Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city, and an excellent starting point for excursions into the northern territories. Nestled into the lush mountains of northernmost Thailand, Chiang Rai surrounds its visitors in hill tribe culture and scenery.
Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai combo with a Glimpse of Burma and Laos Tour!
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city, as well as an excellent starting point for excursions into the northern territories. Its name means ‘new city’; even though Chiang Mai is much older than Bangkok, having been built in 1296 under the rule of King Mengrai. The city straddles the gap between urban and rural Thailand, and offers the best of both worlds in terms of attractions and activities for Thailand tourists.
While Chiang Mai has more than 300 ancient temples, including the one at Doi Suthep, which offer breathtaking views over the area; its popularity is largely due to the elephant treks in the surrounding countryside. Travellers can also use Chiang Mai as a launching pad for excursions to the Lisu Hill-Tribe, Bhubing Palace, Isaan province, and Chiang Rai. Thai cookery classes are also a popular tradition, and the city also has an extensive night market, with dozens of street vendors selling a variety of traditional Thai wares that can be obtained at very low prices if you have the patience to bargain for them.
Chiang Mai is small enough to get around on a bicycle, has several attractions, and offers excellent accommodation, although tourists are advised that it can be difficult to find a room in peak season; between December and March.
Nestled into the lush mountains of northernmost Thailand; Chiang Rai surrounds its visitors in hill tribe culture and scenery. One of the most famous and exotic attractions in Thailand; Chiang Rai is home to the remote hill tribe communities that make up about 12 percent of Thailand’s population. Scattered through the mountains and valleys of the province, the tribes are descendants of nomadic peoples from Tibet and southern China. Each tribe is unique, with its own colourful culture and traditions.
An 11-hour bus ride from Bangkok can leave many visitors looking to relax; fortunately they can, either by picking through hill tribe crafts in the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar, relaxing along the shore of the Mae Kok River or taking a look-out residence in the many hilltop guesthouses.
Many travellers arrive in Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai to begin their treks to hill tribe villages, but there is plenty to see and do in Chiang Rai itself, including visiting a number of beautiful temples and interesting museums. Chiang Rai has some good shopping opportunities, including several weekend markets, while good restaurants and food stalls offer a taste of northern Thai cuisine. The city also has a lively, if not endless, nightlife, with a few good bars and pubs hosting live music.
Full Day: The Golden Triangle: A Glimpse of Burma and Laos Tour:
Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel. Drive to Mae Sai, the bustling bordertown with Myanmar. We cross the border into Tachilek. By motor cycle taxi we visit a smaller version of the Shwedagon Pagoda and a couple of other temples in Burmese style. We visit the interesting border market before we cross back into Thailand.
We continue to the famous Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. Here we will have lunch in a local restaurant overlooking the Mekong River. After lunch we will visit the small Opium House. Then it is time to board a local longtailboat to bring us to the small island of Don Sao. It’s a nice boat trip. There are some souvenir shops on the island but…..you are officially in Laos!
It is now time to drive back to Chiang Rai. Along the way we will stop at Wat Chedi Luang, one of the impressive ruins remaining of the old city of Chiang Saen. Here you will make merit in a short ceremony before we continue to Chiang Rai. We drop you off at the hotel.
Meeting/pick-up point: Pick up at hotels in Chiang Rai City only.
Start/opening time: At 9am. Pick up at 8am.
End/closing time: At 5pm.