From Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai & The Golden Triangle
Following Hwy 107, at the foot of Doi Luang Chiang Dao in Chiang Dao District, you can visit the famous Tham Chiang Dao Cave, 70 km north of Chiang Mai.
The entrance to the Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park is in the Fang District of Chiang Mai Province. It is the northernmost national park in Thailand. There are many hot mineral springs near the park headquarters. The largest pond has hot steam rising 40-50 meters above the ground. The highest mountain is Doi Pha Hom Pok, at 2,285 meters the second highest in Thailand.
From picturesque Thaton, beautifully situated in a bend of the Mae Kok River near the border with Myanmar, boats depart daily that make trips to Chiang Rai with stops at hill tribes along the way. The Wat Thaton, with its huge white Buddha, dominates the city from its hillside location, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Hotels: Khun Mai Baan Suan Resort - 3 Stars (3/5) ; Maekok River Village Resort - 4 Stars (4/5)
Chiang Rai & The Golden Triangle
Chiang Rai, located on the banks of the Kok River and 580 m above sea level, 190 km north of Chiang Mai, is the northernmost city. The city was founded in 1292 by King Mengrai and was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom for 34 years. The provincial capital is the gateway to the Golden Triangle, the border region hemmed in by Myanmar, Laos and the mighty Mekong River, and an area historically associated with opium production. Since the 1980s, cash crops, including tea and coffee, began to replace poppies grown for opium production. The fertile floodplains of the Mekong River contrast with the breathtaking beauty of the mountains to the west and east of the area. Here you will find remote villages inhabited by hill tribes such as the Mien, Lahu and Akha, who still maintain their traditional way of life. There are also settlements inhabited by ex-Chinese nationalist soldiers and their descendants, who migrated here after Mao Zedong's communist army won the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Among the many city attractions, we can recommend a visit to the modern Buddhist art temple Wat Rong Sua Ten (known as 'the Blue Temple'), Wat Phra Kaew (where the Emerald Buddha was discovered - now housed at Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok), King Mengrai Monument and the Night Bazaar. Chiang Rai has an airport with daily direct flights to Bangkok.
Chiang Rai Hotels:
Laluna Hotel & Resort - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5) ; The Imperial Riverhouse Resort - 4 Stars (4/5) ; The Legend Chiang Rai Resort - 4.5 Stars (4.5/5) ;
Le Meridian Chiang Rai - 5 Stars (5/5) ; The Riverie by Katathani - 5 Stars (5/5)
15 km southwest of Chiang Rai is Wat Rong Khun. Known as 'the White Temple', this spectacular, unconventional wat is a combination of art exhibition and temple. It is one of the most photogenic temples in Thailand.
30 km southwest of Chiang Rai you can visit the beautiful Khun Korn waterfall
15 kilometers north of Chiang Rai is the Baan Dam Museum, also called "Black House Museum" or "Black Temple".
Northwest of Chiang Rai are the vast Doi Mae Salong & Doi Tung mountain areas with beautiful vistas, royal projects, tea and coffee plantations, hill tribe villages and Chinese settlements. A visit to the Mae Fah Luang Botanical Gardens in Doi Tung is a recommended.
60 km north of Chiang Rai is the border town of Mae Sai, the gateway to neighboring Myanmar.
Northeast of Chiang Rai bordering Laos is the spectacular mountain region of Doi Pha Tang and the Phu Chi Fa Cliff, a 1,400 m high sheer cliff.
60 km east of the Golden Triangle, on the banks of the Mekong, is the town of Chiang Khong, gateway to neighboring Laos.
The Heart of the Golden Triangle is where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge. It is in a bend of the Mekong, near the village of Sop Ruak. Here you can visit the Opium House, take a boat trip on the Mekong, and from the Wat Phrathat Phu Khao temple you have a magnificent view of the landscape. Just east of Sop Ruak on the Mekong River is the ancient town of Chiang Sean
Golden Triangle Hotels:
Imperial Golden Triangle Resort - 4 Stars (4/5) ; Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort- 5 Stars (5/5)
The pleasant town of Phayao, 90 km southeast of Chiang Rai, is best known for the large Phayao Lake. The Wat Si Kom Kam located on the eastern shores of the lake houses the largest Buddha statue in Northern Thailand. On the other side of the lake, spread over forested hills, is Wat Analayo, a unique shrine with many Buddha statues and monuments that differ from traditional Thai temples. In the vicinity is the beautiful Champa Tong waterfall
Hotels: Phayao Gateway Hotel - 3 Stars (3/5) ; Phuglong Luxury Hotel - 3 Stars (3/5)