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.
A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.
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.
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.
Explore the fascinating architectural history and museum collections of Chiang Saen, the capital of Thailand’s 14th-century Lanna kingdom.
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.
Hall of Opium
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.
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.
Explore in-depth information, experiences and highlights by navigating to specific regions using the links below on the right.
Chiang Rai Itineraries
- 6 days / 5 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $8,700
- 5 days / 4 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $3,600
- 11 days / 10 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $9,300
- 10 days / 9 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $17,000
- 15 days / 14 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $23,500
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.
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).
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.
Thailand Goes Well With
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.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
- Jay Tindall
A road trip through the rough roads and tumultuous history of Chiang Rai province in Thailand’s mountainous north.
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