Chiang Rai takes at least 6 hours highway by bus, plus getting to the temple. Now if it was the Taj Mahal that might be worth it ... but it is a small modern temple with a throng of tourists in the queue. Save it when you go a few days to C.Rai. Doi Inthanon is also popular but not so far away.
The longneck women are refugees from Burma and are really all on display in a Human zoo. You pay and they act like they smile. I would say go to a thai tribal village near Doi inthanon, many Hmong villages there. Makes for less awkward fotos.
Chaing Rai is approximately 3 hrs each way. There is not much to see on the trip until you arrive in CR. I would pick Doi Inthanon as there are places you can easily incorporate into the day. Ganesh Museum and temple, Chom Tong Temple, several waterfalls and time permitting a stop in Baan Tawai for the wood carvers on the return trip.
Thanks for the replies. How long does it take to get to Doi Inthanon?
What waterfalls would you recommend on the way?
Doi Inthanon's been getting VERY crowded lately.
Always does this time of year with the locals going to view the frost that can form on the peak.
Do Doi Inthanon.. As others have mentioned the White Temple in Chiang Rai is really a long drive.. About 3-hrs one way. Doi Inthanon is about an hour to the park's gate, and another 30-45 minutes to the "highest point in Thailand".
I did a tour to Doi Inthanon and the tour company guide was thrilled that I opted for this tour, otherwise she was already assigned for a 1-day trip to CR; in which you'll spend more time in the car then seeing anything!
If you're up for it do the 2-hour trek on the Kew Mae Pan trail, it's a relatively easy trek with stunning views from the top on a clear day. The trailhead is right next to a parking lot by the road so you don't lose time getting there. Otherwise hop around the many waterfalls around the area. Most, if not all are easily accessible by car and your driver should know them well enough.