Chiang Rai is not only the gateway to the Golden Triangle: the northernmost province of Thailand boast some of the countrys most scenic landscapes, gently-rolling mountain ranges, where numerous ethnic minorities still live in peace and harmony. Founded in 1262 by King Mengrai of the expansive former Lanna Kingdom, the region demands to be further explored beyond the point where three nations convene at the Mekong River banks. The multicultural aspects of the province with its hill tribe settlements form the foundation for a full day tour meeting these local, yet hospitable residents inside their town borders along and on top of Doi Mae Salong. It is Mae Sai where we end this great day out, with its official border crossing into Myanmar and Thailands northernmost point before making way back to Chiang Rai.
Guests will have enough time to enjoy their breakfast at their Chiang Rai hotel before meeting your guide for the day. Together with a separate driver, we will leave approximately at around 08:30 hrs from Chiang Rai and into the Doi Mae Salong area, home to the various hill tribes still calling this part of northern Thailand their home. It may sound that Doi Mae Salong is only a mountain region in the Chiang Rai province, but in fact it is a complete town with temples and churches, schools, factories and shops. The local eateries on Mae Salong are famous for the tasty Yunnan cuisine, prepared from farm fresh vegetables and livestock raised there. Besides seeing all this passing by, your guide will bring you to one of the larger Akha, Yao and Lisu Hilltribe villages, explaining the differences in culture, origin and traditions. It is here where we too will enjoy a local lunch, freshly prepared at one of the leading restaurants in the area.
After lunch, we continue further northwards. Just before we reach Mae Sai, we stop at the Tham Pla, better known as the Fish Cave. Situated in the small town of Pong Ngam, an abundance of monkeys (Makaken) roam the region right here, hence this area is also often referred to as the Fish and Monkey Cave. An excellent stop to take a break after lunch presents itself here, where guests are offered the opportunity to feed the fish and enjoy this scenic spot before entering Mae Sai. The town is also the official border crossing with Thakhilek in Myanmar and the daily stream of Burmese trading their goods in Thailand is a sight to behold. The thriving market is a paradise for gem collectors, and wandering up and down the main street gives you an insight into the large variety available for sales, originating from Myanmar. In all corners along Mae Sais market, you will find various end products, cut, polished and ready to be sold to those interested in its value, shape and beauty.It is time to head back to Chiang Rai after being close to 8 hours on the road, exploring the Chiang Rai region all the way to the northern-most point. Wed expect to be back at your hotel at around 16:30 hrs.