I can say without question that while the scenery was extraordinary, the hotels luxurious, and the food beyond compare, it was the guides who made this trip beyond memorable for us.
Nestled in the heart of the Golden Triangle region, which encompasses the mountains of Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, Chiang Rai is a land of tropical hills and mountains. In the past, the Golden Triangle was synonymous with the drug trade, as poppies were grown in the area and transported by a number of ethnic and tribal militias.
Today, due to a series of major crackdowns, the Golden Triangle is considerably safer, and slowly gaining a name for itself through legal tourism rather than illicit smuggling. Standout attractions include the fun, fascinating Flight of the Gibbon, an intense, wildly fun zipline course; a journey up the Burma Road, which straddles the Myanmar-Thai border; and a series of high-mountain tea plantations.
Visitors should note that the demographics of the area are also much more ethnically diverse than elsewhere in Thailand - and, as such, are a fascinating contrast to the rest of the nation. A significant minority of the population is composed of hill tribes, among them the Karen, Lisu, and Akha, as well as ethnic Chinese settlers.
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Trinity Nguyen will never forget feeding baby elephants by hand in Chiang Mai, and the charm & history of ancient capital Sukhothai.
Visit the Hall of Opium, which chronicles the long history of opium production and trade in the Golden Triangle.
Train as an elephant mahout (a handler and caretaker) and go elephant trekking through the surrounding jungle. Learn how to bathe and feed an elephant, and afterwards, learn some of the traditional commands used to "drive" an elephant.
Explore the fascinating architectural history and museum collections of Chiang Saen, the capital of Thailand’s 14th-century Lanna kingdom.
The Burma Road
Journey up the “Burma Road,” a hair-raising route that straddles the narrow, mountainous border between Thailand and Myanmar. Along the way, stop at strategic lookout points for expansive views of the surrounding countryside.
Doi Mae Salong
Drive 1.5 hours to the beautiful mountaintop village of Doi Mae Salong, home to indigenous hill-tribe peoples and Chinese settlers. Once opium country, Doi Mae Salong is now home to Thailand’s premier oolong tea production.
Go for a one-hour hike through the tea fields and hill-tribe villages. Pending their availability, sip tea with the owner of one of the largest plantations in Thailand, followed by lunch and tea with a prominent member of the Doi Mae Salong community to discuss the life today in this rural part of the country.
Boat to Laos
Cruise approximately 30 minutes by boat up the Khong River and into Laos. Disembark and visit Ban Had Tai village, where your guide will introduce you to its residents for a better understanding of life in this remote region.
A Day in Kengtung, Myanmar
Complete your exploration of the Golden Triangle with a day trip into Myanmar. Your destination is a village not far from the border, on the way to Kengtung, capital of Myanmar’s Shan State. Your drive will take you through stunning mountain terrain to an undiscovered region refreshingly devoid of touts and souvenir shops. In this region dwell numerous tribes who have remained untouched by outside influence and live much as their ancestors have for centuries.
At 4,265 feet (1,300 meters) above sea level, Mae Kampong has a pleasant, year-round temperature of 50-65 °F (10-18°C). The town is also home to the Flight of the Gibbon, an elaborate, 18-platform zipline course that travels through various layers of the rainforest canopy; its namesake is the gibbon, an acrobatic ape that swings from tree to tree. During your time here, you will also learn more about the Gibbon Project’s efforts to protect the endangered gibbon, which is under threat from habitat loss.
Thailand has it all – from towering mountains, vibrant corals, ancient ruins and powdery white-sand beaches. Enjoy a 10-day luxurious adventure through the diverse landscape of what’s known as the Land of Smiles. The hospitality along with the mouthwatering cuisine make this country a traveler’s favorite.
Does the thought of simply relaxing on the beach bore you? This luxury bike tour of Northern Thailand is far from a lazy holiday. Bike through stunning mountain towns visiting small villages, ancient ruins and even the bewildering architectural marvel of the White Temple in Chiang Rai on this thrilling adventure.
From the bustling city of Bangkok to the cultural center of Chiang Mai, the rustic Chiang Rai to the luxurious Koh Samui - all while staying at luxurious Four Seasons hotels - this 10-day adventure-by-private-jet packages the best Thailand has to offer into a vacation that fits the bill.
Achieve a near-impossible feat of comfortably visiting 3 countries in 4 days on this luxurious trip. When you stand in the Golden Triangle, you are able to get a glimpse of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand simultaneously. Make the most of the area with a trip down the Mekong river and explore the area’s many markets.
Explore nearly 200 ancient ruins and 26 different stunning temples at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sukhothai. The adventure only begins there, continuing for 7 luxurious days through Thailand’s magical North. See the culture, history and natural beauty beyond Thailand’s beaches.
Discover the differences between Thailand and Myanmar as the two countries are juxtaposed on this unique 11-day luxury voyage from Northern Thailand to Kengtung, Myanmar. You’ll go from petting tigers in Chiang Mai, to trekking through a Chiang Rai tea plantation, to meeting members of the Loi tribe in Kengtung.
