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Chiang Rai, nestled in the mountains of northern Thailand is the gateway to the infamous Golden Triangle border region of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos. Situated in the old kingdom of Lanna, meaning land of a million rice fields, the area around Chiang Rai is home to many ethnic minority hill tribes including the Karen, Akha, Lahu and Yao. Cruise along the Mae Kok River, trek through the hills or travel by elephant to explore the beautiful surrounding countryside interspersed with traditional local villages.
Our “Simply” itineraries are perfect add-ons to your holiday. Discuss options with our Asia Travel Experts.
You meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Chiang Rai, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.
Chiang Rai, nestled in the mountains of northern Thailand is the gateway to the infamous Golden Triangle border region of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos. Smaller and quieter than Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai retains the feel of a small provincial Thai capital with far fewer tourists than you may see in other provincial centres. Situated in the old kingdom of Lanna, meaning land of a million rice fields, the area around Chiang Rai is home to many ethnic minority hill tribes including the Karen (long neck), Akha, Lahu and Yao. The houses in the hill tribe villages sell handmade products, in particular textile weaving, since tourism has replaced agriculture as their main source of income.
With an abundance of restaurants and the interesting night markets, Chiang Rai has plenty to see and do. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Embark on a magnificent three hour boat ride on the Mae Kok River ending in a traditional Karen hill tribe village. Your journey takes you through stunning mountainous scenery surrounded by jungle interspersed with traditional hill tribe villages. The Karen people originated in Burma and moved to northern Thailand during the mid to late 1900’s. They are one of the largest hill tribes in South East Asia and traditionally live at lower elevations than other hill tribes. Although they still practice slash and burn farming they live in permanent villages. Karen cloth is hand woven on back strap looms and is predominantly red with white, blue or brown vertical stripes. The women's blouses are made of dark homespun cotton with horizontal embroidered patterns decorated with seeds woven onto the lower half.
Leaving the Karen hill tribe village continue your trip on the back of an elephant through the surrounding countryside before reboarding the boat for a short trip to some thermal hot springs. Afterwards visit a hill tribe village of the Lahu people. There are about 25,000 Lahu people in Thailand and their main source of income is farming. They are primarily subsistence farmers, growing rice and corn for their own consumption. Lahu are well known for their traditional black costumes woven with bold embroidered patterns and bands of cloth. Finish the trip with boat ride back to Chiang Rai before transferring to your hotel.
Itinerary Option: If you prefer a little less adventure, consider visiting the botanical gardens up in the mountains surrounding Chiang Rai.
Today visit the famous Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos meet. With your guide you drive through beautiful scenery arriving at the top of a hill with magnificent views across the Golden Triangle, once the heart of the opium trade. At this point, the mighty Mekong River joins with the Ruak River and forms the "triangle" with Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma).
Visit the border town of Mae Sai at the northernmost point of Thailand and the perfect spot to observe the border trade. Mae Sai is one of few official land crossings between Thailand and Burma and is therefore an important trade hub. Many Burmese come over daily from Thakhilek to work or do business before returning to Burma at dusk. Burmese lacquer ware, gems, jade and other goods from Laos and Burma are sold in shops along the main street.
The remainder of the day is free in Chiang Rai to explore or relax.
Itinerary Option: For more adventure consider upgrading to the full day trip that includes a boat trip along the river and lunch.
On your last day enjoy free time until your departure transfer.
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $808|
|Superior:||from AU $991|
|Deluxe:||from AU $1,550|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
Availability of accommodation and season.