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 lush mountainsides. Both the province and city of Chiang Rai have rapidly become one of Thailand’s tourist hotspots. Highlights include the famous Burma Road straddling the Thailand-Myanmar border, high-mountain tea plantations, and the ancient Lanna capital of Chiang Saen.
Visitors should note that the demographics of the area are much more ethnically diverse than elsewhere in Thailand, offering an interesting cultural contrast to the rest of the nation. A significant minority of the population is composed of members of the so-called “hill tribes”, among them the Karen, Lisu, and Akha, as well as ethnic Chinese settlers.
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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.
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.
Explore the fascinating architectural history and museum collections of Chiang Saen, the capital of Thailand’s 14th-century Lanna kingdom.
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.
Visit the Hall of Opium, which chronicles the long history of opium production and trade in the Golden Triangle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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Anthony Gill, General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai and Tented Camp Golden Triangle, speaks with Travelogues from Remote Lands on how travel will change in Thailand’s wild north.
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