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Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai - Golden Triangle

Approximately 180 km from Chiang Mai is the city of Chiang Rai, near to the famous (or infamous) Golden Triangle, the meeting point of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. The journey, about three hours, will take you through beautiful mountain areas. In Chiang Rai, be sure to visit the stunning Wat Rong Khun, known as The White Temple due do its dazzling white color inlaid with mirrored glass. At the Golden Triangle you can see the meeting points of Thailand, Burma and Laos, where you can board a boat along Mekong River to the Laos island of Don Sao. The Thai border town of Mae Sai is the gateway to Myanmar, where you can spend some time at the bustling border market. And it is in Chiang Rai province that you can visit the famous Karen Long Neck Villages.

 Approximately 180 km from Chiang Mai is the city of Chiang Rai, near to the famous (or infamous) Golden Triangle, the meeting point of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. The journey, about three hours, will take you through beautiful mountain areas. In Chiang Rai, be sure to visit the stunning Wat RongKhun, known as The White Temple due do its dazzling white color inlaid with mirrored glass. At the Golden Triangle you can see the meeting points of Thailand, Burma and Laos, where you can board a boat along Mekong River to the Laos island of Don Sao. The Thai border town of Mae Sai is the gateway to Myanmar, where you can spend some time at the bustling border market. And it is in Chiang Rai province that you can visit the famous Karen Long Neck Villages. 

1. Golden Triangle

A trip to Chiang Rai province would not be complete without seeing the notorious Golden Triangle first hand! This famed border location where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet on the Mekong River was once supposed to be the center of all the poppy cultivation in Thailand. Travel approximately 9 kilometers north of old town Chiang Saen, along the road parallel to the Mekong River to the area where the borders of Thailand, Myammar and Laos converge. This area where the Mekong River meets the Ruak River is locally referred to as "Sop Ruak". Boats can be hired in order to view the upstream scenery of the Golden Triangle and to travel downstream to Chiang Khong. The trip to the Golden Triangle and Chiang Khong would take approximately 40 minutes and 1 hour respectively, depending on river currents and water levels.

2. Cruise views of the Kok river

The Kok River is one of the most scenic attractions in Chiang Rai. It runs from Thathon in northern Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai City and then flows on to meet the Mekong River at Chiang Khong. From Baan Thathon boats, rafts and treks leave daily venturing into the surrounding mountains where the jungle dips into the river's cool waters. A long-tailed boat can be hired to ferry visitors up and down the river. Stops can be made at Akha or Iko, Lisu and Karen hill tribe villages. Alternatively stops can be made at the Buddha cave, a temple within a cavern; an elephant camp, for trekking; a hot spring; and a riverside Lahu village.

3. DoiPhuKha National Park

DoiPhuKha National Park covers a part of 8 districts in the LuangPrabang Range, Nan Province, Northern Thailand. It is Northern Thailand's largest National park, and rivers such as Nan River and Pua River, have their sources within it. At 1,980 m high, DoiPhuKha, gives its name to the park. Each year between February to March the park covers with the pink flowers called Phuka Pink Flowers. It is a rare specie tree which can be found only here

4. Wat Phra That ChomKitti

At the top of a hill a short distance from the northwest corner of Chiang Saen is the temple of Wat PhrathatChomKitti. The temple is thought to pre-date the founding of Chiang Saen. As you ascend the 350 steps from the base, look out for the many statues seemingly placed randomly in the forest of teak trees which cover the mountain. The ubosot is a beautiful example of the Chiang Saen style, with an intricately detailed gable. The platform of the chapel affords a great view of Chiang Saen and the Mekhong River. Inside is a large Buddha imagesitting under an artificial Bodhi tree.

5. Wat ChediLuang, Chiang Suen

Wat ChediLuang is a wonderful old atmospheric temple and chedi set amid a grove of mature trees; the name translates as ‘royal stupa temple’, since it is thought to have been the principal temple of PhayaSaen Pu’s capital city. If this is true, the temple then dates to the early 14th century. The octagonal base of the imposing 88-metre chedi represents the classic Lanna style.

6. Chiang Saen National Museum

Located in old town Chiang Saen, this museum exhibits artifacts excavated locally including a well-known Chiang Saen-style bronze Buddha image and Lanna Thai artifacts. Inscription stones from Phayao and Chiang Saen itself can be found in the museum. In addition, there are exhibitions of indigenous art objects of the Thai Yai, Thai Lu and other hill tribes. These items include musical instruments, ornaments and opium-smoking accessories. The museum is open on Wednesdays through Sundays from 9.00a.m. to 4.00p.m., except on national holidays.

7. Wat Pa DhatPha-Ngao, Wat Phra That PhaNgao, Moo 5, Ban Sop Kham, TambonWiang, Amphoe Chiang Saen, Tel. 0-5377-7151, website: www.phangao.com

Wat Phra That PhaNgao is an ancient, and sacred temple. The legend has it that if anyone become sick, and come to worship Phra That (or the Buddha relics) here at this temple, the illness will soon fade away. Wat Phra That PhaNgao is glamorously built in Lanna architectural style. It is well-preserved, clean, and peaceful. Visitors can see the panoramic view of Mekong river from up here.

From AmphoeMuang Chiang Rai, drive on Highway no.1016 until seeing the traffic circle. Turn right onto Highway no.1029. Then, continue driving along, the temple will be on the opposite to Sop Kham School.

8. Chiang Saen Lake

ChiangSaen Lake, is a natural lake and marsh area just outside town and one of the country’s prime bird-watching spots, particularly in the winter months from November to February, when large numbers of waterfowl and waders migrate here from cold, northern climes. It is worth visiting throughout the year though, as the lake is home to various resident species of duck, geese, herons, storks, kingfishers and so on, as well as raptors and smaller reed and scrub species on the lake’s perimeters.