for more things to do in Chiang Rai, don't miss some of the other highlights below.
For waterfalls, definitely check out Huay Kaew Waterfall!