The best way to enjoy Northern Thailand is by spending most of your time outdoors, enjoying the lush jungle-covered mountains that make the region unique. Take in the vibrant green rolling valleys and picturesque peaks as you head towards the famous Golden Triangle. This 10-day itinerary offers an incredible tour of the north as you cycle through Chiang Rai, Mae Salak, Chiang Saen, Chiang Khong, Phu Chi Fa, Phayao, Viang Pa Pao and Chiang Mai.
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Start in Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northernmost large city and once the royal capital of the Mangrai dynasty. Have a relaxing, leisurely warm-up ride befor the trip ahead. This pleasant afternoon journey will help you adjust to biking in Thailand. Bikers ride on the left side in Thailand, which is often a change for many travelers. Bike through stunning rice paddy fields following the Mae Lao River until reaching Wat Rong Khun - famously known as the White Temple. A local architect created the temple in a unique style. Relax at your hotel - we recommend Le Méridien Chiang Rai Resort - before perusing the bustling night bazaar and indulging in Northern-style Thai food.
Rise this morning and begin the first stage of your cycling journey with a 25-mile flat stretch. Then it’s time to begin the ascent. Enjoy the incredible views of crops ranging from sugar cane to maize and rice. Smile at the local farmers as you pass through their small villages. Stop and enjoy a panoramic of the area before finishing your 76-mile ride in Mae Salak. The town is situated next to a Lahu village. This evening, you will have the opportunity to see a traditional dance and musical performance put on by a few of the local children.
Ease into the day, as you won’t need to start pedaling hard until about 10 miles into the ride. Begin a gradual climb, followed by a short downhill section. Pass hill tribe farmers hard at work in their fields. You will probably pass a massive water buffalo or two grazing along the roadside. Make your descent into the quaint 7th-century town of Chiang Saen along the Mekong River on the border with Laos. All of the ancient walls surrounding the city are still standing.
It’s an easy day of riding with a fast and flat ride in the morning! The rest of the day is free for your relaxation needs. The ride traces the Mekong River, which forms the border between Thailand and Laos. Finish your 48-mile ride in the border town of Chiang Khong. Check into a local hotel before hitting the town in search of savory northern curries or flat-egg noodle dishes.
Start the day by heading south to Phu Chi Fah for an incredible view. Warm up for 25 miles at a leisurely pace before beginning to bike up the steep ascent. Pause along the way at viewpoints for an unrivaled view of the surrounding valleys and lush forests. The finish is atop an amazing cliff formation unlike any other in the region. After biking 50 miles, spend the evening relaxing at the accommodation of your choice.
It’s time to make your way back down the mountain with an exhilarating descent. The ride levels out and you will pass through a blooming vibrant valley. Watch locals about their business as you pass through rural villages and towns. The 84-mile ride ends at Phayao Lake - an artificial lake that is home to 22 species of fish. Enjoy the welcoming, relaxed town and check into your hotel before heading over to the lake to enjoy a feast.
Spend the morning at leisure in the laidback atmosphere for which Phayao is famous. After lunch, climb back on your bike and travel to the next valley, biking through the mountain range. After reaching over 3,000 feet, pause and enjoy the stunning views. Ride through the foothills of the mountains as the sun dips in the sky. Reach your resting place for the night after finishing a 45-mile ride.
It’s a fun day of climbs and riding through the dense forests. Look for exotic birds flitting in and out of the trees. Continue the 65-mile ride through rice fields and orchards until you reach the Bua Thong Waterfall. Take a refreshing dip and keep your eye out for freshwater crabs! Finish the day with a transfer to Chiang Mai.
Do a ride around Chiang Mai’s famous Doi Suthep Mountain, famous for the temple on its summit. From the top, you can view all of the city below. Ride to Samoeng, a farming village, and stop for lunch. Ride to the top of Doi Suthep - it will be quite a workout, but likely the crown of your journey. The ride back is a refreshing downhill loop into the foothills around Chiang Mai.
The perfect little hideaway, Le Méridien Chiang Rai Resort is the ideal oasis for travelers in northern Thailand. This luxurious resort, sprawling over 10 glorious acres, is situated on the Mae Kok river and boasts an outdoor pool, spa and children’s center for ultimate relaxation. With close proximity - and a complimentary shuttle bus - to nearby popular sites, the resort can be used as a home base for touring or a retreat from the road. With the option of nearly 160 rooms, spanning from Deluxe Room to Grand Deluxe Room to Grand Suite Rooms, and four on-site dining options, including a poolside bar, guests may never want to leave the premises.
Escape to the tranquil Huai Khum Resort and experience the serene wilderness and scenic landscapes of Chiang Rai. Set on the stunning Mae Kok River and surrounded by pristine jungle, the resort offers peace and comfort to its guests. With 27 hillside bamboo cottages to choose from, patrons will experience a whole new world deep in the lush forest. Each accommodation is furnished with intricate wood furniture, comfy beds and modern amenities while the villa cottages come with a separate living room and spacious terrace. The resort also offers an outdoor swimming pool, beautiful gardens, historical museum, cultural shows, meditation terrace, water sports and more. For tasty Thai cuisine, visitors can enjoy organic dishes at the gourmet restaurant and sip on freshly shaken cocktails at the bar on-site. During the day, guests can easily journey to traditional mountain villages nearby and trek through rich countryside to witness exotic plants and wildlife.
Set on the banks of the gorgeous Mekong River, the Siam Triangle Hotel is a breathtaking four-star hotel that will fulfill most travel desires. Choose from 52 modern rooms, each equipped with stylish décor, spacious balconies with a scenic river view, free WiFi, flat-screen TV and basic kitchen facilities. After checking in, patrons can lounge by the large outdoor swimming pool, relax in the sauna, work up a sweat at the fitness center or enjoy a soothing Thai massage at the on-site spa. Friendly hotel staff are more than happy to help guests organize travel excursions, book car hires, plan events at the hotel’s grand meeting facilities, take care of dry cleaning and much more. After a day of exploring Chiang Rai, guests may head to the hotel restaurant and feast on delicious Thai and international cuisine while overlooking the scenic river. The Siam Triangle Hotel is also only a few miles away from the Golden Triangle and is the perfect base from which to explore the treasures of Northern Thailand.
Resting along the serene Mekong River, the charming Chiang Khong Teak Garden Hotel is the perfect place to discover the scenic gems of Northern Thailand. Surrounded by a garden of century-old golden teak trees, the hotel features 72 contemporary rooms and four spacious suites. Each accommodation is fitted with teak and burl wood flooring, a scenic view overlooking the lush garden, satellite TV, free WiFi and modern amenities. After checking in, patrons can enjoy a relaxing Thai massage at the spa, check e-mails at the business center, grab a refreshing drink at the bar or dance the night away at the nightclub. Guests can also indulge in savory Thai cuisine at the restaurant on-site. During the day, visitors can take advantage of the bicycle rental facility at the hotel and pedal to lush hills, tropical greenery and majestic rivers. The hotel is also located near the peaceful beach town of Chiang Khong.
Formerly The Chedi,Anantara Chiang Mai Resort is a riverside hotel that offers private courtyards and balconies in each of its 84 rooms and suites. The on-site restaurant includes a selection of Thai, Indian and international cuisines in addition to the two bars on the main and second level. The resort facilities include a large swimming pool, fitness centers, a shopping boutique and a spa. Anantara is approximately 15 minutes from Chiang Mai airport.