Any visitor Chiangrai can’t fail to comprehend the wealth and obvious affluence which abound within this northern most province. Its proximity to the Golden Triangle has influenced the growth of the land and merely here will you see fenced-off possessions, farm houses, hedgerows and smooth four-lane highways never in need of repair. There was more to the province than that, of course, with some of the hardest back roads in Thailand also being here. However, the overriding impression is one of almost a different country. This diversity should, perhaps, function as alternative traveler’s initial reason for seeing the Golden Far North.
The riches of Chiangrai province can be instantaneously when compared with making an excursion into Myanmar at the border crossing of Mae Sai. The poverty over สมัครเรียน ราชภัฏ the Myanmar side is all too clear and a lot more obvious than other Myanmar crossings. The cross border visit doesn’t take a visa, nor will be the passport stamped. All that you need are just two photo copies of your passport details and also a fee, usually five dollars.
Chiang Saen is a little space outside this. Westwards is mae Salong and Thaton with its Maekok River Lodge and onwards to Fang and also mae Hong Son plus a number of the least used (you’ll learn why) roads in Thailand. There is spectacular scenery all along the way.
Doi Toong has turned into an entirely developed Royal project. Basically an entire mountain range over looking Burmese land, it today affords visitors not merely grand vistas but also home grown Thai tea and coffee, soft veggies and temperate vegetables. All have now been introduced into hill-tribe farming patterns and now contribute greatly to the economies of many villages as a substitute for its falling opium crop farming, and that is all but eradicated from Thai land now. Wat Doi Toong itself, perched like a nest on the finished hilltop, is an important pilgrimage centre for Thai people and there’s day-long temple activity here.
If time allows, and you have a good map, the alternative course via Doi Pa Mi to Doi Toong ought to be obtained from Mae Sai instead of the major highway headed towards Mae Chan. The trail hugs the edge and is one of many most spectacular paths from the northwest.
The Golden Triangle is, by now, quite well-frequented by tourists since there’s not much expectation of averting audiences at the center point – a plaque depicting the meeting place of their three countries, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. However, agreeable enough river trips to the mighty Mekong can be viewed in addition to meals in riverside restaurants (watch for more serene locations between your triangle and Chiang Saen). The Imperial Golden Triangle Hotel allows possibly the best perspectives, especially during breakfast period, with lots of historical movements on the river. Long-tailed ships criss from country to country very quickly, adding to the feeling of intrigue which lingers in the infamous meeting place.
Very pleasant afternoons may be spent on the terraced river-side after an industry trip.
Further Downriver out of Chiang Saen is your up-and-coming border stage of Chiang Khong. From here, entry to Laos can be created using evening river trips to Luang Prabang departing every morning. A longer (slow boat) trip is made with an overnight stop en route at the village of Pakbeng. Going to Chiang Khong provides you a real feeling to be from the back waters of the nation and when that is what it is you want then take the trip and use it as an entry to Laos. Accommodation, particularly with air conditioning, is lean in Chiang Khong as well as ships leaving early, book beforehand or leave Chiangrai in 5:30 am.
Travelling westwards from Tachilek (now it self a exit point for some internal Myanmar tours) over the Thai side and past Doi Toong, there would be the back roads to Mae Salong. This region is like the Scottish Highlands, although without the current weather and also a little warmer. There are few signposts so take a fantastic map when in Mae Sai or else you may find yourself in a more”delicate edge zone.”
Considering his escape, integration into Thai society of this native Mae Salong valley people has grown. Still known to Thais because Jiin Haw (galloping Chinese) that the natives of Mae Salong emigrated from China throughout the 1949 revolution and also were part of this fleeing Kuomintang 93rd regiment. This makes Mae Salong completely different from every other Thai town having its own blend of Akha, Lisu and Meo tribes along with Tai Yai (Shan) people. Together with local corn whisky on sale as a substitute for its expunged opium harvest, other services and products found comprise Chinese herb remedies, Khanom Jiin steak and Chinese teas. There’s actually a tea factory in town. Although a paved road now runs on Basang over the main Mae Cahn-Thaton highway, additional roads are little more than poorly graded dirt paths. This is the price of anonymity.
For the authentic solution gentleman a four-day trek to Chiangrai is potential after hilltribe village trails en route. Here you’ll find the hiking that existed 20 years ago from a Chiangrai base. At Thaton, on the Maekok River, stands the Maekok River Village, an update of the former River Lodge. It is the pride and joy of Khun Shane Beary, a 14-year resident of the space. The village is made up of Thai style bungalows on the riverside with a children’s pool and restaurant, but more importantly, it has a field study centre for both Thai and international students and also a Thai cookery centre. The knowledge of Shane, his family and team create the Village an superb base camp for trips across the area. Mountain biking and hiking trips can be easily made using this particular focal point in addition to river trips about the Maekok, a tributary of the Mekong.
By Thaton there is really a public boat service plying the Maekok River for its 92 km trip to Chiangrai. It’s really a very recommended trip and costs as little as 150 baht.
Onwards into the Chiangrai provincial boundary are lots of hot springs and arenas with the well-known ones coming to Fang and Ching Dao. The predominant lime stone rock of this spot gives solution to many underground caverns all ubiquitously decorated with religious icons.
Although not over the Chiangrai place, the trip across the edge to Pai Mae Rariang during Mae Hong Son is well worth considering. The road is scenic and narrow but it’s some of the most interesting areas in Thailand for example the blind fish caves outside Mae Hong Son and the Padaung”long neck” village on the Pai River. The latter has come to be notably touristy but also the long-necked Karen still hold a certain fascination no matter what the conditions.
Lesser-known and not as obvious to the eye are the Lawa people with this area. It is for certain they have inhabited Thailand for several 800 years and so they believe that they migrated from Cambodia, although some archaeologists think their origins lie at Micronesia, perhaps 2,000 years ago.
The women are distinguishable with their hair tied into a turban and it’s usual for them to smoke tobacco out of the wooden pipe. Most Lawa speak Thai, however also the Lawa language, linked to this of their Wa tribe of Burma, continues to be spoken in many of the villages.
Altogether, Northern Thailand and notably Chiangrai state is different in many ways by the rest of the country. Traditionally called”Lan-na,” it’s for the majority of its history been a separate domain name also holds that quality for the day.