Top Things To See and Do in Chiang Saen, Thailand

The mighty Mekong from Chiang Saen | © VnGrijl/Flickr
The mighty Mekong from Chiang Saen | © VnGrijl/Flickr
Photo of Iona Proebst
8 February 2018

Chiang Saen is the oldest city in Thailand and one of the most beautiful river towns in the country. Check out our list of the top things to see and do while you are in town!

Chiang Saen National Museum

Travel back in time to uncover the town’s fascinating history as you explore the Chiang Saen National Museum. Wander around the archaeological artefacts in the two exhibition halls as you piece together Chiang Saen’s 15,000-year-old legacy.

Wat Pa Sak Historical Site

Discover the ancient ruins of Wat Pa Sak just a short 200-meter walk from the main city gate (Pratu Chiang Saen). This historic site is an archaeologist’s heaven and includes the ruins of seven monuments, including the revered chedi which dates back to the mid 14th century.

Temple ruins | © Adam Jones/Flickr

Chiang Saen Lake

Hop on a bike, and head out to Chiang Saen Lake for a fun-filled day of natural beauty. The lake is a popular bird watching spot and is particularly famous for waterfowl and waders that migrate to the lake between November and February each year. This beautiful spot is well worth checking out and is a great opportunity to explore the town’s surrounding countryside or to just sit and relax.

Head out of town to view nature | © Alexis Gravel/Flickr

Wat Phra That Chom Kitti

Wander up the 350-step mythical naga serpent staircase to the forest hill temples of Wat Phra That Chom Kitti. Alternatively, there is a road for those who can’t or do not want to climb the steps. The slightly off-kilter temple chedi is believed to contain a strand of Buddha’s hair. From this hilltop vantage point, the views of the surrounding area are spectacular.

A monk relaxes on the hill | © Alexis Gravel/Flickr

Walking Street Market

Chiang Saen is blessed with numerous markets including the nightly Walking Street Market where you can mingle with locals and sample delicious foods on the banks of the mighty Mekong River. In addition to the Walking Street Market, there is also a Sunday Morning Market, a Saturday Evening Market and a daily produce market. The town’s markets are a great way to gain deeper insight into the local culture and to pick up some authentic Thai souvenirs.

Market tuk-tuk brigade | © Alexis Gravel/Flickr

Golden Triangle

Chiang Saen is located a short drive south of the famous Golden Triangle, and while you’re in the area, you might as well check out this much talked about spot. The Golden Triangle is where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet at the confluence of the Mekong and Ruak Rivers. The area is well-known for its opium-growing past and has a fascinating history to uncover.

The famous Golden Triangle | © ryan harvey/Flickr

Wat Phra That Pha Ngao

A few kilometres out of town is the sacred Wat Phra That Pha Ngao which offers splendid views of the countryside below and is home to a special Chiang Saen era Buddha statue. The serene atmosphere makes this temple an attractive place to explore and even includes an ancient manuscript depository.