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Flight: Departure from Bangkok – Chiang Rai
Northern Thailand used to be identified with the infamous Golden Triangle, referring to the confluence of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar borders, one of the world’s largest opium-producing areas until the 20th century. Chiang Rai Thailand used to be regarded by tourists as the sleepy smaller sibling of Chiang Mai, provincial compared to the tourist-driven progress of Chiang Mai. In recent years, the attractiveness of Chiang Rai Thailand as a popular travel destination has been rising because technology now has made more information available. Visitor reviews also mention tourist attractions, places and experiences they get from Chiang Rai as different from what they get from Chiang Mai.
Chiang Rai Thailand was founded as the capital of the Mengrai Dynasty in 1262. The culture of the Lanna has been kept up to this day in both northern cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. It is in Chiang Rai, however, that visitors can have their fill of that Lanna identity in the splendid array of temples, cuisine, music, language and works of art.
To fully enjoy the uniqueness of northern Thailand in these two cities, the logical route for a tourist trail would be southbound routes, Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. Departure from Bangkok has numerous flights giving you options as the fast means of transport to reach your destination. The journey takes an hour and a half.
You can also take the bus-train departure option if you want a scenic and cheaper journey to the north of Thailand. A train departs the Hua Lamphong terminal every three hours for the 7-hour trip to Den Chai, followed by a 4-hours 20-minute bus trip to the Chiang Rai bus terminal. The bus schedule is once a day. The total travel time on land transport from Bangkok to Chiang Rai takes 11 hours, for the 798.2 km road distance. Train ticket prices go from $5-$45 one way and bus ticket costs are $7-$9 one way.
Pick up from Chiang Rai airport, the bus station – Chiang Rai Bus Terminal to your hotel can also be arranged as part of your package agreed with our travel specialists.
Hotel in Chiang Rai
THG highly recommends Le Patta Chiang Rai Hotel and The Heritage Hotel, both of which are highly rated in guest reviews.
Le Patta Chiang Rai Hotel is conveniently located in the city centre and within walking distance to various popular places like the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar and access to public transport, the bus station. The location also gives easy options to other means of transport like a taxi or rental car, ideal conditions for first-time or solo travelers.
The Heritage Chiang Rai is a 5-star hotel that, true to its name “heritage,” has made a breathtaking reflection of the Lanna culture in its design of combining traditional art with the contemporary. It is also located in the city centre of Chiang Rai, adding convenience to its features.
Long neck and other tribes
From Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai and in between would be found villages of the existing hill tribes in Thailand, one of the famous of which is the Karen Long Neck (Paduangs), so-called because of the elongated long necks of the tribe’s women. History has attributed their original locale in the hills of the Myanmar side of the border of Thailand. The women adorn their necks, forearms and shins with heavy brass rings and are known for their crafting skills from wood carving to weaving while the men are basically farmers or field workers. Generally, their culture is a simple lifestyle, rugged and tedious labours with colourful and lively outputs.
A visit to one of their villages is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, seeing in actual flesh the exotic women with jewellery of brass rings around their necks, who otherwise people only know of as subjects of National Geographic and other travel and culture magazines.
Other popularly visited tribes are the Hmong (Meo) tribe, the Big Earring (Akha) tribe, Yao, Palong and Kayor tribes. Make the most of your visit by not just taking photos, but sitting and talking with the women about their crafts and their work.
Monkey cave and fish cave (in Nature)
The Fish Cave Temple, Wat Tham Pla lies 45 km from Chiang Rai, so-called because of the fishtail shape of the nearby cave. It is also referred to as Monkey Temple because of a troop of monkeys living in the mountain above the temple and invariably some monkeys wander into the temple. Inside the cave could be found images of the Buddha. There is also a pond with carp fish and a closed pool with crocodiles. On the right side of the entrance to this cave is another, the Turtle Cave, Thank Ku Kao, which you can also explore.
There is no payment for tickets to enter the cave and there are lamps to be rented. It is recommended to go before 5 pm for those who want to enter the cave.
See more at: https://www.thailandee.com/en/visit-thailand/fish-cave-temple-wat-tham-pla-chiang-rai-365
Copyright © Thailandee.com
Thai Myanmar border
This is the international border between these two countries. It is 2,416 km long and runs from Laos in the north at the confluence of the Kok and Mekong Rivers to the Andaman Sea coast in the south.
This area has historically been a point of dispute and wars between the ancient Burmese and Siam kingdoms until October 1894 when a final boundary treaty with maps was signed between Britain and Siam (former name of Thailand). The border became an international frontier in 1948 when Burma gained its full independence as a sovereign state.
Golden Triangle + boat to Laos
The Golden Triangle (Saam Liam Thong Kham) is the English name for the convergence of the Laos, Myanmar and Thailand borders in Chiang Rai province. To the locals, it is called Sop Ruak, where the Mekong (Mae Khong) meets the Ruak River. These two rivers have formed a natural boundary between Laos (east of the Mekong), Myanmar (north of the Ruak) and Thailand (west of the Mae Khong).
The Golden Triangle has been historically infamous as one of the world’s opium-growing areas, with the name coined by the US State Department on that situation. Now the area lives on tourism where visitors buy tickets to enter the various sites. There is a Hall of Opium and also a House of Opium, both are museums (the latter of which is a private one) that display opium paraphernalia, information on the opium history in the world, and on the production process as well.
