Chiang Rai is Thailand’s northernmost province, which lies at a distance of 785 km (488 miles) from Bangkok. The town of Chiang Rai lies at an average elevation of 565m (1,854 ft.) above sea level in the fertile river basin of the Mae Kok River.
The rugged terrain makes for great trekking, biking, and a host of outdoor activities. Here are a few things you can do to combine fitness and tourism in Chiang Rai:
Sail along the Mae Kok River
Chiang Rai is bordered by the great Mekong River on its east side, while the Mae Kok River, which flows west out from Myanmar, flows along Chiang Rai’s northern border before flowing east and merging with the Mekong. Several local tour operators offer visitors boat rides on the river aboard a longtail boat. These boat rides give visitors the option of stopping at a Buddha cave, an elephant camp, a hot spring or a riverside hill-tribe village. This river cruise provides you with an excellent chance to witness life in the province of Chiang Rai.
Take a bicycle trip to the Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is an area located in the northern part of Chiang Rai Province where the borders of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar meet. This remote area called Sop Ruak by the locals has long been associated with the drug trade. Many local tour companies offer half-day, one-day, two-day and three-day cycling trips to various scenic areas and landmarks around the infamous Golden Triangle.
Elephant trekking is another popular family activity in Chiang Rai. These treks conducted on elephant back are available at the Mae Kok Elephant Camp, located on the banks of the Mae Kok River. These treks usually take visitors through the lush forests and the hill tribe villages of the area.
Take a trek to see the hill-tribe villages
The mountainous banks of the Mae Kok River are inhabited by many hill-tribe villages, and a trek to these hill tribe villages is a popular attraction of Chiang Rai. Various tour operators in Chiang Rai offer day treks to the various hill tribe villages at the Mae Kok River basin. There are nine major hill tribes who inhabit the region namely the Karen, Hmong, Yao, Akha, Lisu, Lahu, Thin, Khamu and Lawa people. These treks to the hill tribe villages, give you a chance to discover the life and culture of these native people of Chiang Rai.