Duration: 3 Hours 30 Minutes Overview: During the late 13th century, to escape from the Mongol hordes, various T'ai tribes made their way south out of their vulnerable lands in present-day southwest China into the lands that were to become Thailand and Laos. Chiang Rai was one of the early capitals of these relocated T'ai, the basis of a kingdom that was to be known as Lanna, a million rice-fields. Visit Wat Phra Kaew, where the image that was to become the national palladium was discovered after lightning struck the temple in 1434. A recent copy of the Emerald Buddha is housed in the temple. Also visit Wat Phra Singh, another ancient temple constructed in Lanna style. See the monument to Por Khun Mengrai the founding father of Chiang Rai (1262) and the Lanna kingdom, and visit the local market to mull over handicrafts before returning to your hotel.
Elephant Adventure, Hill Tribes & Mae Kok River
Duration: 8 Hours 30 Minutes Overview: Transfer to the Mae Kok River that winds its way through 80 unspoilt kilometers of the Chiang Rai countryside. Board a long-tail boat and watch the beautiful scenery. Arrive at a Karen tribal village and elephant camp. Ride the pachyderm through the woods and clearings for rice paddies to a Yao village for lunch. Visit the Yao and Akha tribes in the afternoon. Yao women can be distinguished by their turban-like headwear, whilst the Akha women wear a very elaborate head-dress featuring beads, feathers and beaten silver. If in a hiking mood a waterfall may be visited for a quick dip. A stop is made at the Chiang Rai Handicraft centre on the return journey to the city.
Half Day Doi Tung
Duration:4 Hours 30 Minutes Overview: Ascend Doi Tung Mountain to the 5900-foot summit. The views over Myanmar and the Thai lowlands are impressive on clear days. The temple on the mountain, Wat Phra That Doi Tung, is a place of pilgrimage, said to be a reliquary of a Buddha bone. See the Royal Villa and Gardens built in 1988 that was home to the late mother of the present King, fondly remembered by all Thai as 'Mae Fa Luang', the princess from the sky, particularly due to her visits by helicopter to Doi Tung. The neat gardens in English style. The tour terminates in Chiang Rai.
Half Day Golden Triangle Excursion
Duration: 4 Hours Overview: Head to the Golden Triangle territory 80 km away from the city. Visit Sop Ruak area, where the Ruak River converges with the mighty Mekong and the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. This is the apex of the Thai portion of notorious Golden Triangle, but nowadays this side of the border is less wild. Continue to the ancient Chiang Saen, a small town which is one of the earliest Thai kingdoms, which features many temple ruins.
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