Visitors get from Chiang Rai city on guided bus tours, like the Greenbus Thailand minivans from the Chiang Rai Bus Station. The Greenbus Thailand minivan/bus terminal is in front of the restaurant near the Big Buddha statue parking lot for passengers to get off. Independent travellers can go in the blue songthaews from Mae Sai to Chiang Saen. For those who miss songthaew or bus schedules, the only way for travel option would be a tuk-tuk and motorcycle taxi transports. However, the tuk-tuk or taxi could charge much more than the usual cost of tickets either way.
From the Golden Triangle (don’t forget to take a photo at the gate marking the area), you can take a boat to cross to Don Sao, a small island of Laos. This is a popular itinerary for tourists because no visa is required to enter this island. Thus, there are various boats to avail of the option for any group to travel here as well.
Hotel in Chiang Rai (Le Patta OR The heritage)
Back in Chiang Rai, you have your choice among the THG recommended hotel options, Le Patta Chiang Rai Hotel or The Heritage Chiang Rai, both of which have been described earlier.
Wat Rong Khun, otherwise known as the White Temple is found 5km south of Chiang Rai City that you can access by taxi or rent a car you drive yourself. Known to be the brainchild of Chalermchai Kositpipat, a Chiang Rai-born painter and visual artist, the temple is a fusion of the artist’s imagination using white as a pure colour to express the temple’s sacredness) with traditional Buddhist philosophies on heaven, hell, karma and earthly transgressions.
Trek to Khun Korn waterfall (2 hours)
The Khun Korn Waterfall is one of the best waterfalls in Chiang Rai and the biggest in northern Thailand. It is within the jungle environment of the Khun Korn Forest Park.
You will discover that a trek towards the waterfall is a peaceful serene hike, the trail not being crowded, winding through tall bamboos alongside a small stream flowing from the waterfall itself. The trail continues across the stream in a bamboo bridge. The trek will reveal more than bamboo, you will come across a lot of butterflies and birds on your way to the waterfall. You will know you are nearing the waterfall with a rising sound of crashing water, then get sprayed by the waterfall as you turn the last bend from even 200 metres away.
Nearing the Khun Korn Waterfall, you will hear the overwhelming sound of crashing water. Around the last bend, you will get hit by the spray of the waterfall even from over 200 meters away. The waterfall feels like a jungle shower, with the water pounding hard like a Thai massage. If you don’t want to get drenched, it is advised to bring a waterproof jacket.
The waterfall drops into a jungle swimming place, a dip would be a wonderful end to the trek.
Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, the waterfall is closed during the rainy season because the trail way can get flooded easily. At the same time, the pool at the bottom of the waterfall becomes dangerous for swimming.
3 hours driving to get from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai
You will then be taken to your hotel in Chiang Mai at the end of the day.
Bamboo rafting or white water rafting
Some of the best whitewater rapids in Thailand are in Chiang Mai and this attraction should be part of the itinerary/activity content of your trip. Your travel experience in Northern Thailand can be customized to your level. Safety is assured for passengers with an expert river guide for each raft to navigate each point along the designated routes. Lunches are included in the package with your personal choice of menu, including vegetarian options.
Bamboo rafting is one of the latest attractions southwest of Chiang Mai, on the Mae Wang River. The raft is 25 feet long made of bamboo strung together, a simple-looking vessel but you can see it will make for an adventure ride.
You can book a ticket for an organized tour, which will make your ride more convenient and leisurely, giving you more chances to enjoy the scenery. You can go with your own group on a Chiang Mai bus for your own pace.
Read more about Whitewater Rafting Adventure in Chiang Mai 2021 – https://www.viator.com/tours/Chiang-Mai/White-Water-Rafting-Adventure-in-Chiang-Mai/d5267-42182P1?mcid=56757
Take care Elephant course
The Elephant Care and Mahout (elephant rider, trainer and keeper) Training is a popular day tour point in Chiang Mai travel routes. Your journey will start when you are picked up from your hotel in a van or Chiang Mai bus and taken to the Tung La Korn Village elephant camp. The course includes basic elephant language, control and command of the elephant. You will learn various techniques for riding the elephant. After lunch, you will be made to control the elephant yourself to the river, bathing and brushing it, and transfer to the Mud Pool which the animals enjoy playing in. After all these, you will be taken back to your hotel on the same Chiang Mai bus.
Buatong waterfall (White waterfall )
An hour and a half ride from Chiang Mai is Bua Thong Waterfall, a small, multi-tiered waterfall of limestone and mineral deposits. The limestone makes it easy to climb each of the 5 tiers of the waterfall using ropes. There are also steps on the side of the waterfall that go all the way to the bottom. The water is cool and refreshing on hot days.
Trek at Buatong waterfall area ( picture in the end )
Some people choose to spend the day at the Waterfall at the picnic spot instead of exploring the falls, eating and drinking at the restaurants in the area. Or take a walk from the picnic place to a shrine with some crystal clear pools from the waterfall, seeing butterflies and birds on the way.
Hotel in Chiang Mai
To get from Chiang Mai to the airport, you will be picked up from your accommodation and taken in ample time for your return departure flight.
Vehicle with driver
English speaking guide
Hotels, 2 nights including breakfast
Drinking water in the car
Transportation to and from the airport
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