Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northernmost province, is located within the renowned Golden Triangle area where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand converge. The first capital of the Lanna Thai Kingdom (Kingdom of a million rice fields), Chiang Mai is endowed with abundant natural tourist attractions and antiquities. Attractions range from magnificent mountain scenery, ruins of ancient settlements, historic sites, Buddhist shrines and ethnic villages. The province is home to several hill tribes who maintain their fascinating, native lifestyles. Jungle trekking along various trails is one of the area’s most popular activities.
Chiang Saen Lake
The town is literally littered with temples (36 in total), fortresses, moats, Buddha images, remnants of city walls and chedi that all bear witness to its intriguing past.
Very close to the Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen is a crossing point into Laos, but only for Thai and Laos citizens.
The town also acts as a port for ships from carrying goods from China. Although the archaeological aspects of Chiang Saen are fascinating, the town itself is very quiet, with very little to do. Almost everything in the town closes around 21:00. Worth seeing – but probably not worth going out of your way for.
Doi Mae Salong (Mountain Doi)
oi Mae Salong is the site of Santi Khiri village, a community settled by the former Chinese 93rd Division who moved from Myanmar to reside on Thai territory in 1961. The village became well known for its enchanting scenery and tranquil atmosphere.
Today it is a major tourist attraction with its small-town ambience, delicious native Chinese dishes, small hotels and guesthouses catering to visitors and tea, coffee and fruit tree plantations.
The scenery is especially picturesque in December and January when sakuras are in full bloom. Scattered with many hill tribe villages, Doi Mae Salong is ideal for trekking.
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”.
Doi Tung (Doi Mountain)
The route winds through beautiful scenery with many interesting sites including the Doi Tung Palace (Pra Tamnak Doi tung), the Mae Fa Luang Garden and Akha and Muser tribal villages. In addition to scenic lookouts, the most notable attraction is the Phra That Doi Tung Holy Relic, an old religious site atop the mountain.
Also located on Doi Tung Mountain is a beautiful royal residence known as Phra Tamnak Doi Tung.
The main attraction for visitors to Phra Tamnak Doi Tung is ‘Suan Mae Fa Luang’, the beautiful landscaped gardens filled with hundreds of different kinds of plants and flowers, named in honor of the Princess Mother and the Doi Tung Development Project established by the late Princess Mother in 1987.