Chiang Mai is the gateway and the ideal starting point for discovering the fascinating north.

Bordering Myanmar and Laos, the country's northernmost region is known for its fascinating and scenic jungle-clad hill and mountain landscapes, stunning waterfalls, mysterious caves, and natural beauty. There are many national parks in the region that offer a variety of unique destinations, including the highest peak in the country, and many activities such as hiking, rafting, and more. Northern Thailand is also an area that is very rich in culture and history, and it feels different from the rest of Thailand. The climate here is cooler than in the rest of the country, the architecture is different, even the food is different from Central and Southern Thailand. In the remote villages of the mountain peoples, some aspects of daily life have hardly changed.

Soaring mountains, often with forested slopes, extend in the northwest to the Burmese border and contrast with the gentler valleys of the Ping and Taeng rivers. Here you will find the pleasant towns of Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son and Pai. This beautiful and picturesque landscape with its authentic villages and hill tribes is a great attraction for trekkers.

On the way to Chiang Rai are the friendly places Thaton and Phayao.

The northernmost region of Thailand is synonymous with the Golden Triangle for many people. Chiang Rai is the gateway to the Golden Triangle, where the Mekong River marks the border between Thailand and Laos and Myanmar and was once famous for its opium production. The main attraction is the spectacular scenery.

Southeast of the Golden Triangle, you can visit the less-visited provinces and towns of Phrae and Nan, the latter bordering Laos.

Destinations - Sights - Hotels

From Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son

Mae Wang National Park

The main entrance to the park is about 45 km southwest of Chiang Mai. The Mae Wang National Park is known for the Pha Chor Cliff, a Grand Canyon-like hill formation. The park encompasses a forested mountain area of 120 km².

Doi Inthanon National Park

The main entrance to the park is about 70 km southwest of Chiang Mai. Doi Inthanon is one of the most popular national parks in Thailand. The park houses the Doi Inthanon, with its 2565 m the highest mountain in the country and some majestic waterfalls, including the Mae Ya, Mae Klang and Vachiritharn waterfall. Animal and nature lovers will find the forested landscape and its inhabitant's delight.

Ob Luang National Park

The park entrance is about 105 km from Chiang Mai along road No. 108 (Chiang Mai - Hot - Mae sariang). The park is home to the spectacular Ob Luang Canyon, a spectacular gorge through which the Mae Chaem River winds its way, and a beautiful walking trail with prehistoric rock and cave paintings. Thep Thanom is a hot spring in the west of the park.

Mae Sariang

Mae Sariang is a pleasant and non-touristic town on the Yuam river, 190 km southwest of Chiang Mai. The area has historical links with nearby Myanmar, a fact that is reflected in Mae Sariang’s architecture and by its large community of Myanmar. People of the Karen hilltribe are the area’s main ethnic group. The hilltop Chom Thong is a well-known Buddhist temple. In the early morning Buddhist monks pass by the morning market with their alms bowl to collect alms (food). The area around Mae Sariang is mountainous and forested, with many winding roads, and rice-fields in the valleys. We also recommend our trip by boat on the Salawin River from Mae Sam Laep, a Karen settlement on the Myanmar border.

Hotel: Riverhouse Resort - 3 Stars (3/5)

Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son Province shares its border with Myanmar. The picturesque town of Mae Hong Son, 160 km north of Mae Sariang, is beautifully situated in a valley surrounded by high mountains, an 'oasis of tranquility' and can be reached via a beautiful road that runs through one of the most beautiful regions of Thailand. In the center on the beautiful Chong Kham Lake are the Burmese-style temples Wat Chong Kham and Wat Chong Klang. From Wat Doi Kong Mu, built on a hill, you have a beautiful view over the town and the valley. Also popular are boat trips on the Pai River to hill tribe villages. Several hill tribes still live in the area, of which the 'Longnecks' (Giraffe women) are world famous. Many of these mountain people have not yet changed their way of life. Fortified with Burmese temples and nestled amid mysterious forest-clad mountains, Mae Hong Son bears witness to a picturesque, unspoilt beauty.

Hotels: Imperial Mae Hong Son Resort - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5) ; Fern Resort - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5) ; Sib-Lan Buri Resort - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5)


Set in a beautiful valley on the banks of the Pai River, 140 km northwest of Chiang Mai. While still a backpacker's haven, Pai attracts larger resorts. This postcard-perfect little town is located about halfway between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son and is home to hill tribes such as Lisu and Shan and is known for trekking and rafting. Downtown you will find many food stalls and craft shops along Pai Walking Street. The hilltop Wat Phra That Mae Yen just east of Pai was built by the Shan. Pai is also known for its Canyon, nearby caves, hot springs such as the Tha Pai Hot Spring, and waterfalls such as the Mo Paeng Waterfall. Tham Lod, northwest of Pai, is one of the largest cave systems in Southeast Asia. Three adjacent caves form a huge underground gorge, which is bisected by a large stream. You can explore the caves with a bamboo raft.

Hotels: Baan Krating Pai Resort - 3 Stars (3/5) ; Pai Village Boutique Resort & Farm - 3 Stars (3/5) ; The Quarter - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5) ;

Yoma Hotel - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5) ; Reverie Siam Resort - 4 Stars (4/5) ; Family House Zen Boutique Resort - 4.5 Stars (4.5/5)

Mae Wang National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park

Mae Hong Son 'Longnecks'

Pai - Tham Lod cave

From Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai & The Golden Triangle

Chiang Dao

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)

Chiang Rai - Wat Rong Khun

Mae Salong - Tea plantation

Golden Triangle & Mekong

Phu Chi Fah Cliff

From Chiang Mai to Phrae and Nan


The old capital of Phrae province, 190 km east of Chiang Mai and 90 km southeast of Phayao, is well worth a visit. With an abundance of ancient wats and historic buildings scattered across a compact and relatively traffic-free area, Phrae lends itself to a scenic walking or cycling tour. The old city walls and city moat remain. The Prathu Chai east gate is home to the evening night market. Many of teak homes remain and a few are open to the public, notably Vongburi House, built in Thai and European architecture

Next to the town of Phrae, there are many natural attractions to visit such as Pha Nang Khoi Cave and Doi Pha Khlong National Park. A highlight that should not be missed is the Phae Muang Phi Forest Park which is a natural phenomenon of soil and sandstone that has been eroded into pillars of strange various shapes.

Hotels: Phoomthai Garden Hotel - 3 Stars (3/5) Huern Na Na Hotel - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5)


110 km northeast of Phrae, the capital of Nan province is a prosperous town on the Nan River. Its relative isolation, bordering Laos, has allowed it to keep a peaceful charm. The most important sights in Nan town are the Nan National Museum and the old temples Wat Phumin, Wat Phra That Chang Khang and Wat Suan Tan. Just southeast of Nan is the Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, set on a hilltop overlooking the Nan valley. Nan province is also known for its natural attractions.

In the northeast of the province is the Doi Phu Kha National Park and nearby the heavily forested Khun Nan National Park in Bo klua district. In Na Noi district, 60 km south of Nan, is Sao Din, with stunning nature features of eroded stone pillars, comparable to Phae Muang Phi in Phrae province. Nearby on the banks of the Sirikit Lake is Pak Nai fisherman village with beautiful scenery.

Hotels: Nan Boutique Hotel & Resort - 4 Stars (4/5)

Phrae - Phae Muang Phi

Phrae - Doi Pha Khlong NP

Nan - Sirikit Lake

Nan - Khun Nan NP

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