Travel from the bustling streets of Bangkok to the quiet heights of Vietnam’s Sapa by private aircraft, experiencing history and adventure with VIP access.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort
The Anantara is a chic luxury retreat perched atop a high mountain ridge overlooking the confluence of the Mekong and Ruak rivers, and close to Thailand's borders with Laos and Myanmar. It has 58 guest rooms and 19 suites decorated in a style that blends the best of the area's rich fabric and woodcarving traditions with contemporary design. The resort includes a sybaritic spa, an infinity pool that looks over the tree canopy to the Mekong River and up towards the hills of Myanmar and Laos, a fitness center with steam rooms, saunas, squash and tennis courts, a Thai cooking school, and an elephant camp, where you can learn about the importance of the elephant in Thai culture and arrange a ride through the surrounding jungle. The Anantara is also home to three food and beverage establishments: Sala Mae Nam (international buffet breakfast and Northern Thai specialties for dinner), Baan Dahlia (authentic Italian cuisine with a wine selection from vineyards around the globe), and The Elephant Bar and Opium Terrace, the perfect setting for a night cap.
Four Seasons Tented Camp
An exotic getaway reached by riverboat, the Four Seasons Tented Camp is set in a bamboo jungle at the meeting point of three countries: Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Fifteen freestanding, luxurious tents are spaced along a half-mile-long hillside trail over the Muak River, each with a large outdoor deck to take in the lush surroundings and the sounds of the forest. The rooms are outfitted with hand-hammered copper bathtubs, and custom-made furnishings that hearken back to the style of 19th-century explorers. The spa offers simple luxury with traditional Thai massages in open-air salas that seem to float in the air amid the trees. The treatments include mountain botanicals and warming spices for a unique and restorative experience. Private yoga classes are also available. A variety of dining experiences are offered and are shared by the small group of guests: breakfast is served at Nong Yao, the camp's restaurant; lunch might be a picnic in the jungle with folding tables, stools and linen napkins; dinner could be a barbecue, a five-course formal meal or a dinner by the campfire. There is a pool and attached whirlpool at the camp that has been integrated into the landscape, surrounded by granite boulders and lush plants. The camp is 90 minutes from Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI).
Khum Sak Tong
Surrounded by 14 acres of working rice fields, this beautiful, rambling estate is set in 10 acres of manicured, lush gardens. A perfect getaway for families, groups or couples, Khum Sak Tong sleeps up to ten in total but is spread over four villas, allowing for communal activities or privacy as guests please. Each villa is built from solid, golden teak and furnished with contemporary art and local aesthetics. The grand Main Villa, which houses the master suite, is known as the Downton Abbey of Asia; it’s here that guests can dine together on freshly prepared Thai cuisine made with ingredients from the organic garden, and enjoy a traditional Thai dance performance. On site are a private pool, a spa and yoga pavilions, while the surrounding areas await intrepid explorers, with adventures to Chiang Rai and around the rest of the Golden Triangle ready to be had.
Pa Sak Tong
Set in Thailand’s gorgeous northern heartland, not far from Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle, the beautiful Pa Sak Tong villa offers both a gateway to the ancient mysteries and rich culture of the area and an escape from the bustle of life. This fully-staffed villa sleeps up to six adults in three elegant ensuite guest rooms, and while the location amid forest and overlooking a lily pond offers a chance to retreat from the world, the villa and its rooms are equipped with all modern conveniences. Wifi is available throughout and the entertainment room boasts everything required for a fully-fledged movie night. Freshly prepared meals may be enjoyed at Pa Sak Tong or in various other picturesque locations around the estate; similarly, spa, fitness and relaxation facilities can be found both onsite and throughout the grounds. For those seeking to explore further, the villa’s comprehensive list of activities, from hiking to shopping, will keep all guests occupied and engaged.
Chiang Khong Teak Garden Hotel
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.
Huai Khum Resort
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.
Laluna Hotel & Resort
Situated in the heart of Chiang Rai, this four-star resort provides the ultimate experience for its guests with its welcoming staff, contemporary rooms and state-of-the-art modern facilities. Comfort and relaxation are sure to be achieved at this elegant resort, which is set in a gorgeous lily garden. Choose from 79 Thai-style bungalows, each equipped with free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, minibar, basic kitchen facilities and more. Kick back and relax at the impressive outdoor and indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi and salon facilities. Patrons can also unwind at the spa and massage parlour and spoil themselves with a traditional Thai massage. After a day of leisure, grab a tasty cocktail at the bar and indulge in a delicious Thai meal at the hotel restaurant. Other services include an on-site travel agency, business center, meeting facilities and dry cleaning. This charming resort is also conveniently located in Chiang Rai and is the perfect base from which to explore famous destinations such as the Golden Triangle and elaborate Buddhist temples.
Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort
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.
Siam Triangle Hotel
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.