Nestled on the Mekong River, Chiang Saen overlooks Laos and offers easy access to Golden Triangle attractions, including an opium museum and culture park. The surrounded region is dotted with ancient Buddhist temples, while the township features a bustling market, riverfront cafes and a national museum.
Things to do in Chiang Saen
Immerse yourself in Thailand’s deep Buddhist roots by visiting some of the temples around Chiang Saen, starting with the riverside Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao, which boasts a gilded exterior and memorabilia from King Rama IX’s visit. Wat Pa Sak sits closer to the town centre and treats you to ancient architecture dating back to the 13th century.
The nearby Chiang Saen National Museum lets you delve deep into the town’s history. Wander through the museum while admiring traditional clothing, old vehicles, historic cooking and hunting instruments and intricate Buddha statues. Afterwards, walk down to the Sin Sombun Market to browse local stalls selling regional produce and handmade goods.
Discover the cultural melting pot of the Golden Triangle at the Golden Triangle Park, which showcases the mix of Burmese, Thai and Laos cultures through markets, architecture and performances. You can also hop aboard a scenic cruise along the Mekong River. Don’t miss seeing the fascinating exhibits at the Golden Triangle Park Hall of Opium, which showcases old cultivation tools and miniature smoking dens.
Need a break? Relax with a coffee and light bite at Mong Doo Nam Cafe, which overlooks the Mekong River. You can also dine by the water at Khrua Chiang Saen River Side or Rabiang Kong Restaurant.
Getting around Chiang Saen
Chiang Saen is about 60 kilometres from Chiang Rai, connected via long-distance buses and well-maintained highways. You can easily walk around the town or use tuk-tuks to get around. You’ll need a hire car to reach the surrounding sights.