You would have known by now that Thailand is more than rice paddies, limestone cliffs and cluttered cities. As a civilisation, the country’s landscape is abundant with culture and art, and at the very heart of this sits Chiang Rai, one of the region’s most underrated provinces. 

Being situated at the northernmost tip of Thailand and nestled between mountains and hills means that the province’s popularity has long been dwarfed by the similarly named Chiang Mai, another charming destination that’s home to hundreds of stunning ancient temples. Its lower tourist profile however, means that Chiang Rai still manages to keep its rustic charm and laid back atmosphere even till today, lending to its burgeoning popularity over the recent years.

Of the many architectural wonders that dot the province, Chiang Rai’s crowning glory remains to be the White Temple for its sheer grandeur and audacious take on Buddhist symbolism. It doesn’t stop there for the “Art Capital of Thailand” — as Chiang Rai is commonly referred to. As the birthplace of many renowned Thai artists, the mountain town is also home to notable galleries and landmarks, each a testament to the dedication of these craftsmen. 

From tea plantations cultivated by indigenous hill tribes to pop culture references in a Buddhist temple, here are the best things to do and see in Chiang Rai.