The set of suggested exciting places can be visited in a couple of days if the trip is made by a private vehicle. The motorbike is only appropriate for expert drivers, those who already use this means of transport in their own country.
In the case of having only one day, we suggest you choose between a route to the north towards Mae Sai or to the northeast in the direction of the Golden Triangle and returning through Chiang Khong.
The hill tribes spread throughout the province and offer an excellent opportunity to meet them and share a unique experience.
You can find a brief introduction in the article of Chiang Rai, city and outskirts.
This beautiful area was involved in the opium planting and trade as well as it was home for the 93rd Division of the Chinese Nationalist Army that did not surrender to Chinese communists in 1949.
Nowadays, tea has replaced opium as the way of life of the local population.
In November sunflowers blossom and later, from December to February, the white plum and the sakura cherry also bloom. Mist is usual in the morning and low temperatures in the upper parts of the hills.
In addition to the tea plantations, during the visit, you can include tasting the Yunnan food style.
Choui Fong Tea Plantation
This beautiful tea plantation, combing the slopes of the mountains, has modern facilities to test its products and buy them if you wish.
Access does not require moving too far away from the main route to Mae Sai or the Golden Triangle, which facilitates its integration into the journey.
This place was built by the Princess Mother using her personal funds, a project in which she made an effort to give a new chance to people that used to grow opium. Besides reforest the land, the project includes the production of handicrafts as ceramics, weaving and roasted coffee.
A development that also brought new roads, running water and electricity.
There is also here a Royal Villa for the Princess Mother where she stayed on some occasions working in the project.
The Mae Fah Luang gardens are fantastic with hundreds of cute flowers. The buildings of the Royal Villa were built in Swiss and Lanna styles.
Located on the border with Myanmar, on the other side of the Mae Sai River.
As often happens at borders, trade has developed on both sides with opportunities to find, for example, precious stones from Myanmar such as jade, rubies and emeralds. An unwise purchase unless you have deep knowledge of the subject.
The Myanmar customs in Tachileik issue a one-day pass to Myanmar. Passports are confiscated, using this temporary travel permit.
The Tham Luang caves are only 5 km away from Mae Sai. It was where the 12 small boars and their monitor were rescued in July 2018.
The Golden Triangle
The legendary Mekong River traces part of Thailand’s border with neighbouring Laos and Myanmar in the north of the country. A distant and exotic land.
Nowadays it is a popular place for those who travel to Chiang Rai and even Chiang Mai.
From here you can cross the Mekong River to the shore of Laos by hiring the ride with a motorboat, with two options. The most frequent is a small local market and the second is to visit a unique casino.
Click here for more useful information.
Casino on the border
A curious and somewhat paradoxical circumstance takes place on Thailand’s border with Laos.
Just over the border, within a country governed by a Communist political regime, there is a special economic free zone that includes a conventional casino, well, not so normal.
Perhaps, against all the odds, it may be of interest to you to reach such a remote place to spend a few hours in a casino.
For further information, click on this post about the casino in Laos.
Wat Phra That Pha Ngao
This temple is not far from Chiang Saen so that it can be visited during your trip to the Golden Triangle. It is located on the top of a hill and from there the view is splendid.