Chiang Rai Beach
At CR Beach during Songkran 2014

Where to Songkran in Chiang Rai:

// Chiang Rai Beach (aka Pattaya noi)
// Sunday Walking Street (Sankhongnoi Rd)
// Flag and Lamp Park (on Thanalai Rd)

I had to pee, and well, I was waist-deep in the river, so I decided to go. But this Thai guy kept trying to help me across the river even though I was trying to shoo him away and balance myself against the current – and relax long enough to do my business…

Yeah, so eventually I got the guy to leave me alone. I think he was a little nutter-butters, but harmless. I saw him talking to a few other Thai girls and they looked at him the same way I looked at him. Poor guy. It was Songkran and he seemed a bit lost at sea.

This must have been after I relived myself. Although I don’t normally take a picture of myself afterwards…normally.

Where was I? I was at Chiang Rai Beach.

What is Chang Rai Beach?

Chiang Rai Beach is a place where locals like to go to swim, relax, exercise, and of course, eat. It’s essentially the bank of the Kok River (it sounds like “coke,” but really it’s more like “goke”), and is not a beach, even though it is affectionately called Pattaya noi (or little Pattaya) by the Thais. They also refer to it as หาด เชียงราย Hat Chiang Rai, but it sounds like “hot” not “hat”. Got it?

Normally CR Beach is quiet, but the big exception to this is the Thai New Year or during the Songkran holiday which is about a week long in the month of April. CR Beach becomes the hotspot for party-goers, and extra restaurants and places to stretch and relax are set up. We loved how Thai it was.

Chiang Rai Beach
Songkran 2014

When we’ve eaten here, we have enjoyed sitting on the low rattan huts under thatched roofs looking out at the water. Although, one time we ate at a restaurant that overcharged us – a 30 baht bucket of ice, really? We definitely got the “farang price,” but another time we ate they let 30 baht slide by because we didn’t have enough money on us. I know, embarrassing, right?

This is supposed to be a catfish...
This was supposed to be a catfish…not that it wasn’t tasty or anything!

Even though I used to live near Huey Tung Tao in Chiang Mai and regularly walked near the reservoir, I like CR Beach better. (Let the comparisons begin!) For me, it’s the trees. The trees are so tall here. Oh, and the limestone mountain. Oh! And the surroundings! CR Beach is also only 4km from town. It’s more accessible and if you wanted to you could swim across the river and check out the Buddha caves.

Entrance of the Buddha Cave Temple Chiang Rai Beach
Entrance of the Buddha Cave Temple

We waded across the river, and it was relatively easy. The ground was sandier by the shore and it was rocky and a little rough on the feet towards the middle, but very doable. You just have to pick your spot which we continuously did until we found where we could cross without getting our camera and stuff wet.

On the other side of the Kok River you can also check out this large white Buddha.
On the other side of the Kok River you can also check out this large white Buddha, hanging out, looking all important.

Chiang Rai Beach

There is also a fitness park there (of course…) where you can get your sweat on. There is actually a lot of interesting things to see in this area of Chiang Rai. I still have more exploring to do! Okay, until next time 😉


Chiang Rai Beach
Love it.

17 replies on “What is Chiang Rai Beach?

  1. I love this! Fantastic pictures – and your story – hilarious. Thanks for sharing such a…uh…personal anecdote. 😉

    Does everyone swim in their clothes?


    1. Ah, good of you to notice. Yes, it’s very Thai. I have no idea why they sell bathing suits here.

      Yeah, I guess there is a fine line between personal and too personal. Oh, well. No one’s ever accused me of being classy that’s for damn sure!


      1. Huh, that’s kind of cool, actually. (Suit hater here.)

        Nah, it wasn’t too personal. Keep it real, girl, we all love it. 😉


  2. This looks like a nice family spot. Much like the river gatherings I had as a kid in Michigan. We waded and swam in clothes too back then. When we go, we’ll be sure to visit this beach. How’s the food?


      1. I might need the beer for a little courage. I recently watched an episode of River Monsters and it was about fresh water sting rays in Thai rivers. I wish I hadn’t watched it!


    1. I think Chiang Rai beach really shines during the Songkran (Thai New Year) festival. Not for the faint-hearted, then again, neither is navigating Chiang Mai, which is much worst in my opinion.


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