Thailand's Golden Triangle Tour
Includes some the Kingdom's most spectacular scenery and authentic cultural opportunities. It is home to numerous ethnic minority people, hillside tea plantations, opium poppies, and the upper reaches of the Mekong River.
Day One: Explore Chiang Rai
On arrival in Chiang Rai you will enjoy the lush green carpet of mountain forests, emerald valleys, and electric green rice fields. Natural beauty and clean air invigorate the senses.
Wat Rongkhun, on the outskirts of Chiang Rai, is a stunning temple which is both modern and reflects Lanna (Northern Thai) style in pure white with mirror accents. If you are lucky, you might meet Chalermchai Kositpipat, the artist who created it.
Next, you will visit the Wat Pra Keaw, the former home of the Emerald Buddha now on display at the Grand palace in Bangkok. Later you will take a long tail boat on the Mae Kok River to Karieng Ruammit Village, where you will see a many different hill tribe people.
This evening, check Chiang Rai's Night Bazaar, with a large outdoor food court and live entertainment. Our guide will be happy to introduce you to the local gay hang-outs nearby.
Transportation to your hotel on arrival in Chiang Rai. Sightseeing includes visits to Wat Rangkhun, Wat Prakaew and the Night Bazaar. You have two nights in Chiang Rai.
Explore the lovely Lanna city of Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge. The region is legendary for its natural beauty, hill tribe people, and opium production. You will see spectacular vistas, meet fascinating people and sample a culture distinctly different from the rest of Thailand along the banks of the Mekong River. You can even venture across the border into Burma if you like. You may extend your stay in Chiang Rai, the Golden Triangle or both if you like. The itinerary below can be adjusted to accommodate your flight times. We also have a shorter, less comprehensive Golden Triangle tour. You can find it here.
Day Two: Lisu Village, a Hot Springs and a River Boat
A day trip from Chiag Rai takes you to visit a Karen (long-neck people) village and a Lisu village. Lunch at Tha Ton, followed by a boat trip on the Kok river, ending at Pong Nam Lon Hot Springs. Return to Chiang Rai for the night
Day Three: One View, Three Countries
Begin your journey to the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Ruak rivers. From the banks on the Thai side of the Mekong you can see Laos, Myanmar.
Today you will also visit Doi Mae Salong, a mountain town first settled by Chinese. Visit a tea plantation and steeply-terraced farms. This rustic market town attracts many Hmong, Akha, Lisu and Mien hilltribe people. Two nights in the Golden Triangle.
Day Four: Doi Tung and an Opium Museum
Today you travel over Doi Tung, the highest peak that borders Thailand and Myanmar. In addition to spectacular scenery you will be able to visit Lahu and Akha hilltribe villages. Enroute you visit the palace of the (now deceased) Princess Mother and the farming terraces that formed part of her estate. At Mae Sai you cross the Burmese border to visit the market town of Tachilek, famous for its shopping treasures. You will also be able to view the spot where three borders join and visit the Opium Museum.
Day Five: Follow the Mekong
This morning you follow the Mekong downstream
On your way back to Chiang Rai you visit Akha and Yao hilltribe people, the "Black House," a rather bizarre private estate of an eccentric artist, the "Blue Temple," one of the region's most ornate, and Wat Huay Pla Kang, a Chinese influenced nine-story pagoda amid other temple buildings and a huge seated Buddha. Overnight in Chiang Rai.
If you are planning to travel to Luang Prabang by boat on our "Way Beyond Luang Prabang" overnight program you will spend the night in Houey Xay, not far from Thai Immigration and across the river from your boat's departure point. We will work the Black House and other final Chiang Rai sights into your itinerary at the beginning.
Day Six: Chiang Rai and Beyond
Time free to enjoy Chiang Rai on your own before your return flight to Bangkok.